Taos Composite racers secure another second place at Cloud City Challenge near Leadville
Taos Composite high school mountain bike race team competed in the second race of the NICA Colorado League’s South Conference in Leadville, Colorado Sept. 9. The course was a 6.2 mile loop through high-elevation aspen groves where racers enjoyed a combination of steady climbing, twisting single-tracks through the trees, and fast descents. Nine Taos Composite racers along with parents, coaches, siblings, and non-racing teammates made the trip.
“The team showed all the best qualities of focus, enthusiasm and sportsmanship,” said coach Susie Fiore. “The weekend went smoothly with all riders finishing their races.”
Taos Composite had one racer in each of the first three start waves of the day. Freshman Tor Holm was first on the course and demonstrated his riding strength, finishing 10th out of 123.
Cobin Hall raced in the sophomore division against 140 competitors. After an unfortunate mistake in the rider call-ups to the start, Hall started in the 50th position instead of his original place (he was supposed to start in 28th). Nonetheless, Hall kept his composure and fought hard throughout the race, using skill and power to make multiple passes on a course without many passing opportunities to finish 29th.
Liam Haworth raced in the fast and competitive varsity race, completing four laps and placing 34th. “Though he didn’t have his best race, he was able to ride strong enough to maintain a good overall standing in the series,” said Fiore. “Both Hall and Haworth displayed a high level of focus and personal toughness to achieve these results.”
Next up was the 3-lap junior varsity boys’ race with 164 participants. Sophomore Cole Hughes had another standout race to garner a sixth place overall: the highest finish ever for a Taos Composite athlete. Each of his three laps were within 25 seconds of each other, showing a consistency that most racers strive for.
The last races of the day included the girls’ JV and sophomore events. Juniper Cortopassi and Nalia Kast finished the JV race in 23rd and 36th out of 49 riders, respectively. First-year racer, Zoe Colfax, raced the sophomore event and claimed 17th place out of 35 riders.
Taos Composite finished in second place as a team once again in the Division 3 category. The points separating the top three teams in this division are shrinking, leaving Taos within striking distance of the top position. “The consistency of this team has been amazing,” said coach Sean Cassily. “These athletes are training smart, and it’s great to see the individual efforts adding up to success for the entire team.”
With two more races before state championships, the Taos contingent is setting its sights on continuing to improve individually and as a team. The next race will be in Nathrop, Colorado Sept. 23. The team is still looking for sponsors for the upcoming races. By finding sponsors to cover travel expenses, racing is accessible to all team members.
Cole Hughes blazes by a group of onlookers during his junior varsity race in Leadville, Colorado Sept. 9. Hughes performed exceptionally well and earned sixth place overall in his division, the highest finish ever for a Taos Composite athlete.