Competing in the Colorado High School Cycling League, Laramie’s high school mountain bike team is preparing for the state championships Oct. 22 in Eagle, Colorado.
7220 Racing is currently in 18th place out of 22 teams in Division 2 of the North League.
Coach Cindy Dywan said this year’s team is composed of a half-dozen riders who are committed to racing and have been training hard year-round to improve their skills and fitness. Athletes have attended summer camps and competed in local races during previous months.
“It’s a really good, tight-knit group of students who enjoy riding,” she said.
Laramie High School junior Sam Fay led the team with a 13th place finish out of 140 riders in the junior varsity boys category during the most recent race, the Granby Ranch Roundup in Granby, Colorado, on Sept. 23.
“I ate a lot and drank more than I usually do during the race, and that helped,” he said.
He currently sits in 16th place for the season and is aiming for more top-15 finishes as the season continues.
“I jumped up seven places, and I felt really good,” he said.
Fay has been competing in mountain bike races since ninth grade and said it’s a fun sport that offers opportunities to travel.
“It gives you an adrenaline rush,” he said.
Cody Perkins, who competes in the sophomore boys division, pointed to Showdown in the Boat, a race in Steamboat Springs, Colorado, on Sept. 17 as a highlight for his season.
“It was really muddy, so it was really fun,” he said. “The downhill track was amazing.”
Perkins said he appreciates mountain biking because of the freedom it provides compared to other types of transportation.
“It’s the most efficient form of transportation there is out there,” he said. “You have freedom to do anything anywhere you want on a mountain bike — anything you can do in a car, anything you can do on foot.”
The Colorado High School Cycling League, which started in 2010, has grown to include more than 1,000 riders from Wyoming, Colorado and New Mexico. Teams compete in North and South divisions, with further divisions for large and small teams.
“The league is still growing,” Dywan said. “The number of riders and volunteers is just amazing.”
Despite the size of the league and the team format, Dywan said mountain biking offers athletes the opportunity to pursue individual goals with each race. Some athletes have put a lot of time into their racing preparations. Others have strengths suited to particular types of courses, such as those with lots of downhill stretches.
“Even though you’re racing against other students, you’re also seeing changes, development and improvement in yourself,” she said.
7220 Racing plans to travel to Nathrop, Colorado, for the Chalk Creek Stampede on Sunday.