By Todd Bergdolt
The final regular-season race for the DUST2 Pagosa Springs mountain bike team was held in Eagle, Colo., this past Saturday. This marked the end of the regular season, with only the state championship race remaining.
Weather was on everyone’s mind as the team headed to this race, with cold and wet conditions predicted. The team arrived Friday afternoon for pre-ride, which is where the racers and coaches get to ride the course prior to their race time for practice and inspection. All racers enjoyed the Eagle course and were hoping the weather would hold out for Saturday.
Saturday morning arrived with chilly but dry conditions; this would, however, be short lived. JV racers were up first with an 8:30 a.m. start time. Right as the race began, it started to rain and temps dropped down into the low 40s. By the time the racers came across the finish line for lap one of the two-lap race, it was turning into a steady hard rain. Shortly after, race officials decided to evacuate the course due to safety considerations, as it was becoming quite muddy and slippery.
Some racers were able to complete the full two laps, but the finish position after lap one is how the official scoring took place. JV racers were scored after lap one in the following order out of 95 racers: Carter Kasson finished ninth with a time of 26 minutes, 56.15 seconds, Sawyer Blakemore finished 11th in 27:04.90, Ethan Bergdolt finished 13th in 27:40.19 and Tucker Mashue finished 31st with a time of 29:45.88.
Freshman Rylie Carr and sophomore Natalie Mashue were up next, with a delayed start time due to the weather. Luckily, the rain stopped, but the cold and windy conditions remained. The girls performed their warm-up with extra layers and warm gloves to keep their bodies warm and ready for the race. As they were called up to the line, most racers could be seen stripping off those layers at the last minute to be ready to race. By halfway through this race, the weather started to turn in our favor, with winds dying down and temps raising slightly. Both girls raced strong, with Carr finishing on the podium once again with a fifth-place finish in a time of 1:11:56.37 and Mashue in eighth, with her best finish of the season, in 1:19:04.93. Carr also secured a fourth place in the regional championship in her very first year racing mountain bikes.
Sophomore Bradley Lamoreaux took off just as the girls were finishing and had another very exciting race. After the start, Lamoreaux was sitting in third at the front of the pack battling with two Durango riders. As they came down the switchbacks into the finish for lap one, Lamoreaux had moved into the second-place position. As the leader began to pull slightly, Lamoreaux and Bryan Hastey from Durango jockeyed for position the entire second lap. As they came across the finish, Hastey edged out Lamoreaux by only 10 seconds, as he finished in 52:39.65. Lamoreaux was on the podium with a third overall for the race, first in the Yeti Skills Zone competition, and ended with a third for the season in our region championship as well.
Last up on the day for Pagosa were freshman boys Cedar Liverett and Braden Terry. By their 12:45 p.m. start time, we saw the sun poking out and the temps climbing steadily. Course conditions and weather were perfect for racing for this group. Terry raced very strong, improving greatly from the first two races to finish 12th with a time of 1:00:35.49. Liverett raced his first race of the season after being sidelined with a broken arm early on. Liverett was determined to get one race in this year, and after starting at the very back of the pack, and with very limited training time, was able to pass 19 riders to finish 45th with a time of 1:11:53.51.
Coach Janine Emmets commented on Liverett’s performance, saying, “He looked really strong the whole race, which is so impressive for being out the whole season. It was great for him to get a race under his belt this year.”
At the end of the day and down a few racers due to conflicting homecoming activities, Pagosa stood on the podium once again in second place for the day and second place as a team for the season. The team continues to grow and get stronger and is proving to be a contender in the Division 3 category.