Ravelo racing toward expectations
EAGLE COUNTY — If you hear the name Ravelo and expect greatness, then that puts a lot of pressure on the 24-year old cyclist from Eagle-Vail.
And that’s exactly what he wants.
The competitive atmosphere of the Eagle County cycling community is something Ravelo has always been aware of, being from the Ravelo Racing family of cyclists which includes his grandfather, who brought the Colombian team to the Coors Classic in the ’80s, and his father, who raced professionally with the best cyclists from around the world and here in Colorado. The Ravelo family has been friends with the local Doyle family — known in Eagle County for their cycling prowess and family tavern, Bob’s Place in Avon — for three generations, and Cristhian’s father named Cristhian after former professional cyclist Chris Doyle.
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So it goes without saying that Cristhian Ravelo knows how supportive the local cycling community can be.
That support directly translating into results, for Cristhian, was a surprise he discovered this season.
“It’s hard to become one of the top athletes in this area, and it’s true there’s a lot of expectations that come with that,” he said. “I just found it really motivating this season, just anything from Facebook comments to whatever, knowing people are watching and wanting you to do well is really helpful actually. It’s just one of the things about being from this community that’s so great.”
Ravelo had a breakout season this year on both his mountain bike and his road bike.
On his mountain bike he finished eighth in the Leadville 100, he won the Leadville Silver Rush 50, took third at the Vail Outlier, third in the Breckenridge Firecracker 50 and fifth at the Firebird XC state championship race in Eagle.
On his road bike, where he is newer to the professional scene, he was happy to notch a top-40 finish in his first International Cycling Union race — the Silver City Tour of the Gila — followed by a fourth-place in the Salida Road Race, a fifth in the time trial there.
While he’ll still participate in professional mountain biking races for the Toyko Joe’s team, Ravelo plans on putting a new focus on road cycling in the early part of the season next year with a new professional team from Colorado, the 303 project. The team will allow him to pursue his goal of traveling the county road racing.
“Road is a big goal of mine, and I want to represent this town,” he said from Eagle-Vail on Saturday.
An Eagle-Vail native, Ravelo was on his mountain bike in the town’s park on Saturday, taking laps around the pump track on his Scott hard tail when the Vail Daily caught up with him. He said he sees himself as part of a new generation of bikers who can compete in several disciplines of the sport, pointing to Chris Blevins, of Durango, as another example of a rider who is competitive in mountain biking, road biking and even BMX.
“I think coaches are starting to realize everything feeds off each other,” Ravelo said.
While he says he just likes being on his bike, Ravelo acknowledges the competitive aspect of biking is what feeds that enthusiasm.
“Really competing is what keeps me so focused on the sport, though,” he said. “Being from here, being from a competitive area, it just fuels you. It’s hard to win a local race and once you do, people expect you to keep doing well and winning, and I love that.”
One of the frequent challengers for Ravelo at the local races is also his coach, Jake Wells, of Form Attainment Studio in Edwards.
Wells is a local cyclocross professional who finished fourth on Saturday at the Cyntergy Hurtland cyclocross race in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
While he has learned a lot about fitness from Wells, cyclocross is one discipline of biking that Ravelo says he may stay away from, for now.
“It’s super fun, but it’s a discipline that’s super demanding,” Ravelo said. “For now I’m going to stay focused on mountain-biking and road-biking.”
Follow Ravelo on Instagram and Twitter @cristhianravelo.