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Stellar field heads to US marathon nationals

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Cycling News

Bend hosts 2012 championships for second consecutive year

Adam Craig (Rabobank Giant Offroad Team) is calling time on World Cup racing. In Val d'Isere, he was the top North American finisher

Adam Craig (Rabobank Giant Offroad Team) is calling time on World Cup racing. In Val d'Isere, he was the top North American finisher

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The 2012 USA Cycling Mountain Bike Marathon National Championships are set for Saturday, September 15 at Wanoga Sno Park in Bend, Oregon. In addition to the coveted Stars-and-Stripes jerseys, the top-five finishers in each of the professional men's and women's races will split a $1,000 purse.

Among the men already registered to contest the event are defending national champion Adam Craig (Rabobank-Giant), 2011 runner-up Carl Decker (Giant Factory), Colin Cares (Kenda-Felt), Jeremy Horgan-Kobelski (Subaru-Trek), Spencer Paxson (Kona Bicycles) and three-time Olympian and the winner of the 2012 USA Cycling Pro Cross Country Tour (Pro XCT) men's standings Todd Wells (Specialized Racing).

Among the women vying for a Stars-and-Stripes jersey are defending national champion and the winner of the 2012 USA Cycling Pro Ultra-Endurance Tour (Pro UET) women's standings Monique "Pua" Mata (Sho-Air), the runner-up in the 2011 race Kelli Emmett (Giant Mountain Bike Team) and Kelly Boniface (Moots).

The one-day event begins with the elite men at 9:00 am. The elite women will start five minutes later. Following those two groups, riders will contest the course in age groups. The event will also include non-championship, age-group races. The non-championship contests will start in three-minute intervals beginning with the 19-29 men at 9:15 am. They are followed by the 30-34 men, 35-39 men, 40-44 men, 45-49 men, singlespeed men and the 50-and-over men begin their race at 9:33 am. The non-championship women's races begin three minutes later as the 19-29 and 30-39 women begin their race at 9:36 am. At 9:39 am., the 40-49 and singlespeed females take the course and the 50-and-over are the last group to start at 9:42 am.

The course has been lengthened from 52 miles in 2011 to 54 miles this year. The 54-mile loop starts and finishes at Wanoga Sno Park. Riders will climb a total of 6,000 feet as they compete. There will be four aid stations along the course.

"We've given the riders a really hard and challenging course for this year's national championship," USA Cycling Vice President of National Events Micah Rice said. "We will certainly crown the best endurance rider we have out there."