Ketchum, Idaho (July 6, 2012) — The 2012 USA Cycling Mountain Bike Cross-Country National Championships continued Friday with a full slate of cross-country racing at Sun Valley in Ketchum, Idaho. The under-23 men and women contested their race while the juniors riders also battled on Bald Mountain. The day started clear, sunny and warm before clouds rolled in and misted the crowd in the early afternoon before raining harder and more steadily on the two youngest groups of racers.
The U23 men's race quickly turned into a two-rider showdown between Russell Finsterwald (Colorado Springs, Colo./Trek Subaru) and Howard Grotts (Durango, Colo./Fort Lewis College). Finsterwald collected his first U23 national title as he prevailed by 52 seconds, completing the five-lap, 29-kilometer race in 1:32:27. Grotts rode away with the silver while Skyler Trujillo (Fort Collins, Colo./Niner Stans Ergon) placed third, 5:36 behind Grotts.
Finsterwald got the hole shot and began opening a slight, early lead on Grotts, gradually growing his lead to about 20 seconds after three laps. The two riders dueled as Grotts excelled on the climbs and Finsterwald was faster down the descents.
“It was definitely my day. I felt great out there. It was so hard, though,” Finsterwald said. “I wanted to put as much as pressure on Grotts as I could. He would catch me at the top of each climb. I was able to come around him somewhere on the descent and open it up a bit. He made me work for it. That was not easy.”
Lauren Catlin (Fairfax, Calif./Durango Devo), who will turn 20 later this month, overcame a slow start to pull away from the field and win the U23 women's race with a time of 1:32:48. Catlin, who won the Division I women's cross-country race at the 2011 USA Cycling Collegiate Mountain Bike National Championships as a rider for Fort Lewis College, bobbled shortly after the start and found herself off the back in the early goings of the race. She regained her her balance and decided she would attack the field early.
“I bobbled a little bit in the rock garden on the first lap,” Catlin said. “I was off the back a little bit. I got my rhythm and then was in the train. Then I thought to myself, ‘I might as well try now.' I've sat in the train in too many races and not moved.”
Catlin's early move worked as she gained ground on the climbs and held off a hard-charging Deidre York (Indio, Calif./The Gear Movement-Epic Pro Cycle), who trimmed time off Catlin's advantage on the descents. After four laps of the pro circuit, Catlin won by 1:21 over silver-medalist York while the defending U23 women's cross-country champion, Jill Behlen (Boulder, Colo./Tokyo Joe's-Whole Foods-Primal) earned third place.
Juniors Men 17-18
Keegan Swenson (Park City, Utah/Cannondale Factory Racing), who placed second in this age group's cross-country race in 2011, ascended to the top step in 2012. Swenson won the race by 2:21 over the silver medalist, Lucas Newcomb (Nicasio, Calif./Whole Athlete). If the two age groups contested the same four-lap, 23.2-kilometer distance (the distance of the juniors men 17-18 race), Swenson would have overcome the three-minute deficit to place third in the U23 men's race. The U23 men, however, were turning into their fifth lap while Swenson completed his four-lap affair.
“I didn't have a call up, so I was in the second row,” Swenson said. “I just wanted to hang on through this first little bit, on the rocks and then just moved my way up. I took the lead on the climb and slowly opened up the gap.”
Juniors Women 17-18
In the juniors women's races at the 2012 USA Cycling Elite, U23, Juniors & Paralympic Road National Championships in Augusta, Ga., in late June, the gold medal eluded Grace Alexander (Boise, Idaho/BMC Mountainbike Development Team) as she collected a pair of silvers and a bronze. Her effort on the mountain bike is off to a much better start. After finishing second in the category 1 women's short track cross-country race on Thursday, Alexander won the juniors women 17-18 cross-country race Friday.
Alexander got the hole shot off the start line and didn't look back, maintaining a steady pace as she pounded out three laps to win ahead of Shayna Powless (Roseville, Calif./BMC Mountainbike Development Team), who earned the silver medal, and bronze-medalist Kate Courtney (Kentfield, Calif./Whole Athlete-Specialized).
“It's a great feeling, Alexander said of her fifth national championship. “There are a lot of really high quality competitors here. It feels amazing to manage get first today. I know another day it could have gone a different way, but this is really exciting.”
Juniors Men 15-16
Everything came together perfectly for Marcus Segedin (Greenbrae, Calif./Whole Athlete-Specialized) in the juniors men 15-16 cross-country race. He called the performance of his bicycle “flawless” and he did not crash during the three-lap, 17.4-kilometer contest. In the end, Segedin finished in 1:28:19 while his closest competitor, Garrett Gerchar (Boulder, Colo./BJC-Tokyo Joe's Junior Development), was 30 seconds behind him.
