Courtesy of USA Cycling. Photos by Philip Beckman.
Kate Courtney (Kentfield, Calif./Specialized Factory Racing) and Cypress Gorry (Brevard, N.C./Whole Athlete-Specialized Cycling Team) wasted no time collecting the U23 cross-country national titles on Thursday in Mammoth Mountain, Calif., claiming the first two Stars-and-Stripes jerseys of Day 2 at the 2015 USA Cycling Mountain Bike National Championships.
Courtney dominated the women’s U23 field, crossing in 1:21:02, more than five minutes ahead of the field. Shayna Powless (Roseville, Calif.) picked up silver in 1:26:08, followed by Emily Shields (Advance, N.C./Stan’s NoTubes p/b Proferrin) in 1:28:46 for bronze.
It was Courtney’s 10th national championship win.
“I always want to ride in as hard as I can. I never try to let up on the last lap,” Courtney said. “Definitely on the last lap I was very cautious. There’s a lot of slick corners, loose dirt out there, and I wanted to make sure a crash didn’t get in the way of that.
“It’s an incredibly important race for me, particularly because it means I get to rock the Stars-and-Stripes during the rest of the World Cups, which is always a huge honor and really exciting.”
In a much tighter U23 men’s race, Gorry and Sepp Kuss (Durango, Colo./LiVe Well p/b Bountiful Bicycle) broke away from the 37-man field early, riding together until midway through the fifth and final lap. Gorry attacked on one of the final climbs, managing to lose Kuss in the process. He pulled away to a 1:27:12 victory, 1:17 ahead of Kuss’ 1:28:29 finish. Stephan Davoust (Durango, Colo./Giant Southwest Racing) picked up bronze in 1:29:42.
Gorry, a four-time collegiate national champion, took his first U23 title with Thursday’s win.
“When I came onto the single track at the top, it kind of turns back and I looked back and I could see that Sepp hadn’t made it on to the single track yet,” said Gorry. “I knew (that if I) just kept it smooth from there, I’d have it.”
More cross-country champions were crowned on the day, as junior men’s and women’s 11-12, 13-14, 15-16 and 17-18 divisions competed into the early evening.
Downhill action commenced Thursday with the Category 2 and 3 men’s and women’s 15-49 divisions. There, 21 gold medals were claimed.
Professional and amateur dual slalom qualifications were also held Thursday. Dual slalom competition begins at 2:30 p.m. today.
The competition reaches its midpoint today with competition in men’s and women’s professional short track cross-country, Category 1 men’s 19-35 and women’s 19-49 cross-country, men’s and women’s single speed cross-country and 12 dual slalom divisions.
For a complete schedule, results, course maps and photo galleries, please visit the event web site. If you can’t make it out for the event, follow all of the action on Twitter using the hashtag #MTBNats.