“After seeing what Chris did last year with his first year in elites, it’s pretty clear his star is rising,” Howard Grotts said of Christopher Blevins. “He’s just kind of the perfect all-around rider.”
Jerry McBride/Durango Herald
Wells’ 4-year-old son, Cooper, calls Blevins his favorite cyclist. When in Durango, Blevins goes to the Durango BMX track to ride with his friend, “Coop.”
“He’s everything you would hope your kid would look up to,” Wells said. “I’ve been watching Chris since he was in BMX, since I grew up a BMXer myself. I’ve been telling anyone who would listen about this guy for a long time. He’s kicking butt.”
Tokyo is the goalWhile many expected Blevins to turn pro on a road bike by now, Blevins made it clear he is chasing a specific goal, and that’s a spot on the U.S. mountain bike team for the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo.
“The big goal on the horizon is Tokyo,” he said. “I really want to give it all I can to be there, hopefully with Howard (Grotts). I will take the steps I need to do that in the next two years.”
Grotts competed in the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. Because of UCI ranking points, the U.S. men were allotted only one spot for men’s mountain biking. For 2016, nations within the top 12 in the UCI rankings could send two riders. For the 2020 cycle, nations must be in the top seven, making the upcoming task extra difficult. But Blevins and Grotts are determined to rack up UCI points when the cycle begins in June. They will need other riders to help gain those points, and Utah’s Keegan Swenson and North Carolina’s Luke Vrouwenvelder are likely those men. Swenson also has the goal of making it to Tokyo.
Christopher Blevins credited his surroundings in Durango for helping fuel his love for cycling. From Durango Devo, practice criteriums at Mercy Regional Medical Center to BMX races and the Iron Horse Bicycle Classic, the town has always provided him opportunities to ride.
Jerry McBride/Durango Herald
“We’ve talked about us both going, and it seems like Chris is really shooting for 2020,” Grotts said. “Right at the top seven is the hardest to get into, but we’re going to look at the calendar and try to make it happen.”
Blevins, who is on the USA Cycling national team, is working with coach Jim Miller, along with Swenson and Specialized Racing teammate Kate Courtney, a close friend of his sister. Blevins, the 22-year-old Courtney and Grotts form a dynamic team with mechanic Brad Copeland, and they are all pushing each other to the best results possible. For them, the best result is for all three to make it to Tokyo.
“I think we all motivate each other, and I’m truly lucky to be a part of it,” Blevins said. “It’s going to be difficult to get the points we need, but I think with the riders we’ve got right now, we’ve got a good chance, and we will fight for it.”