The Summit Bike Club has started its 2014 racing season with a bang, turning in some strong results in big races in the Intermountain Cup and other events across the West.
Now that the snow is starting to melt, the club has been getting more consistent practice time.
"The season for our Utah Devo athletes started in February," said Michael John Turner, president and director of the Summit Bike Club. "There was an early race in St. George. After that first [Intermountain] Cup race, we've started training regularly."
The Utah Devos took 13 athletes to the Sea Otter Classic April 5-6 in Monterey, California, to compete in races alongside seasoned professionals.
"Sea Otter is probably the biggest or second-biggest race of the season for us," Turner said. "There's a lot of competition there."
Turner said the team had several good results, including one from 15-year-old Sienna Leger Redel.
"She's in her first year in the women's Cat1 15-18 age group," he said. "She was only 15 seconds behind the defending champion, Haley Batten (also from Park City). It was a lot closer than anyone expected. They blew away the rest of the field."
Sydney Palmer-Leger also turned in a good result, winning the women's junior 13-14 age group race.
"Sydney is 12 years old," Turner said. "At Sea Otter, she raced the 13-14 category and won it by 10 minutes."
Mila Leger Redel finished third in the women's junior 13-14 race and Lauren Bingham snagged a seventh-place finish.
On the men's side, Justin Griffin finished 13th in the men's Cat1 17-18 age group. Connor Barrett finished 25th and Danny Fendler finished 39th. In the men's Cat1 15-16 race, Drew Palmer-Leger finished 13th, Matt Behrens finished 15th and Connor Patten finished 23rd.
Last weekend, the Summit Bike Club racers participated in the Rumble at 18 Road race in Colorado. Conditions there were less than favorable, Turner said, but he was encouraged by more strong results.
"That's a USA Cycling race, so kids can qualify for nationals there," he said. "And we had some good results there as well. It was super muddy, though. The first couple races got through it, but some of the later races had to push their bikes for five miles or so. It made it pretty tough."
This Saturday, the club will race at Five Mile Pass in Lehigh. The next big race, though, is in Missoula, Montana, Turner said.
"That one is a World Cup-level race for junior athletes," he said. "The top kids from all over the world will be there. It's on June 21."
Along with the 12 riders in the Intro Club program, the 36 Utah Devos will continue training between races. Turner said the Summit Bike Club's coaches "are easily the best coaches in the nation for a junior development team."
He added that everyone on the team will continue trying to get into midseason form.
"For us, early season, our kids are all riding really well," he said. "We're just barely getting into it. We're just going to focus on training, skills work and endurance work."