This year mountain bike nationals was once again held at the Northstar-at-Tahoe resort outside of Truckee, California. Northstar provided some excellent and challenging courses at altitudes of 6500 to 8000 feet. The first event was the longer cross country event, which consisted of multiple laps of a six mile course. The first half of the course was basically up the mountain, the second half back down and through some technical rocky sections. Klara Rossouw started the women’s championship race strong and after completing three laps finished an excellent 6th place, just one spot off of the podium. Tim Jenkinson flirted with the top 15 in his championship event and eventually finished a respectable 26th after succumbing to the altitude on the fourth and final lap.
The short track event was held the next morning on a 2-3 minute course that comprised a steep gravel climb, wooded singletrack, a slalom-like descent, and a concrete section through Northstar Village. It was a challenging course for the riders and a great one for spectating. In the women’s championship event, Klara again started strong and moved up into 3rd place before finally finishing on the podium in 4th. Tim had a great ride in his race to finish 14th. Later in the day, Klara raced the mountain cross event, a steep downhill course with huge berms and big jumps. After qualifying in 11th for the quarterfinals, Klara finished 3rd in her first bracket and didn’t move on to the semis. But she put in an excellent effort riding a hardtail cross country bike down a pretty sick course.
At the end of the weekend, MHC finished in 11th place as a team. Not bad for a two person team. The 11th place points we earned vaulted the team’s overall national ranking from 8th to 2nd, just one point shy of 1st place, which is held by SE Conference rival Cumberland University. The national ranking is determined by adding a team’s points from each national championship discipline: track, mountain, cyclocross, and road. With the team’s strongest disciplines–cyclocross and road–still ahead, we’re going to try to claim that top ranking in December after cyclocross nationals.
Looking ahead to next year’s mountain bike championships, the team plans on bringing a much larger squad to the event. We expect mountain bike nationals to be on the east coast next year, so this will make travel and logistics easier too. And with two freshman leading the team, it’s likely there will be quite a few more podium finishes in the future.
Thanks to the team’s sponsors for supporting our efforts to be the best in the nation.