India Waller had a sizeable lead as she pedaled her way up to the Colorado High School League mountain bike race finish Sunday in Granby.
But instead of finishing, the Animas High School varsity rider hopped off her saddle and stood waiting inches from the line.
Somewhere on the two-lap course, Waller had made a promise to a rider from Boulder’s Fairview High after the two had worked together to break away from the rest of the group on the three-lap course, and Waller intended to keep it.
The Boulder rider rounded the corner, and the duo finished first together, just like they planned.
“The head coach from Fairview ... has emailed me to say how impressed he was with India and her good sportsmanship,” coach Sarah Tescher said in a news release to The Durango Herald. “I, on the other hand, was not so thrilled! But I respect her decision and am impressed with her willingness to fulfill an obligation ... so long as she does not make that agreement out on the course again!”
Waller was the top female rider Sunday in a competition that featured almost 400 riders from 39 schools. She now is the league leader.
AHS also moved into first place in the overall Division 2 standings. Behind Waller, Robin Austin finished 12th for Animas High School on a cold course.
Durango High School dropped to 12th in D2 because teams lose points when it doesn’t have a female rider; the Demons didn’t have a female cyclist last weekend.
Nevertheless, the Demons posted some impressive finishes of their own.
Sepp Kuss retained the leader’s jersey after he led the varsity field with a first-place finish, quickly grabbing the lead after a start packed with nearly 150 riders.
“It was a fast, flat course, and they knew they had to go out hard,” Tescher said.
Teammate Levi Kurlander finished fourth.
“Levi had a tough first lap but then came on strong in Laps 3 and 4,” Tescher said.
Stephen Davoust was the top AHS finisher in fifth.
In the junior varsity field, Nathanael Rodd, who was running runner-up for Laps 1 and 2, finished fourth for AHS, and Jack Hewitt was eighth.
“(Rodd) stayed calm and rode very hard,” Tescher said. “In the end he was passed, but he gave it 110 percent, and just seeing him in the front gave me shivers.
“Jack also spent much of his race passing, and he looked like he had a motor on his bike; he was flying.”
Quinn Haughey, who in the sophomore field competed in his first-ever race, finished 23rd for AHS.
“Quinn was so cool and calm in his first race. He looked like a natural and finished mid pack amongst a big group ... he had a perfect first race,” Tescher said.
In the freshman field, Durango’s Charlie Greenberg entered wearing the leader’s jersey. Bryce Gordon, another DHS student, trailed him until half way into the second lap, where he made his move and held on by mere seconds for first-place.
It was Gordon’s second race.
The high schoolers’ next race is Oct. 7 in Elbert before the state championships Oct. 21 in Fruita.