Steamboat Velo hosts youth mountain bike race in Stagecoach
STAGECOACH — On a crisp, colorful, almost-fall morning at Stagecoach Lake, about 50 young cyclists logged miles on private trails in a friendly locals-only race, hosted by Steamboat Velo.
Race organizer Corey Piscopo partnered with the owners of Glas Deffryn Ranch, Steve and Pam Williams, to throw together a small race for local youth and high school mountain bikers.
Kids have been deprived of a competitive atmosphere since there was no Town Challenge Mountain Bike Series and the high school season went virtual.
“I just got it in my head: we have to be able to put on a race in town,” Piscopo said. “There’s no reason with all the trails we have (that) we can’t do a locals race.”
After hosting the Steamboat Stage Race over Labor Day weekend, Piscopo knew exactly what rules he needed to follow to host a COVID-19-friendly race. The Williamses at Glas Deffryn Ranch are “big advocates of cycling in town,” Piscopo said, and gave him permission to create a course on private trails across their property.
So, on Saturday morning, about 50 children, ages 7 to 16, competed in three different age groups, with starts divided by gender.
“It really shows that they want us to have fun, and they really care,” said Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club cyclist Kelsey Cariveau. “I’m really glad our training got to go into something.”
Cariveau, 14, used Saturday’s race to harness all her ferocity and edge. She powered through the course and crossed the finish line minutes before the next girls finisher.
“I think I was a bit more competitive than I usually am today, because this is the one and only real race I get this year, and I wanted to make the most of it,” she said.
Max Hamilton, 16, went into the event with a more relaxed attitude. He was more carefree in his pace, talking with teammates most of the way.
“This race was mainly just because we didn’t have a race season,” Hamilton said. “This feels natural to do at least one race. It definitely wasn’t competitive at all. It felt like a race with my teammates.”
Hamilton’s relaxed approach allowed him to really take in the beauty of the area. The course began with the bikers pedaling past grazing horses and the Scottish Highland cattle the Williams raise on their ranch.
Parts of the course were on a dirt road, but much of it was singletrack, zigzagging through low brush and small trees just starting to turn color.
“It was a super fun course, super beautiful trees,” Hamilton said. “You just go through these tunnels of red, green and yellow.”
Pandemic or not, Piscopo said he hopes to put together similar races in the future.
“For me, a big part of this is you have to show up for your community and for kids in town. There should be more of this stuff going on,” he said. “I’ll definitely be here to keep trying to create stuff for the kids.”