US MTB Nationals - Dual Slalom Action

Jul 22, 2017 at 5:21
by Jay Schultz  


Just a few minutes after the noon hour on Friday, the skies opened up and dumped some serious precipitation on the US MTB Nationals, forcing a complete shutdown of all events on the mountain. USAC called a Dual Slalom racers meeting at 3:15 p.m. where the racers would decide to get the event in the books as scheduled at 5:45 p.m. or attempt to allow the track to dry overnight and hold it first thing in the morning on Saturday. The issues: there was no promise that the weather would cooperate during the night hours with more rain possible and wet clay isn't the best for drying out. Track conditions, regardless of a Friday or Saturday start, would be less than ideal and a Saturday morning push meant an overlap in those also practicing for Downhill. After some discussion that lasted about 15 minutes, the vote was overwhelming to stay on schedule. So, off we go... it happens now.

Terri Watts the 2017 Pro Women s Enduro Champion and Rachel Strait came out to catch the DS action. No doubt that Rachel was hoping Kyle would keep Mitch from taking another DS title.
  Terri Matthews Watts, the 2017 Pro Women's Enduro Champion, and Rachel Strait came out to catch the slalom action. No doubt that Rachel was hoping Kyle would keep Mitch from taking another dual slalom title.

Trey Rush doing some quick work on the only section that seemed to be rutting up on the blue lane about mid-way down. Considering all the heavy rain that blew in a few hours before limited amount of sunshine in the late afternoon and some of the skepticism that was voiced in the 3 15 p.m. meeting conditions were all that bad.
  Trey Rush doing some quick work on the only section that seemed to be rutting up on the blue lane about mid-way down. Considering all the heavy rain that blew in a few hours before, a limited amount of sunshine in the late afternoon, and some of the skepticism that was voiced in the 3:15 p.m. meeting, conditions weren't all that bad.

and Trey Rush Snowshoe Trail Crew getting some valued input on course conditions from Luca Cometti.
   Trey Rush, Snowshoe Trail Crew, getting some valued input on course conditions from Luca Cometti.

Jill Kintner was definitely the favorite in Pro Women. Would anyone have enough
  Jill Kintner was definitely the favorite in Pro Women. Would anyone have enough?

Just a bit too high Nate. It didn t end well and he took a tumble re-aggravating an injury from a few days earlier during DH practice. He was limping off the course and took a minute to collect himself with dad at his side but did push up the course to keep it going.
  Just a bit too high Nate. It didn't end well and he took a tumble during warm ups re-aggravating an injury from a few days earlier during DH practice. He was limping off the course and took a minute to collect himself with his dad at his side, but did push up the course to keep it going.

The dual slalom venue was damp but held up well despite heavy rains earlier in the day.
  The dual slalom venue was damp but held up well despite heavy rains earlier in the day.

Dylan Conte left and Tommy Zula right in their first bracket. Tommy would advance to round two facing Mitch.
  Dylan Conte (left) and Tommy Zula (right) in their first bracket. Tommy would advance to round two facing Mitch.

Luca Cometti out dueled Kyle Strait for the bronze medal.
  Luca Cometti out dueled Kyle Strait for the bronze medal.

Nathan St. Clair dominated the Cat 1 Jr. category winning every single run on his march to the gold medal.

Nathan St Clair is quick in everything he does. He took the top spot in Juniors and watch for him to go for the same on Saturday in Junior Downhill as well. Congrats buddy
  Nathan St Clair is quick in everything he does. He took the top spot in Juniors and watch for him to go for the same on Saturday in Junior Downhill as well. Congrats buddy!

Lia Westermann tucks over the step down just before the finish. She would face Arielle Verhaaren for the Bronze with Arielle taking the last spot on the podium.
  Lia Westermann tucks over the step down just before the finish during her battle with Arielle Martin-Verhaaren for the bronze.

After losing narrowly to Caroline Washam in the semis Arielle Martin-Verhaaren topped Lia Westermann to win the bronze medal.
  After losing narrowly to Caroline Washam in the semi's, Arielle Martin-Verhaaren topped Lia Westermann to win the bronze medal.

North Carolina s Caroline Washam didn t quite have enough to edge out Jill. Silver ain t all that bad when going up against a legend like Jill Kintner.
  North Carolina's Caroline Washam didn't quite have enough to edge out Jill. Silver ain't all that bad when going up against a legend like Jill Kintner.

Defending champion Jill Kintner beat Caroline Washam for the gold medal. Washam kept it close in run one losing by only .4-second but Kintner put the hammer down on run two to seal another victory for the most successful bike gate racer in U.S. history.
  Defending champion Jill Kintner beat Caroline Washam for the gold medal. Washam kept it close in run one, losing by only 0.4 of a second but Kintner put the hammer down in run two to seal another victory for the most successful bike gate racer in U.S. history.

Jill Kintner was all smiles after winning the dual slalom championship.
  Jill Kintner was all smiles after winning the Dual Slalom Championship.

The semis with Mitch Ropelato and Kyle Strait was great to watch. Two legends going head to head with everything they had in the gasser.
  The semi's with Mitch Ropelato and Kyle Strait were great to watch. Two legends going head to head with everything they had in the gasser.

Mitch Ropelato would take out Kyle Strait in a great semifinal round and face Joseph Foresta in finals.
  Mitch Ropelato would take out Kyle Strait in a great semifinal round and face Joseph Foresta in finals.

After getting nipped at the line by Joey Foresta in the first run of the finals round defending champion Mitch Ropelato came back strong in the second run to take the gold medal.

Another year another Dual Slalom title for Mitch Ropelato. Congrats
  Another year, another Dual Slalom title for Mitch Ropelato. Congrats!

The 2017 DS National Champions Jill Kintner Pro Women and Mitch Ropelato Pro Men.
  The 2017 DS National Champions, Jill Kintner Pro Women and Mitch Ropelato Pro Men.

9 Comments

  • + 14
 Thanks for the DS coverage! I have always loved DS. It's great for racers and spectators. It's disappointing to see such a low turnout.
  • + 4
 I agree. Super fun courses, and way better as a spectator sport than enduro. Ripping berms, whats not to like?
  • + 6
 No love for Joey Foresta in the coverage! Kid got 2nd place and is only 15 years old! Congrats Joey!
  • + 1
 Totally. Was close to winning, too!
  • + 4
 Could USAC put this after DH so they could possibly get more riders to compete?
  • + 1
 I think the bigger issue is cost, if you want to get 6 hours of practice for dh (which is equal to one day) before seeding you end up paying around $200. Then you add in that slolam prices are similar. So anyone paying out of pocket, expecially for the whole trip (just shy of 7 days) is going to be a bit hesitant.
  • + 3
 PB I am sure there are more than a few of us that would like to see more coverage, as well as some bike tech articles!
  • + 1
 More ds coverage!
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