Local cyclists win state championships
Aspen local Alex Hagman won the top division of Saturday’s state championship cycling race near Grand Junction. Max Taam, another Aspen local, won a state championship in category four, the division for entry-level racers, then upgraded to category three for a road race in Fruita Sunday, where he also won.The Gate Canyon Road Race, which served as this year’s state championship, was held in Unaweep Canyon just south of Grand Junction.Hagman, who won a mountain-biking short-track national title in November while racing for Fort Lewis College, was the first pro rider to complete the 85-mile course.Hagman spent most of his summer in Italy where he competed with a team financed by an English businessman. He also competed in road races in Ireland and England, and spent time in France following this year’s Tour de France.The first stage race Hagman entered was in late May in Ireland, where he joined with another team for the Ras – a nine-stage tour that covers 1,233 kilometers, most of it on the country’s rolling hills. He finished ninth in one stage and 14th in another, and came in 25th overall.After that, he raced in regional “Gran fondos” in Italy. The single-day races, which aren’t affiliated with any governing bodies for cycling, attract swarms of professional and recreational cyclists, and offer a host of strange rewards.Hagman won a ham in one race, a flat-screen television in another.
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Had Hailey Swirbul decided against going to Europe, she would not have finished with a career-best result in Friday’s World Cup opener. Yes, there was a time, and not long ago, when the U.S. ski team member and Roaring Fork Valley native questioned her desire to put on a race bib.