On Friday, Sept. 7, the Moab Red Devil mountain bike team competed in the Utah Cycling League South Division’s second race of the season, at Richfield on a new course built specifically for the National Interscholastic Cycling Association (NICA).
The team finished seventh out of 20 teams in Division 2.
Richfield’s new course, on a mix of private and BLM lands, is approved for race events by NICA, and it shows that this small western Utah town has been eyeing what mountain biking has brought to Moab, assistant coach Greg Child said.
The course is a fast loop of 5.7 miles, with 380 feet of elevation gain over hills and through arroyos, ending on an existing motocross track for a thrilling finish. The youngest riders pedal a single lap, while the older students pedal three laps.
Assistant mountain biking coach Melissa Nerone said the new course was fun, but there was a lot of dust and silt because the course needed to “get ridden on a bit.”
Nerone said Elijah Topper was at or near near the front throughout his junior varsity race before ultimately taking second. Nerone said she was especially impressed by the “gutsy and gritty” races from Eli Taylor and Isaac O’Harra.
“Both boys crashed near the starts of their races, putting them off the back of their waves,” she said. “Yet, each clawed their way back into the top 20 by the time they reached the finish line.”
Taylor finished 16th in the sophomore race, and O’Harra took 19th in the freshman race. River Martucci (ninth), and Jackson Sorenson (11th), also competed in the sophomore race.
For the girls, Ariann Child took second among freshmen and Annie Kopell took 15th in varsity. In the middle school classification, London Niesen and Claret Sutteer took 12th and 17th, respectively, in advanced middle school girls; and Miles Maloney took 15th in advanced middle school boys. Oran Moore and Genne Duniway also competed.
The Utah Cycling League is split into three regions, Nerone said, each with more than 1,000 kids.
Assistant coach Joan Cannon said that there were more than 1,100 racers overall at the meet, which is the most in state and NICA history.
The next race on the Utah Cycling League’s south division schedule will take place on Saturday, Sept. 22, at the Bar M Trail in Moab.
Head coach Colin Topper will work with the team twice a week leading up to the race, honing their skills and ramping up their finesse with hopes of improving on their No. 7 ranking, Child said.
Assistant coach Greg Child contributed to this report.
Moab Red Devils compete at most-attended meet in league history
“Both boys crashed near the starts of their races, putting them off the back of their waves. Yet, each clawed their way back into the top 20 by the time they reached the finish line.”