Written by Griffin Mansi
Last weekend marked the last mountain bike race of the year for the Colorado College Cycling Team. 19 riders traveled to Angel Fire Bike Park in New Mexico to represent CC at the Grizzly Grind collegiate race organized by Rocky Mountain Collegiate Cycling (RMCC). The mountain biking team, a club sport at CC, competes in races against other schools on weekends throughout First and Second Block.
Events are broken into two categories, endurance and gravity. The endurance events test a rider’s ability to climb uphill and descend over long distances. Cross country races fall in the endurance category and are on a multiple-mile course that has varying climbs and descents. Short track is another endurance event in which riders do laps on a short course, usually less than a mile, for a set period of time. For both endurance events, all riders start at the same time and must pass competitors to gain a better position.
Gravity events test a rider’s ability to descend on technical terrain quickly. One event is the dual slalom, or DS. In a DS, event riders must qualify to participate in the official race. After qualifying, riders race side-by-side down an identical course with banked turns and jumps. Riders that win their events advance until they are eliminated. However, the main gravity event is the downhill race, or DH. The DH takes place on a difficult descent with large jumps and technical features such as rocky sections and loose terrain. Runs are timed and riders race one at a time.
At Angel Fire, the CC cycling team had a few members that particularly flourished and received podium positions for events. Sophomore Adam Jolly placed first in men’s category C short track, while sophomore and first-time mountain bike racer Sophie Mittelstadt placed second in women’s category C short track. Furthermore, junior Hayley Bates placed fourth overall for the season for women’s category A endurance.
Angel Fire sadly marked the last mountain bike race for senior members of the team; it was the final race for Isaac Becker and team captains Tasha Heilweil and Xan Marshland.
“It has been incredible racing with the team for the last few years. It has grown so much and is an amazing group of people,” said Heilweil. The seniors will surely be missed next year, but it is clear to see that they have fostered a strong cycling team with much potential for coming seasons.