USA Nationals weekend recap

Jul 20, 2009 at 14:14
Jul 20, 2009
by Tyler Maine  
 
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Source: Long Nguyen

The USA Nationals were this past weekend at the Sol Vista bike park in Colorado and everyone was there. Long Nguyen from Albuquerque was on hand and put together some daily coverage for everyone to enjoy. Here are all the pics and details from the start of practice right through to the awards on Sunday.

Enjoy the coverage and all the great pics inside,

Day 1-


The USA Cycling Mountain Bike National Championships kicked off today at Sol Vista in Granby Colorado. Riders trickled in at all hours of the night from around the country. The organizers at Sol Vista had a treat for all the riders, adding features such as 6ft drop start gates and dragon backs (Originated from Super Cross) on the 4X track and a pro only downhill track featuring gaps that will make most riders think twice.


Many of the riders took it easy today trying to figure out lines on the DH and 4X courses. The event will be hosting some of the fastest riders in the United States this weekend, the grab for National Champ is anyone’s game.



Day 2-

Today was another beautiful day in Granby Colorado at Sol Vista Bike Park. Pro Practice was supposed to start at 9AM (MST) but was pushed back to 10:30 for minor track maintenance. The lift lines started to fill up while it came down to practice time. The pro men looked faster today after figuring out their lines. The Sol Vista sand definitely made for a loose dusty track (couldn’t see while I was shooting, too dusty), but didn’t seem to faze the riders. Luckily today the 30ft, 40ft, and 50ft (give or take) jumps didn’t take a toll on any riders. There were some good bar humps by Steve Wentz and Aaron Gwin and good styling by Kyle Strait and Ducan Riffle.

David Zeigman coming down for practice

David Zeigman coming down for practice

Kyle Strait making it look easy all day

Kyle Strait making it look easy all day

Duncan Riffle focused on one thing this weekend.

Duncan Riffle focused on one thing this weekend.

Griz hauling over the rock garden

Griz hauling over the rock garden

Mike Kreger having fun as always.

Mike Kreger having fun as always.

First of Three doubles

First of Three doubles

Steve Wentz bar humping for Sol Vista Bike Park

Steve Wentz bar humping for Sol Vista Bike Park

Aaron Gwin styling it out haha.

Aaron Gwin styling it out haha.


After Pro DH practice the riders had a 2 hour break and then headed over to the mountain cross track. Many of the pros took it easy during practice, but still looking strong for tomorrow’s finals. Tomorrow’s finals will be held at night under the dark sky and bright generating lights. The title for U.S. National Champion Ship is up for grabs with no guarantee finalist because of the technicality of the track.

Eric Carter not having issues with the dragons back

Eric Carter not having issues with the dragons back

Yeti boys checking out practice

Yeti boys checking out practice

16 Year old Mitch Ropelato looking like a contender this weekend

16 Year old Mitch Ropelato looking like a contender this weekend

A Jamis rider taking line three of two to the finish

A Jamis rider taking line three of two to the finish

Griz looking comfortable on the 4X course

Griz looking comfortable on the 4X course

Chris Boice with the MILLION DOLLAR smile (quote by Mike Kreger haha)

Chris Boice with the MILLION DOLLAR smile (quote by Mike Kreger haha)


P.S. I would like to congratulate all the CAT 2 and 3 Mountain Cross National Champions.



Day 3-

Another day down and one left to go. The day started out with a CAT 2/3 Downhill. Congratulations to all champions. Pro Downhill soon followed with practice going smoothly as ever. Riders were comfortable with their lines even though the Sol Vista sand made it loose and dusty.


After all the downhill races and practice were done for the day, CAT 1 and Pro men and women prepared for mountain cross finals underneath the lights. The riders worked their way up the mountain for a short practice, which was shortly followed by qualifying. The pro men mountain cross class was stacked with some of the best riders from around the country.

The USA Cycling officials decided to not allow the pro men to use the 6ft high start gate drop due do some circumstances (we'll leave it at that). Even with the change of the pro starting gate, qualifying began and 16 year old Mitch Ropelato qualified 1st in pro men and set the bar high. The other riders knew that the young gun rider had a lot of talent underneath his belt and he was not to be underestimated. Jill Kintner was also your woman’s number 1 qualifier followed by World Champ Melissa Buhl. Jill Kintner has been looking strong all weekend showing her strengths and her ability to jump the obstacles on the mountain cross course.


