Steamboat mountain bike team lands six individual podiums in season opener
Operating on two weeks of practice, the Steamboat Springs mountain bike team competed in its first race of the season Saturday, Aug. 27, in Frisco.
The Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club had 30 of its athletes representing Steamboat Springs High School and Steamboat Mountain School compete in their respective divisions.
The composite team managed six total podiums in the race with each individual rider impressing coach Paul Majors, as well as themselves.
“There were a lot of first-race jitters,” Majors said. “Athletes were worried about how they were going to perform because it’s their first race, but by far, everyone exceeded their own expectations for the weekend. There were a lot of folks who just wanted to finish, but then came in the top 10.”
With only four races in the season before the state championship in Glenwood, every race counts in a big way.
To ease the tensions, Colorado High School Mountain Bike League hosts a spirit contest for each of their events.
One of the team’s goals is to win the spirit award for every race this season, and the venture began successfully in Frisco. The theme was crazy socks, and Steamboat not only wore crazy socks, but also decorated the team tent with socks to separate themselves from all the other teams.
Majors said he sees the way spirit competitions bring the athletes together, and he believes it is one of the coolest and most unique aspects of the sport.
“There’s a place for everyone in high school mountain biking, and I think that is well represented by the spirit award,” Majors said. “We put forth this effort to just have fun with it, plus we have people who are winning races. We have everything.”
Steamboat came home after the race with two gold medals. Steamboat Mountain School sophomore Abby Olson and Steamboat Springs High School freshman Anna Rhodes each took first place in their respective divisions while four other athletes were also decorated with medals.
The 18-mile varsity course was a challenging one for the athletes, but Steamboat Springs High School junior Aidan Haack managed bronze status with a 1:17:57 time. He finished just one minute behind the race leader.
As individual schools, Steamboat Springs High School placed second overall in Division 2 while Steamboat Mountain School placed third overall in Division 3.
The athletes race again on Sept. 11 in Leadville for the Cloud City Challenge.
Majors said he is inspired by the spectacle of these races and it is truly something to behold.
“There’s over 2,000 athletes in the whole league. It’s a big production with the pits, the finish line, the music, the announcers and everything,” Majors said. “It’s well done and it is a big deal.”
To reach Tom Skulski, call 970-871-4240, email tskulski@SteamboatPilot.com.
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