Mountain Bike athletes converge at Mammoth Mountain, CA for the USA Cycling National Championships again, in 2016. Riders from all over America put their skills to competition in order to win the stars-and-stripes jersey at the end of each race. Saturday, July 16, was no exception as riders competed in Downhill and Short Track Cross-Country with tight racing and little room for error if it meant winning an event.

Pro Men and Women’s Downhill saw a dry and rough track on Mammoth’s high altitude pumice rock, while the Pro Men and Women’s Short Track Cross-Country course gave racers opportunities for passes despite the tight corners and fast lap times.

Saturday started with the expo opening as riders rolled into the bike park. Mammoth opens shop with plenty of gear for sale.
Saturday started with the expo opening as riders rolled into the bike park. Mammoth opens shop with plenty of gear for sale.

2016 Mountain Bike Nationals - Saturday - Pro DH amp Short Track XC

Gwin scopes out the bottom of the track prior to Saturday s Final.
Gwin scopes out the bottom of the track prior to Saturday's Final.

Riders started the morning out with a practice before lining up for their full speed final runs.
Riders started the morning out with practice before lining up for their full speed final runs.

Luca Shaw cruises through practice smoothly but doesn t quite put it together for the final.
Luca Shaw cruises through practice smoothly, but doesn't quite put it together for the final.

Nationals isn t just all about bringing the racers together. Freeride wizard Cam Zink comes down just outside 10th place today.
Nationals is fair game, you don't have to be a dedicated 'racer' to do well on the track. Freeride wizard Cam Zink comes down just outside 10th place.

Kiran MacKinnon out of Santa Cruz CA rides into 5th place.
Kiran MacKinnon out of Santa Cruz, CA rides into 5th place.

Shane Leslie makes the trip to Mammoth blasts the rocks and leaves a happy guy. 3rd Place for Shane Leslie
Shane Leslie makes the trip to Mammoth, blasts the rocks, and leaves a happy guy. 3rd Place for Shane Leslie.

Style and Speed in the Downhill race. Mitch Ropelato 2nd place.
Style and Speed in the Downhill race. Mitch Ropelato, 2nd place.

Aaron Gwin in the loose Mammoth pumice rock. No problem for Gwin as he finds 10 seconds over Ropelato and wins Pro Men s Downhill.
Aaron Gwin in the loose Mammoth pumice rock. No problem for Gwin as he finds 10 seconds over Ropelato and wins Pro Men's Downhill.

2016 Mountain Bike Nationals - Saturday - Pro DH amp Short Track XC

USA Nationals Mens Pro DH Podium. 1- Aaron Gwin. 2- Mitch Ropelato. 3- Shane Leslie. Mitch s agent as pictured .
USA Nationals Mens Pro DH Podium. 1- Aaron Gwin. 2- Shane Leslie. 3- Mitch Ropelato. (Mitch's agent as pictured).

Wentz out of Reno NV makes the 5th spot in Pro Women s Downhill.
Amanda Wentz, out of Reno NV, makes the 5th spot in Pro Women's Downhill.

Amanda Batty sliding through the bottom chute of the track. Batty keeps it smooth in 4th place - Pro Women Downhill.
Amanda Batty sliding through the bottom chute of the track. Batty keeps it smooth in 4th place - Pro Women Downhill.

Samantha Kingshill second fastest women on the hill with a time of 04 08.3
Samantha Kingshill is young but has speed beyond her years. Kingshill comes down as the second fastest woman on the hill with a time of 04:08.3.

Jill Kitner finding the speed in Saturday morning practice.
Jill Kintner finding the speed in Saturday morning's practice.

Kitner flies into 1st place with a smoking time 03 51.9 making her the 2016 Womens Downhill USA National Champion
Kintner flies into 1st place with a smoking time: 03:51.9, making her the 2016 Pro Women's Downhill USA National Champion.

2016 Mountain Bike Nationals - Saturday - Pro DH amp Short Track XC

2016 USA Nationals Pro Womens Downhill Podium. 1st- Jill Kitner. 2nd- Samantha Kingshill. 3rd- Jacqueline Thomas
2016 USA Nationals Pro Womens Downhill Podium. 1st- Jill Kintner. 2nd- Samantha Kingshill. 3rd- Jacqueline Thomas.

Pro Men Short Track XC line up for the start.
Pro Men Short Track XC line up for the start.

