Taos mountain bike team improving, first two races in the books

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Taos Composite, the local high school mountain bike team, competed in Frisco, Colorado, Aug. 27, and Leadville, Colorado, Sept. 10. Approximately 1,100 high school athletes competed in the Colorado League of National Interscholastic Cycling Association (NICA). Approximately half of the racers are in the Southern Division with Taos. The Taos team is in its third year of competition and is comprised of a mixture of 12 new and returning riders in 2017.

Frisco race results

Finn McMullin and Nate Steinberg were entered in the two-lap sophomore race along with 112 other riders. McMullin finished 77th and Steinberg, who started riding with the team just a week before this race, battled through nerves and finished in 101st place.

Nalia Kast and Juniper Cortopassi rode in the sophomore girls division. Cortopassi had a great start and was finishing her first lap in the top 10 when a crash took her out of the race. Kast finished 13th out of 27 racers. Both riders are competing in their second season.

Taos had three riders in the boys junior varsity three-lap race (18 miles) with 140 riders in two-start waves. Joe Colonius, Liam Haworth and Shade Bouchey represented Taos and finished 50th, 72nd and 125th, respectively.

Taos’ one rider in the freshman boys category was Cole Hughes. Brand new to racing, but an experienced mountain biker, Hughes finished 12th place out of 127 freshman boys in his first race.

Leadville Race Results

Hughes earned a great start position after the first race and made the most of it with a strong acceleration off the starting line. Riding the single fastest lap of any Taos rider at the event, Hughes placed 16th out of 130 riders.

On the girls side, Alina Moore finished 40th in the competitive junior varsity girls division.

In the sophomore girls category, Cortopassi garnered 15th place to redeem the DNF (did not finish) from the previous week. She was closely followed by Kast, who placed 16th.

Samahni Bouchey came in 32nd in her debut race in the freshmen girls division.

“We are looking for great things from this contingent of strong, determined girls this season,” said coach Sean Cassily.

The junior varsity boys race had 143 competitors. Colonius and Haworth rode side by side through the first lap, but by the end of the third lap, Haworth had the advantage and finished 27th place – moving up 42 places on a course with minimal passing areas. Colonius finished in the 38th spot.

“It’s great to see Liam and Joe pushing each other and having fun riding,” said Cassily.

Overall results and upcoming events:

As a team, Taos placed 15th place out of 30 Division 2 teams in Frisco and moved up to 10th place out of 31 teams at Leadville. The coaches are confident that if the riders can stay healthy and continue training well, the team will continue to move up in the overall standings.

“We are so proud of the physical and mental effort each athlete is putting into training and racing,” said head coach Susie Fiore. “The team this year has an incredible bond and shares a contagious high level of energy.”

Up next for Taos Composite will be a race at Granby Ranch, Colorado, Sept. 24. Other upcoming events for the team include a “Bike Swap” at Field Institute of Taos Base Camp in El Prado Oct. 1, plus the annual Ride the Rift free community mountain bike event on Oct. 15.

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Introducing children to mountain biking is CRIMINAL. Mountain biking, besides being expensive and very environmentally destructive, is extremely dangerous. Recently a 12-year-old girl DIED during her very first mountain biking lesson! Another became quadriplegic at 13! Serious accidents and even deaths are commonplace. Truth be told, mountain bikers want to introduce kids to mountain biking because (1) they want more people to help them lobby to open our precious natural areas to mountain biking and (2) children are too naive to understand and object to this activity. For 600+ examples of serious accidents and deaths caused by mountain biking, see http://mjvande.info/mtb_dangerous.htm.

Bicycles should not be allowed in any natural area. They are inanimate objects and have no rights. There is also no right to mountain bike. That was settled in federal court in 1996: http://mjvande.info/mtb10.htm . It's dishonest of mountain bikers to say that they don't have access to trails closed to bikes. They have EXACTLY the same access as everyone else -- ON FOOT! Why isn't that good enough for mountain bikers? They are all capable of walking....

A favorite myth of mountain bikers is that mountain biking is no more harmful to wildlife, people, and the environment than hiking, and that science supports that view. Of course, it's not true. To settle the matter once and for all, I read all of the research they cited, and wrote a review of the research on mountain biking impacts (see http://mjvande.info/scb7.htm ). I found that of the seven studies they cited, (1) all were written by mountain bikers, and (2) in every case, the authors misinterpreted their own data, in order to come to the conclusion that they favored. They also studiously avoided mentioning another scientific study (Wisdom et al) which did not favor mountain biking, and came to the opposite conclusions.

Those were all experimental studies. Two other studies (by White et al and by Jeff Marion) used a survey design, which is inherently incapable of answering that question (comparing hiking with mountain biking). I only mention them because mountain bikers often cite them, but scientifically, they are worthless.

Mountain biking accelerates erosion, creates V-shaped ruts, kills small animals and plants on and next to the trail, drives wildlife and other trail users out of the area, and, worst of all, teaches kids that the rough treatment of nature is okay (it's NOT!). What's good about THAT?

For more information: http://mjvande.info/mtbfaq.htm .

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