USA National Championships 2011 - Practice Day 1

Sep 23, 2011
by Ian Hylands  

Words by Jill Kintner, photos by Matt Delorme

US Nationals Practice Photo by Matt Delorme

US Nationals Practice Photo by Matt Delorme

We are deep out here in the mountains of NC. Haven't seen a Beech tree yet, but apparently that's what this mountain is named after. Really nice place, lots of space, all up in your face. Had to make it rhyme, but yeah, black dirt, green grass, changing leaves, mist in the hills, deer frolicking in the forest, it's a hidden gem.


US Nationals Practice Photo by Matt Delorme

US racing has a welcoming feeling. So many friendly faces, who are here for a good time. Know quite a few amateurs these days, the soul of the sport. Like Lil' Phil, Slayed Steve, Fast Freddie, etc.


US Nationals Practice Photo by Matt Delorme

Bunch of industry too. Cane Creek is from North Carolina, so they have a lot to do with this event, Specialized is here, Shimano, SRAM, Fox, GT, Giant, dunno. Few of us took a plane and do not have rigs...


US Nationals Practice Photo by Matt Delorme

This mountain has done a great job. You hardly even notice the size (600 feet - I think from the chairlift). Not steep, but not too flat either. The only part that is crazy is the 70+ yard uphill sprint to the finish. Which sounds horrible, but the last feature is a box jump into the ice skating rink, with grand stands, so it may be awesome at the end to pass out in style. Everywhere else kind of meanders along, pretty wide in the ski fields. Has a Vermont feel actually.


US Nationals Practice Photo by Matt Delorme

There is still a bit of moisture in the soil. Slippery in the woods, rutted out switchbacks with roots popping up, grass, off-camber turns, couple rock gardens, typical east coast. I think everyone I spoke to today had good stuff to say about the track. Most used the phrase "super fun". I only did two runs today, let it bed in a bit and watched. I concur though.


US Nationals Practice Photo by Matt Delorme

US Nationals Practice Photo by Matt Delorme

Speaking of Foos who aren't here. Melissa Buhl, Luke Strobel, Lars, Richie Rude, Eliot Jackson, JD, Chris Heath, Vories, Cierra Smith, Neven- the defending 4x Ntl champ, etc. The fans are missing you guys!


US Nationals Practice Photo by Matt Delorme

On the plus side, we do have some talent here; Gwin, Riffle, Mitch, Cody Warren, Bubba Warren, Neko, Brad Benedict, Keene the American Dream, Logan Bitchin' Bingelli, Kevin Aeillo, Memmellar, Kyle Thomas, Just to name a few.


US Nationals Practice Photo by Matt Delorme

Think 36 starters on the Pro Men"s list so far. 12 for pro women. They wouldn't let Neko race pro cause he's under 19. USA Cycling's rules.


US Nationals Practice Photo by Matt Delorme

US Nationals Practice Photo by Matt Delorme

US Nationals Practice Photo by Matt Delorme

US Nationals Practice Photo by Matt Delorme

US Nationals Practice Photo by Matt Delorme

Chris Herndon built the slalom track too. Nice when someone who knows what they are doing builds a track. It's has all tight corners, good flow, rhythm, some jumps - I really enjoyed it. Was kinda missing Lopes out there, bummer he doesn't attend these events. Mitch will be out there tomorrow though, next generation of gated racing...


2011 USAC MTB Friday


43 Comments

  • 2 0
 This should be a great weekend !!! We have a huge group of us hitting the road in about an hour to head down, this place really is a "hidden gem" and the locals are pretty rowdy !!! I can't wait to see the final feature ... box jump in the middle of the ice skating rink !!! GOOD LUCK TO ALL THE COMPETITORS !!!
  • 2 0
 oh yeah we get rowdy
  • 2 0
 MY MAN !!! Every time we've gone down there we've had such a great time, you guys definitely hold it down and get LIVE ... Our whole crew is sooooo pumped up for the weekend, see you soon !!!
  • 1 0
 i went for quli's and didnt ...that course will work you !!off camber wet roots every where with nasty greasy mud coverd boulders with every bad angle you could ask for you really had to pick your lines well on that day it was raining made it supper hard to put togeather a clean run.had a good time though,i was dissapointed i didnt qualify maby its because you got guys who are pro riding in cat 1 junior...sandbagging
  • 1 0
 there not sandbagging, its usa cycling rules,,,
  • 1 0
 man looking at these times makes me not feel so slow i had a 4.39 i was thinking that was slow but im looking at some of these other times,im sure they added in a sprint section,my run was a quali.in the downpour,i bet they made the course longer for finals.
  • 1 0
 all of us nc locals are really hoping that holding nationals here for two years is going to give our area some publicity. theres some great trails all over the nc mtns but we dont have a park with a lift. Having a legit park in that area would be awesome for so many people that have to drive so far to get to any lift assisted riding. I'll take a 2 hour drive over a 5 hr and day.
  • 1 0
 right iv been screaming the same thing,weve got such great riding with limited access.i think beech is going to change that next year for the people of boone. Smile
  • 4 0
 Good to see some NC on pinkbike.
  • 1 0
 "Cuuuurrrtis Keane The American Dream!" Cracked me up every time they said that on the Crankworks live feed...

