Short track and DH titles awarded in Sonoma

Barry Wicks claimed his first-career MTB national title with a win in the short track race (photo: Tom Moran)
Sonoma, Calif. (July 16, 2006)Barry Wicks (Santa Cruz, Calif./Kona-Les Gets) notched the biggest victory of his professional mountain bike career and Sue Haywood (Davis, W. Va./Trek-Volkswagen) claimed her second national championship jersey of the weekend as the duo scored short track cross country wins Sunday at the 2006 USA Cycling Mountain Bike National Championships brought to you by X-Fusion.

Wicks, the 2003 USA Cycling Collegiate Cyclo-cross national champion, made his own contribution to a stellar weekend for the Kona-Les Gets team, adding a stars-and-stripes jersey to his closet after teammate Ryan Trebon (Ventura, Calif.) captured the pro men’s cross country race on Friday.

“This whole weekend is a bit surreal,” Wicks commented of his success that also included a second-place finish behind Trebon Friday. “I looked at myself in the mirror in this morning and thought ‘why not?... you can be the national champion, why not?’”.

In the 20-minutes, plus three lap format around a one-mile course, Wicks made the final selection of seven riders and launched a last-lap attack up the course’s initial incline to separate himself from the remainder of the pack. The effort was enough for the 24-year-old Wicks to keep his rivals at bay and earn his first-career mountain bike national title.

“I was hurting when I attacked,” explained Wicks, “but so was everyone else. I just thought it was now or never. The last lap seemed so easy. When you’re leading like that, the pain just seems to go away. I was just pedaling as fast as I could in the hardest gear. I had unreal legs all weekend. I couldn’t believe it.”

Jeremiah Bishop (Harrisonburg, Va./Trek-Volkswagen) finished a close second to Wicks, five seconds off the pace, while Trebon added another podium finish for the Kona-Les Gets team with a third-place effort. Ross Schnell (Glenwood Springs, Colo./Trek-Volkswagen) placed fourth and Jeremy Horgan-Kobelski (Boulder, Colo./Subaru-Gary Fisher) rounded out the podium in fifth.

Haywood captured her third career short track national championship (photo: Tom Moran)
In the women’s race, Haywood added a third short track national title to her résumé after a similar eleventh-hour attack held off Dara Marks-Marino (Flagstaff, Ariz./Titus-Kenda).

The 2001 and ’03 national champion, Haywood rode to her fist short track title since the inception of a single event format in 2004. Her prior two titles were the product of a solid and consistent season-long points series.

Under the same 20-minutes plus three laps format, Haywood was part of an eight-rider group that distanced themselves from the rest of the 45-rider field. With two laps remaining, Haywood attacked and opened up a gap that would not be closed. As she entered the bell lap, only Shonny Vanlandingham (Durango, Colo./Luna), Kelli Emmett (Colorado Springs, Colo./Ford Cycling) and Marks-Marino remained close, dangling ten seconds off the back of Haywood. At the line, Haywood held off runner-up Marks-Marino by seven seconds followed by Emmett, Vanlandingham and Mary McConneloug (Chilmark, Mass.).

“I passed Shonny and just said to myself, ‘I’ve got to go,’” explained Haywood. “I would usually wait until one lap to go to attack, but that’s been my problem lately, I wait too long. It just felt like the right time, so I said ‘go for it’ and we’ll whittle it out from there. My goal on the last two laps was to just stick the corners and not crash.”

Haywood also won Saturday’s Super D race, earning a $1,000 bonus to any pro rider who claimed two national titles over the weekend.

In the final gravity event on the schedule, Duncan Riffle (Santa Barbara, Calif./Honda-Iron Horse) and Tara Llanes (Los Alamitos, Calif./Giant) descended to downhill national titles.

Riffle, the 2004 champion, claimed his second-career downhill title, clocking a winning time of 1:54.0. Ryan Finney (San Mateo, Calif./WTB-Fox) finished 0.5 seconds off the pace, turning in a 1:54.5 to place second and Rich Houseman (Temecula, Calif./Yeti-Fox) clocked a 1:54.7 to finish third.

Duncan Riffle descended to his second downhill title (photo: Tom Moran)
While in the hot seat awaiting the arrival of top seed and defending champion Cody Warren (Alpine, Calif./C-Dub), Riffle watched as Warren crashed at the top of course, virtually assuring Riffle his second championship in three years.

“My run was good, “explained Riffle afterwards. “There were lines where I felt that I wasn’t going all that quick, but I found that in qualifying if I took it easy and relaxed a little bit that I could pull it off. I wasn’t super-happy with my qualifying run because I was trying to take things a little too fast. So I just brought it down a notch for finals and focused more on accelerating out of the turns.”

Cole Bangert (Twin Lakes, Colo./Morewood) and Christopher Herndon (Etowah, N.C./Cane Creek) completed the podium, placing fourth and fifth respectively. Bangert turned in a time of 1:55.5 and Herndon posted a 1:55.7.

In the women’s race, the top-seeded Llanes rode a 2:09.6 to unseat defending national champion Melissa Buhl (Chandler, Ariz.) who clocked a 2:10.0.

Marla Streb (Los Osos, Calif./Luna) placed third in 2:11.7. Lisa Myklak (Boulder, Colo./Morewood) took fourth in 2:13.0 and April Lawyer (Bend, Ore./Maxxis) completed the podium in fifth in 2:16.0.

About USA Cycling
Recognized by the U.S. Olympic Committee and the Union Cycliste Internationale, USA Cycling promotes American cycling through its 54,000 members and 2,000 annual events. USA Cycling associations include the BMX Association (BMX), National Off-Road Bicycle Association (mountain bike), U.S. Cycling Federation (road/track), the National Collegiate Cycling Association and the U.S. Professional Racing Organization (professional men’s road). For more information visit or contact, USA Cycling Director of Marketing and Communications, Andy Lee at 719-866-4867.

This Article Published July 16, 2006 For more information contact: