Fourteen champs crowned on day 2 of Mountain Bike Nationals
Granby, Colo. (July 16, 2010) –Fourteen Stars-and-Stripes jerseys were awarded at the USA Cycling Mountain Bike National Championships on Friday as cross-country racing kicked off bright and early at the SolVista Bike Park. Following a heated day of endurance racing, the evening closed out on the four-cross course with the event’s first gravity contests.
The winners of the men’s and women’s U23 and junior 17-18 cross country events earned not only national titles, but also automatic nominations to represent the U.S. at the Mountain Bike World Championships in Quebec later this summer.
Grabbing that top prize in the men’s U23 event was Tad Elliott (Durango, Colo./Sho-Air-Specialized). Forty-three of the nation’s top up-and-coming riders toed the line at high noon for five laps of the cross country course in the hot, mid-day sun. Benefitting from a super-fast start up the opening climb, Elliott rode in a lead group with Rob Squire (Felt Holowesko Partners) and Russell Finsterwald (Subaru-Trek) for the first several laps. By the time the gentlemen came through the start/finish to embark on their fifth and final lap, Elliott and Squire had dropped Finsterwald. On the final lap, Elliott attacked and crossed the line about 40 seconds ahead of second-place finisher Rob Squire. Finsterwald soloed in for the bronze medal while Mitchell Hoke (Colorado Springs, Colo./Tokyo Joe’s) and Matthew Beaton (Colorado Springs, Colo.) rounded out the podium in fourth and fifth.
“I took the lead on the backside of the clover leaf and when we went through the feed zone, I noticed I had a little gap so I hit the corners and put my head down,” Elliott said after taking the second national title of his U23 career. “Rob and Russell were riding so strong in the beginning. I was pinned on their wheel as hard as I could go.”
See an excited Tad Elliott talk more about his race below:
In the women’s U23 race, it was Sage Wilderman (Fraser, Colo./Team Totally Wired) to grab that world championship start spot, as well as a coveted Stars-and-Stripes jersey. The Fort Lewis College student went off the front after the first steep climb and had a two minute gap on her closest threat, Lydia Tanner (San Clemente, Calif./Tokyo Joe’s), heading into the third and final lap. By the time she soloed over the line for the victory, she had more than 3:30 on Tanner. Crossing the line for the bronze was Kaila Hart (Durango, Colo./Get Out!) while Jill Behlen (Boulder, Colo./Boulder Junior Cycling) and Deidre York (Indio, Calif./Velobum.com) rounded out the podium in fourth and fifth.
After her win, the 22-year-old described the course. “It was good. It’s a pretty fast course. You pretty much go up and down, up and down and you have to be pretty well-paced I think.”
See a video of Sage talking about the course and what happened in the race below:
Also earning a start spot in Quebec was Skyler Trujillo (Fort Collins, Colo.) with his win in the junior men’s 17-18 contest. Trujillo rode onto the top of the podium by finishing about a minute ahead of second-place rider Howard Grotts (Durango, Colo./Durango Devo). Riding solo over the line for the bronze medal was Tony Smith (San Rafael, Calif./Whole Athlete) while William Curtis (San Rafael, Calif./Whole Athlete) and Christopher Bennett (El Cerrito, Calif.) made the fourth- and fifth-place efforts.
“I’m really excited,” Trujillo said, after his win, about the upcoming World Cup finale in New York and the World Championships in Quebec. “I feel like I am way past where I was even a few weeks ago and I’m ready for it.”
The final rider to win a world championship team nomination was Alicia Rose Pastore (Durango, Colo./Rocky Mountain Chocolate), who charged hard across the finish line all by herself to claim the gold medal in the women’s 17-18 group. Completing her two laps in approximately 1:07, she finished a minute and a half ahead of silver medalist Sofia Hamilton (San Anselmo, Calif./Whole Athlete).Linnea Dixson (Steamboat Springs, Colo./Moots-SSWSC) rode in for the bronze while Wesley Geer (Boulder, Colo./Boulder Junior) and Essence Barton (Thousand Oak, Calif.) collected the final two podium spots.
