US Gravity Nationals 2012 - DH Finals Photos

Jul 23, 2012
by Ian Hylands  
 
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USA Cycling National Gravity Championships
It rained again the night before finals and in the morning the dirt was soft really soft...
  It rained again the night before finals, and in the morning the dirt was soft, really soft...

USA Cycling National Gravity Championships
USA Cycling National Gravity Championships
The tree that took out Gwin and Ropelato last year and the view of the track beyond it. That s where the rock garden splits high line on the left and the lower slower line to the right
  The tree that took out Gwin and Ropelato last year, and the view of the track beyond it. That's where the rock garden splits, high line on the left, and the lower, slower line to the right

Patriotic spirit was out in abundance at National Champs.
  Patriotic spirit was out in abundance at National Champs.

There was a dj in the rock garden blasting music for the spectators and people with horns and cowbells and all sorts of other noisemakers. But the chainsaw was not allowed. Seems to be a bit of a double standard at play when he started it up I could barely hear it over the other noise.
  There was a dj in the rock garden, blasting music for the spectators, and people with horns and cowbells and all sorts of other noisemakers. But the chainsaw was not allowed. Seems to be a bit of a double standard at play, when he started it up I could barely hear it over the other noise.

Quick grab your children there s a giant bunny on the loose It doesn t get much better than real tree camo and and an American flag...
  Quick, grab your children, there's a giant bunny on the loose! It doesn't get much better than real tree camo and and an American flag...

The rock garden at Beech Mountain is a bit on the gnarly side and not just because of the rocks. It s also fairly flat. That means it s easy to loose your speed and if you come to a stop there is no easy way to start pedaling running is probably your best option.
  The rock garden at Beech Mountain is a bit on the gnarly side, and not just because of the rocks. It's also fairly flat. That means it's easy to loose your speed, and if you come to a stop there is no easy way to start pedaling, running is probably your best option.

Once you got out of the main part of the rock garden there were still a lot of obstacles and multiple lines to get through them.
  Once you got out of the main part of the rock garden there were still a lot of obstacles, and multiple lines to get through them.

Lauren Daney never seems to look that fast in practice but she always seems to pull something out for the final. Fourth place on the podium just short of a medal. Here she takes the left hand line.
  Lauren Daney never seems to look that fast in practice, but she always seems to pull something out for the final. Fourth place, on the podium, just short of a medal. Here she takes the left hand line.

Jaime Rees third place for the NW rider maybe the right hand line is faster
  Jaime Rees, third place for the NW rider, maybe the right hand line is faster?

Melissa Buhl won the slalom but hasn t been training DH quite as much lately. She still managed to pull out a 2nd place finish behind Jackie Harmony.
  Melissa Buhl won the slalom, but hasn't been training DH quite as much lately. She still managed to pull out a 2nd place finish behind Jackie Harmony.

Jacqueline Harmony taking the National Title and winning by over 9 seconds in Pro Women.
  Jacqueline Harmony, taking the National Title and winning by over 9 seconds in Pro Women.

Cole Picchiottino blasting out of the woods. Cole crashed in qualis but kept it together in the final and finished up in second spot in JrX.
  Cole Picchiottino blasting out of the woods. Cole crashed in qualis, but kept it together in the final and finished up in second spot in JrX.

Specialized rider Cody Kelley 4th place in Pro Slalom and 2nd in JrX DH
  Specialized rider Cody Kelley, 4th place in Pro Slalom, and 2nd in JrX DH

Alexander Willie won the JrX DH class with a time that would have placed him 13th in Pro Men.
  Alexander Willie won the JrX DH class with a time that would have placed him 13th in Pro Men.

Jay Fesperman Jr 15-16 winner with a time that would have won JrX and placed him 13th overall in pro men.
  Jay Fesperman, Jr 15-16 winner, with a time that would have won JrX 17-18 and placed him 13th overall in pro men. Watch out for this kid!

Austin Warren got a little too much off the hip in qualifying and went otb to his head. Not a total KO but definitely a little shaky afterwards. Bubba definitely didn t make the same mistake in the final.
  Austin Warren got a little too much off the hip in qualifying and went otb to his head. Not a total KO, but definitely a little shaky afterwards. Bubba definitely didn't make the same mistake in the final.

Eliot Jackson crashed in qualifying and started mid pack in the final. His run put in the hot seat up until Neko Mulally came down he ended up in third overall behind Neko and Gwin.
  Eliot Jackson crashed in qualifying and started mid pack in the final. His run put in the hot seat up until Neko Mulally came down, he ended up in third overall behind Neko and Gwin.

Kevin Littlefield has been training hard and it shows. The Evil rider ended up in fifth spot here.
  Kevin Littlefield has been training hard and it shows. The Evil rider ended up in fifth spot here.

The 2011 National Champ Logan Binggeli put in a great effort but couldn t repeat this year. Fourth place
  The 2011 National Champ Logan Binggeli put in a great effort, but couldn't repeat this year. Fourth place

Neko Mulally had really wanted to beat Gwin here and put in a lot of extra time on the course looking for every possible second. After his third place chainless qualifier it looked like finals might be a bit of a battle but it wasn t to be. Second place and 3 seconds behind Gwin.
  Neko Mulally had really wanted to beat Gwin here, and put in a lot of extra time on the course looking for every possible second. After his third place chainless qualifier it looked like finals might be a bit of a battle, but it wasn't to be. Second place, and 3 seconds behind Gwin.