“I can't believe it,” Segedin said. “It's just an honor. It feels amazing. On the last lap, my leg started to cramp up a bit, but it was a great race. This is my first national championship. I could not have ever expected this.”
Juniors Women 15-16
India Waller (Durango, Colo./Durango Devo) overcame a crash and a dropped chain to best the three women's juniors 15-16 field by over three minutes to win the cross-country national championship in that group. Waller earned a third-place finish as a category 2 rider at this event in 2011. Waller fell behind her two competitors in the early part of the race before passing Tiziana DeHorney (Albuquerque, N.M./Get Out! New Mexico) and Ksenia Lepikhina (Boulder, Colo./BJC-Tokyo Joe's Junior Development) on the climb. Waller continued to pad her cushion enroute to finishing her three-lap, 17.4-kilometer contest in 1:14:36. DeHorney, who struck gold in the juniors women 13-14 race in 2011, earned the silver medal with a time of 1:18:03 and Lepikhina was third, finishing in 1:18:49.
“I was super excited!” Waller said. “The girl, Ksenia, she beats me in almost every other race, so I'm super excited about this one.”
Juniors Men 13-14
Christopher Blevins (Durango, Colo./Durango Devo) forced the hand of the other 45 riders in the juniors men 13-14 field as he drilled it from the start and threatened to ride away with this age group's Stars-and-Stripes jersey for the second year in a row. Blevins, who has collected 14 national championships in his career, including three as a mountain biker, has been riding BMX since he was six years old.
“I gave it my all right from the start to see if they'd get tired,” Blevins said. “I pushed it up the climb and just stayed smooth and maintained it. I think the climb is where I got my time gap.”
Blevins' margin of victory was just over two minutes on the silver medalist Sean McElroy (Palmdale, Calif./Team Specialized Racing Juniors).
Juniors Women 13-14
The closest race of the day came from the juniors women 13-14 as the top two riders were only seven seconds apart. Haley Batten (Park City, Utah) emerged victorious, edging Hailey Swirbul (Carbondale, Colo.) by only seven seconds to win the national championship.
Friday's competition also featured races pitting the country's foremost juniors men and women 11-12 as well as 10-and-under competitors. Jake Yackle (Cortez, Colo./Yackle Brothers Racing) won the juniors men 11-12 race with a time of 38:32. Nye Yackle (Cortez, Colo./Yackle Brothers Racing) topped the juniors men 10-and-under field with a time of 32:23. Katie Clouse (Park City, Utah/Cole Sport) won the juniors women 11-12 race with a time of 43:22 while Sydney Palmerleger (Park City, Utah) rode away with the juniors men 10-and-under with a time of 36:19.
Saturday's races will feature the professional men and women riding their cross-country races. The professional women will start at 1:45 p.m. while the men's race begins at 4 p.m. The day's races begins with the men's category 1 age group cross-country races, including the men's singlespeed contest at 8 a.m. The women's category 1 age group and singlespeed contests are scheduled to begin at 10:45 a.m.
For complete details on this event, including a complete schedule, results, course maps and a photo gallery, please visit the event web site. Photos taken throughout the event will be available for purchase from the event photographers, Teami4 photography. If you can’t make it out for the event, follow all of the action on Twitter using the hashtag #MTBNats.
For more information on the Ride Sun Valley Bike Festival, please visit the web site.
