Carbondale teen on U.S. biking team
Glenwood Springs correspondent
Aspen, CO Colorado
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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