The first-ever Colorado High School mountain bike state champions were crowned Sunday after an unseasonably warm and sunny Halloween in eastern Colorado.
The season finale was well attended with 150 competitors riding a fast and technical course through Ponderosas and open meadows at the Peaceful Valley Scout Camp in Elbert, Colorado.
The field set another participant record for the Colorado High School Cycling League 2010 series.
The race was the fourth and final event of the League's inaugural season, which saw about 190 individual students race one or more events.
“The growth of the Colorado League over the past six weeks has been tremendous,” said Kate Rau, the Colorado League director. “Today we had 10 new racers. The departing senior racers pushed themselves really hard and were exemplary competitors. I’m absolutely thrilled by the enormous support and camaraderie expressed throughout the season. I predict close to 300 riders will be here in 2011.”
Skyler Trujillo of the Ft. Collins Composite team swept all four of the Boy's Varsity events to win the overall series.
Trujillo races in non-scholastic events at national and international level. He represented the United States in the junior category at the world championships in Quebec this fall.
But Trujillo said the high school races are more relaxed and fun.
"At the big races, there are like four riders and a mechanic, and we can't really joke around,” he said. “Here, I have a group of 12 teammates to hang out with and we can joke around on the start line and have fun.”
Trujillo celebrated the Halloween race with warrior stripes on his face. His varsity competitors included one rider in lederhosen and another wrapped in course tape.
Trujillo is a graduating high school senior and will not be able to defend his perfect season.
"I wish I could be here in two or three years when it really explodes," he said.
Freshman boys wind through the trees with Will McDonald from Laramie, WY leading the pack
Lindsay Dye of Broomfield, Colorado raced as an independent and won the Varsity Girls title with a third place at the finale.
Dye is in her second year as a mountain bike racer; she also runs track in the spring, mostly as training for biking, she said.
Dye, who competes as an independent rider but trained with the Boulder High School team, thanked Boulder coach Ben Boyer for his help during the season.
"I was adopted by Boulder High," Dye said, "Unfortunately my points don't go to them."
Vail Valley Composite's Heidi Kloser won the Girls Varsity race.
Kloser, 18, is a moguls competitor on the U.S. Ski Team and tried out mountain bike racing again in the high school league this season after a few years away from the sport.
Her brother Christian, a Nordic ski racer on the U.S. Ski Team, won all four of the Boy's Junior Varsity races and the overall.
Their father, Mike Kloser, called the high school league "awesome.” He said, "The level of competition is great; this is a really good development program, a great way to introduce a lot of kids to the sport."
Isaac Stackonis of Salida High School won the Sophomore Boys race Sunday and the overall title in that category.
Stackonis has raced mountain bikes before, but when the high school league started he was surprised to find out how many of his schoolmates were into mountain biking.
"It was great to see so many kids who love the sport, and I really like the environment and the culture," he said.
Boulder brought home the team trophy
Boulder High School won the season's overall team title. The team has 30 members, 28 of whom raced this season.
"What's great is we had seven kids score points this year," said coach Ben Boyer, a Boulder High biology teacher. "There is a lot of diversity of talent on the team, from ninth graders who have ridden very little to seniors who have raced a lot.
"Our motto is to develop life-long cyclists,” he said. “More than anything we want to develop the lifestyle and enthusiasm for riding bikes."
Full results can be found here.