Newly-crowned under 23 women's cross country US national champion Jill Behlen (Tokyo Joe's) is looking forward to representing her country at the world championships in Champery, Switzerland in September. She automatically qualified for a place on the US national team by winning the title race in Sun Valley, Idaho, on Friday morning.
"I get to go to Switzerland, I'm so excited," said Behlen. "The courses in Europe are so fun. I did a junior / under 23 camp a few years ago and got to race there a little a few years ago."
On a sunny afternoon during the US mountain bike national championships, Behlen was enjoying her first national title after eight years of racing.
"I've been going to nationals for awhile - even racing many times at junior nationals - but this is my first jersey. I'm so excited to finally get the jersey."
The 20-year-old from Boulder, Colorado, is a second-year U23 racer and also a molecular biology student at the University of Wyoming in Laramie. She also races collegiately.
She called her title-winning race perfect. "I had no mechanical issues. That climb was hard. The last time up, I was so glad I was almost done."