DUST2 kicks off season in Leadville with 18 racers


Photo courtesy DUST2

By Janine Emmets


The DUST2 Pagosa Springs Mountain Bike Team attended its first race of the season in Leadville last weekend with 18 racers representing Pagosa Springs. 

The Cloud City Challenge course consists of high-altitude single track, double track and dirt road, weaving through the land around Colorado Mountain College. Each lap is 6.2 miles with 620 feet of elevation gain. 

The weather wasn’t optimal for race day, but the team showed some real grit and determination despite conditions. There were intermittent thunderstorms all afternoon with some intense hailstorms mixed in and multiple races got delayed or shortened. 

The first race of the day was Sophomore Boys, racing two laps. Brady Ziminsky placed 40th out of 73 racers with a time of 1:15:47. Weston Phillips placed 73rd due to a cracked wheel rim in the first half of the race and he had to be pulled after the first lap. 

The Varsity Boys were next, with Bradley Lamoreaux placing 16th out of 36 racers with a time of 1:29:45 for three laps. We’re excited to see Lamoreaux race his senior year. He is so strong and so consistent. 

Senior Jack Hittle was next in the JV Boys category. While Hittle was standing in the start chute, it started pouring rain and hailing. Midway through his second lap, there was lightning in the vicinity so they pulled all the racers off course and scored them on the time of their first lap. It was disappointing as Hittle usually ramps up on his second lap. He placed 63rd out of 97 racers with a time of 35:25 for one lap. 

Following the JV Boys were the JV Girls. We have three girls in this category this year. The JV Girls were only allowed to go to Marshal Point 5, less than halfway through the first lap, before getting pulled off the course due to weather conditions and lightning. They were placed based on their ranking at the Marshal Point. Junior Rylie Carr placed fifth, senior Natalie Mashue placed eighth, and senior Hadley Phillips placed 11th out of 30 racers.

 After the JV Girls were the Sophomore Girls, but they were pulled off course as well. They were able to start them again later, after the freshmen raced, so they could score them, but were only given a one-lap race. Kaylee Hensle placed 11th out of 16 racers with a time of 47:33. 

After being delayed an extra 30 minutes, the Freshman Boys and Girls were next. We have our largest class of freshmen this year, with 10 of them racing this past weekend. They raced a one-lap time-trial-style race with four racers going off every 30 seconds instead of a mass start. They raced in a downpour and hailstorm as the temperature dropped into the 40s. Every rider came back covered in mud and soaked, but all with a smile on their faces. 

In the boys’ category, Eric Smith placed 16th with a time of 35:51, Jackson Chaney placed 18th with a time of 36:30, Justin Sewell placed 34th with a time of 39:05, Van Halterman placed 37th with a time of 39:43, Heath Leentjes placed 40th with a time of 40:44, Aaron Sowle placed 42nd with a time of 40:53 and Wyatt Carr placed 52nd out of 70 racers with a time of 42:22. 

The Freshman Girls were next, and we had three girls competing in this category. Adelyn Hittle placed third with a time of 38:47, Sophia Alexander placed fourth with a time of 39:00 and Kenli Bush placed 19th out of 23 racers with a time of 49:08. 

Despite weather conditions, our team took second overall in our division with 4,428 points. All of our racers did their best and we’re extremely proud of all of our racers. They are already looking forward to racing the Spring Valley Scramble in Glenwood Springs in two weeks. 

Photo courtesy DUST2