Finsterwald staying toward the front of the pack in the final turn of the course.
Finsterwald staying toward the front of the pack in the final turn of the course.

Howard Grotts pushes forward to the front of the Pro Mens pack to secure a 1st place finish.
Howard Grotts pushes forward to the front of the Pro Men's pack to secure a 1st place finish.

1st- Howard Grotts. 2nd- Todd Wells. 3rd-Russell Finsterwald.
Your Pro Men Short Track XC Podium: 1st- Howard Grotts. 2nd- Todd Wells. 3rd-Russell Finsterwald.

Georgia Gould takes the holeshot out of the start gate for the Pro Women Short Track XC race.
Georgia Gould takes the holeshot out of the start gate for the Pro Women Short Track XC race.

Erin Huck out of Colorado finds passes throughout the track to make her way forward. Georgia Gould stays close.
Erin Huck out of Colorado finds passes throughout the track to make her way forward. Georgia Gould stays close.

Georgia Gould pushes in the final laps of the race to try and keep the top spot.
Georgia Gould pushes in the final laps of the race to try and keep the top spot.

Huck makes a pass in the final turn of the track on the last lap and takes the W for Pro Women Short Track XC. Gould goes into 2nd place.
Huck makes a pass in the final turn of the track on the last lap and takes the Win for Pro Women Short Track XC. Gould goes into 2nd place.

USA National Champion Pro Women Short Track XC Podium 1st- Erin Huck. 2nd- Georgia Gould. 3rd- Kate Courtney.
USA National Champion Pro Women Short Track XC Podium: 1st- Erin Huck. 2nd- Georgia Gould. 3rd- Kate Courtney.

Saturday evening ends with Enduro Practice for tomorrow s race.
Saturday evening ends with Enduro Practice for tomorrow's race.

Riders use evening practice as their last chance to ride the tracks before Sunday s final.
Riders use evening practice as their last chance to ride the tracks before Sunday's final.

That s a wrap on Saturday July 16 s racing for USA Cycling MTB Nationals.
That's a wrap on Saturday July 16's racing for USA Cycling MTB Nationals.

See you on Sunday as we close out another great week at Mammoth.
See you on Sunday as we close out another great week at Mammoth.

View full results here.


MENTIONS: @MammothMountain / @freedjdh



52 Comments

  • + 54
 Mitch gave his gloves,goggles and number plate to are kids. jill gave them her #1 plate pictures with Jill,Gwin and Mitch memories that will last with my daughters for years.
Pretty cool when top named pro gives the time to do stuff like that for young fans keeps there dreams alive
  • + 10
 That's rad
  • - 12
flag WAKIdesigns (Jul 17, 2016 at 15:13) (Below Threshold)
 They got robbed!
  • + 2
 Yeah thats so cool. Kids need role models. Would give you more props if i could. Nice!
  • + 2
 @slowrider73: thanks there still talking about how much fun they had
  • + 16
 Not bad @PhilKmetz. Next year, take the Huffy down. Brakes just slow you down anyway.
  • + 15
 Jill wins by 17 seconds. Is that even fun anymore?
  • + 8
 I dunno... Maybe Gwin could answer that -- he stomped the entire men's category by 10 seconds, which is almost more impressive seeing as how he had a far bigger number of competitors to beat.
  • + 2
 @ambatt: SEVENTEEN SECONDS. Batty! That's nuts!
  • + 3
 I know it is, but withJill's experience level (hello, BMX Olympic medalist? 4x world champ? Years of WC DH?), anything less than 10+ seconds up on the field wouldn't be up to her historic standard of performance. Look at the rest of the field, too -- Jill has more time in pro DH than the next four racers combined. As one of those racers, I watch Jill very carefully, and I look for the reasons she's absolutely crushing the US women's DH scene right now. I could go into the entire list, but I won't, You (and anyone paying attention) already know them all.

