On Home Turf – Pagan Pedal MTB race 2016

In the shadow of Mount Crested Butte, surrounded by golden leaves and crisp mountain air- the Western Colorado University mountain bike team raced on home turf for this weekend’s event.  Athletes were relieved to take a break from traveling on the weekend of September 17th, however Western’s event staff was hard at work keeping everything running smoothly.   The weather was clear and sunny all weekend.

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Men’s A cross-country started things out early Saturday morning, with all other divisions to follow.  The course climbed up the Columbine single track through open meadows and groves of colorful aspens, before crossing the resort with a final climb to the descent on Westside. The descent started out with plenty of roots, rocks, and technical sections, with a few wide open flowy segments. Cam Smith placed 7th in XC and 14th in short track for Men’s A, and Peter Noon brought in second for XC.  Logan Ramsey won men’s B short track and is now moving up to A.

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Gravity riders began practice on Captain Jacks Saturday morning, in preparation for Sunday’s race.  Riders were also making a few practice laps on the dual slalom course before the event.  Dual slalom, located near the base of the mountain, was a short, fast-paced course which pegged two riders against each other through banked turns and rollers.  With the high use, the course became loose and dusty, making it challenging to stick the corners at high speeds. Slalom wrapped up for the day, and western riders headed home to rest for the coming day’s races.

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Sunday began with short track races beginning from the base area, ascending a green downhill course and descending an adjacent blue downhill course.  Western students and parents dotted the course, shouting encouragement from the trail side.

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Immediately after short track races concluded, the women’s downhill runs began. The course featured a steep, technical rock garden and fast flow sections through the trees. Men’s races followed and spectators grew as course finishers came back up to support their team.

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Downhill races finished early afternoon and Western mountain bikers made the comfortable 30 minute trip back to Gunnison.  The 2016 Pagan Pedal was in the books, and the team looked ahead to their Snowmass race next weekend.

-Jeremy Wallace

 

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