Ravelo readies for USA Crits reprise, first race scheduled for August 22 in Texas
EagleVail resident Cristhian Ravelo is getting ready to start road biking again as the USA Crits series is set to begin August 22 in Texas.
Ravelo is a member of CS Velo Racing out of Philadelphia and just received word that the first national race has been set for El Paso in August, an event called the Sun City Crit. Ravelo said for him and a lot of his teammates, the idea of getting back to racing brought out some mixed feelings as the traveling, and the risk of COVID-19 that comes with traveling, has nerves running high.
“It doesn’t matter if you’re healthy or not, (COVID-19) can get your lungs pretty good,” Ravelo said. “I think most of us, little by little, we realized how serious it could be to what we do.”
Ultimately, though, “if the town is willing to host us, I’m willing to go,” Ravelo said.
With that decision in mind, Ravelo will set out to start training soon with coach Isiah Newkirk. The pair are looking at a much different training routine than in a normal year.
“Normally, the season is winding down by the end of August,” Ravelo said. “We would have already had dozens of races by then.”
The season normally starts in March. This year, Ravelo and the team were at the first event of the year, ready to race, when the season was officially postponed.
“We were in Alabama at the Birmingham Hammerfest, it was March 15, and the director called us and told us everything was canceled,” Ravelo said. “So we stayed in Alabama for a few days and then went home.”
With spring usually a time of high fitness for Ravelo, he suddenly found himself in a position to deliberately stall his training.
“With fitness, it’s about peaking. Fitness comes in waves, so normally in the spring or early summer I’m full on,” he said. “This year, our coaches said enjoy life a little bit, go out and do some other stuff because if you stay fit, by the time we potentially have a season, you won’t be peaking.”
Ravelo took the opportunity to reconnect with old friends here in Eagle County, and enjoy a few hikes.
“I went skinning and did a few days of skiing, and then in the beginning of June I did a few hikes,” he said. “It was beautiful, I don’t remember the last time I was hiking this time of year, because hiking just doesn’t go with my training then.”
Looking to Everest
Now starting a new training block, Ravelo is eyeing Xterra champion Josiah Middaugh’s recent accomplishment of climbing 29,029 feet in a single day – the so-called “Everesting” challenge, named for the 29,029-foot Mt. Everest – as a possibility for something that he too could accomplish as part of a ramping up in fitness.
“I’ll probably be reaching out to him to ask him how he did it, and how he could have done it better,” Ravelo said of Middaugh, who also lives in EagleVail.
Part of the appeal in the Everesting challenge, for Ravelo, is the visible aspect of it.
“If it’s for a good cause, then the ride is bigger than ourselves,” he said. “I went out there and cheered (Middaugh) on for a lap, I think he was like 60 laps in at that point, and it was just a really cool atmosphere, because he was doing it for a fundraiser.”
Ravelo intends to meet this week with a possible recipient for an Everesting fundraising effort.
“I’m Hispanic, I’m from Colombia, but I’ve realized I never had to deal with issues of inequality, and the reason for that is because I had a lot of opportunities come from sports,” Ravelo said. “My parents weren’t wealthy, but I got a lot of scholarships, and a lot of people have helped me out … There should be other kids in this valley that get that opportunity.”
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Jeff Shiffrin, with his wife, Eileen, made the Vail area their home decades ago, and together raised Mikaela and Taylor Shiffrin, who was a member of the two-time NCAA Champion University of Denver Ski Team.