Anyone going to bet against Gwinn on this one?
  • 2 0
 I don't know dingus, there are some "sleepers" in the field down there !!! I definitely don't want to bet against Gwin, EVER, but i think he may have his hands full !!!
  • 1 0
 HA, bring it Gwin
  • 1 0
 thank you so much for the update! its hard to believe the lack of coverage on this race compared to the last two years.
  • 1 0
 Yeah USA cycling really doesn't do much to promote it. Not really any photos, results or anything unless you search and beg for them... We'll be relying on whatever we can get to make coverage of this event happen. If anyone is there and wants to email me results of the top 3 or 5 after each race that would be awesome. Let me know thanks!
  • 3 0
 USAC not promoting this? big surprise there
  • 1 0
 The Slalom course is super fun got to ride it a few weeks ago, I'm glad that Chris was able to build it for us.
  • 1 3
 Even if it is a fun track with some challenging sections, it is simply too short to be considered a world class course. A national championships should be held on a World Cup level course if you want it to be legit and prepare your countries athletes for elite competition. I could sorta understand having it there for one year, but you shouldn't have the National Championships on an abbreviated course two years in a row. It's not as bad as the Sea Otter "DH", but it's disappointing because there are so many big mountains in the states.

Nice article, I wish Lopes was there racing slalom too. We know who will win Womens slalom, but will anyone challenge ripp'n Ropellato?
  • 1 0
 there is a 16 year old kid. cody kelly who is killin it. lots of fast guys in the slalom should make for great racing today
  • 1 0
 I 9 is from Western NC as well!!!
  • 1 0
 cool story
  • 2 0
 Just pointing out a great company that they failed to mention in the area.
  • 1 0
 Neko isnt racing pro??? what the hell class is he in?
  • 1 0
 cat 1 junior
  • 3 0
 hahahaha. i feel bed for all the other kids in that group
  • 1 0
 Fast Freddie is the man!!!
  • 1 0
 You didn't go Bob?....But you've taken heckling so far
  • 1 1
 USAC must be desperate to host the Nationals at a resort with only 600ft of vert. Winning times 1:30?
  • 1 0
 other mountains should have stepped up. its going to be there next year too
  • 5 0
 I think people are underestimateing the course. I rode it today and ill tell you, it was far from easy. Especially in the mud. I think its good cause it brings the gravity racing venue to the southeast
  • 3 0
 The course is super fun. The mountain is NOT a problem. I will be back next year for sure
  • 1 0
 Don't knock a course you haven't seen or rode. Herndon used everybit of elevation they had to offer. I rode both courses, and even though there are other mountains with more vertical drop in the east, the courses were both "super fun" with many line choices a proper DH course should have. I was doubtful at first too, but let me tell you it was some of the best riding I had all year.
  • 1 0
 deffinatly had a blast im stoked to see the sport getting to n.c.
  • 1 0
 Rad- Kintner highlight of day one!
  • 1 0
 Nice pics, like the roots.
  • 1 0
 Good job to our local boys! Dave Huff, snappin' necks and cashing checks!
  • 1 1
 Looks like a flat pedalling corse nc style. Should have had this race at a real mt like plattekill.
  • 1 1
 Is Richie Rude about for this? He should be right up there...
  • 2 0
 If you read the words your answer is there...
  • 3 0
 But the words make my eyes hurt!!
  • 1 0
 duplicate
  • 1 0
 GO LIL' PHIL!!!!!!!!!!!!

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