CROSS-COUNTRY RACERS FIGHT FOR GOLD AT VAIL LAKE

Temecula, California

The chase for UCI points kicked off in Southern California this past weekend, with many of the top American cross-country racers showing up to battle for the wins. The women’s ranks were the toughest, with Kate Courtney, Haley Batten and Gwenalyn Gibson all showing up to race. The men’s ranks were missing Christopher Blevins, who had won the overall title in the Absa Cape Epic a couple of weeks earlier, racing with his teammate Matt Beers. Blevins was reportedly getting ready for the upcoming UCI World Cup season.

MBA’s John Ker was in attendance at the race, shooting photos and talking to the riders. You can see some of his photos below.

The Elite Women leave the starting line with Kate Courtney (3) taking the lead, with Haley Batten (1) on her left, and Gwendalyn Gibson (3) coming out with them.

(Left to right) Quinton Disera (5), Riley Amos (2), Carter Woods (1), and Sean Fincham (6) charge out of the gate in the Elite Men’s race. Carter Woods won the Short Track race two days earlier. 

 

Haley Batten (1) took the lead early, with Gwendalyn Gibson right behind her and Kate Courtney, in third, farther back.

Trek’s Riley Amos took the lead early and held onto it at the finish, coming in 33 seconds ahead of second-place finisher Bradyn Lange, who can be seen in the upper left part of the picture. Bradyn Lange is best known for his gravel racing, but he’s also a fantastic bike-handler who wowed the crowd with his jumping skills during the race action. 

Angel Barron was one of the racers who took flight over the double jumps on the course, on his way to 20th place in the Elite Men’s XC class. 

Former BMX, downhill, and dual-slalom national champion Eric Carter designed the technical sections of the XC course, making sure that the race course was exciting for both the riders and the spectators.

 

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