America’s New XC and Enduro National Champions
Keegan Swenson & Erin Huck won the Pro XC titles; Cody Kelley and Amy Morrison won the Pro Enduro titles
Winter Park, Colo. – Olympian Erin Huck (Boulder, Colo.; Scott-Shimano-Stans-Arnicare) added the domestic stars and stripes to her resume again this month. Keegan Swenson (Heber City, Utah; Santa Cruz Bicycles) repeated as the Pro Men’s Cross-country Champ. The U23 categories and Junior Women’s Short Track repeated as well. In addition, the gravity riders crowned 14 new National Champions in the Enduro race, including Pro Men’s winner, Cody Kelley (Riverton, Utah) and Pro Women’s winner, Amy Morrison (Carson City, Nev.).
To kick off the endurance events for the day, the Junior Women 15-16 were the first riders to kick up dust at Trestle Bike Park. Maggie Holcomb (Durango, Colo.; Bear National Team) stayed out front of the race with teammate Vida Lopez De San Roman (Sebastopol, Calif.; Bear National Team) and Junior Women 15-16 Cross-country Champ Andie Aagard (Highland, Utah; Spry Cycles) following close behind for the entirety of the race to finish 1-2-3.
The front of the U23 Men’s race was controlled almost entirely by Bear National Team from the start. After lap one, eight of the top ten spots were occupied by Bear National Team, with Riley Amos (Durango, Colo.; Bear National Team) leading the way. Amos, Robbie Day (Evergreen, Colo.; Bear National Team), and Bjorn Riley (Boulder, Colo.; Bear National Team) cemented their spots early, riding in first, second, and third the entire race.
From the start of the U23 Women’s race, Savilia Blunk (Durango, Colo.; Orange Seal) and Madigan Munro (Boulder, Colo.; Trek Factory Racing) jumped out to a quick lead and never looked back. What was a group of two out front after the first lap spread out after Blunk created space on Munro on a downhill section during lap two. Once the space was created, Blunk stayed out front and extended her lead while Munro and Michaela Thompson (Durango, Colo.; Meta by BJC) pulled ahead of the rest of the field. Blunk rode away off the front for her first National Championship while Munro and Thompson took second and third to round out the podium in the U23 Women.
The reigning Pro Men’s champ Keegan Swenson took home another National Championship against a field of 46 after making a decisive move in lap two of four. Russell Finsterwald (Colorado Springs, Colo.; Clif Pro Team) led a dozen riders through lap one before the lead pack spread out. Giant Factory Off-Road Team had an excellent performance with Stephan Davoust (Durango, Colo.; Giant Factory Off-Road Team) and Luke Vrouwenvelder (Charlottesville, N.C.; Giant Factory Off-Road Team) rounding out the UCI podium.
Swenson strategically planned his race and executed it precisely. “It went pretty much according to plan, and I just wanted to kind of settle in that first lap and let someone else do the work. On the second lap, when it got steep to start, I slowly turned it up to the kind of pace that I felt I could kind of ride and hope to open up a gap for the descent and really push that lap. Once I got a gap, I just tried to ride my own pace and keep it smooth and tried to stay on the gas.”
Tokyo-bound Erin Huck took control of the Pro Women’s race from the start line and never relinquished her lead. Former Collegiate National Champion Alexis Skarda (Grand Junction, Colo.; Santa Cruz Bicycles) and reigning Marathon Mountain Bike National Champion Rose Grant (Columbia Falls, MT.; Juliana / SRAM Pro Team) worked hard to pull her back in, but neither could chip away at Huck’s +2:15 final lead.
When asked about how she maintained her lead for the entire race, Huck said, “I know both Alexis (Skarada) and Rose (Grant) are incredibly strong, and they have excellent endurance. Also, you never know what’s going to happen. If I had gotten a flat. I have had some bad luck before, so I didn’t want to ever get comfortable. I was locking out my suspension and out of the saddle on the climbs where I could be. I was just trying to push as hard as I could.”
The Enduro classes kicked off today with the Pro Men and Women leading the pack. After 4 Stages that flowed through the Downhill and XC trails at Trestle Bike Park, Cody Kelley had the fastest time of the day, finishing with a time of 17:25.6 and winning the Pro Men’s National Championships. Kelley was the fastest on every stage, except for the last one on the pro downhill course. Mitch Ropeleto (Ogden, Utah) beat Kelley on the last stage by 5-seconds and rode into the second spot. After Trevor McCutcheon’s (Grand Junction, Colo.) fourth-place finish in last night’s Dual Slalom, he spent the day racing the Enduro and finished with the bronze.
For the Pro Women’s race, Amy Morrison became the back-to-back National Champion. Similar to Kelley, Morrison was the fastest woman on the first three stages. The third-place finisher, Lia Westermann (Salt Lake City, Utah), had the quickest Stage 4 time. The silver medal went to the 2018 National Champion, Porsha Murdock (Bend, Ore.).
The Juniors were crushing it today, with Ainsley Haggart (Durango, Colo.) and Jesse East (Ridgway, Colo.) winning the 15-18 categories for the Women and Men, respectively. The winners in the Master women’s category were Amy Talbot (Gainesville, Fla.) in 30-39, Tara Longnecker (Golden, Colo.) in 40-49, Christine Irelan (Colorado Springs, Colo.) in 50-59, and Ellen Guthrie (Salt Lake City, Utah) in 60+. In the rest of the men’s classes, race winners included Talbott Palmer (Highland, Utah) in 19-29, Harrison Britt (Dillon, Colo.) in 30-39, Petr Hanak (Winter Park, Colo.) in 40-49, Thorn Bickel (Salt Lake City, Utah) in 50-59, and Dennis Foster (Murrieta, Calif.) in 60+.
“I love the tracks. I’ve raced here quite a bit over the years for the Big Mountain Enduros, and I did National Champs two years ago here. The tracks were good. They were a lot better than two years ago actually for the Enduro this year. I had fun riding with some good friends all day, and it was a sweet day from beginning to end. This is my first title. I’ve competed in a lot of National Championships and had a lot of bad luck and subpar performances. It’s been on the bucket list for a long time. So I’m stoked that we could make it happen this year.”
XC WOMEN PRO
You can find the full results HERE.