Tuesday, September 27, 2005
Pikes Peak loomed in the background as nine Steamboat Springs High School mountain bike riders raced to a team title at the Colorado High School State Mountain Bike Championships on Saturday.
It was a sight that would have put a smile on the face of longtime mountain bike supporter Larry Johnson. A fund set up in memory of Johnson, who died February at age 60, helped pay the expenses of the nine Steamboat-area riders who took part in the sixth annual high school and middle school championships, an event Johnson encouraged young riders to attend.
The races are limited to high school and middle school athletes in Colorado. This year, the event drew more than 50 top riders from across the state and was held on a 6-mile track at the Black Forest Camp and Conference Center in Colorado Springs.
"It was pretty flat," adviser and chaperone Ben Clark said. "The terrain was very sandy, and I think the course really favored those Front Range riders."
But, the riders from Northwest Colorado managed to hold their own as they completed three laps en route to the finish line.
At the end of the race, three Steamboat riders were in the top 10 of the boys division, and Craig resident Emily Keiss, a regular at the Town Challenge Mountain Bike Series in Steamboat, won the girls event.
"It was an awesome weekend," Clark said. "The kids had a great time, and it gave them a chance to test themselves in a sport they love."
Top local finishers in the boy's race included Bo Randolph, third; Adam Parke, fourth; Bryce Gordon, ninth; Sam Chovan, 12th; Brett Denney, 13th; and Wiley Thayer, 16th. David Keiss did not finish the race.
Colin Cares of Boulder won the boys event and was followed by Colin Osborn of Crested Butte.
Keiss won the girls event, and teammate Jamie Gay was fourth.
Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club cycling team director Tom Davis said getting the local riders to Colorado Springs was a cooperative effort between Routt County Riders, which set up the Larry Johnson Fund, and the Winter Sports Club's cycling program.
The riders' travel expenses and entry fees were paid with the fund.
Davis said he was thrilled to see the riders on his team head to the late-season event and perform so well.
The club's season came to an official end in September, but Davis said Moots Cycles, which helps sponsor the team, allowed team members to keep their bikes a little later this season so they could train and use them in competitions.
-- To reach John F. Russell, call 871-4209
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