Early Morning in the Colorado Rockies, on the biggest day for an XC racer on American soil...
This is the National Championships, and riders came from all over America to race the high altitude trails at Winter Park.
In the Junior and U23 categories, the racing is serious but the vibe among the racers is definitely more laid back than what you see in the older categories.
Junior women 17-18 getting ready for the 8am start.
Madeline ROBBINS (301) from Durango, CO with the stars and stripes number plate as defending National Champion.
Sydney NIELSON from Rouleur Devo p/b DNA Cycling climbs "Green World", with 13391 ft. Parry Peak in the background.
Ada URIST (905) from Boulder Junior Cycling had reason to smile - she would finish in the bronze medal position.
Lauren LACKMAN (326) from Wausau, WI followed by Abigael CARRON (306) from Boulder Junior Cycling riding up "Green World". They would go on to finish 5th and 6th, respectively.
Shelby KAWELL (323) carves the aptly named "Cross Country Revival" singletrack trail at nearly 10,000ft of elevation.
Anna KATNIK (322) from Boulder Junior Cycling smiles as she finally gets to the downhill section of the course.
Opal KONING (325) on a downhill switchback on "Cross Country Revival"
Lauren LOPEZ (328 ) of Mission Viejo, CA in the morning light.
The battle of the climbers: Madeline ROBBINS and Madigan MUNRO (332) Boulder Junior Cycling created a huge gap on the rest of the field. They would sprint it out for the win, with Madeline ROBBINS repeating as National Champion, and Madigan MUNRO claiming the silver medal.
Jazlyn SMITH (34
of Breckinridge, CO and Kennedy SCOTT (345) of Castle Rock, CO swooping through the singletrack on "Lower Green World."
Haley RANDEL of Mill Valley, CA on the rock garden section above the dual slalom course. She would finish strongly in 4th place.
The battle of the descenders: Madeline ROBBINS (301) and Madigan MUNRO (332) rode neck and neck the entire race.
Anja JENSEN (320) of Summit Bike Club on the long climb up "Green World". She went on to finish 12th.
Josephine RAMIREZ (339) of Afton, MN passes above a switchback on Cross Country Revival.
Sage DAVIS (309) of Durango, CO through the dusty braking bumps that got even more blown out as the day wore on.
The Junior 17-18 Men's category featured some heavy hitters from all across America - but it would be the Colorado racers who topped the results sheet as they took the first 4 positions.
Remember the name: Riley AMOS. The Bear Development Team rider of Durango, CO led the field of very talented juniors from start to finish to win the coveted Stars and Stripes jersey.
Quinn FELTON (436) of the Bear Development Team takes the fast route down "Upper Cherokee"
Payton ANDERSEN (227) of Draper, UT on the Green World climb.
Nathan DAVIS (425) of Marina, CA on Cross Country Revival.
Robbie DAY (426) of Evergreen, CO / Racer X Cycling/ColoBikeLaw ripped the descents to get a well deserved second place.
Chase CAUGHEY (420) of Canton, OH skipped over the rocks on Upper Cherokee at full speed on his hardtail with straight seatpost. Respect.
Looking down over Fraser, CO.
Pictures do not do it justice. Devin DEBRUHL (187) leads Gabe NOORDA (52
up a steep uphill switchback on Green World.
By the last lap, the rough downhills started to take their toll. Rider 188, Braden O'FARRELL tries to relieve some pressure from his hands as he leads Kyson MONTAGUE (485) on the final singletrack before the finish.
Jack ODRON (317) rides past the Aspen trees on his way to the finish.
The smooth turns and dozens of smooth jumps on Lower Cherokee were a huge favorite with the riders.
Zachary HAMADEH (449) of Duxbury, MA about to hit top speed.
Mark DUNCAN (529) of Shingle Springs, CA linking the jumps and turns.
Skye RICCI (500) of Bear Development squad about to send it on Lower Cherokee.
Nye YACKLE (243) of Carson City , NV on the fast downhill section of Lower Cherokee
Aidan DUFFY (429) lets the big wheels roll as he chased down a top 20 finish.
Kye CORDES (423) of Lawton, OK and the rest of the juniors came to party!
Junior women 17-18 Top 5:
1st. Madeline ROBBINS (301) Durango, CO 1:19:39 Bear Development Team
2nd. Madigan MUNRO (332) Boulder, CO 1:19:40 Boulder Junior Cycling
3rd. Ada URIST (905) Boulder, CO 1:23:26 Boulder Junior Cycling
4th. Haley RANDEL (340) Mill Valley, CA 1:25:27 Bear Development Team
5th. Lauren LACKMAN (326) Wausau, WI 1:25:48
Junior men 17-18 Top 5:
1st. Riley AMOS (406) Durango, CO 1:30:42 Bear Development Team
2nd. Robbie DAY (426) Evergreen, CO 1:32:24 Racer X Cycling/ColoBikeLaw
3rd. Bjorn RILEY (501) Boulder, CO 1:32:29 Bear Development Team
4th. Nolan JENKINS (287) Colorado Springs, CO 1:32:30 Rouleur Devo p/b DNA Cycling
5th. Brennon PETERSON (493) Sandy, UT 1:32:31 Rouleur Devo p/b DNA Cycling