By Janine Emmets
This past weekend, Durango had perfect weather for the Colorado High School Cycling League State Championships. Ninety-four teams from four regions across Colorado, Wyoming, New Mexico and South Dakota gathered on Ewing Mesa, on a privately owned property with a cross-country mountain bike trail.
Freshman, sophomore and JV riders had to complete two laps on the 6.5-mile course with 600 feet of climbing per lap, while varsity riders had to complete three laps. Conditions were dry, loose and dusty, but that didn’t stop riders from giving it their all on the course. With the best 834 from across Colorado and other four states, there was some stiff competition this year.
Pagosa’s first racer on Saturday was freshman Braden Terry. It was a chilly 35 degrees when he lined up at the start line, but he didn’t seem to be phased. Terry had a strong start and passed many riders before the trail narrowed to single track. He ended up crashing twice on his last lap and lost six places, but finished in 81st place out of 151 riders with a time of 1 hour, five minutes and 37 seconds.
Rylie Carr was the second racer to go. Since she placed fourth overall in freshman girls in our region, she had a good starting place in the pack of 59 girls. Carr narrowly missed a girl that crashed in front of her right after the start. She stayed strong through the entire race, kept her position and finished in 18th place with a time of 1:11:22.
The JV boys’ category was stacked with some tough competition this year and ended with a photo finish for first and second place. Pagosa’s JV riders proved strong and gave it their all on course. Senior, team captain and Legacy Rider Sawyer Blakemore finished out his season with one of his strongest races yet. He was placed 10th overall in our region and held his position through the race to finish 40th in the 152 JV boy field with a time of 57:56.53.
Coach Janine Emmets commented, “It has been a pleasure to have Sawyer on the team the last four years. He always brings a good attitude to races and practices. It was great to see him congratulate all our racers at the finish line and encourage them with how well they did. We will definitely miss him next year.”
Next to come across the line was junior Ethan Bergdolt. He had his smoothest race of the last few races, with no mechanicals and strong riding. He finished in 55th place with a time of 58:40:68. Everyone was relieved to see him pedal hard across the finish line without a broken chain.
Next to cross the line was junior Carter Kasson. On his first lap, he yelled that his brake rotor was messed up, but the coaches told him to push through it to avoid a time penalty, and he fought the resistance of his brake rubbing for the rest of the race. He finished in 110th with a time of 1:02:52.
Junior Tucker Mashue was the next to cross the finish line in 123rd place with a time of 1:03:56.
The sophomore girls raced first thing on Sunday morning. Both Hadley Phillips and Natalie Mashue had a strong start and avoided a pileup on the wooden bridge that crosses over the return track of the race course. Phillips finished in 37th place out of 66 riders with a time of 1:19:08.
Mashue wasn’t far behind. She was battling Fruita Monument rider Sarah Mathwig, who had beat her at every race this season. Mashue was determined and, despite a crash in one of the last downhill switchbacks, she quickly got back on her bike and finished two places ahead of her. She finished in 50th place with a time of 1:23:42.
The sophomore boys raced next. Bradley Lamoreaux finished third overall in our region, so had a good start position. After the first lap, he was sitting in 14th place and only a minute behind the lead rider. By the time he came around to the finish line, he had worked his way up and finished in 12th place. He literally collapsed to the ground when he got off his bike because he had nothing left in the tank. His drive to compete is strong and we are excited to see him continue his racing career next year.
Sophomore Jack Hittle had a tough race from the start, with his starting position at the back of the second wave of riders. He passed a lot of riders right away, but by the end of the first lap, he was fighting a side cramp. He also had a slight mechanical issue and quickly stopped to fix it. He worked his way up again and managed to pass a few riders before crossing the finish line. He finished in 146th place with a time of 1:12:39.
The Pagosa Springs team finished in 10th place overall out of 41 teams in the Division 3 category.
The entire DUST2 coaching staff, middle school team members and parents are incredibly proud of what our high schoolers achieved this year, both on and off the race course.