The pro qualifying was done and the results were out. All there was to do was wait for the sun to go down and the lights to come on. Pro Mountain cross was set to start promptly at 8:30PM and the riders waited anxiously at the top of the hill to get the show on the road. When the time came to and the gate dropped it was game time for the riders. The track was nice and loose making falling a higher percentage. The passing was rough and there was no real clean way to pass. You had to get nice, close and have some balls to attempt a pass. The riders did whatever it took to win. Some were successful and many not so lucky. Even though it was freezing outside, the crowd gave their support and were going crazy during 4X finals thanks to the riders putting in great efforts.


Overall the night went well. No one got hurt and the riders put on a great show.

In pro men and women Mitch Ropelato and Jill Kintner are your new 2009 U.S. National Cycling Champions in Mountain Cross. With another day down there is one more to go with pro downhill tomorrow.




Day 4-

Sunday morning came quick this weekend and it was a quite one. Pro qualifying and finals were soon to come and the riders were focused on only one goal. The weather looked questionable with heavy grey clouds coming in with a possibility of a down poor. Many hoped for some rain to help with the track conditions but soon the clouds opened up right when qualifying was to begin.


I soon worked my way up to the top of the mountain just before qualifying. When I arrived to the top of the mountain many of the riders kept to themselves and only a few talked to one another. Qualifying started promptly at 11:30AM and 120 pro men were registered to race. After an hour and half of qualifying the results were in.

Pro Woman Qualifying:

1.Melissa Buhl
2. Rachel Bauer
3. Katie Holden
4. Kathy Pruitt
5. Lisa Myklak
6. Darian Harvey
7. Jacqueline Harmony
8. Stephanie Leonard
9. Jennifer Whale
10. Michelle C Rivera

Pro Men Qualifying:

1. Aaron Gwin
2. Duncan Riffle
3. John Sawnguen
4. Joey Schusler
5. Kyle Strait
6. Geritt Beytagh
7. Evan Turpen
8. Curtis Keene
9. Shaun Palmer
10. Luke Strobel

At 1:30PM the lift lines started to get long with pro men and women riders making their way to the top of the mountain. Soon after spectators worked their way up the mountain to claim their spot on the hill. Many made their way to the 50+ jump. Pro women were set to go first and when the clock struck 2PM the first rider was on course. Jennifer Wolf was the first pro woman down the hill, and then soon it trickled down and down. Many of the women riders are jumping the big 30ft, 40ft, and 50+ foot jumps. Which was going to be the big play in the top pro women results.


After the pro women was done the pro men were now on course. 91 riders were set to go for finals and all of them had one thing in mind. The pro men were looking fast but when the top 20 started to trickle the times started to get faster. The track definitely took its toll on some riders with few falling on course, on the big jump or just a flat tire. Duncan Riffle was your second place qualifier and after his final run he was now sitting in the hot seat, which JD Swanguen was in right before Duncan Riffle put in a clean run. Now every one waits for the last rider to come down. The crowed started to go crazy when Aaron Gwin came out on to the bottom section. They were screaming for the talented young American rider and he was looking fast and pinned, but was it good enough?


The results are official and the 2009 U.S. National Cycling Championships in pro downhill go to Melissa Buhl and Aaron Gwin. Congratulations to them and all the riders who participated.

Stoked and calling friends about the win!

Stoked and calling friends about the win!



The day was over and it was time to pack up my things and head home. I had a long 8 hours home and it was close to 5PM. Congratulations to all 2009 champs and till next year.

Pro Men Results

1 Aaron Gwin 02:11.7 Yeti Fox Factory
2 Duncan Riffle 02:13.9 DRR / Giantnerd
3 John Swanguen 02:15.7 Intnese/Troy Lee Designs/ODI/Fox Racing
4 Cody Warren 02:16.9 Specialized Team America
5 Joey Schusler 02:16.9 Yeti Fox National
6 Geritt Beytagh 02:16.9 Morewood Bikes USA
7 Luke Strobel 02:17.6 Maxxis / Rocky Mountain
8 Kyle Strait 02:18.0 Specialized Team America
9 Michael Sylvestri 02:18.0 Santa Cruz Allride Academy
10 Curtis Keene 02:18.5 Specialized / Sram
11 Scott Papola 02:19.0
12 Shaun Palmer 02:19.9 Intense/SRAM/Monster
13 Cole Bangert 02:21.6 Sram / Specialized
14 Mark Clemens 02:22.3
15 Jason Memmelaar 02:22.7
16 Will Collins 02:23.0 Jett MTB
17 Kain Leonard 02:23.5 Crested Butte Mountain Sports Team/TLD
18 Mike Kreger 02:24.0 Sol Vista Bike Park
19 Ryan Sutton 02:24.1 Me
20 Sean McClendon 02:24.1 X-Fusion/Intense

Pro Women Results:

