Randolph wins national cycling event

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— The Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club Cycling Club wasted little time putting its name on the national map. On Sunday in Deer Valley, Utah, 16-year-old club rider Bo Randolph won a national title in the 15-16 Junior National Criterium Championship.

The SSWSC Cycling Club may be in its infancy, but coach Tom Davis had visions of success this summer. In Randolph, the Steamboat club may have found its poster boy.

"Hopefully, this victory is motivation for other youth to get involved, and not necessarily youth from the Winter Sports Club," Davis said.

Two hours a day. Six days a week. That's how often Randolph trained. He competes in the Town Challenge Mountain Bike Series against adult men in the sport division. Last year, he raced as a youth.

Randolph is young --he just turned 16 -- but he matured as a road racer this summer, his first on a road bike. Luck didn't land Randolph a national championship. Hard work played a major role, but as a first-year competitor pedaling against the nation's best young cyclists, Randolph said he did not enter the national championships with a title in mind.

"I thought it would be cool if I could do well," he said.

Randolph started off the national championships with a 26th place finish in the 20-kilometer time trial. Teammate Marsh Gooding, 18, finished 72nd and teammate Derek Nickum, 17, finished 93rd in the 17-18 Time Trial National Championships.

"I was hoping to pump the whole way through," Randolph said. "I tried so hard. At that point, I had no expectations for the road race or crit."

Through hail and rain on a challenging course, Randolph followed his time trial with a 10th-place finish in the 79K road race that started in Deer Valley and went through Kamas and Oakley, Utah.

Tejay VanGarderen of Miss-oula, Mont., won both races, but Randolph got the better of VanGarderen in the 25K criterium finals Sunday, outlasting him to the finish.

"I was looking at the line, hoping I didn't slow down," Randolph said. "I thought he could be on my wheel."

Davis, who coaches Randolph, said the young racer has a knack for staying in the moment, focusing on himself rather than his competitors. Randolph said he likely picked up that ability through freestyle skiing.

All five members of the SSWSC Cycling Club elite team, including female racers Tina Roberts and Korie Steitz, are competitive ski racers. Davis' vision for the cycling club was to use it as a perfect cross-training tool for skiing.

"They can absolutely do both, and they'll work in tandem with each other," Davis said. "The athletes can be so well balanced."

Randolph isn't ready to give up that balance. A national championship hasn't deterred his plans to ski this winter, but it has planted a road racing seed. He wasn't even planning to race this year, but Moots donated five frames to the elite team to get the club going. It has now become Randolph's most precious toy.

"I don't think cycling will take over skiing, but I don't think skiing will interfere with cycling," he said. "We'll see how one more year goes. Right now, I'm just along for the ride."

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