On Eve of 3rd Race of High School MTB, Look back at Two Standouts from Summer

As hundreds of high school mountain bikers converge on Grandby and Snowmass for this weeks race (schedule HERE) we look back at two local high school standouts who won Nationals this past summer

By Jessica McWhirt,

It’s not every day you win a National Championship race. And it’s certainly unique to win another National Championship race two days later. For both Sofia Forney, 16, and Ryan Campbell, 16, the Mountain Bike National Championships proved that hard work and dedication pays off. 

Competing at the highest junior level of U.S. mountain biking in Winter Park at the USA Cycling Mountain Bike National Championships, Forney and Campbell both won Friday’s cross-country races and Sunday’s short-track cross country races in their respective categories. 

Only 16 years-old but an experienced racer nonetheless, Campbell attacked with one lap to go on Friday’s cross-country 5.5 mile course, leaving 136 competitors in the dust, and won by 1:15.

Forney, also 16 years-old is already winning National Championship Titles and has only been racing for two years. She gapped 52 competitors by ten seconds up the first climb in Friday’s cross-country race. Forney had a lead of one minute coming into 2nd lap and won by 1:16.

Sunday’s short-track cross-country race started off differently between the two. Campbell sprinted off the line and had the holeshot. There were five racers along with Campbell pacelining through the course. Finally, Campbell attacked and broke away from the group. He was able to hold them off for the last two laps and won by 12 seconds. 

Forney, on the other hand, started behind the 38 racers. No one thought she had a chance of winning in her situation. By the end of the first lap as she looped around, Forney had already moved up to 20th place. 

Although she’s a strong descender, she knew she had to be patient and wait to pass on the openings, which they were few and far between. By the 2nd lap, Forney was in 10th place. By the 3rd lap, she moved up to 5th. She continued to position herself up further and on the final lap, Forney charged past her competitor on the embankment and beat her by a bike length. 

Forney embraced her mom, Kathy, and all the months of training and hard work came streaming down her face. 

For these Lakewood locals, their hours of hard work and determination helped them achieve their goal of winning the Mountain Bike National Championship. 

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