CU Cycling Dominates Round #4 of RMCCC Series

By Eszter Horanyi

Photo Credit: Eszter Horanyi

With the collegiate mountain bike season reaching the halfway point, teams vying for a shot at the national title are starting to pull out their fire power. Members of the CU Cycling team descended on Hartman Rocks in Gunnison this weekend for the Conference Championships and showed that while Fort Lewis College may exceed them in numbers this year, the team is not lacking talent or motivation.

Always consistent and fast, the women’s endurance team once again proved that they were a force to be reckoned with. In the short and fast short track, Deidre York, known as one of the best XC descenders, put her skills to use on the bermed descent down Collar Bone Alley, visibly riding the trail faster than any of the other women in the race. Katie Sodergren put in a valiant effort to chase her teammate, closing the gap between the two on the climb each lap but was unable to shut it down by the last lap. Abby MicKey and Claire Bensard finished 4th and 5th. The men also packed a 1-2 punch with Sam Morrison getting the best of teammate Kevin Kane.

Morrison was back at it on Sunday in the XC, out sprinting Gunnison native Dylan Stucki from Fort Lewis College. Brad Berger, newly upgraded from racing his single speed in the B’s and on a geared bike for the first time in a while put in a strong ride to finish 5th. Sodergren and York led the charge for the women again finishing 2nd and 3rd capping off a weekend of impressive rides from the team.

Photo Credit: Eszter Horanyi

The gravity contingent of the team continued to put in strong performances led by Joey Schusler, who won both gravity events of the weekend. Michael Larson and Andrew Dean also put in top-5 rides on Sunday’s short but technical downhill race. Fresh off racing the XC, York led the the CU women in the DH, placing 2nd. Ellen Patten and Claire Bensard also put in strong rides, finishing 3rd and 4th, ensuring that when the team traveled to Nationals, they can start with the maximum number of riders.

With four starting spots for each team in each event at Nationals, held in Angel Fire, NM at the end of October, the CU team looks to be building a squad with both speed and depth. With the race venue base at 9,000+ ft, their main competition in the D1 category is expected to come from Fort Lewis College, who have consistently won Mountain Bike Nationals the past several years. With 32 individual races determining the overall team championship, anything can happen and each race will be crucial to the teams overall success or failure.

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