Reaching for the top
Rome High student competes at Mountain Bike National Championships
High senior Logan Stahl just competed in the biggest race of his life.
Logan just raced in the 2021 USA Cycling Mountain Bike National Championships in Winter Park, Colorado. It was open to mountain bike racers from all over the country.
“If you’re a category one or two at his level you can participate in that race,” said Matt Stahl, Logan’s dad.
There were so many juniors in Logan’s category that he had to go through a qualifying heat to advance to the finals. His qualifying heat saw him racing for one of the top 60 spots to advance.
Logan made it through qualifying and then had to race against 120 other competitors in the final. He had to race a total length of 16 miles including 2,000 feet of climbing. He ended up in 83rd place.
“It was definitely nerve-wracking,” he said. “I was ready for the race but competing against that many other people definitely was challenging. If you get stuck behind a big group it really slows you down.”
“We got out there a few days before the race to try to prepare,” he added. “But it was tough getting acclimated to the altitude. That was the biggest struggle.”
Logan, 17, has been mountain bike racing since he was in the 6th grade and is a member of Rome Composite, a team of local youngsters who race and train together. The team is open to anyone in 6th through 12th grade.
“This was a huge race for Logan,” Matt said. “Normally at local and area races he’s been doing all summer, he’ll race against 10 to 15 kids. He went from that to racing against 120 kids in Colorado. It was quite an experience for him.”
“I was pretty proud of how I did,” Logan said. “I didn’t have to good of a start (in the final) but I knew I just had to be steady cause that’s what I’m good at. I made up several places like I knew I would and just competing at that level taught me a lot.”
Earlier this year Logan finished second in the Gone Riding Race Series.
He’s looking at colleges to continue his mountain biking career and Matt said these championships were a valuable experience for him. Logan rides five days a week with two of those days being dedicated to structured workouts. Along with his teammates and his dad, he usually rides on Technology Parkway, Fouche Cap and on Jackson Hill when conditions allow.
“Mountain biking has been great for me,” Logan said. “This is a lifelong sport. You can always find a group to start out riding with and then go from there. I’ve made great friends training and competing.”
He encouraged other young people interested in the sport to check out the Rome Composite team.
“Rome Composite does a lot to keeping it fun,” he said. “If you want to train, they’ll provide you with what it takes.”
Those interested in learning more about the Rome Composite team can search “Rome Composite” on Facebook or email Matt Stahl at firstname.lastname@example.org