The Todd Wells (Specialized) and Stephen Ettinger (BMC Development) battle of the weekend continued with a second round at the short track at the US Cross Country Mountain Bike National Championships on Sunday afternoon at Bear Creek Resort in Macungie, Pennsylvania. Reversing the results of yesterday, Wells beat Ettinger for the gold medal. Jeremiah Bishop (Sho-Air/Cannondale) finished with his second bronze medal of the weekend.
"Today was all about who wanted it more," said Wells, who successfully defended his short track national title from 2012. "I was disappointed with yesterday. I gave everything I could, but it just wasn't enough. I had some good motivation for today's race."
"I know that I usually recover pretty well, even for an old guy. You'd think these young guys would just be coming out ready to go, but for whatever reason, maybe it's all those years of riding, I seem to recover as good or better than most of the guys."
Spencer Paxson (Kona) took the hole shot and blazed to the front on the first lap. Wells, Ettinger, Russell Finsterwald (Trek) and Bishop did their duty marking him.
Then Wells went to the front and spent most of the rest of the race burning out the legs of his fellow competitors.
"It was my strategy to apply pressure today," said Wells. "I could see that I was maybe taking some gaps on the others. In a few of those corners, I felt like I was going pretty good, and I figured if I could take the lead through them, the guys would have to close the gap a few times and eventually they might get tired."
"Ettinger caught me after two laps in, and I couldn't tell how I was getting a gap, but it was about pushing myself and redeeming myself after yesterday."
Ettinger's body language showed how crushed he was from his winning effort in yesterday's cross country race. Afterward he admitted as much.
"I suffered so bad. There was not much left in the tank after yesterday," said Ettinger. "Last weekend, Todd and I had a really good race in Wisconsin, and I was able to go with half a lap to go and attack Todd. He barely caught back to me last weekend, so I knew I had a good opportunity this weekend. However, after yesterday, which was a really emotional day in the best possible way, it was harder to come out here today and race hard."
Wells' efforts cost first Paxson, then Finsterwald and finally Bishop to pop off the back of the lead group. That left Ettinger and Wells, and finally Ettinger couldn't take it any longer. A gap formed between and started to grow.
Wells was cruising at the front, looking smooth and fast on the downhills and corners and powerfully punchy on the two climbs per lap.
"There were a few berms on the course. Some of the guys weren't using the berms, but I felt like I could use them and carry more momentum into the turns," said Wells. "With the berms, I didn't need brakes. I'm a bigger guy than some of these guys, so I tend to pick up speed on the downhills, and I also carry that momentum better into the climbs, so if I can go around the corners a little faster, and I can make it a little further up the hill before being a bigger guy becomes a disadvantage."
Wells rode in solo, with plenty of time to enjoy his victory. Ettinger rode in for second place.
"Hanging in for second was about all I was able to do. I could not put it out like I could yesterday," said Ettinger.
Finsterwald caught Bishop and the two rode together for a few laps, but Bishop re-applied the pressure and got away from Finsterwald for third place.
"Finsterwald put in a good attack. It's not my best weekend, but a bronze medal - I'll take it," said Bishop. "Wells put in a good race. After yesterday, I think he really wanted to prove something. I thought for me it would be a repeat of yesterday. I knew it would be a hard mental race and the heat would be tough. In this kind of course, being out front by yourself is good. The corners are loose and there's not really a lot of drafting to be done.
Finsterwald rolled in fourth ahead of Paxson in fifth in what was the final race of the US Mountain Bike National Championship weekend.
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Todd Wells (Specialized Factory Racing)||0:26:27|
|2||Stephen Ettinger (BMC Mountainbike Racing Team)||0:00:27|
|3||Jeremiah Bishop (Team Sho-Air Cannondale)||0:00:47|
|4||Russell Finsterwald (Trek Factory Racing)||0:01:00|
|5||Spencer Paxson (Kona Factory Team)||0:01:07|
|6||Kerry Werner (BMC U23 Development MTB Team)||0:01:16|
|7||Alexander Grant (Sho-Air/Cannondale)||0:01:18|
|8||Justin Lindine (Redline)|
|9||Tristan Uhl (ATC Racing)||0:01:21|
|12||Casey Williams (Whole Athlete)||0:02:06|
|13||Troy Wells (Team Clif Bar Cycling)||0:03:15|
|-3laps||Payson Mcelveen (Usa U23)|
|-3laps||Michael Broderick (Kenda/Stan's Notubes)|
|-4laps||Jacob Albrecht (Whole Athlete / Specialized)|
|-4laps||Colin Cares (Kenda/Felt)|
|-4laps||Cole Oberman (Breakaway Racing-Pa)|
|-4laps||Lewis Gaffney (Team F.I.Taos)|
|-4laps||Richard Cypress Gorry (Whole Athlete / Specialized)|
|-4laps||Ryan Standish (Fort Lewis College)|
|-5laps||Menso De Jong (Team Clif Bar Cycling)|
|-5laps||Samuel Morrison (The Gear Movement Pro Cycling Team)|
|-5laps||Skyler Trujillo (James Bros. Bikes)|
|-5laps||Thomas Sampson (Pemi-Baker Cycling Club)|
|-5laps||Chase Dickens (American Classic)|
|-5laps||William Melone (Riverside Racing)|
|-5laps||Ryan Geiger (Team Winded)|
|-5laps||Travis (TJ) Woodruff (Momentum Endurance)|
|-5laps||Michael Sampson (Pemi-Baker Cycling Club)|
|-5laps||Tyler Gauthier (Range Mountain Bike Association/)|
|-5laps||David Flaten (Us Military Cycling Team Fueled By Frs)|
|-6laps||Gian Dalle Angelini (Monster Systems Racing)|
|-6laps||Daniel Sturm (Black Bear Cycling)|
|-6laps||Keegan Swenson (Cannondale Factory Racing)|
|-6laps||Bradford Perley (Champion System/Cannondale)|
|-6laps||Kenneth Hall (Lindsey Wilson College)|
|-6laps||Scott Hoffner (Team Priority Health)|
|-6laps||Tanner Hurst (Nashvillecyclist.Com)|
|-7laps||Mitchell Hoke (Kenda Felt)|
|-7laps||Sam Chovan (Mafia Racing/Mafia Racing)|
|-7laps||Braden Kappius (Team Clif Bar Cycling)|
|-7laps||Todd Latocha (Appalachian Bicycle Racing Association)|
|-8laps||Jake Wade (Toasted Head Racing)|
|DNF||Jordan Kahlenberg (Giant Mid-Atlantic Off-Road Team)|
|DNF||Sepp Kuss (RMCF-Devo)|