But to address my Jill lead vs Gwin lead... 10 seconds up in a stacked pro men's field is a lot worse than 17 seconds up on a field of 8. The performance ratio curve there is astounding, especially when you factor in the same points for Gwin that I made above: years racing pro DH, accomplishments on the world circuit, etc... And Gwin's continued domination over a field is just extraordinary. Jill's? Not so much. It's expected. Even at my closest (less than 12 seconds in 2014), she was still just on a cruiser. Just a thought.
  • + 12
 Did gwin got a fine fast for being too fast? @USAC
  • + 4
 who won the silly fine contest? best golden shower given to a tree award?
  • + 3
 @jrocksdh: Cam Zink and Luca Shaw fined 20 bucks for pissing in the woods. California taxes urine now too.
  • + 10
 Erin Huck? That's a sweet Mtb name
  • + 9
 Gwin with a ten second lead....the dude is unstoppable. Amazing skill that guy has.
  • + 22
 Just goes to show how far ahead the international circuit is. I would like to see Gwin lead the development of US DH racers once he steps back from racing.
  • + 3
 He wants that stars and stripes Jersey
  • + 3
 Aaron must have been taking it easy, he could would have put a much bigger lead on these guys in a WC.
  • + 2
 @jimeg: Gwin already has been. When he was with track he was coaching their development team. Seemed mainly that he took Charlie Harrison under his wing. But I agree with you... Would be cool to see him manage a US team after he hangs it up.
  • + 1
 *Trek* ( damn autocorrect)
  • + 7
 After missing for sometime Mitch looked old at first but hey, welcome back and not bad at all for a 2nd place!
  • + 4
 And he won the dual slalom!
  • + 9
 Aaaaand he won the Enduro too. This was the Weekend of Mitch.
  • + 1
 why was he dropped by specialized?
  • + 1
 @cuban-b: Good question, but we will only come up with conjecture... he wasn't have the most amazing results during his time with Specialized, maybe it was that. Maybe he asked for too much money and wouldn't accept what Specialized was prepared to give him. Maybe he just wanted a break from racing (which is ultimately what happened). Either way, I'm stoked he's back. The dude shreds.
  • + 1
 @ka-brap: that dude absolutely shreds. im a huge fan. and homeboy is ten years younger than me hah! i remember when he left spesh, i read on his website that he was taking a break from racing. probably burnt out. i felt like he could have taken a role similar to Matt Hunter where he's just a sick rider who makes videos and pushes the brand not through racing.
  • + 8
 Why doesn't Jill race WCs full time?
  • + 12
 Because Rachel. Wink
  • + 2
 because $$$
  • + 4
 It's a little bothersome to me that we can't put our best female on a full time schedule for the WC. She's a proven podium finisher on the worlds biggest stage. She really does deserve the backing. Someone step up!
  • + 1
 @rota92: No disagreement. Actually ave talked to her a few times about why she doesn't do more world cups and it sounded like for the most part she just didn't have the $$ backing her to make it worth it. Really sucks because as you said she is a Top 10 WC rider on most any day.
  • + 3
 The older gentleman on the podium is Mike Kelly, Codys dad. Great BMX racer and even better MTB rider.
  • + 1
 Is shane leslies father on the podium? Haha, was looking at fist thinking to myself, man that guy looks old for this crowd.
Doesnt look familiar at all, but if he's up there... damn good job
  • + 1
 No, read the caption, that's Mitch's Manager standing in for him, Shane is on the right.
  • + 2
 @kickstand1: Oh right on man...they must of come back to add some of the captions after the article was first posted.
  • + 1
 @zion-i: I Could post some pics of shane's dad, but I don't think any of us would man crush on him anyway LOL
  • + 1
 Is it just me or is Luca's kit like absolutely amazing? and for those wondering why Gwin is running Maxxis rather than onza, maxxis and onza are basically the same brand
  • + 2
 That's some sneaky sh!t, putting that xc stuff down there below the Gwin show!
  • + 1
 The main XC race was on Friday but I don't see any coverage on Pinkbike. Sad.

It was awesome to watch the DH riders practice coming down the Elevator Shaft right above the turn/start/finish area of the XC course.
  • + 1
 @jfloren: That ain't the main race covered right below the dh stuff?
  • + 4
 Yeah. California!
  • + 1
 great podium steeze expect for one lawwill there...girl doing the superman for some reason.
  • + 1
 What happened to logan bingelli?
  • + 2
 7th I believe, and I think I saw something about him having a mechanical issue in his run
  • + 1
 i was like man that old man was lit
  • + 1
 Why is Gwin running maxxis tires, he is sponserd by onza?
  • + 0
 Glad to see some good racing here in merica.....
  • + 4
 yeah you weren't there...
  • - 1
 Logan finished 3rd???

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