Los Alamos athletes earn three of the top podium spots on Saturday in the New Mexico Interscholastic Cycling League (NMICL) season finales. From left Sasho McDowell (4e place), Ian McLean (1st place), and Seb Koglin (5e place) finish in the top five places in a very competitive group of young cyclists. Courtesy picture.
Cullen McLean celebrates his victory on the top step of the podium against a large field of 6e quality competitors from all over the state of NM. Courtesy picture.
BY PAULA KNEPPER
Los Alamos Mountain Bike Team
Nine members of the Los Alamos high school and middle school mountain bike team competed in the inaugural New Mexico Interscholastic Cycling League (NMICL) mountain bike race held Saturday at Oak Flats . Oak Flats is located in the Manzanito Mountains east of Albuquerque, hence the name Manzano Mountain Madness.
The Los Alamos High School and Middle School Mountain Bike Team competed against a dozen youth bike teams from across NM with 120 young riders vying for podiums and race leader jerseys at the start of the NMICL racing series.
The 120 competitors were divided into three waves and the riders started early on this freezing Saturday morning. When the athletes walked the course, it was still strewn with the remnants of a recent snowstorm that blanketed the mountain hours before the race.
The staging area was a buzz of energy and team spirit. Los Alamos High School athletes competing included James Tyldesley (Los Alamos High School) and Morgan Allen (Los Alamos High School sophomore). College athletes included Ian McLean, Sasho McDowell, Seb Koglin and Calvin Grow (8e level Los Alamos Middle School), Diego Leonard and Nathan Rondinone (7e level Los Alamos Middle School), and Cullen McLean (6e level of Mountain Los Alamos Elementary School).
Athletes competed on a challenging four-mile track nestled in a ponderosa pine forest with many technical single tracks and smooth passable double tracks. Athletes completed up to five laps of the course depending on their age, gender and ability against fierce competitors from across the state. Fortunately, Los Alamos athletes had plenty of opportunities to test themselves at local race venues and hone their skills in weekly team training sessions. However, the fierce competition was an eye-opening experience for Los Alamos athletes. The competitors set a vigorous tempo from the start line, pushing the athletes to their peak physical output and blasting the field on the first technical descent of rocks.
Cullen McLean secured the top spot on the podium against an ambitious group of 6e rank competitors. Diego Leonard got a second place in the group of 7e quality cyclist followed by Nathan Rondinone who finished in the top ten of the peloton. Ian McLean found himself on the top step of the podium for the 8e quality field, followed by Sasho McDowell in 4e place, Seb Koglin in 5e place, and Calvin Grow in 15e square. James Tyldesley finished the day on the podium, with a 4e place the finish in a dense field of highly competitive athletes from across the state. Morgan Allen won first place and the race leader jersey for the sophomore group.
James Tyldesley battling in the finish chute. Courtesy picture.
The Los Alamos Mountain Bike Team college cohort (back row from left) Diego Leonard, Nathan Rondinone, Calvin Grow, Sasho McDowell, Ian Mclean, Seb Koglin and (front row) Cullen McLean posing for a photo session after the race on Saturday morning. Courtesy picture.
Morgan Allen prepares at the start line. Courtesy picture.
Members of the Los Alamos mountain bike team and coaching staff pause for a season finale photo. Left to right, Tony Hinojosa, Mary Grow, James Tyldesley, Morgan Allen, Seb Koglin, Ian McLean, Justin Jorgenson, Sasho McDowell, Monica Witt, Calvin Grow, Chris McLean, Jim Tyldesley, Paul Allen and Eric Witt. Courtesy picture.
The 2022 bike season is now over, but if you want to know more about the 2023 season, email [email protected]
For more information on the NMICL, race results and upcoming races, please visit https://newmexicomtb.org/2022-race-details/