Sisters mountain bike rider Andrew Loscutoff won the Sport Class (19-39-year-old men's race) at the Sisters Stampede. That race is also considered the state championship race for Oregon XC, so he can now claim the status of a champion.
"Sisters Stampede, being one of the biggest races and one of the best courses was designated the state championship," Loscutoff explained.
Oregon XC is a 10-race series, with the rider's top six finishes counted in a point total. The 25-year-old cyclist told The Nugget he won't be shooting for the overall point championship - he's got other training priorities.
"I've got some longer races planned later this June and this summer," he said. "Training for those has become the priority over the shorter XC (races). It's going to be some all-day riding."
But the ace cyclist wanted to take on his hometown race this year.
"It's been something that's been in the back of my mind for months," he said.
He didn't race the Stampede last year, opting instead to volunteer to help stage the race.
"The atmosphere was just crazy," he said.
He vowed to be on the bike this year.
"I practiced this course a few times," he said. "I've put in hundreds of miles on the same trails."
He knew which part of the course would play into his strengths.
"Where I made the most time was on the single-track trails," he said.
He finished in just over 1:42, about two minutes ahead of the next competitor. Lostcutoff says with a grin that he likes riding in fear of someone chasing him.
The cyclist is a lifelong athlete, but he acknowledges that he can't just rely on natural talent and ability. He's always had to work hard.
"I've never walked onto the field and been the best one there," he said. "I've always had to work for it."
The willingness to work hard stands him in good stead on the trail, where just plain hard work combines with strength and agility to make a champion. He works hard off the bike, too.
"I believe in strength training because it gives you better control of the bike and it helps your climbing," he said.
He's got easy access to training - he works as a manager and trainer at Sisters Athletic Club. He moved here from Canby in 2012 to take a position offered by club owner, Tate Metcalf.
It wasn't till he came here that he took up the sport.
"Honestly, I had never done any mountain biking before I came to Sisters," he said.
So he's moved from novice to champion in a couple of seasons - a tribute to his dedication and work ethic.
But riding is not all work by any means.
"The neat thing about mountain biking for me is you feel like a kid again," he said.
Loscutoff leads group rides through Blazin Saddles: a fast-paced ride on Tuesday evenings and a Saturday recreational ride. For more information call 541-719-1213.