(COLORADO SPRINGS) — One 14-year-old mountain bike rider left spectators and competitors in awe this weekend at this year’s 4th annual Pikes Peak Apex mountain bike challenge.
The event, held over three days in Colorado Springs, featured an impressive roster of riders from around the world, and this young champion’s victory is being hailed as one of the event’s most remarkable stories to date.
The competition, consisting of an 11-mile time trial in Palmer Park on Friday, a 30-mile loop around Rampart Reservoir in Woodland Park on Saturday, and a grueling 21.1-mile, 4,034-foot elevation gain journey through Cheyenne Canyon on Sunday, welcomed participants of all experience levels – from local amateurs to Olympians.
However, it was 14-year-old Alex Snider who stole the show. The announcer’s declaration of Snider as the champion of his age group (under 23) sent ripples of astonishment through the crowd, prompting thunderous cheers of support.
“The 14-year-old that steps on as the youngest rider that we have with us here at Pikes Peak Apex is the champ. This is Alex Snider!!!” exclaimed the announcer, capturing the spirit of the moment.
Snider, speaking after his victory, reflected on the fierce competition and his passion for mountain biking, “There’s some legit competition, and yeah, they were all going for it today… You don’t get the chance to win a race very often. So when you do, it’s awesome.”
Snider said although he has been riding for four years, this race marked his first major competition.
The Pikes Peak Apex, known for its challenging terrain and scenic beauty, attracted more than 160 participants this year. From amateurs in the local community to international Olympians, the race showcased the diversity of the sport.
Sofia Waite, the pro women category winner, expressed her delight at being part of the event.
“Everyone can have fun no matter how fast they’re going. I race World Cups and stuff, so this kind of fit into my schedule, so I was just happy to get to come,” said Waite.
Micah Rice, the Executive Director of Pikes Peak Apex, highlighted the race’s significance.
“We do offer a $25,000 purse for the pro riders, which is one of the largest purses in the United States as far as mountain bike events go,” said Rice.
Beyond the thrill of the competition, the Pikes Peak Apex serves a noble purpose. Funds raised from the event are directed towards the Trail Stewardship Fund, which supports the maintenance and improvement of local trails in the Pikes Peak region.
“People really are starting to realize what a destination Colorado Springs is for mountain biking,” said Rice, emphasizing the city’s appeal to outdoor enthusiasts.
For some riders, like young Alex Snider, the breathtaking views might have been overshadowed by the intense race.
“Wasn’t really looking at the view as much, just trying to survive…” he quipped, reminding us that for many, the race is a demanding test of endurance and skill.
But, despite the challenges, the allure of Pikes Peak Apex seems irresistible.
“Definitely coming back next year,” declared Snider, encapsulating the spirit of adventure and camaraderie that defines this remarkable mountain bike race.
As the sun sets on another successful Pikes Peak Apex, it’s clear that this event is more than just a competition; it’s a celebration of passion, determination, and the natural beauty that Colorado Springs has to offer.
Tune into FOX21 News on Saturday at 9:00 p.m. for more coverage of this event.