Aaron Gwin winning the USA Cycling National DH Championships.
Aaron Gwin celebrates after seeing his time.
I m not sure what kind of intuition made me step out of the main photographers area at the podium and shoot from the side when Gwin grabbed the champagne but I m glad I did. Full on frontal attack...
  I'm not sure what kind of intuition made me step out of the main photographers area at the podium and shoot from the side when Gwin grabbed the champagne, but I'm glad I did. Full on frontal attack...

USA Cycling National Gravity Championships

Chris Herndon former national slalom champ and the man responsible for the DH and slalom tracks at Beech Mountain.
  Chris Herndon, former national slalom champ, and the man responsible for the DH and slalom tracks at Beech Mountain.

Budweiser and Real Tree Merica
  Budweiser and Real Tree, 'Merica! Cody Warren represents.

  Ryan Condrashoff flew out from the west coast on Friday night after work. He only had time for 5 or 6 practice runs before qualifying, and ended up in 35th spot overall. Redemption came in the form of a photo. Big whip over the hip...


Full results can be found here
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42 Comments

  • + 13
 This sport needs more people like Chris Herndon
  • + 2
 More than enough quality riders, not enough quality trail builders... not saying there isn't guys out there that build ill stuff already, of course!
[Reply]
  • + 5
 Melissa Buhl is in med school at Arizona State University. She's quite a role model. I'm a teacher and I have her come to my school to talk to my students every year. She rocks. Jackie Harmony rocks too. Go AZ ladies!!!
[Reply]
  • + 6
 Great pictures as always Ian! Isn't Buhl working on a medical degree? Hard work does pay off.
  • + 1
 That or psychology. Impressive.
  • + 1
 Don't think she is in/through yet. I think she recently graduated from undergrad at ASU(The school I work at...) Noting her Blog, perhaps she got into UC.
  • + 1
 From my understanding she is studying to get her Phd. Professional Biker and a Doctor the woman sure has talent and determination.
  • + 1
 Nice, I knew she was kinesiology/premed undergrad here but don't know more than that. She's out of our system. Pretty impressive...
  • + 1
 At the moment I believe she is out of school and spending all her time trying to find a job.
  • + 1
 Ah. Thanks for the info Ian.
[Reply]
  • + 2
 Amazing photos as usual, Ian. Can someone please tell me why on Monday evening, there is still zero video footage of our national championsip races?
  • + 2
 Because there were zero people there filming it aside from a few kids really. While it's the US National Championships I would have to say that it's really not taken very seriously. Just look at the numbers, 10 women and 63 men entered in the Pro DH field, that's an incredibly small number.
  • + 2
 A full video (around 8 mins long) should be up in the coming weeks.
  • + 2
 The Dirt Passion crew was there filming the whole thing from multiple spots on the course and slalom too. They are covering everything from the am to pro classes. They said it will be a couple weeks before they get the complete edit done. From the set ups they were using it should be well worth the wait.
  • + 1
 Good to hear, that's a little late for real news coverage, but I'm sure everyone will be stoked to see it.
[Reply]
  • + 5
 Where's the PBR
  • + 1
 cannot confirm but PBR might actually be an American company unlike Budweiser now
  • + 2
 i drank one and it somehow attached itself to my sunbrella. dont know what happened to it after that
[Reply]
  • + 3
 sooo two riders got 2nd in jrX??
  • + 1
 Two age groups.
  • + 1
 Alex won the Jr. X and Jay won his 15-16 class but would have won the Jr. X if he was in that class... just comparing times is all.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 IAN! Great photos - thanks for getting our boy Emerson in the ghillie suit! It was good to meet you and next time you're in NC let me know we'll get out on the trail bikes.
  • + 1
 I really enjoyed my time at Beech, great mountain and great hospitality, thanks to everyone there! Not sure when I'll be back, although I'm shooting down around Brevard right now and the riding is amazing, might have to come back for more of that!
  • + 1
 Brevard eigh? Will we (the inquiring public) get to see those pics? I'm sure you have plenty of people telling you where to ride and shoot, but don't forget DuPont!
  • + 1
 You will probably see them at some point, although they won't necessarily have my name on them. I'm shooting for a specific catalog project, and no worries, I've spent a full day at Dupont as well...
  • + 1
 Excellent! I can't wait to see the photos.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Thanks Ladies for putting Arizona on the map.......Melissa you are a example of what you can do if you put your mind to it.
[Reply]
  • + 3
 last pic POD anyone?
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Glad to hear that some video will be up soon. Big thanks to all involved.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 THE RATE OF AMERICANS IS TOO DAMN HIGH!
[Reply]
  • + 1
 what happened to luke strobel?
  • + 1
 He crashed on the first drop and DNF'd
  • + 1
 ohh bad luck, deserved a good result! he was so pinned and smooth in that pivot video at bromont
  • + 1
 Technically he did finish, rolled through the finish line. But yeah he DNF
  • + 1
 Went huge on the first drop and got picked up by the wind, he's lucky to be okay in his words...
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Great job Jaime Rees! Atta girl!
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Awesome Jackie! aCOS represent! A culture of speed! ACultureOfSpeed.com
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Looked like an awsome weekend!!
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Cody warren has packed on the weight haha
[Reply]
  • + 2
 Merica! Awesome weekend!
  • + 2
 Great pics, nicely done again!
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Jackie Harmony FTW!
[Reply]

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