Podium popular for SSWSC cyclists

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It doesn't matter what season it is; the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club finds ways to make impressions.

During the winter, its skiers and snowboarders post high finishes. This summer, the mountain biking and road racing teams have dominated at Colorado cities and ski resorts.

Most recently, a number of mountain bikers had podium finishes at an American Cycling Association Mountain Bike State Championships race at Keystone Resort in Summit County. Wiley Thayer, Adam Parke and Sam Chovan swept the podium in the 15- to 16-year-old division. Bo Randolph raced well in the expert open category and wound up second in his age division (17-18) after the categories were separated.

Katherine Ingalls was second in the junior women expert category, and Sean Geisler finished third in the 13- to 14-year-old division, despite being 12.

Local rider and professional cycling club mentor Barkley Robinson finished third in the pro-open division.

The race was a short cross-country event.

Earlier in August, Randolph finished fifth, and SSWSC Cyc--ling Road teammate Derek Nickum was 10th in a field of 50 riders at the Bannock Criterium in downtown Denver. The pair competed in the 17- to 18-year-old category. Nickum, who originally moved to Steamboat to train with the Winter Sports Club's Alpine Ski Team, will be riding for the University of Colorado's cycling team this year, making CU alumnus and former cycling team member Tom Davis proud.

"For me, to groom riders to race for CU's cycling team is a dream come true," said Davis, who doubles as a SSWSC ski and cycling coach.

In the 15- to 16-year-old category, Steamboat had success, as well. Thayer finished fifth, and Chovan was sixth in Denver's criterium, which was the Junior State Criterium Championships.

"That was a tremendous event," Davis said. "It was Wiley's first criterium ever, and it was the state championships. He placed fifth, which was outstanding."

Thayer and Chovan worked together during the race, Davis said, to try to catch the lead pack of four riders that broke away early, but the late sprint came up short.

"Regionally, it is what a lot of junior racers look forward to during the season," Davis said. "In July, Derek and Bo raced in the road race championships. This was the criterium component."

The state criterium was a lap race during which officials timed the first several laps to gauge the speed of the field. Then, officials set a lap total based on the time allowed for each race. The first racer to reach the lap total wins. The race was 30 minutes for Thayer and Chovan's group and 45 minutes for Randolph and Nickum.

Alison Powers, a new Winter Sports Club coach, also has had an impressive summer. She began as a Category 4 rider and has jumped to a Category 2 rider, which is one step below the top amateur riders in the country.

"Alison has just been making a charge this year," Davis said. "It's her first season racing period."

Powers was the top solo women finisher at The Rio 24 Hours of Steamboat in June. Recently, she took third in the criterium in Denver and won a circuit race at the Category 3 level before moving up.

Up next for the mountain bike team is a Mountain States Cup race at Snowmass this weekend.

-- To reach Melinda Mawdsley call 871-4208 or e-mail mmawdsley@steamboatpilot.com

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