The younger junior categories also duked it out on the cross country course on Friday in search of Stars-and-Stripes jerseys. The ladies in the 15-16 age group opened up morning racing in dramatic fashion with a very competitive two laps. After approximately an hour and eleven minutes, the crowd saw Kate Courtney (Kentfield, Calif./Whole Athlete) and Grace Alexander (Boise, Idaho/BYRDS) sprinting into the finish area. After the pair had ridden together for the entire contest, Courtney managed to just barely take the win over Alexander in a photo finish. A few minutes later, Alexis Ryan (Ventura, Calif./The Team SoCal) soloed over the line for the bronze medal while Shayna Powless (Roseville, Calif./Ventana) and Karen Brocket (Raytown, Mo./SKC Racing) rounded out fourth- and fifth-places.
With a comfortable lead of two-and-a-half minutes, Keegan Swenson (Park City, Utah/Cole Sport) rode his way onto the podium’s top step in the junior men’s 15-16 event. Noah Talley (Payson, Utah/Racer’s Cycle) rode in for the silver medal while Gino Pastore (Durango, Colo./Durango Devo) made the bronze medal effort. Completing the podium were Cypress Gorry (Payson, Ariz./Four Unity) and Bryan Duke (Salinas, Calif./VOS Racing).
Also fighting for national titles in the cross country competitions on Friday were the juniors in the 10 and under, 11-12, and 13-14 age groups. In the men’s racing, Justin Griffin (West Valley City, Utah) claimed the national title among racers ages 13-14 while Christopher Blevins (Durango, Colo.) was the champion in the 11-12 group and Jake Yackle (Cortez, Colo.) took top honors among men ten and under. Ksenia Lepikhina (Superior, Colo.) picked up a national title in the women’s 13-14 cross country event while Hailey Swirbul (Carbondale, Colo.) bested the field in the 11-12 race and Elle Williams (Big Bear, Calif.) was the fastest woman on the course among girls ten and under.
Following the day’s endurance events, gravity competition got underway with several classes of amateurs. In the junior men’s 14 and under four-cross contest, Luca Shaw (Hendersonville, NC/North Carolina Cyclocross) rode into a Stars-and-Stripes jersey. He beat out silver and bronze medalists Collin Hudson (Longmont, Colo.)and Riley Farrar (Amarillo, Texas) while Roy Benge (Carbondale, Colo.) finished fourth. Grabbing fifth-place was Chase Nelson (Littleton, Colo.).
In the open women’s four-cross event, Soraya Khalije (Boulder, Colo.) beat out Lauren Heitzman (Lakewood, Colo./MOJO Wheels-Mojo Wheels) for the gold medal while Amber Price (Westminster, Colo.) and Annemarie Hennes (Santa Cruz, Calif.) were third and fourth. Brittany Jackson (Riverside, Calif.) rounded out the podium in fifth.
Racing will continue at the SolVista Bike Park on Saturday as the pros take center stage on both the cross country and four-cross courses. If you can’t make it out to catch all the action in person – live streaming of pro racing, presented by Mellow Johnny’s, will be available Saturday and Sunday on USA Cycling’s event webpage here. The schedule is as follows (mountain time):
Saturday will also be filled with plenty of amateur competition as well, including category 1, 2, and 3 downhill time tests.
Course maps, schedules, and other information are available on the event’s webpage by clicking here.
CLICK HERE for a photo gallery of all the action, or here for complete results.
1. Alicia Rose Pastore (Durango, Colo./Rocky Mountain Chocolate)
3. Christopher Hurley (Golden, Colo./Colorado School of Mines)
About USA Cycling
Recognized by the United States Olympic Committee and the Union Cycliste Internationale, USA Cycling is the official governing body for all disciplines of competitive cycling in the United States, including road, track, mountain bike, BMX and cyclo-cross. As a membership-based organization, USA Cycling comprises 66,500+ licensees; 2,200 clubs and teams; and 34 local associations. The national governing body sanctions 2,650 competitive and non-competitive events throughout the U.S. each year and is responsible for the identification, development, and support of American cyclists. To learn more about USA Cycling, visit www.usacycling.org.
This Article Published July 16, 2010 For more information contact: