This past weekend, Western State Colorado University’s Mountain Bike Team traveled to Steamboat Springs for their second Rocky Mountain Collegiate Cycling Conference race. Hosted by Colorado State University, the race was originally planned to take place in Red Feather Lakes but was changed to Steamboat. The team arrived after dark to the base of the resort Friday, and began setting up camp. Inside the trailer, the lights provided a perfect opportunity for some bike maintenance before the races the following day.
Early Saturday morning, cross country riders warmed up for the short track cross country race. The course was about a quarter mile long loop at the base of the Thunderhead lift. The trail followed up a steep dirt service road, then onto a single track that weaved through the pine trees and aspen, topping out in the tall grass of a ski run before looping around. Shelbie Ralston left the other Women’s B riders in the dust, taking first place in her first ever mountain bike race. The Men’s A, B, and C riders also did well.
While short track was finishing up, the gravity riders had practice on the downhill course. Rawhide claims to be Steamboat’s most technical descent. The steep rock gardens, sharp turns, and drops challenged all of the athletes. Even though the course started half way down the mountain, the fastest rider barely broke four minutes. Grace Owen, in her first upgraded race to Women’s A, placed third. Daniel Frentzel placed fifth in Men’s A, one of the top Division II results. All of the riders had great results, despite the challenging course.
After the races Saturday, some cross country athletes rode to Howelsen Hill to preview the course before the race Sunday. The remaining riders went to the Yampa River to cool off. They were met by the unexpected smell of sulfur and warm water flowing into the river from the hot springs. It may not have been Gunnison’s whitewater park, but it was still fun after a long day. After returning to camp and cooking dinner, the team played a great game of Foot Down until the sun went down. The theoretically simple task of keeping your feet off the ground while riding your bike, really isn’t that simple. Athletes from other teams joined in on Western’s goofy game. The riders finished the night happy and tired, ready for the next day.
The athletes woke up early Sunday morning for the cross country race at Howelsen Hill. Another chilly morning, the frost was still sticking to the grass when Men’s A was lining up at the start. Peter Noon, Cameron Smith, Sean O’Donnell, Ryan Trimble, and Grant Gipson all represented Western in Men’s A. The course was about ten miles, five up and five down. Noon finished his first lap in third place, but unfortunately got a flat on his second lap. Shelbie Ralston, again, pulled away from the Women’s B riders and kept her first place title. Colt Horvat and Daniel Frentzel, two gravity riders, entered the cross country race for a fun challenge, and placed seventh and fifth in Men’s C respectively. Full Results Here.
Western’s home RMCCC race will be this weekend at Crested Butte Mountain Resort. On Saturday, cross country starts at 9am and dual slalom starts at 1pm. Sunday, short track starts at 8am and downhill at 10:30am. All finish around the base of CBMR. Come cheer on Western’s phenomenal athletes! -Carley Clegg
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