Taos Composite High School Mountain Bike Team entered its fifth season with some top performances at two races.Colorado League's South ConferenceThe team took 10 athletes to the first race on Aug. 25 …
Taos Composite High School Mountain Bike Team entered its fifth season with some top performances at two races.
Colorado League's South Conference
The team took 10 athletes to the first race on Aug. 25 in Nathrop, Colorado.
Nearly 700 riders competed in the Colorado League's South Conference events on Aug. 25. The league is part of the National Interscholastic Cycling Association that is taking the country by storm. The Nathrop course was fast with loose sandy sections and the weather was hot.
Eight Taos riders finished their races strong in highly competitive fields. When the dust settled and the day was finished, Tor Holm had secured the best finish in the history of Taos Composite with a second place in the sophomore boys race. The team ended up in second place as a team out of 17 Division-3 teams. Team scores are calculated based on the top five point scorers for the team, which must include one girl, on that day.
Cole Hughes toed the line for the first time with the highly competitive varsity field of 61 experienced and fast riders. Just to earn the upgrade to varsity is a huge accomplishment for any rider as a rider has to finish in the top 5 percent to qualify. Hughes tackled the 24 1/2-mile race with skill and determination for a 33rd place finish out of 61 of the top riders in Colorado, Wyoming and New Mexico.
Next up was Tor Holm, who finished second in the sophomore division out of 160. His race was 12.2 miles and he showed how hard he worked on his skills and fitness over the summer with an amazing performance, including the fastest lap of the sophomore race as well as the fastest lap for Taos Composite. The race came down to a super-exciting three-person sprint to the finish with Holm just barely missing the win.
Taos Composite continued to impress in the 18.6 mile JV boys race with junior Cobin Hall making his debut in the JV field after a strong sophomore season last year. He worked hard and finished 49th out of 173 racers. After the race, he said he was inspired by the level of competition. Also racing in the large and competitive JV field were seniors Finn McMullin and Nate Steinberg. Though both had to abandon the race, they showed great strength.
Next up were the girls races with junior Zoe Colfax, returning seniors Juniper Cortopassi and Nalia Kast, and brand-new senior Maddy Steinberg all racing JV. They finished 19th, 22nd, 26th and 40th, respectively. Colfax showed her mental and physical strength and moved up throughout the race to secure the top finish for Taos Composite. Kast rode her signature smooth, unruffled race. Cortopassi was tangled in a crash at the start but got back on her bike and dug deep to ride a good race. Steinberg, new to mountain biking and racing, met her goals of finishing the 12.2 mile race.
Finally, after a long, hot day of waiting and supporting teammates, freshman racers took to the course. Taos Composite had just one rider, Dylan Abrums. New to racing, Dylan had a flat on the first climb and spent many minutes patching his inner tube. He went on to ride a much faster second lap and finish the race with a good lesson learned.
On Sept. 8, Taos Composite competed in Leadville, Colorado, at the second race of the season. Nine high school teammates intended to race but due to afternoon thunderstorms, only five were able to start their races. This course is a favorite for many team members with its high elevation single track winding through beautiful aspen groves.
The day started under cool, clear skies and the varsity boys were first out on the course. Cole Hughes moved up a few spots with a consistent, fast ride to finish 29th out of 60 varsity riders.
Next up was Tor Holm who battled hard near the front of the sophomore boys race. In spite of some mechanical issues with his bike, he hung on for seventh place out of 130 racers.
As the clouds started to build, the JV boys race began. All 180 riders finished their first two of three laps with no issues. Cobin Hall made it through to finish his third and final lap in 27th out of 180 riders. Both Finn McMullin and Nate Steinberg were still out on the course when the weather hit hard.
The race was stopped due to lightning and all riders were sent back to the start. Fortunately, they still got a "finish" place based on their position when they started that last lap. Using superhuman passing skills and having a great race, McMullin ended up 79th after starting in the back at 157th. Steinberg finished 130th after starting 159th.
The JV girls race was canceled due to the storm, causing disappointment. With some of our top scorers not able to race, Taos' team standing dropped to 5th but that will change after the next race.
The quote of the day was when McMullin came into the finish area after being sent down from the course due to the weather. He was soaking wet and had a gleam in his eyes when he said, "That was awesome!"
"The weekend was filled with fun, team spirit and gutsy riding. The focus, intensity and skill required to race and pass other riders in a race situation usually takes years to develop," said coach Sean Cassily.
Report submitted by Susie Fiore, one of the Taos Composite coaches
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