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Rocky Mtn Conference Collegiate MTB - Durango, Colorado

Posted by: Shannon Boffeli |November 11, 2011 4:36 AM

Rocky Mountain Conference Collegiate MTB Race - Grand Junction, Colorado

Fort Lewis College and Western State College Take 2011 Rocky Mountain Titles

written by: Eszter Horanyi

With the collegiate season winding down, racers convened for the final race of the Rocky Mountain Collegiate Cycling Series, hosted by the Fort Lewis College Skyhawks , located in Durango, Colorado.  The weekend featured a short track and dual slalom on Saturday and a cross country on Sunday morning before final points were tallied up and conference champion titles were awarded. 

The short track, run on Saturday morning, was a fairly flat mix of dirt roads and singletrack held right on the Fort Lewis campus.   Racing started at 8 am with the sun still behind the hills that ring the town of Durango. The largest A-Womenís field of the season, with 18 riders, lined up with the front row dominated by Fort Lewis College and University of Colorado riders.  Racers shot off the line with Jill Behlen (University of Wyoming) taking the hole-shot. Lauren Catlin (FLC) quickly took advantage of her home-course knowledge and powered away from Behlen, Katie Sodergren (University of Colorado), and Sarah Sturm (FLC).  The three chased, but Catlin maintained her advantage, proving that she was the rider to beat on power courses and that her form was coming around just in time for Nationals.  In the menís race, FLC had both depth and numbers and placed eight riders in the top ten.  Their domination was led by Rotem Ishay, multiple time Collegiate national champion. Greg Carpenter and Colton Anderson, both of FLC, were 2nd and 3rd.  Matthew Fox (Colorado State) and Joe Schneider (School of Mines) were the only two outsiders able to break into the top ten, placing 6th and 9th, respectively.

The dual slalom was held on a newly modified track on Chapman Hill.  Fans lined the steep course enjoying the summer-like temperatures and sun.  The course was anything but smooth and many riders reached the bottom covered in dirt from one or more crashes.  For the women, Colleen Pacurario (Air Force), who has emerged as the fasted woman in the gravity events in the conference, took the win over Jill Behlen (UW). For the men, Fort Lewis riders continued their dual-slalom domination on their home course, eliminating all the other teams from both the big and small final. Taylor Boruki beat teammate Phil Cowan in the big final for the win after two very close runs.

On Sunday morning, race organizers switched up the normal order of events by sending the A and B category men out on the course first at 8 am.  This was met with much displeasure from the men who are used to later start times. The women, who generally race before the men, were able to enjoy the morning and watch their teammates race before lining up themselves three hours later.  The XC was held on the campus trails before dropping down Chapman Hill and climbing back up Lions Den, a similar course to the Iron Horse Classic held in the summer. While most of the trails were fairly smooth, many of them had serious exposure and consequences for riding off the edge.  Rotem Ishay (FLC) took his second win of the weekend after nearly getting caught by teammate Howard Grotts after breaking a pedal in the final miles and having to pedal in one-legged. Lauren Catlin (FLC) rode away from the rest of the field after Sodergren (CU) dropped her chain on the first climb and was forced to work her way through traffic to the front of the race on a course with relatively few passing zones. 

When the dust had settled, Fort Lewis College won the division I conference title ahead of University of Colorado. Western State College won the division II title ahead of the School of Mines.  Now, racers get a weekend off before heading to Angel Fire, NM for Collegiate Mountain Bike Nationals.


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