Adams State University recently opened a new chapter in athletic competition. For the first time, the Grizzlies competed in the sport of Mountain Bike racing. The event was hosted in Durango, Colo. by defending National Champions Fort Lewis College.
Adams State is the newest member of the Rocky Mountain Collegiate Cycling Conference which is widely considered to be the toughest Cycling Conference in America.
The inaugural team currently has eight members, including San Luis Valley residents, senior Mark Martinez and freshmen Chris Reveles Adcock, and Ian Blenden. The Grizzlies are coached by Marshal Hartley from Clarks Mills, Pa. and Jerry Duran of Del Norte.
The team has competed in cross country, short track, downhill, and dual slalom events.
Their first race in Durango was a good learning experience. The weekend was filled with a few crashes, a few mechanical problems, and the team finished near the back of the pack, which was no surprise against such tough competition.
One week later, in Steamboat Springs hosted by the University of Wyoming, the team progressed, and finished mostly in the middle of the race. Blenden, from Monte Vista, scored the Grizzlies best result to date with a third place in the downhill event.
At the recent race, hosted by Western State Colorado University in Mt. Crested Butte, the team faced the toughest race courses of the season and rose to the challenge. They had their best results of the season. Martinez had a strong weekend finishing second in short track and fifth in cross country. Tommy Bass crashed in downhill practice, got bandaged, and later in the day took second place in dual slalom.
The Grizzlies have two more events this season. This team has a genuine bond, and has decided to have fun and go fast. They are proud to be the first mountain bike racers in Adams State history.
Next spring semester the Adams State University Cycling Team will start competing in road racing.