Cypress Gorry (617) charges up a steep hill at the start of the national championship mountain bike race in Colorado.
The call to compete against the country’s finest in the USA Cycling National Championships at Granby Ranch, Colo. was a summons Wayne Gorry, Cypress Gorry and Daniel Conley couldn’t ignore.
The three, all highly accomplished mountain cyclists, traveled July 15 to Granby where they competed on the rugged Sol Vista Bike Park course which in the winter turns into a popular downhill ski resort.
Wayne Gorry, a teacher at Julia Randall Elementary School, and the acknowledged guru of Rim Country mountain biking, finished fourth in the 55-59 years master’s division.
“The course was 19 miles (in length) with a 4,000-foot climb,” he said. “Basically we went to the top of the ski area and down twice.”
Cypress, Wayne’s son, competed in the Category 1 (expert) 15-16 years division and was fourth.
Conley took 15th in the Category 1, 17-18 years division.
Both Cypress and Conley competed over a 15-mile course with a 2,200-foot gain in altitude.
“The course had a lot of gradual gains and steep descents,” Gorry said. “It was weighted toward climbing.”
The biggest challenge all three cyclists faced was overcoming the adverse effects of the 8,300-foot altitude at the start line.
“You are pretty much oxygen dead at the start and then you’re asked to climb hills at the very beginning,” Gorry said.
Adding to the challenge was the presence of the country’s finest cyclists, including many accomplished riders from Colorado.
“The state is the strongest for cycling and it was well represented,” Gorry said.
Next up for Gorry and his son is the transition from mountain biking to the rapidly growing sport of cyclocross.
It is a form of bicycle racing over a rugged course that includes pavement, trails, steep hills and obstacles.
Often, riders must dismount and carry their bikes. Emphasis in the sport is on aerobic endurance and bike handling skills.
Both Gorrys anticipate competing in December at the Cyclocross National Championships in Bend, Ore.
Cypress and Conley recently completed a stint at the Rocky Mountain Regional Training Camp and are waiting to see if they will be invited back to Colorado Springs in October for a national talent identification camp. Once there, riders can earn berths to the junior and under-23 years World Cup teams.
The next step is the World Championships and ultimately the Olympics.
Conley says it is his goal to go as far as his talent and work ethic will take him. “I feel I now have my best chance yet (to be invited to the talent identification camp), but I won’t know until about September,” he said.
Cypress would also like to be invited to the talent ID camp, “I might have a chance, I hope I get (the invitation).”