Seniors reflect on time in DEVO
The eight senior Durango DEVO graduates recently reflected on their time at the cycling club.
Lauren Aggeler, Hannah Garvey, Bailey Cioppa, Shaw Kassay, Riley Jaber, Ivan Sippy, Jack Lootens and Ben MacKenzie all spoke about some of their favorite memories in the program, the coaches who guided them and their plans for the future .
They also offered advice for future high school riders.
“The DEVO journey that started my love for cycling was in 2016 for the Crested Butte Wildflower Classic,” Aggeler said. “I had started DEVO earlier this spring and was always trying to get into the rhythm of everything. This trip showed me how amazing bikes are and the beautiful places they can take you! was my very first mountain bike race and I got to race with my lifelong friends Sage Davis and Abbey Shepard!They both smoked me but I just remember how gratified I felt at the finish line and the magic of looking around and seeing all my friends supporting me. The relationships you make in cycling are huge, and DEVO has helped me create some of the best friendships I’m likely to have. never.
“There are so many incredible coaches working for Durango Devo that it’s hard to name just one, but if I had to, it would definitely be Sam Vickery,” Garvey said. “Sam was there throughout my high school running career and was the coach I went to for everything from warm-up tips to life advice.”
Jaber also said Vickery had a significant impact on him.
Cioppa said coach Cara Kropp touched her.
“She was there through U14 as well as U19 and almost every NICA race,” Cioppa said. “I loved going to practice every week because I had a coach like her to look up to and take us on all the adventures. She was always the coach we told everything (all the drama) to and we understood.
MacKenzie and Kassay, meanwhile, were influenced by coaches Rob Nichols and Max Bechtold.
“I’ve been riding with them since college, about seven years ago, and I think those two have made some of the greatest contributions to the rider that I am today,” MacKenzie said.
“There were so many special moments and people that it’s really hard to name just one, but I’d say NICA (high school league) was probably one of the most fun I’ve ever had. had on a bike, and that made me fall in love with racing, which certainly shaped my future a lot,” said Sippy.
And now that they’re leaving the program, their advice to incoming high school team riders is to enjoy their time in the program and talk to everyone.
“If I could offer any advice to new NICA runners, I would tell them to enjoy every moment,” Jaber said. “Enjoy every moment of your time doing the things you love because before you know it you will be an adult. So be kind. Be kind to those around you and cherish your relationships. Kindness can go very away, and you never know who might need it the most.
“Talk to as many kids in your group as possible,” Kassay said. “Everyone is there to have a good time and meet new people. The more people you talk to, the more lifelong friends you will make.
Although seniors have graduated, many plan to continue cycling through college.
Cioppa, who won the University State Women’s Championship this year, will stay in Durango and ride for Fort Lewis College.
“I’m going to major in biology and do the varsity mountain bike season with them and maybe some cyclocross,” Cioppa said. “Although it may take me a little longer to graduate, I plan to take the spring so I can focus more on racing and on the international side.”
Sippy, third in the state in the Men’s College Division, will travel to Colorado Mesa in Grand Junction and ride for the Skyhawks’ biggest rival.
Both Garvey and Lootens plan to ride for Western Colorado University in Gunnison.
“I will be riding for Western’s bike team and hopefully riding their mountain rescue team as well,” Garvey said.
Aggeler will ride for Northern Arizona University, where she will be part of the school’s honors program.
MacKenzie plans to join the club team at the Colorado School of Mines, where he will study mechanical engineering. “I plan to join their club’s mountain bike team and do downhill for school while training and riding to compete in enduro for myself,” Mackenzie said.
Jaber, meanwhile, will attend Colorado State University in Fort Collins. Kassay said he plans to stay and work in Durango for another year and then attend a welding school in the state of Montana.
“I will miss the long adventure outings with the team the most,” Lootens said. “Being with the team on one-day outings is really what got me through long training blocks over the season.”
“I’ve always loved the fun of riding a bike, whether it’s for racing or just to ride, I felt that DEVO has always done an amazing job of keeping the kids excited to be on their cycling, and having this community to completely immerse yourself in is something I’ll miss a lot,” MacKenzie said.