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Sunday, July 21, 2013

Mountain Bike US Nationals 2013

July 20, 2013, Bear Creek resort, PA

Stephen Ettinger National Champion
Across the cycling world mountain bikers are contesting their one-day national championships to crown the national champion in cross country, short track and super-d.  The mountain bike race changes locations every two years encompassing all the diversity the US has to offer mountain bike racers.

Pennsylvania's uniqueness consist of very technically challenging terrain, mostly lots of cabbage-sized rocks sprinkled on the trailed. Locals know this as just a trail, visitors see an impossible series of obstacles that they must learn to navigate before they can race.

The real story is the athletes, as Todd Wells of Specialized puts it, "the same riders always seem to surface to the top no matter what the course is like".  Todd was the favorite going into this event, but a very technical course would have favored Jeremiah Bishop of Sho-Air/Cannondale.  The location and technical, very technical, nature of the trails seemed to give Bishop an obvious advantage, but the governing body of road cycling had the race course re-surfaced to bring it in line with the average western-style course.  Bishop was hoping for rain to come in and make a mess of the course to favor his east coast style riding, but his rain dance efforts were of no use as the rain did come, but the dry course absorbed it overnight.  In the end it was the 90 degree heat and high humidity that played the protagonist.

During the 6-lap race both Bishop and Wells traded off the lead as they distanced themselves from the pack.  Not too far behind were a group containing Mike Broderick, riding a great race, but who flatted out to 8th near the end.

Todd Wells, who is a former national champion, looked like he had command of the race with a healthy lead of near a minute over challenger Bishop.  The humidity was working on the fast charging lead riders though; Todd was suffering and Bishop was suffering.  Their charge off the front at the start was catching up with them.  Meanwhile, back in the main group of followers, StephEttinger had been pacing himself well.  By the 4th lap Steven was close enough to see the dust trails and would soon be sitting in Bishop's then Todd's draft.  That order would not last long before Steven passed and dropped everyone and looked comfortable doing it.
Steven had hoped for a good finish, so a win was not totally unexpected, but he was ecstatic in the light of his celebrity competitors.

1 comment:

  1. Andy - you there? Call me - Paul Noble 770-289-9732