The Durango DEVO cycling club didn’t grab quite the haul of state titles in Telluride as they did last year, but between some rain, cycling camaraderie and unforgettable racing, coach Chad Cheeney said it was hard to lose at this year’s mountain biking Colorado State Championships.
Kaylee Blevins took a title in the Category 1, ages 15-18 cross country race; Robin Austin took another in the Category 2, 15-18 cross country race; and DEVO alumni Howard Grotts took first in the professional men’s field to make up DEVO’s state champion field, down from more than 10 total the year before.
“This year, wins were not as easy to come by,” Cheeney said in a news release to The Durango Herald. “But there was something more to take from the weekend than wins alone.”
The state championship weekend started with a pre-ride rush Friday, with the U19 men’s team and Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory/DEVO Sweet Elite U25 trying to beat the storms looming above the 12-mile cross country course along with the U14 girls and one smiling 8-year-old.
They didn’t make it.
About 30 minutes after a heavy downpour started, the DEVO crew pedaled into the base area soaked after four miles in the rain “with smiles as big as rainbows,” Cheeney said.
India Waller finished runner-up behind Blevins in the girls Category 1, 15-18 cross country race, and Bryce Gordon took second in the boys Category 2, 15-18 cross country race.
Levi Kurlander finished third in the boys Category 1, 15-18 cross country race, and Galen Blair finished third in the boys Category 2, 19-29 cross country competition.
Saturday featured the cross country race and the entire squad catching Telluride’s gondola to Mountain Village for the staggered starts on the 12-mile loop beginning at 8 a.m.
Even though only three riders took first, Cheeney said in the news relesase that many of the DEVO riders had great finishes, “sprinting to the line as hard as possible, even 10 yards past the finish, sprinting only for themselves.
“Smiling across the line, pushing the bars out of a last-second effort, wheelies before and after, it was all so positive,” Cheeney said.
“By looking at the riders you wouldn’t (have) known who had won; they all seemed to have that same silly, painful, yet satisfied look on their faces.”
The Super D and downhill state championship races also took place Saturday and Sunday, along with a professional cross country that followed the junior races.
Durango DEVO coach Sarah Tescher won the pro women’s Super D, while Cheeney took third in the pro men’s field.
Stephan Davoust finished fourth in the junior Super D, and Shane Ellis finished second in the boys U14 downhill.