From football to soccer to basketball, Burlington High School dominates the Vermont athletic scene. But Gaelan Kilburn is bringing Horse Pride to another sport: cycling. The sophomore recently recently won the General Classification, G.C., in the Junior field at the Green Mountain Stage Race, the youngest ever to do so.
The Green Mountain Stage Race is one of the toughest, most competitive bike races for Juniors ages 14-17. The event consists of four stages: starting off Friday with a 5.7 mile time trial. On Saturday, the group of 92 juniors continued on to a 57 mile circuit race, consisting of 3 laps of a 17 mile circuit. Sunday included a 64 mile road race, which involved over 6,000 feet of climbing and a finish atop the Application Gap. The event concluded Monday with a Criterium held in Downtown Burlington.
The race started off strong for Kilburn’s team, Hot Tubes, as teammate Matteo Jorgenson , won the time trial. The team planned for Jorgenson to compete for the GC, however, on the third stage, things changed.
“Going up the App Gap, [my team] wanted to send me up the road, so I went up the road with ten other guys. And then stayed away.”
Kilburn finished second on stage three, putting him four seconds away from the G.C. leader.
In order to win the general classification, a rider must have the lowest combined time for all four stages. This means that the overall winner is usually a well rounded rider who is able to climb, time trial, and sprint, the latter of which is extremely important in criterium racing.
Criteriums involve a short course that riders go around many times. Riders go into turns at speeds above 40 miles per hours, and come out of them sprinting, desperately trying not to get dropped from the field.
Throughout the criterium, Kilburn made up the four seconds with time bonuses throughout the race.
“The [First time bonus] was just five laps into the race, so we went off the front fast, hoping that we can send [the leader to the back.” After coming in second for the first time bonus, and winning the second, Kilburn had 10 seconds on the leader, enough for the win.
As the cycling season ends, Kilburn sets his sights on running for the BHS cross country team. However, Kilburn and his team are already making plans for next year’s Green Mountain Stage Race.
“[We’ll] maybe try to get another teammate on the G.C. Maybe pick up a few stage wins.”
Whatever the turnout, Kilburn can go forward knowing that BHS superfans are rooting for him.