PCHS Mountain Biking Club capture first at Vernal Velo | ParkRecord.com

PCHS Mountain Biking Club capture first at Vernal Velo

Submitted by PCHS Mountain Biking Club

PCHS riders Connor Patten and Matt Behrens lead the Varsity Boys race at the Vernal Velo on Sept. 17.

With all the first-year original riders graduated, the Park City High School mountain bike racers honored the alumni by taking the overall team series lead at the opening round of the Vernal
Velo this past Saturday.

The Utah High School Mountain Bike League started only five years ago, yet Park City has been a part of the action since the beginning. Every year, more and more racers join in on the fun and make this experience one they will never forget. The league has been expanding rapidly since the first year; it now has over 1,000 student athletes racing.

This year, the league split into North and South regions. Park City races with the North region every other weekend. The North region's first race on Sept. 17 was in Vernal, a place in Utah that isn’t expected to have many mountain biking trails. Thanks to the Vernal High School team and local advocates, the teams were able to have an amazing track built for the race.

The course was approximately 5.1 miles of single track interlaced with some swooping and fast descents where the skilled riders could outpace their rivals. The first wave to go off early that beautiful Saturday morning was the middle school racers. The Miners had one racer, Catherine Best, place third in the Advanced girls race.

The Varsity boys race was one for the books. The 15,000-watt pack accelerated off the start like rabid dogs charging towards the single track with a group of Park City riders leading the charge. Unfortunately, Connor Patten dropped his chain a couple of seconds into the race and was dropped from the pack.

But he battled tooth and nail to catch up with the lead group at the end of the first lap. After four laps, Matt Behrens and Patten dueled it out in a sprint finish. Behrens prevailed and finished in first, while Patten was not far behind in second. Thomas Fendler rode in no-man’s land between second and fourth, not able to catch the lead duo, but still holding off the large pack of talented riders chasing him like a pack of wolves.

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For four laps, Fendler endured and came into the final double track leading to the finish line with a huge grin and a large gap between himself and fourth place, earning his spot on the third step to give PC a sweep of the podium.

Not long after the Varsity race ended, Aidan Rasmussen and Lane Mishal, who are junior varsity riders, battled it out in the very competitive JV field.

The girls races were just as competitive and exciting as the boys. As soon as the countdown landed on zero, the girls were off in a cloud of dust. Sienna Leger Redel jumped to the lead from her very first pedal stroke and never relinquished her position and cruised to the finish line after three laps with a two and a half-minute lead over her next competitor. Amber Raby took 11th place in the very competitive field.

Mila Leger Redel followed in her sister’s footsteps by winning her first high school race as a freshman racing JV. Jenae Rasmussen raced her heart out and took second place behind Mila.

The team also had outstanding performances from Grace Jencks and Anna Castro who have both been training hard for this first race. Natalie Fink tapped into all of her summer training and earned herself a fourth-place finish in the Sophomore race.

In total, the Miners had 41 student-athletes in Vernal, that through their combined efforts, led them to the win at the overall team awards.

The Park City Mountain Biking club will next compete at the Powder Mountain Premier on Saturday.