CMC Spring Valley to host 2022 high school mountain bike championships in October
By Carrie Click and Jeanne Golay
Colorado Mountain College’s Spring Valley campus is the newest venue to be added to the Colorado high school mountain bike racing calendar. The campus’s trails above the Roaring Fork Valley near Glenwood Springs will be the site of this year’s state championships from Oct. 20 to 23. The event promises to bring 800 racers plus coaches, families and spectators for an estimated total of 2,000 visitors to the Glenwood Springs area throughout the race weekend.
The championships are produced by the Colorado High School Cycling League. Since 2015, CMC has sponsored the interscholastic league, hosting races at the college’s Leadville campus.
Mountain bike racing became an Olympic sport in 1996, and high school mountain bike racing has kept pace, with increasing numbers of high school racers participating in the years since.
The economic benefits of hosting a race are substantial. According to the 2021 Colorado High School Cycling League Economic Impact Study, each dollar spent to produce a race generates a $120 return to the community in the form of lodging, restaurant and shopping revenue.
Spring Valley recently completed over three miles of professionally built new trails that connect to an existing trail network, which have been hand built over several years by students and community members while exploring the campus environs. Along the way, CMC staff worked closely with the Colorado High School Cycling League to create a 5 ½- mile course, purposely built for high school-age student athletes.
The Roaring Fork Valley is home to four high school teams from Aspen/Basalt, Roaring Fork, Colorado Rocky Mountain School and Glenwood Springs. Student-athletes, including Glenwood Springs junior Chloe Lutgring, stand to benefit from racing on home turf. “I think it will be a big advantage to be able to sleep in my own bed the night before our biggest competition,” she said.
This year, the league will hold two regular season races at CMC Leadville, and the season-ending state championships on Spring Valley’s 811-acre campus. The new trail construction was funded in part by a grant from the Catena Foundation, which supports opportunities for youth to engage and recreate in the natural environment. The league favors intermediate-level course designs that can accommodate a range of abilities from a first-time freshman racer to a seasoned senior who may also be a sponsored elite racer.