McClure is big in mountain biking
Local racer ranked number #1 for
By MICHAEL AMES
Express Staff Writer
Michael McClure, 18, might be the best
young mountain bike racer in the nation.
After the national championships in
Durango next weekend, it will be clear just how dominant McClure really is.
A senior at Wood River High School,
Ketchum native McClure has been a steadily rising star for Team Devo, the
country’s premier mountain biking team.
Team Devo has been training in the Sun
Valley area for the last week doing mostly road training up to Galena Summit and
some cross-country training in Adam’s Gulch.
Sponsored by Balance Bar, Rock-Shock,
Oakley and Giant Bikes, Team Devo has been a dominant force in biking since its
inception in 1995 and is the winningest mountain bike team in the U.S.
Team Devo has sent racers to NORBA
(National Off-Road Bicycling Association) events, collegiate events, national
championships and world championships.
In just under 10 years, Team Devo has
produced three world champions, about 40 national champions and is undefeated in
collegiate racing in the U.S.
John Kemp, co-founder of Team Devo, first
saw McClure racing at an event in Big Bear, Ca., when Mike was 15 and "skinny,
big as a minute and with a bike bigger than he was," remembers Kemp.
Despite McClure’s size then, Kemp saw
talent, "was impressed" and recruited McClure and has been most pleased on the
returns on that investment.
Heading into NORBA nationals in Durango,
McClure is the headliner of a stacked Devo team and is the number one seed for
the entire race.
McClure is also one of five Devo team
members who has qualified for the World Championships in Lugano, Switzerland in
the first week of September.
The son of Royal and Elaine McClure of Sun
Valley has enjoyed an outstanding year.
Needing only one win and a top five to
qualify for worlds, McClure was an easy shoe-in for Lugano. In five NORBA
events, he has two first-place finishes in West Virginia and Sandpoint, Idaho.
Along with a second place in Big Bear and
a third place in Mt. Snow, Vermont, McClure has become fixture on the podium.
The Durango nationals are the final race of the summer NORBA series.
Though McClure has focused his athletic
vision on mountain biking, he has not been forced to sacrifice many other
activities. So far, the sport of soccer is the only casualty of his increasingly
In the winter, McClure is a big-time
freestyle performer. A once-upon-a-time multi-event racer for the Sun Valley
Alpine Race Team, McClure eventually veered off the racing circuit in favor of
free riding that eventually brought him to freestyling. Now a respected local
freestyler, he was featured this past spring in Solfest 2003.
Michael McClure is one of many outstanding
athletes in this valley, but as he ages, it seems McClure isn’t going to be
satisfied with merely being one of the best.
With his sights set on Durango and
Switzerland after that, McClure looks to become one the top bike competitors in