Durango riders dominate Road Apple Rally again

Todd Wells wins long course, Colby Simmons comes out on top on short course

Matt Hollinshead, mhollinshead@daily-times.com

FARMINGTON — Durango, Colo., has no shortage of elite cyclists, and that contingent showed its dominance again at the 37th annual Road Apple Rally today at Lions Wilderness Park.

There were some variances on who the top performers were this time, including long-course winner Todd Wells at one hour, 37 minutes and 25 seconds, and short-course winner Colby Simmons, 14, at 52:49. But the top of the pecking order was again highlighted by Durango competitors.

Durango's Ivan Sippy, 14, celebrates placing second in the short course race by doing a wheelie approaching the finish line in the 37th annual Road Apple Rally Saturday at Lions Wilderness Park.

"I think I did my first one in 1995, so I've been racing down here quite a bit," said Wells, who has won four of the last five long races. "A lot of times with mountain bike races, you're either climbing straight up a hill going 3 miles an hour, or you're bombing down through these rocks. Here, it's like a giant pump track in a lot of sections. I don't think there's another race I do that I smile as much."

Wells, 41, said the terrain was like a roller coaster, which helped him fly down the course and cross the finish line in a slightly faster time.

Quinn Simmons, 16, came in second overall at 1:44:22 in the long course for the third straight year. Ivan Sippy, 14, celebrated taking second in the short course at 56:42 by doing a wheelie as he crossed the finish line.

"We have so many great young riders in Durango," Wells said, explaining that many of those cyclists begin training when they're just 2 or 3 years old. "(Durango's) got a big history of mountain biking. It's a breeding ground for young guys. It doesn't make it easy for us older guys to keep up."

DJ Claassen (bib 152) keeps pace with the rest of the pack to open the long course race at the 37th annual Road Apple Rally Saturday at Lions Wilderness Park.

The long course is 30 miles, going from the starting line to Light Plant Road in Aztec before going back the opposite way. The short course is 15 miles.

“Whoever has the best cadence wins. It’s 30 miles, but it’s the quickest 30 miles you’ll ever ride,” Farmington cyclist Josh Snow, 20, said. "It was easy as far as staying on the trail and everything. I know the trail, so I figured I'd do pretty good. Having home advantage is always pretty big."

However, Durango's finest created a five- or 10-minute gap between themselves and the rest of the pack.

There were 144 competitors for the two races.

"Todd and Quinn, that's pretty hard to compete with. Those guys race for a living," said Snow, who placed 10th in the long course at 1:59:05. "Durango's just a good spot for pro cyclists to go live and train."

Matt Hollinshead covers sports for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4577.