Biker, 17, conquers Moab with team - The Explorer: Sports

Biker, 17, conquers Moab with team

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Posted: Tuesday, October 19, 2010 11:00 pm | Updated: 8:07 am, Thu Mar 24, 2011.

While a number of 17-year-olds are at home winning video games, Travis Glysson of Marana was out with a four-man team winning a 24-hour bike race in Utah.

Glysson, and his team members, came in first in the junior division of the USA Cycling 24-Hour Mountain Bike National Championships. His teammates are Casey Williams of Big Bear City, Calif., Tyler Coplea of Fountain Hills and Zach Valdez of Hemet, Calif.

This was Glysson's first time competing in the event, and the last time he'll be able to compete in the junior competition. But that isn't going to stop Glysson. He is part of the team AZ Devo, where he hopes to become sponsored, to compete in a couple races in California and some in Arizona.

Much like 24 Hours in the Old Pueblo, the race in Moab, Utah, was a 24-hour relay race. Him and his team members took turns doing a 14.8-mile lap. Glysson and his team finished a total of 19 laps (281.2 miles) between noon Oct. 9 and noon Oct. 10.

"The first seven miles of the lap are the hardest," Glysson recalled about the race. "It was a lot of real rocky climbing and descending. There were a couple of spots where you had to get off to walk because it was too rocky to ride through. After that, it kind of mellowed out onto some Jeep roads where you could pick the pace up."

There were 320 different teams that entered the competition, made up of foursomes, duos and solo competitors.

His team not only finished first in its division, but 19th overall.

Now, Glysson and his teammates get to wear the championship jerseys, which can only be worn during a 24-hour competition race. With that jersey comes a little notoriety.

He and his teammates had to train, riding an average of more than 70 aggressive miles on race day. Glysson does that on a regular basis.

"I ride between 12 and 14 hours a week," Glysson said. "And I have a coach, Scott Blanchard, from Pyramid Coaching, who gives me all of my training schedules and everything.

"I train mostly on the roads, but he gives me intervals that I need do, drills, and hill repeats; stuff like that."

He also does core exercises.

As long as he can remember, Glysson has been on two wheels. First it was a bicycle, then BMX, followed by motocross, and now he is on to mountain biking.

"When I was little, my mom wouldn't let me play video games and watch TV all day. She limited how much I did that. Now I just always like being competitive and racing. I can't really be competitive unless I train all the time."

Participation takes driving and money. With the help and support of his parents, Lynelle and Damon, Glysson is able to compete.

Lynelle speaks the same of her son, Travis, as she would of any of their four children.

"We get behind whatever they are passionate about. We support him (Travis) morally just by being at races, cheering him on, and comforting him when he has a bad race. I can see, when we are at a race, how he pushes himself because we are there rooting him on."

Glysson works at Oro Valley Bicycle at Shannon and Ina roads, which helps financially support his bike when things break and need regular maintenance. His parents pay for his coach and to get him to all of his races.

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