Boulder High School alums Madigan Munro and Bjorn Riley returned to the world stage for Team USA mountain biking last month.
And whereas their first trip to the world championships in 2019 was nothing short of an awestruck experience, their second would heed no familiarity with the drastic measures taken in face of COVID-19.
A residual bike drop, nonetheless.
At the mecca event in Austria back in early October, Munro dazzled for the second straight year at the championships as she was the first North American to cross the finish line in the women’s junior cross country event, finishing eighth. Riley was magnificent as well, taking 15th in the men’s junior cross event.
It was the second straight year the two local stars were asked to represent the junior team for the USA.
In 2019, Riley and Munro along with Fairview student Ada Urist packed the country team with local young talent at the world championships in Canada.
This year, following a postponement because of the pandemic, the two rising talents embarked on a quick European trip from the sport’s world cup event in the Czech Republic to the championships in Austria.
While there, they were tasked with bubble living while competing.
From his experience, Riley said riders stayed in their own inner circles within their club teams at the world cup and within their country teams at the championships. And at the site, they were required to don masks whenever not racing.
“I was really stoked to represent the team,” said Riley, who attends CU. “I am always so excited when I’m able to go overseas and go to another country to represent my nation. It meant a lot, and I was really excited, but yet again with COVID, I was pretty scared, like, ‘What If someone gets COVID? What if this happens?’ A lot of unknowns.”
The cycling careers of 18-year-olds Munro and Riley now turn as the two finished their junior eligibility at the world championships. Next year, they’ll be up for the under-23 team.
When asked about their plans in the sport going forward, both of them expressed interest in making it a career. At least, “as long as I can”, Munro said.
“In the long term I really want to go to the Olympics and keep racing these big races and world championships in mountain biking and cyclocross,” said Munro, a freshman at Colorado Mesa University.
Munro and Riley each had strong years in carving out a place on Team USA.
Munro, for Trek Factory Racing, totaled a number of high finishes in mountain biking and cyclocross — most notably, finishing third at the first-ever cyclocross world championships in Switzerland.
Riley went top-five in global mountain bike events in the Czech Republic, Puerto Rico and California for the Bear National Team.
Elsewhere at the world mountain bike championships in Austria, CU grad Erin Huck finished 17th in the elite women’s cross country event. For full results, click here.