Vail Mountain bikers excel at state | VailDaily.com

Vail Mountain bikers excel at state

Richard Chittick

As the first real snowstorms of the season begin to coat the local ski resorts in powder, it’s getting downright hard to remember the mountain biking season.

That is, unless you’re junior racer Taylor Sheldon or the local tandem of Courtney Robinson and Laura Littman.

The latter two, both Vail Mountain School students, went down to the race on a whim and took home a state championship at the State High School Mountain Biking Championship in Colorado Springs last weekend.

“It’s kind of fun,” Robinson said. “(Fellow student) Brad Bingham just talked us into doing the race. We didn’t expect to do well in it. It was fun, though.”

Robinson and Littman, whose actual forte is skiing, beat out Cheyenne Mountain for the title.

The 16-year-old Breckenridge resident, Sheldon, placed fourth overall.

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The race, held at Cheyenne Mountain High School, featured 50 of the fastest junior racers from across the state. Riders from as far away as Durango made the trip.

“I was 10th after the second lap.” Sheldon said. “And then worked my up just picking people off.”

The race featured a criterium-style course, where riders raced for 50 minutes until a bell signaled racers to finish one more lap.

“My dad was there, so he was keeping me updated on each lap,” Sheldon said.

His father, Kevin, added: “It was a pretty impressive field, so it was a pretty good race for him.”

Sheldon, a junior at VMS, is an avid mountain biker and raced as a junior expert. He finished second in both the Summit Mountain Challenge and the Fall Classic stage race.

He also competed in the Beaver Creek Ultra 100 this summer, which turned out to be his favorite race of the summer. He raced up a category in that race, finishing sixth in the men’s sport category.

And if that wasn’t enough fat tire racing, he and three friends from VMS finished fourth among junior boys at the Honda 24 Hours of Moab three weeks ago.

“On my last lap, I broke my chain twice,” Sheldon said about his racing experience in the Utah desert. “Otherwise, we probably would have finished second or first.”