29 September, 2017
This year the USA cycling national mountain bike championships was held at Snowshoe Mountain in West Virginia.
My first time riding the course I thought it was awesome. There were fast downhills, technical single track, and two awesome rock gardens. The bike that I brought with me was a Niner RKT. I've never raced a full suspension bike until about a month before nationals. The Niner was a good choice. It gripped to all the roots and rocks through the single track and it kept me fast and smooth on the downhills.
I had four days to ride the course and get it dialed in before race day. I chose to do the short track race the day before my normal XC race. The short track course was super fast. It had a fun little downhill with a sharp corner and a technical rock garden followed by a steep climb. The race was super fast right off the start. By the 2nd lap I was with one other person with a very small gap. We regrouped and a group of three joined us. Now there were five people fighting for the number one spot on the podium. It was an all out sprint through the whole lap. I ended up coming in 4th place with a very solid race! The 4th place just made me more motivated to try to win the next day in the XC race.
I woke up very early the next day and got everything ready. My race was supposed to be at 8:00 in the morning. I was doing my warmup when suddenly everyone was told that the race was going to be delayed because of a storm. But about an hour later we heard that we would be racing at 9:00. The start of the race was super fast just like the race the day before. I was in the lead group of six through the first lap just sitting in the middle. On the 2nd lap the mud was all moved around and made it almost impossible not to run some of the sections. A small gap was made by one of the guys in our group because of a crash. Everyone tried to pull him back in on the 3rd lap but the mud and the lap traffic of the younger kids made it very difficult. On the last lap it was simply a race for 2nd place. I was in a group of four and it was another full out sprint through the whole lap. I made an attack in the muddiest and hardest section. I made a small gap on my group. The gap lasted a little bit but they pulled me back in and passed me when I crashed into a tree trying to pass a lapped rider. They had a big gap on me but I was determined to close it. I powered up every climb and bombed all the descents. I caught them right before the final climb and was just too tired to continue going as fast as they were. I came through the line in 5th place! It was definitely one of the most exciting races I've ever done. I can't wait to come back next year and race again!