Morris brings home mountain biking medal

Joel Morris tore up the trail at the annual “Sapling Snapper” mountain bike race Sunday at the Quadna Hill Resort in Hill City, Mn., finishing second in the 18-34 age class and third overall among “beginners.”
Morris, 21, part of Team GT/Skates and Blades from Fort Frances, finished the 7.6-mile course in 52 minutes flat, less than two minutes off the leader.
He was quite happy with his finish, noting it was a big improvement over last year.
“The race was excellent,” Morris said. “I was second the whole way until the last hill. Passing a lot of the guys in the category above me, too, was really nice.”
Morris made an effort to regain second spot on the home stretch but said he had spent too much energy trying to stay with the leader that he didn’t have enough left to pass the other biker before the finish line.
He also noted the second-place biker was warned by friends on the trail to speed up when Morris made his move to pass.
The rest of Team GT/Skates and Blades also had a strong showing Sunday, with all riders finishing in the top 10 of their age group and the top half of the “beginners” category.
Isaac Morris, 24, crossed the line with a time of 56:24, finishing fourth in the 18-24 class and fifth overall. Gary Edwards, 20, took fifth place in the same class–and sixth overall–with a time of 57:41.
“Last year, I didn’t even finish,” Isaac Morris said, recalling a mechanical failure that eliminated him from the race.
“[This year] I threw my chain off a couple times, once on the front and derailed my chain on the cogs,” he noted. “I didn’t suffer too bad.”
Edwards also was quite pleased with his performance, noting his goal this year was to finish in the top 10.
In the 12-18 age class, Gershom Morris, 16, placed seventh (and 14th overall) with a time of 59:51 while teammate Nathan Shute, also 16, took ninth (16th overall) with a time of 1:01:36.
The Snapper was the first race for Shute and Gershom Morris, who still consider themselves newcomers to the sport of mountain bike racing.
“The first lap was torture,” Shute admitted. “But the second lap was easy.
“It was awesome,” he added. “I’m going to be doing it a lot more.”