USA Cycling crowned 43 "National Champions" in downhill and dual-slalom disciplines at the 2012 National Championships. You can see their names by clicking here.
There was a similar number of "Champs" crowned at the cross-country nationals a few weeks ago.
This practice is plain ridiculous and an insult to the true champions. Crowning national champions in different age and ability classes diminishes the value and the very ideal of what a true national champion should represent; the best of the best. Instead of celebrating four national champions, a male and female winner of the cross-country and downhill race (we'll talk about the short track, super-D and dual-slalom some other time), USA Cycling fills a double-decker bus with "National Champs" who in some instances bested three or less riders to earn the title. It is a sham and reduces the value of national champion bragging rights. And scanning the gravity results from North Carolina's Beech Mountain event reveals it was not really an event of national scope. The majority of the 43 "National Champs" had a home court advantage.
The solution is to stop calling class winners national champions. They are class champions. USA Cycling should come up with class champion medals and jerseys (we understand they are a business and the nationals rake it in for them), but stop calling these riders National Champions so our greatest American mountain bike racers like Georgia Gould, Sam Schultz, Aaron Gwin and Jacqueline Harmony don't get pushed off the podium by 80 other "Champions."
Let us know what you think about the current mountain bike national champion system. Click here
to send us your opinion.