1 Melissa Buhl 02:41.1 KHS Bicycles
2 Kathy Pruitt 02:41.2 Jamis
3 Lisa Myklak 02:47.8 Fox Racing Shox
4 Jacqueline Harmony 02:52.6 Vixen Racing/Loeka/All Mountain Cyclery/
5 Katie Holden 02:55.3 Specialized
6 Darian Harvey 02:59.9 Cannondale Factory Racing
7 Rachel Bauer 03:01.1 Banshee / Poison Spider Bikes
8 Jennifer Wolf 03:19.0 Vixen Racing
9 Jennifer Whalen 03:19.3 Jenxracer.com
10 Stephanie Leonard 03:21.7 Crested Butte Mountain Sports Team
11 Julie Olsen 03:53.1 Recycle Ski and Sport / Standard Process
12 Connie Misket 03:58.7 Velo Bella Ellsworth
13 C Michelle Rivera 04:11.9 Steven K Sports and Design


Talking about what it takes to win, enter the new guard.

Talking about what it takes to win, enter the new guard.


View Long's US National Album Here.
pictureboy.pinkbike.com
www.Longnguyenphotography.com
http://www.flickr.com/photos/longnguyenphotography/
Must Read This Week









31 Comments

  • + 1
 The 4x course was just so much fun!! Offered alot of opportunity for passing and excitement. I won my class in 4x. Cat 2 30-39 and I'm super stoked, but I'm bummed that we didn't get jerseys like Gwinn and Buhl have on. We got some red/white/black jersey with off colored stars on them. LAME. But It's cool that I get to be National Champ for a year.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 It took me a second glance to realize that's Palmer in the last pic! He looks more refined these days than the old clown setup with a beer in hand boosting out of Stratton's pipe. Way to go bro, keep killing it!
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Hey all the photogs out there. Looking for pics of me and the Gooseman racing in Cat 1 DH. Plates 1376 & 1377, bright orange bikes and helmets, can't miss 'em Eek

Thanks in advance!
[Reply]
  • + 2
 Please tell me theres vid of that 4X start??????? Thats pure pucker power at its best, Balls for miles and miles indeed.
  • + 2
 There should be practice vid, they didn't use it for the race.
  • - 6
 the gate was shit that's why they didn't use it. there was no distance between the gate and the drop so if you took even just one crank you'd land flat. and the rest of the track was a joke!
  • + 2
 So wrong. They didn't use it cause they were not allowed by the USAC ruling. Be sure to read up before, saying things that are not true.
  • + 2
 ya skierdud89 the gate start was shut down by the officials not because the riders didnt like it.. also it was shut down like the day of racing which nobody was happy about.. read the article on litter mag
  • + 1
 vids at littermag.com
  • + 2
 Actually, they shut it down because the riders with a bmx background didn't think it was fair. They can say whatever they want as an official statement, but I was standing right there when they were talking about it.
  • + 1
 thanks knife, someone was also in the loop. anyone else in the loop would also know that the gate was never tested prior to the weekend, all they said was, "It'll work" but don't listen to me I'm just saying things that aren't true even though I was there.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Awesome report. Stoked on the news.........Strobel will get this race someday. Bad ass Palmer was even there......2 races in, what's next for Shaun?
  • + 1
 bang on result for shauny!! cmon!!!!! looks like a great event, nice pics also
[Reply]
  • + 1
 did anyone see the kid in all white in cat 2 4x? no gear, saged pants, dj bike, and no chain and he still won i think. insane.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Video of men's DH finals here on Pinkbike: http://www.pinkbike.com/video/88961/
[Reply]
  • + 3
 sick pictures there Razz
  • + 2
 and sick results haha
  • + 0
 such a fun week!! tons of ppl bikes and racing!! i got 5th in my category.. congrats to all winners
  • + 1
 fuck yeah palmer! 12th place. thats pretty damn good for being off the race scene for like ten years.
[Reply]
  • + 2
 Great article Long and the pics are sweet! Congrats to all the racers!
  • + 1
 Hey Thanks Tyler. Thanks for putting everything together.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Go Palm. He is good for the sport and looking fwd to seeing him on top of the podium soon.
[Reply]
  • + 2
 not a bad result for palmer, see what the world cups in canada bring!
[Reply]
  • + 1
 NICE 9th place finish in the DH MIKE!!!!!!
[Reply]
  • + 1
 maaaaddd i love the big doubles their awesome i'd like to hit them up
[Reply]
  • + 1
 I was there! It was so dope!
[Reply]
  • + 1
 it was awsome the 4x was so much fun
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Sol Vista looks like alot fun this year.
[Reply]

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