2012 USA Cycling Mountain Bike Cross-Country National Championships
July 5-8, 2012
Men – 1 – U23 – 19-22
1. Russell Finsterwald (Colorado Springs, Colo./Trek Subaru) 1:32:27
2. Howard Grotts (Durango, Colo./Fort Lewis College) 1:33:19
3. Skyler Trujillo (Fort Collins, Colo./Niner Stans Ergon) 1:38:55
4. Zachary Valdez (Hemet, Calif./Whole Athlete-Specialized) 1:39:39
5. Anthony Smith (San Rafael, Calif./Whole Athlete-Specialized) 1:39:48
Men – 1 – Junior – 17-18
1. Keegan Swenson (Park City, Utah/Cannondale Factory Racing) 1:17:08
2. Lucas Newcomb (Nicasio, Calif./Whole Athlete) 1:19:29
3. Cody Phillips (Monrovia, Calif.) 1:20:47
4. Sepp Kuss (Durango, Colo.) 1:20:51
5. Casey Williams (Big Bear City, Calif./Whole Athlete-Specialized) 1:20:52
Men – 1 – Junior – 15-16
1. Marcus Segedin (Greenbrae, Calif./Whole Athlete-Specialized) 1:28:19
2. Garrett Gerchar (Boulder, Colo./BJC-Tokyo Joe's Junior Development) 1:28:49
3. Landen Beckner (Helena, Mont./Montana Velo) 1:29:44
4. Griffin Park (Springville, Utah) 1:29:52
5. Peter Karinen (Painesdale, Mich.) 1:30:10
Men – 1 Junior 13-14
1. Christopher Blevins Durango, Colo./Durango Devo) 43:02
2. Sean McElroy (Palmdale, Calif./Team Specialized Racing Juniors) 45:08
3. Imeh Nsek (Ontario, Calif./Southern California Velo) 46:00
4. Anders Johnson (Huntsville, Utah) 46:29
5. Evan Clouse (Park City, Utah/Cole Sport) 47:04
Men – Junior – 11-12
1. Jake Yackle (Cortez, Colo./Yackle Brothers Racing) 38:32
2. Nathan Hickey (Monrovia, Calif.) 39:18
3. Andrew Schmidt (Lake Geneva, Wisc./Tread Head Cycling) 39:33
4. Colton Sacket (Troy, Texas/Tri-City Bicycles) 40:18
5. James Roloff (Boise, Idaho) 41:02
Men – Junior – 1-10
1. Nye Yackle (Cortez, Colo./Yackle Brothers Racing) 32:23
2. Luke Lamperti (Sebastopol, Calif./Team Swift) 32:51
3. Ty Gibbs (Cornelius, N.C.) 36:17
4. Dylan Fluckiger (Twin Falls, Idaho) 37:06
5. Alec Burton (Big Bear Lake, Calif.) 37:56
Women – 1 – U23 – 19-22
1. Lauren Catlin (Fairfax, Calif./Durango Devo) 1:32:48
2. Deidre York (Indio, Calif./The Gear Movement-Epic Pro Cycle) 1:34:09
3. Jill Behlen (Boulder, Colo./Tokyo Joe's-Whole Foods-Primal) 1:36:02
4. Kaila Hart (Durango, Colo./NO TUBES ELITE WOMENS RACING) 1:36:24
5. Katie Sodergren (Breckenridge, Colo./Tokyo Joe's-Whole Foods-Primal) 1:39:57
Women – 1 – Junior – 17-18
1. Grace Alexander (Boise, Idaho/MTB PRO Team: BMC Mountainbike Development Team) 1:07:46
2. Shayna Powless (Roseville, Calif./MTB PRO Team: BMC Mountainbike Development Team) 1:09:01
3. Kate Courtney (Kentfield, Calif./Whole Athlete-Specialized) 1:10:33
4. Josie Nordrum (Corte Madera, Calif./Whole Athlete-Specialized) 1:11:24
5. Kaylee Blevins (Durango, Colo./Durango Devo) 1:11:38
Women – 1 – Junior – 15-16
1. India Waller (Durango, Colo./Durango Devo) 1:14:36
2. Tiziana DeHorney (Albuquerque, N.M./Get Out! New Mexico) 1:18:03
3. Ksenia Lepikhina (Boulder, Colo./BJC-Tokyo Joe's Junior Development) 1:18:49
Women – 1 – Junior – 13-14
1. Haley Batten (Park City, Utah) 49:47
2. Hailey Swirbul (Carbondale, Colo.) 49:54
3. Mina Anderberg (Louisville, Colo./T.E.A.M. Fuji) @1Lap
4. Emma Drummond (Springdale, Ark./Bell & Company Mountain Biking) @1Lap
5. Camryn Sippy (Durango, Colo./Durango Devo) @1Lap
Women – 1 – Junior – 11-12
1. Katie Clouse (Park City, Utah/Cole Sport) 43:22
2. Abigail Youngwerth (Boise, Idaho/BYRDS (Boise Young Rider Dev Squad) 45:57
3. Elle Williams (Big Bear City, Calif.) 47:00
4. Morgan Fortin (Albuquerque, N.M./Goathead Jr. Devo) @1Lap
5. Phoebe Dunn (Chino Valley, Ariz./Absolute Bikes Team) @1Lap
Women – 1 – Junior – 1-10
1. Sydney Palmerleger (Park City, Utah) 36:19
2. Lauren Bingham (Sandy, Utah/DNA Cycling-UT) 38:34
3. Ann Drummond (Springdale, Ark./Bell & Company Mountain Biking) 41:21
4. Anja Jensen (Hailey, Idaho/Mud Honey) @1Lap
5. Hattie Ransom (Alpine, Utah) @1Lap