Pro Downhill and Short Track National Titles Awarded
On the last day of the 2019 USA Cycling Mountain Bike National Championships, Jill Kintner (Seattle, Wash.), Neko Mullaly (Pisgah Forest, N.C.; Intense Factory Racing), Chloe Woodruff (Prescott, Ariz.; Stan’s Pivot NoTubes p/b Maxxis), and Christopher Blevins (Durango, Colo.; Specialized Racing) would all add another gold medal to their awards case.
“Winning a national championship is for pride. You get to wear your sleeve in all the World Cups abroad, through the whole season. It just shows you’re the best rider from your country. To be able to do that twice in a row is really special to me,” said Mullaly about what winning his second national title in a row means to him. Mullaly placed third in seeding on Saturday evening, but would better position in the finals on Sunday, with a time of 5:01.42. Charlie Harrison (Trabuco Canyon, Calif.) who placed second in seeding would stop the clock in finals at 5:04.37, placing him on the second step of the podium. Missing the silver by just one-tenth of a second, Dakotah Norton (Atlas, Mich.) would take bronze.
“I’ve committed to my trail bike this whole year, I haven’t even touched my downhill bike. I gave it my best and it felt awesome. It’s such an honor to be here and hopefully impact the next generation of girls coming up”, said Kintner about her training leading up to the event. She would set the time to beat of 5:47.75. Kintner picked up her eighth pro downhill title. The only other women to break the 6-minute barrier, Clare Hamilton (Colorado Springs, Colo.), would take home silver with her time of 5:52.32. Kialani Hines (Auburn, Wash.) would beat out Caroline Washam (Mooresville, N.C.) by .19 seconds to claim the bronze.
Woodruff, who won the Pro Women’s Cross-Country race on Saturday, would claim the Pro Women’s Short Track title as well. “We had a tailwind on the pavement climb, a pretty good one, and the descent was pretty smooth with not a lot of passing opportunities, and a lot of bermed corners, so I stuck with a relatively lightweight tire, which was a risk, but I think it paid off,” said Woodruff about her bike choices for the course. She would be fairly dominant throughout the race, leading for a majority of the race. Former Collegiate Short Track National Champion, Alexis Skarda (Grand Junction, Colo.) would keep Woodruff in her sights for most of the race, but never able to pass her. Skarda would take home the silver. And in a sprint from the field, current Marathon Mountain Bike National Champion, Rose Grant (Columbia Falls, Mont.), would claim the third step of the podium.
After crashing early in Saturday’s cross-country race, Blevins had something to prove in today’s short track race. The defending champion would be active all throughout the race pushing other competitors to respond to his attacks. “Cypress [Gorry] was hanging on, he was fairly close when we got into the single-track, so I couldn’t relax when we hit it. Also, when you attack at this high an altitude, recover you don’t recover as much, so I wanted to save it for the very end,” Blevins said about his final attack going into the single-track on the backside of the course. Cypress Gorry (Pisgah Forest, N.C.; Rouleur Devo p/b DNA Cycling), would go tit for tat with Blevins up until the final lap, and would earn the silver for his efforts. Stephan Davoust (Durango, Colo.; Giant Factory Off-Road) would win the field sprint to take third.
Complete Results for the day’s races can be found here: https://legacy.usacycling.org/results/index.php?year=2019&id=21
Start lists for USA Cycling Mountain Bike National Championships are available at https://www.usacycling.org/article/2019-mtb-nat-champ-start-lists
Schedule of events for #MTBNats is available at https://s3.amazonaws.com/craft-prod-assets/documents/Nat-Champ-Docs/2019/2019MTBScheduleFINAL.pdf
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