Carbondale teen on U.S. biking team |

Carbondale teen on U.S. biking team

Joelle Milholm
Glenwood Springs correspondent
Aspen, CO Colorado
Dustin Belcher, a 17-year- old mountain biker from Car­bondale, recently made USA Cycling's World Junior Mountain Bike Downhill Team. He will be representing the U.S. at the World Championships in Italy, June 15-22. (Contributed photo)

CARBONDALE ” On Monday, 17-year-old Carbondale local Dustin Belcher packed his bags for his first trip abroad. As part of a Roaring Fork High School journey, Belcher, a soon-to-­be senior, has been planning all year to go explore Ger­many with his classmates.

Now, thanks to his mountain biking skills, he’ll also be venturing to Italy to ride against the world’s best as a jun­ior member of the U.S. team competing at the Internation­al Cycling Union Mountain Bike World Championships.

Belcher caught the eye of the U.S. selection committee last month after finishing second in the 46-rider field of the junior expert division at the Mountain States Cup Chile Challenge in Angle Fire, N.M.

“The competition was pretty stiff. There were kids from all over the country,” Belcher said.

A week after the May 24-26 competition, Belcher’s mother, K.C., got an e-mail from USA Cycling informing her that her son had been selected as one of six junior members to represent the U.S. in Italy.

Dustin got the news in a slightly more alerting fashion. “I was sleeping and my mom got an e-mail,” he said. “She yelled down to me, ‘You made it!'” Now Belcher is packing up his things for a European tour. After a few days in Germany, he will head to Val di Sole, Italy, for the competition, which will be held June 15­22. He will be going against the best the world has to offer in the 17- to 18-year-old division.

“I am a little nervous,” he said.

Belcher, who has been riding competitively since age 10, said making the U.S. team is a dream come true.

“It has been a big goal of mine,” he said. “I have had it since last year.”

After a second-place finish in his division in the Moun­tain States Cup Series in 2007, Belcher suffered a setback when a shoulder injury forced him to have surgery over the winter and stay off his bike this spring. Once he climbed back on his bike for the first competition in 2008, which happened to be the Chile Challenge, he wasted no time get­ting back in the groove. His time of 5 minutes, 53.04 sec­onds, was good for second and fast enough to secure his spot on the U.S. team.


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