High School Cycling League state championships will take place in Eagle again this year
EAGLE COUNTY — After an impressive showing at the conference championships, our local high school mountain biking teams head to state on Oct. 25.
The state championships are being held on the local teams’ home course once again next weekend, the Haymaker trail in Eagle. For spectators, it promises to be quite a show.
“It’s a cool thing to go out and watch — seven hundred of the best high school cyclists in the state of Colorado competing on your home turf,” said the Eagle County teams’ coach, Dan Weiland. “Spectators can see the most exciting part of the course, the last downhill, which is really exciting. There’s jumps and twists and turns, there will be a few crashes, and you don’t have to walk out into the middle of nowhere to see it. You can literally park your car, get out and see the action.”
With a BMX course right at the bottom of the venue and ample parking there and at the town’s pool and ice rink, the finish area turns into a festival atmosphere for spectators and their families. Weiland says the support of the community is what keeps the state championships coming back to Eagle.
“When the organizers come to Eagle they get such support from the town, they don’t have to worry about volunteers or anything else, and everything is in really good shape,” Weiland said. “The town of Eagle provides camping and hotels and has the infrastructure to handle a big event like this.”
TWO TEAMS, ONE SQUAD
Two years ago, Weiland’s high school team was divided into two squads, Vail Ski and Snowboard Academy and Vail Mountain School on one Division 2 team and Battle Mountain, Vail Christian and Eagle Valley together on a Division 1 team. Part of their strength, says Weiland, is the fact that they still look at each other as one team.
“The kids and the parents all believe we’re one team, even though we’re scored as two,” Weiland said. “When the Battle Mountain team gets called up for an award, the VSSA and VMS kids all get on stage and accept it with them. … I think if we put our team together like we were three years ago we’d win the overall, with our 35 kids vs. Boulder’s 80 kids.”
At the conference championships in Nathrop Oct. 4, the Battle Mountain, Vail Christian and Eagle Valley team finished third in their division with Boulder in first and Fairview in second. The Vail Ski and Snowboard Academy and Vail Mountain School team finished second with Summit in first. Standout results for the local athletes included Sarah Smith winning the junior varsity girls division, Nolan Herzog winning the junior varsity boys division and Quintin Cook winning the varsity boys division.
Cook, who is now a senior, said after having some bad luck in years past at the state championships, he’s looking forward to having one last attempt next Sunday.
“The last two times I’ve raced there I’ve been really sick,” he said.
But he did win it the year before that. Regardless of the outcome, he’s going to miss competing in the Colorado Cycling League.
“It’s been a really great experience competing in the high school league,” he said. “Training and racing has really helped me become a better rider, and I think I’ll definitely carry those skills for as long as I can ride.”