See you next year! Courtesy/Paula Knepper
By PAULA KNEPPER & DINA PESENSON
Los Alamos High and Middle School Mountain Bike Team
Southwest Nordic Ski Club
Nearly 30 youth cyclists competed in the first annual “Pajarito Youth Bike Fest”, which is a grass roots style youth mountain bike race.
The “Pajarito Youth Bike Fest” was held Saturday at Pajarito Ski Area on a breezy warm morning. Young athletes from Los Alamos and Santa Fe were amped up to compete in this epic mountain biking event eager to explore Jemez Mountain bike trails.
Athletes raced based on self-selected ability in one of the three courses—mild, medium, or hot. In New Mexico, we each have a preference for the spiciness of our bike trails just like we have preference for the heat of our green chili. The hot race was 9 miles of spicy singletrack and doubletrack with more than 1,700 feet of elevation gain.
Athletes raced as they were showered by Aspen leaves loosened from their seasonal home by the vigorous morning breeze. Youth cyclists conquered the race in record time leaving ample time to celebrate the amazing season of mountain biking.
Oliver Garcia of Santa Fe won the mild race. Podium places in the medium female race went to Mila Moseley in 1st place, followed by Amelia Hill in 2nd place, and Liv Niklasson in 3rd place, all three of Los Alamos. The medium course male podium finishers were Luke Gibson in 1st, Calvin Morris in 2nd, both of Los Alamos. The 3rd place finisher was Wendell Starr of Santa Fe.
Setting the overall hot course record in a spirited and competitive race, Isaac Olson of Santa Fe earned the top spot of the day followed by Jack Hawkins in 2nd place and Nikolai Nelson in 3rd place, both of Los Alamos.
Finishing in the top spot for the U16 age group in the hot course, was Joab Morris in 1st place followed by Axel Niklasson in 2nd place.
In the U14 age group, Luke Morris earned the 1st place finish followed by Adis Bock in 2nd place, and Zachary Gutierrez in 3rd, all of Los Alamos.
In the U12 age group, Ian McLean was followed by Diego Leonard and Zach Gibson took the 3rd place podium spot, all three of these athletes from Los Alamos.
The youngest racers were led by Levi Gibson with Quanah Moseley in 2nd place and Cullen McLean in 3rd place, all from Los Alamos. An honorable mention was awarded to Carter Watkins after suffering a race ending mechanical at mile four. Results are posted here.
Ryan from Beanie’s Bike Shop was available to take care of everything from last minute tweaks to complete tube changes and chain repairs. Thanks to Beanie’s Bike Shop all of the youth athletes were at the start line on time and ready to race.
Special thanks to High Mesa Dental Arts for their generous financial support. Additional thanks go to the Los Alamos Co-op, Pajarito Mountain and Los Alamos County. Volunteers from the Southwest Nordic Ski Club and Los Alamos High and Middle School Mountain Bike Team generously donated their time to bring “Pajarito Youth Bike Fest” to our community. Hopefully, you will join us next year for the “Pajarito Youth Bike Fest.”
U12 age group podium with Ian McLean in 1st , Diego Leonard in 2nd and Zach Gibson in 3rd. Courtesy/Paula Knepper
Isaac Olson 1st , Jack Hawkins 2nd and Nikolai Nelson 3rd celebrate their success earning the overall top spots in the hot race Saturday. Courtesy/Paula Knepper
Participants of the first annual ‘Pajarito Youth Bike Fest’ enjoying the fall colors at the start line of the youth mountain bike race Saturday. Courtesy/Paula Knepper
Ian McLean followed by Quanah Moseley and Carter Watkins turn onto the Canada Bonita trail during a spicy race start. Courtesy/Paula Knepper
Jack Hawkins looking strong and confident at the half way point in the hot race course. Courtesy/Paula Knepper
Liv Niklasson at the top of a short but steep connector from Canada Bonita T rail to the Pajarito Ski Hill. Courtesy/Paula Knepper Amelia Hill sprinting the finishing stretch of the medium course. Courtesy/Paula Knepper