The CU RMCCC report from Durango

Katie Sodergren riding for CU

By Eszter Horanyi

For the final race of the Rocky Mountain Collegiate Cycling Conference Series, the CU team brought a small but strong team to vie for conference points and use the race as a final tune-up for Collegiate Nationals. The gravity side of the squad opted to head to Angel Fire, NM, host of the 2011 Collegiate National Championships, to participate in the Red Bull Final Descent and practice for the downhill in two weeks time.

Many of the endurance racers also opted to stay closer to home and race in local cyclocross races, but Kevin Kane made the trip across the state to represent the CU team in the short track and cross country. He finished 16th and 15th in two stacked fields of over 40 riders.

James Ontiveros, the team’s dual slalom specialist also made the trip and placed an impressive 6th, against a FLC team that had clearly been practicing on the track all week. Ontiveros rode a strong set of races after only an hour of practice on the course.

The women races, as has become the norm, were a non-stop slugfest between the CU and FLC girls. Katie Sodergren and Abby Mickey were once again paired up with FLC’s Lauren Catlin and Sarah Sturm. In the short track, the group of four was led out by Wyoming’s Jill Behlen before the field shattered after an attack by Catlin. Sodergren was able to hold onto 3rd behind Behlen and Mickey was a close 5th behind Sturm. The battle for supremacy continued on Sunday morning in the cross country. Contested on a 5.1-mile loop, the women completed 4 laps on the relatively flat and fast course circling the FLC campus. After a fast start, Sodergren suffered a dropped chain and quickly found herself at the back of the pack. She started chasing immediately, working her way through traffic on a course that was not conducive to passing. By her final lap, she was able to reel in Sturm, who would finish 4th, of FLC but could not catch Catlin who rode away with the win.

The team travels to Collegiate Nationals in two weeks time with a full squad of men, a full squad of endurance women, and Claire Bensard, the sole woman to contest the gravity events in addition to the endurance events in search of the Omnium title.

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