Local high school mountain bikers ran into frozen rain, sleet and below-freezing temperatures in Elbert over the weekend.
But no winter-like weather could cool down Durango’s red-hot riders.
India Waller ignored the frigid air to take first place in Race 3 and the overall leader’s jersey in the girls varsity field for Animas High School, which held onto first place in Division II in the Colorado High School League.
“After bundling in down jackets, jeans and gloves, the riders rode the course and finished with a layer of ice on the front of their jackets and pants,” Waller said of Saturday’s preride in a news release to The Durango Herald.
“They had to pour warm water onto their bikes to get them working again,” AHS cycling coach Sarah Tescher said in the release.
For Sunday’s race, temperatures hovered around 25 degrees, Waller said.
But in a “one-two punch” – as Waller put it – Kaylee Blevins finished second and helped Durango High School move up to third in the 37-school league.
Robin Austin of AHS finished ninth for the varsity girls.
The weather, however, did take its toll on some of the boys.
Durango’s Sepp Kuss, who came into the race with the leader’s jersey, had some mechanical problems with his brakes badly rubbing midway through the 5.3-mile course. He had to get a tool from the feed/technical support area, which cost him a 5-minute penalty since the “league likes to grow independent athletes,” Tescher said.
“Once an athlete is on course, they are on their own,” she said.
Kuss finished 18th in the varsity field and dropped to fourth overall in the standings, but the league will drop one race in the case of illness or a mechanical problem, so a strong finish at the state championships Oct. 21 in Fruita would move him back into first place, Tescher said.
Stephan Davoust was the top local finisher, coming in fourth for AHS in the varsity boys field. He is second overall in the league.
Levi Kurlander of DHS was eighth for third place overall in the standings.
In the junior varsity field, Sierra Trout of DHS took third for the girls, and Eli Kopp-Devol took 15th in his first race in the boys field.
DHS freshman Charlie Greenberg, who wears the leader’s jersey in his division, finished first in the freshman field.