The 2011 USA Cycling Mountain Bike Gravity National Championships take place in Beech Mountain, N.C., from Sept. 23-25, and marks the debut year that the gravity portion of the mountain bike national championships will stand on its own.
For the first time, USA Cycling has separated its mountain bike national championships into two separate events: cross-country and gravity. In July, Sun Valley, Idaho, hosted the nation's top cross-country racers at the USA Cycling Mountain Bike Cross-country National Championships, with riders competing for Stars-and-Stripes jerseys in cross-country, short track cross-country and super D. The event in Beech Mountain will crown the country's best gravity competitors.
As a response to rider feedback, dual slalom racing will return as a part of the 2011 and 2012 USA Cycling Mountain Bike Gravity National Championships, replacing the four-cross competitions.
In addition to dual slalom, riders will contest downhill races throughout the event.
The course was built by 2007 dual slalom national champion Christopher Herndon at Beech Mountain with the goal of increasing participation. For the professional downhill contests, the course traverses 4,329 feet and changes 752 feet of elevation while the dual slalom course changes 112 feet of elevation in a 778-foot span.
Among those expected to compete are Logan Binggeli (KHS Bicycles), who finished second in USA Cycling's Professional Mountain Bike Gravity Tour (Pro GRT) men's standings and Lauren Daney (Specialized-GROM Racing), who contested the junior women's downhill competition at the 2011 UCI Mountain Bike World Championships in Champery, Switzerland in July. Also among the competitors are Duncan Riffle (Giant Mountain Bike Team), who won the downhill at the 2006 national championships before placing second and third at the 2008 and 2009 events, and Mitch Ropelato (SPS North America), who won the 2009 the four-cross national championship in 2009 and is registered to compete in the downhill and dual slalom.