HS mountain bike race recap
October 27, 2016
This past weekend was the Colorado High School Mountain Bike Championships. Our Middle Park High School Mountain Bike Club had four athletes, Darby Howard, Kimo Sullivan, Aaron Sanders and Tyler Scholl who raced in the championships after competing and qualifying in the 4 race high school race series.
Our first athlete to race was Kimo Sullivan in the Freshman Boys category. Fortunately Kimo is used to the cold as his 9 a.m. start temperature was about 30 degrees. True to his Fraser roots Kimo pulled up to the start line in the same attire that he would on any other summer day. Lining up with 100 other racers can be a bit nerve racking. Kimo never seems to get nervous and takes it all in stride. The announcer counted down to the start, 5 4 3 2 1 go! and they were off. The start for this event was hard and fast. Dry dusty conditions engulfed Kimo and the rest of the racers. Kimo flew past others in his group on the way to the first singletrack. Passing on this course was extremely limited forcing racers to race smart and pass in the few areas available. Kimo did just that-his hard work on practice passing paid off- and managed to work his way up to finish a very solid 56th.
Next up was our Darby Howard competing in the very fast Junior Varsity girls category. The sun had warmed the course which made the temperatures better for racing but also created a dryer course with more ruts and dust. Her start was fast and furious. The Junior Varsity girls are very fast. Darby start training helped out as she passed several riders before the first single track section (Darby often beats our boys in our start practice!). The smooth course that Darby rode in practice the day before was now far more dusty and rutted. This created a very technically challenging course in many places. Darby used all of her skills to conquer the course and sprint at the end finishing a very strong 39th.
Next up were our Sophomore Boys. Tyler Scholl and Aaron Sanders represented our athletes in a very strong and fast field. Two start waves were needed due to the amount of racers in this category. Tyler was 2nd row in the first wave and Aaron was near the back of the second wave.
Aaron’s start was just a fast. Being staged near the back has its disadvantages. On this course one key issue was the huge amount of dust put up by the other racers. Aaron started in what appeared to be a fog. He quickly moved forward and past several racers. As he made a move to pass several riders at the beginning of his second lap Aaron broke a chain. His quick thinking allowed him to run to the neutral support tech crew and have them fix it. That got him back in the race but not until many racers and gone by. That also resulted in a time penalty for assistance. He still rode a very fast 2nd lap to finish 96th. Had he not had those issues his time would have put him in roughly 60th position.
Tylers start was fast and furious. He moved to the front and took the lead at the first singletrack. Only one other racer was able to stay with him. Those two worked together to create a lead of almost 1 minute going into the 2nd and final lap. To give a perspective on Tyler’s riding style think of a high horsepower engine attached to a car with slightly loose handling. Tyler knew he had to control the race to do well. The beginning of the 2nd and final lap saw Tyler come through in 2nd position. He put his head down and caught the lead rider. They dueled it out on the course until the other rider was able to pull slightly away on the last bit of singletrack. Tyler held on for 2nd place!
All of our high school mountain bike athletes did extremely well this year. Their hard work, sportsmanship and comradery made us all proud! I know they are already excited for next year!