By Sue George
The 2007 USA Cycling Mountain Bike National Championships are scheduled for July 17-22 at Mount Snow Resort in West Dover, Vermont. In part thanks to sponsor X-Fusion USA, US$20,000 will be on the line as prize money for the podium finishers in the pro men's and women's cross country, downhill, short track cross country and dual slalom competitions. Over 2,000 competitors are expected to compete across beginner, sport, expert, semi-pro and professional categories for national titles in Olympic-style cross country, short track cross country, downhill, dual slalom, super D, observed trials and singlespeed cross country.
Mount Snow has been hosting world-class mountain bike events for 19 years including World Cups and NMBS stops. However, this weekend will mark the first the venue hosts a stand-alone national championship event since USA Cycling introduced the format in 2004.
Look for some exciting racing this weekend. In this pre-Olympic year, the domestic competition has been hot and heavy. On the women's side, defending national cross country champion Georgia Gould (Luna) will be looking to keep the stars and stripes jersey for another year.
"I'm excited about racing at Mount Snow this year. I've improved a lot on the roots and rocks and wet," said Gould to Cyclingnews. When I started (racing) in Idaho, I had none of that experience."
While her teammate Katerina Nash will be in the Czech Republic racing her Nationals, teammate Shonny Vanlandingham is a likely challenger for the title. Also, look out for Willow Koerber and Heather Irminger (both Subaru / Gary Fisher) and Mary McConneloug (Kenda / Seven) after their top 10 World Cup finishes this year. Sue Haywood (Trek / VW) will also be there as defending short track and super D national champion.
On the men's side, Barry Wicks (Kona/Les-Gets) will try to defend his short track title while teammate Ryan Trebon will be aiming to keep his cross country title. Look out also for top American World Cup racer Adam Craig (Giant), perennial favorite Jeremy Horgan-Kobelski (Subaru-Gary Fisher), former Olympian Todd Wells (GT), and Jeremiah Bishop (Trek/VW), who had to sit out the recent Canadian World Cups due to illness.
Duncan Riffle (Honda/Iron) and Tara Llanes (Giant) took home the downhill titles in 2006 while Eric Carter (Mongoose Bicycles) and Jill Kintner (GT) stood atop the mountain cross podium.
Meanwhile, France and Czech will be among several other countries hosting their national championships this weekend.
Stay tuned to Cyclingnews for complete coverage of US Nationals from Mount Snow.