Sunday, July 17, 2016

USA Cycling MTB Nationals

It was an exciting week for the team up in Mammoth Lakes, California for the 2016 USA Cycling Mountain Bike Nationals.  We had 4 racers that made the long journey to participate in the juniors cross country race - Avery for girls 11-12, Liam for boys 11-12, Emma for girls 9-10, and Barrett for boys 9-10.  Avery's 8 year old brother Luke joined us for the pre-ride.

The first 3 days were spent acclimating to the elevation of 8000+ feet as well as pre-riding the course.  The juniors loop took them up 500 ft over the first mile before descending down Shotgun - a very technical black diamond single track run.  All XC categories used this same downhill route, including the pros. It was no joke!  It gave even the most seasoned riders pause.

On race day, the 11-12 boys and girls took the line first.  They had to complete 3 laps with a total of 7.5 miles and 1500 ft of climbing all above 8600 ft of elevation.  Liam was the first of our racers out on course.  After a bobble at the start sending him to the back of the pack, he was able to recover and set his best times on the first lap.  He was able to work up to 11th place and hold that position until the end of the race.  In a field of very talented riders, we were very proud of his result!

Next up was Avery.  She only had the opportunity to preview the course once the day before, but she rose to the challenge.  She was unstoppable on course, powering through 3 grueling laps to finish 6th.  Her grit and determination to complete the race was inspirational!

After a short break in the action, the 9-10 boys and girls toed the line.  First off was Barrett.  After the first lap he was fighting for 4th.  He got stuck behind a crash heading into the downhill on lap 2, but was able to hang in there and sprint from 8th to 6th at the line.  He put together his best race ever, staying focused and determined from start to finish!

Last up for the team was Emma in the girls 9-10 race.  Emma also had a bobble at the start, but quickly recovered and found herself in 3rd place after lap 1.  She dug deep to catch the rider in 2nd, and was able to hold on to snag the silver medal!  Chloe Woodruff, the 2015 2X national champion and 2016 Rio Olympian, congratulated Emma on her great race, which was the highlight of the trip for Emma.  It was an exciting end to and wonderful day of racing for the crew!

Junior girls 9-10 podium:
Gold:  Hayden Hludzinski 
(2015 & 2016 girls 9-10 National Champion)
Silver:  Emma Clark
Bronze:  Monroe Swain
(2015 girls 6-8 National Champion)
4th:  Aria Turner
(2014 girls 6-8 National Champion)
5th:  Emily Anderson

After junior racing concluded, the team had the opportunity to spectate at a number of the races, visit with the vendors, and meet with some of the pro riders, who were all very gracious with the kids.  Chloe Woodruff, Howard Grotts, Aaron Gwin, and Cam Zink all took time out to spend with the kids.  They are what makes this such a great sport!

Chloe Woodruff has been so supportive of Emma.  She found
Emma right after the race to congratulate her on a job well done.  
Emma, Liam and Barrett with the legendary Aaron Gwin

Barrett with Cam Zink
Liam with Howard Grotts right after Howard won the Pro XC race

MTB Nats and Mammoth did not disappoint!  We were honored to be part of a wonderful event that has inspired each of our racers to work hard over the next year.

The final stats for the XC MTB season are:

21 podium finishes from 9 races:
*11 - 1st Place
*6 - 2nd Place
*3 - 3rd Place
*1 - 4th Place

We are so thankful to all of our sponsors for their support through this past year:

Bicycle Haus of Scottsdale
Four Peaks Family Dentistry of Scottsdale
Stans No Tubes
Maxxis Tires
Wolf Tooth Components
GU Energy
ESI Grips
Mad Alchemy

We couldn't have had done it without them!  Another big shout out to Deanna Young and Scott Wortendyke for the amazing pictures!

We will be taking some time off this summer before racing resumes this fall.  Stayed tune....Cross is coming!!!  'Til then....