Cortez residents Jebediah Jake and Nathaniel Nye Yackle are some of the best youth mountain bikers in the United States.
Jake, 10, and Nye, 8, compete in and have won races all across the Four Corners region. Jake Yackle has been competing for three years and already has a 10-up national championship under his belt riding on a Motobecane, 9-speed. Nye Yackle has been bike racing competitively for two years and is ranked in the top-10 in the 10-under class. Nye rides a Specialized, 8-speed.
How it all started for Jake and Nye was going on family bike rides on the various bike trails near Cortez with parents Kevin and Donna. Now those bike trails are Jake and Nyes stomping grounds for training.
The Yackle boys typically compete in 15 races a year mostly in the Colorado, Mountain States Cup; Utah, Intermountain Cup Series; and New Mexico, Off Road Racing Series.
In 2010, Jake Yackle finished in first place in his 10-up class at the Frazier Mountain Madness XC in Taos, N.M., the FMM Hill Climb in Taos, Cedro Peak XC in Tijeras, N.M., the Road Apple Valley in Farmington, N.M., and won the USA Cycling National Championships in Sol Vista. He has eight top finishes in his young career.
I was probably 6 when I started riding, Jake Yackle said. Its fun to do. Plus if youre on an ATV (all-terrain vehicle), you scare off all the animals. You dont do that on a bike.
Last year, Nye Yackle placed first at the FMM XC in Taos in the 10-under class, the Cedro Peak XC, the Squash Blossom Screamer in Gallup, N.M., and the Road Apple Valley in Farmington. Nye has five career first-place finishes.
I started off on an ATV, Nye Yackle said. Riding bikes is fun. Sand Canyon is really fun. I want to win the Tour de France when I get older.
Many of the races the Yackle boys compete in are only designated as 18-under, so they are often competing against and beating mountain bikers older than them.
Whenever they get the opportunity to race age group races, they almost always take first-place, Kevin Yackle said.
A lot of the races in the Four Corners states do not have age group classes for Jake and Nyes ages, Kevin Yackle said.
To train at such a young age for an intensive sport like mountain bike racing requires, well, just more mountain biking. The boys training at high altitude has been a big advantage for them.
We found that for biking if you spend too much time doing cross training, it builds up muscles that dont apply to biking, Kevin Yackle said.
In the winter months, the Yackles have an indoor spinner bike and elliptical machine they exercise on to stay in shape. But during biking season, the home-schooled Jake and Nye Yackle are out on the local trails six days a week, which easily fulfills their physical education requirement.
We ride down in Bluff (Utah). We have a couple of trails down there. We go out to where the Navajo Land is, Nye Yackle said.
Other trails the Yackes practice on are Sand Canyon, Phils World, Moab, Utahs Slickrock Trail and Mesa Verde.
Next up for Jake and Nye is the Tour of Socorro in Socorro, N.M., on the weekend of April 16 and 17. Jake and Nye finished second and fourth at the event in 2010 respectively. Then its off to Dripping Springs, Texas, to compete in the Mellow Johnnys Classic on the weekend of April 30, and May 1. The race is sponsored and operated by Lance Armstrongs Mellow Johnnys Bike Shop in Austin, Texas.
The Yackle boys have also been fundraising for their own Live Strong Foundation to raise money for their mountain biking competition. What started out as a $250 goal, has now blossomed to more than $30,000 raised.
Jake and Nye Yackle would also like to acknowledge their appreciation for their sponsors, Panaracer, Osprey Packs, Full Speed Ahead, Canari, Crank Brothers and Fox Shox.
Reach Bobby Abplanalp at [email protected]