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National Championships

Cross Country Riders Duke It Out for the Stars and Stripes

By: Tom Mahoney  July 08, 2021

On the Final Day Before Pro Competition Begins, Age Groupers Tear Up the Course in Trestle

WINTER PARK, Colo. – Another seventeen racers earned hard-fought national titles on day four of the 2021 USA Cycling Mountain Bike National Championships. The new age group champions ranged from 12 to 54 and came from across the country to compete for the most coveted jersey in the land. Rebecca Howland (Vail, Colo.; Colorado Women's Cycling Project) had one of the best performances of the day after winning the Senior Women 45-49 by over 2-minutes.

Junior Men 11-12 kicked off the day at 7:30 a.m. M.T., contesting four laps of their course. Winner Damiano Rivera de Rosales (Tucson, Ariz.; El Groupo Youth Cycling) took an early lead in the event, completing his first lap in less than seven minutes. He would continue to expand his gap on the rest of the field through the rest of the race. Rivera de Rosales finished his race in a time of 34-minutes and 32-seconds. When asked how it felt to be the new national champion he said “It just feels really incredible. I went to Road Nationals and I got a second, a third, and another second. I would really like to thank my parents and my teammates for supporting me.”

The Junior Women 11-12’s four-lap event was a little closer, with Alexandria Beard (Boise, Idaho; BYRDS) and Delany Meegan (Littleton, Colo.; Avout Racing) staying close through much of the race. However, in the third lap, Beard would turn on the afterburners and put 20-seconds on Meegan. Beard maintained that lead through the remainder of the race, earning her first-ever national title. When asked what was on her mind during the race she said, “I had Hamilton stuck in my head”. She wasn’t going to throw away her shot and ended up having one of the best performances of the day.

In preparation for Friday’s Junior Men 17-18, two qualifier heats were run to narrow the field from 154 to 120. Riders completed two laps of the shortened course, with the top 60 from each moving forward to the final. Ethan Villaneda(Corona, Calif.) would set the tone for the first heat early, going hard from the gun. In the second heat, Toby Hassett(Golden, Colo.; WE Development), Ivan Sippy (Durango, Colo.; Durango Segment 28), and Lasse Konecny(Breckenridge, Colo.; Bear National Team) would race together the entire event, finishing arm-in-arm-in-arm.

The mid-day races were dedicated to women’s events. Chelsea Bolton (Park City, Utah; Stay Park City Cycling) in the Master Women’s 30-34 field would set the fastest time for all of the women competitors today, completing three laps of the course in 1:21:22. In the Master Women 35-39, Jane Marshall (Littleton, Colo.; CTS) took the podium's top step. The Single-speed Women saw Julie Young (Truckee, Calif.; Julie Young Training) stopped the clock at 1:23:19, earning her a new jersey. Former collegiate racer Rebecca Gross (Golden, Colo.; Zero D Racing) would have to sprint it out against Jessica Mullins (Littleton, Colo.; Avout Racing) to claim the title in the Master Women 40-44 race. Gross said “It was one of the best feelings in the world” when asked about how it felt to come across the line in first. Gross will be heading to the Breck Epic and then will look forward to Cyclocross. Gross is also one of the head coaches for GBX Juniors in Golden, Colorado. She mentioned that part of the reason she races so hard is for them. Michelle Dobbs(Denver, Colo.) earned gold in the Senior Women 25-29. And in the Senior Women 19-24, Sierra Sims (Knoxville, Tenn.; CTS p/b Maxxis) took home the win in a time of 1:30:59.

Our Men aged 19-39 took to the course in the afternoon. Ethan Krafft (Prescott Valley, Ariz.; Team High Gear) took the win in the Senior Men 19-24 XC race. He finished the course in a time of 1:39:57. In the Senior Men 25-29 XC race Elliott Baring (Marietta, Ga.; Baring Performance) took the top step after putting over two minutes on second place. The Senior Men 30-34 XC winner Matthew Dockins (Wesley Chapel, Fla.; West Coast Cycling) came all the way from sea level to put on an incredible performance, taking home gold. The last race of the wave were the Senior Men 35-39. Roger Arnell (Farmington, Utah.; Johnson Elite Orthodontics) took the lead from the start and never looked back.

Both Master Men 40-54 and Men’s Single-speed took to the course in the late afternoon to conclude cross-country races for the day. After sitting in third on the first lap, Mitch Westall (Littleton, Colo.; cranked out a solid second, third, and fourth lap to go on to be crowned the Master Men 50-54 XC national champion. Jamey Watson-Yanik(Boise, Idaho.) won gold in the Master Men 45-49 race after beating second by over eight minutes. It was a race to the finish in the Master Men 40-44 race with Nick Gould (Colorado Springs, Colo.) winning gold after a tight race with Cody Peterson (Bend, Ore.).

DH seeding also happened for the Men 55+, Women 50+, and Men’s and Women’s under-14 fields.

Tomorrow will bring more cross country, short track, pro dual slalom, and downhill finals action.