Champion mountain bikers back in saddle for WindjammersCamden Hills teammates Mansius, Lamont duel to end in first race
Rockport — The Camden Hills Regional High School mountain bike team, winners of 14 straight state championships and owners of an undeniable dynasty, were back spinning their wheels and working hard across difficult terrain Wednesday afternoon, Sept. 18 as the Windjammers pedaled into a new season at Maine Sport Outfitters.
Pushing hard across the maze and labyrinth of trails in the woods below Route 1, the Windjammers turned in a strong overall performance against a handful of visiting teams.
In the end, Windjammer Alex Mansius outdueled teammate Chapin Lamont for first place in the varsity race. Lamont led the entire race until Mansius passed him in the final few feet of the challenging course as the two experienced a literal photo finish.
See videos below, including one of Mansius and Lamont duel from the perspective of a camera mounted on the handle bars of Mansius' bike.
The meet was moved from Sept. 14 to Wednesday due to recent heavy rains and sloppy trail conditions.
In Wednesday's race, varsity riders did three laps and junior varsity competitors two laps around the 2.5-mile trail.
Teams competing were Camden Hills, Kent Hills and Carrabassett Valley Academy. There were two independent racers who also competed.
The varsity race had nine riders finish the course, including Windjammers Mansius, Lamont, Brendan Carey, Owen Hilt, Rebekah Hilt and Casey Rouleau.
The junior varsity race had 31 riders finish the trail course, including nine from Camden Hills, 11 from CVA, 10 from Kent Hills and an independent from Monmouth Academy.
The varsity race saw Mansius and Lamont ride neck and neck the entire way with Mansius (54:57) edging Lamont (54:58) by one second at the finish. Independent Jarrett Dubord of Cony (1:00:05 ) took third.
The junior varsity race was fairly close between Camden Hills and CVA with the Windjammers placing six racers (Aidan Acosta, Shawn Albertson, Desmond Cayouette, Max Horovitz, Zach Hand, Zoe Zwecker) among the top 15 and Carrabassett Valley placing seven riders in the top half. However, the Windjammers had four of the top six race times.
Overall, Eli Pangburn of CVA was the top jayvee racer in 41:01, followed nine seconds later by Acosta in 41:09 and Drew Blackstone of Monmouth Academy in 42:51.
The individual Windjammer varsity results were: 1, Mansius, 54:57; 2, Lamont, 54:58; 5, Carey, 1:04:14; 6, Owen Hilt, 1:05:26; 7, B. Hilt, 1:07:10; and 8, Rouleau, 1:07:58.
The individual Windjammer jayvee results were: 2, Acosta, 41:10; 4, Albertson, 44:13; 5, Cayouette, 44:58; 6, Horovitz, 45:50; 10, Hand, 48:38; 14, Zwecker, 54:14; 17, Willow Parker, 57:30; 26, Quinn Duggan, 1:08:15; and 31, Joe Simmons, 1:24:44.
"Overall, very pleased with our race performance," said first-year Windjammer coach Karl Enroth. "Mansius and Lamont showed why they are two of the best racers in the Maine High School Bike Series and our other varsity riders rode great as well. The Camden junior varsity racers distinguished themselves as well on the tough Maine Sport trail with some riding in their first high school race today. Aidan Acosta put up a great time of just over 41 minutes "
Enroth thanked Maine Sport for hosting the race and former Windjammer coach Casey Leonard for setting up the trail.
A synopsis of the Windjammer team includes:
Coach/years coached current team: Enroth, first year.
Last year's record/playoff performance: 14th straight state title.
Roster: Seniors Lamont, Mansius, R. Hilt, Carey, Joe Simmons and Quinn Duggan; juniors Rouleau, Tyler Leighton and Willow Parker; sophomores Acosta, Albertson, Hand, Gunnar Hilt and Horovitz; and freshmen O. Hilt, Cayouette and Zwecker.
Known graduation losses: Cole Ellison, Cade Patten, Connor Lane, Eliot Grigo and Riley Duggan.
Significant impact riders: Lamont, Mansius, Carey, Rebekah Hilt, Rouleau, Leighton and Owen Hilt will start the season on the varsity squad. Mansius, Rebekah Hilt and Lamont are captains.
Strengths: Good mixture of veteran experienced riders complimented by a younger talented group of underclassmen riders. Conditioning and fitness level, along with technical ability to ride on various terrain.
Team goals: Ride hard every day and win the state title.
Top opponents: Kent Hills, Gould Academy of Bethel, Carrabassett Valley Academy and Fryeburg Academy.
Outlook: "Team looks committed and enthused during the preseason practices to try to continue the tradition of excellence set forth by previous mountain bike teams at the high school," said Enroth. "Recent Camden Hills mountain bike teams have taken on what is often referred to as a 'honey badger' mentality of being physically and mentally tough, not letting things get in their way of riding hard and smart. Staying highly-motivated, having fun, and being adaptable to ride on the various terrain, while displaying a certain ferocity to succeed, will be important for this 2013 mountain bike squad."
Lamont and Mansius have looked strong in preseason rides and are poised to take their racing to the next level, the coach said. Rebekah Hilt and Carey also have looked good during the preseason rides and seem ready to have great seasons as well, he said.
Owen Hilt has been impressive enough to make the varsity squad as a freshman and Rouleau and Leighton add important depth. A host of sophomore riders will start the season on junior barsity but could challenge for varsity spots, the coach said.
The mountain bike team again will take part in the "12 hours of Bradbury" on Saturday, Sept. 21, where relay teams race to see how many laps they can do as a team in 12 hours. The Windjammers also will take part in several competitive Lake Region mountain bike races consisting of teams from New Hampshire, Vermont and Maine. The state meet will be on Saturday, Oct. 26 at the Camden Snow Bowl and the New England championships are Saturday, Nov. 2 at a site to be determined.
594-4401, extension 114
Ken Waltz has been member of the media 30 years and has received hundreds of Maine Press Association and New England Press Association awards for his writing, photography and page design. He studied journalism at the University of Maine in Orono. He lives in South Thomaston with his wife, Sarah. The couple has an adult son, Brandon.
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