Friday, July 6, 2012

USA Cycling nationals kick into gear

River Run is staging area


On Thursday, more than 1,000 of the country's preeminent mountain bike cross-country riders ranging in age from 10 to 70-plus began competing for Stars-and-Stripes jerseys at the 2012 USA Cycling Mountain Bike Cross-Country National Championships in Ketchum and the Sun Valley Resort.

Serving as the centerpiece of the nine-day Ride Sun Valley Bike Festival, the national championships conclude Sunday, July 8. Staging area is River Run Lodge at the bottom of Baldy's River Run drainage.

There are several new aspects differentiating this event from previous mountain bike cross-country national championships.

For the first time, para-cyclists—two-wheeled and handcyclists—competed in Thursday's short track cross-country race. Also, a $1,000 cash purse has been added to each of the professional men's women's cross-country races.

Among those contesting the pro races are the four riders named to the 2012 U.S. Olympic Mountain Bike Team—Lea Davison (Jericho, Vt./Specialized Racing), Georgia Gould (Fort Collins, Colo./Luna Pro Team), Sam Schultz (Missoula, Mont./Subaru-Trek) and Todd Wells (Durango, Colo./Specialized Racing).

Local riders include defending women's singlespeed national champion Rebecca Rusch (Specialized).

The amateur cross-country course presented by Zions Bank has completely changed.

No longer using the Bald Mountain climb, the route takes riders up on Cold Springs and around the mountain. The finish is the same as the course winds back to River Run with the rock drop section remaining in the course. Riders will start with a short one-mile start loop in the River Run base area before making one large loop, traversing more than 18 miles.

The short track cross-country course presented by BNSF Railway is unchanged from 2011. The Super D course is largely the same as 2011 with some minor tweaks.

( Friday's racing features the juniors and U-23 men and women competing in cross-country starting at 9 a.m.

( On Saturday, Men's Category 1 age group cross-country races, including the men's singlespeed contest, begin at 8 a.m. Women's category 1 age group and singlespeed contests start at 10:45 a.m. Pro women compete for Stars-and-Stripes jerseys starting at 1:45 p.m. before the pro men at 4 p.m.

( All of the Super Downhill races begin Sunday at 9 a.m. before the national event concludes with short track cross-country races.




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