By Steve Medcroft
The U.S. mountain bike season comes to a close this weekend in Mammoth Mountain, California where for the second year in a row National Championships will be awarded in one-day pro/elite, semi-pro, expert, and junior expert category Downhill, Mountain Cross, Super D, Short Track, Cross Country and Marathon competitions.
Racing starts Thursday with the Marathon National Championship. Held on a 22.5-mile circuit, the three-lap fire road and single-track marathon course climbs 2,716 feet per lap. The men's race will likely be a battle between Chris Eatough (Ellicott City, MD) who won the NORBA National Championship Series and Jay Henry (Avon, Colo.). Henry beat Eatough in two NORBA marathons this season and even led the series at one point but sacrificed a chance at the NORBA series to compete in the Marathon World Championships the weekend of the mandatory NORBA series. In the women's marathon, it will be interesting to see who lines up to challenge two-time NORBA Series Marathon and 2005 U.S. 24 Hours Solo National Champion Monique Sawicki Calimesa, Calif.).
Racing ends Sunday's with Downhill competition. In the men's race last year's top two - Chris Del Bosco (Vail, Colo.), Duncan Riffle (Santa Barbara, Calif.) - should get their most serious challenge from twenty-year old Cody Warren (Haro Racing) who was the highest-placed American in the NORBA series in 2005.
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