Aspen athlete shines at Swiss World Cup bike races
September 9, 2011
Fresh off a season replete with impressive results – notably a second-place finish at the USA Cycling National Mountain Bike Championships in Sun Valley, Idaho – Aspen’s Keegan Swirbul was recently selected to represent the U.S. in two international World Cup races in Europe.
The Aspen High sophomore, one of six of the country’s top mountain bikers between the ages of 15 and 16 who were invited, took part in training in Germany and competed twice in Switzerland during the August trip.
“To represent the United States internationally was a real honor,” Swirbul said. “It was such a great opportunity to race juniors from all over the world.”
In the first race, in Mittenz, Swirbul finished second among Americans and ninth overall. One week later, in Bern, he wound up 23rd in a field of more than 60 racers.
“Racing in Europe is definitely different than in the states, and I wasn’t used to that style of racing,” said Swirbul, also a standout nordic skier. “All the Americans lined up in the back of the pack at the start since we didn’t have any international points yet and had to fight our way through the field. I got pushed off course twice in one lap and lost about eight places.”
Swirbul said he is looking forward to future opportunities to compete abroad. In the meantime, he continues to compete locally and this fall will be participating in the Colorado High School Mountain Bike League.
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