Dong mixes it up with the best mountain bikers

Some riders might have been disappointed with a third place finish at the US Cross Country Mountain Bike Nationals in Macungie, Pennsylvania last weekend, but not Evelyn Dong, who logged her best performance yet in the elite women's cross country race.

"I'm with some pretty good company. I'm pumped to be up there with them," said Dong to Cyclingnews after sharing the podium with Olympians like Georgia Gould, Lea Davison and Mary McConneloug.

The rider improved upon her fifth place finish from 2013. In the short track national championship, she was seventh.  She's been doing well all season at the top domestic races, including winning the WORS Cup Pro XCT earlier this month and finishing second at the Missoula and Bonelli Park Pro XCTs and third at the Sea Otter cross country.

She attributes her success in part to changing up her winter training plan.

"I worked with a coach for the first time all winter," said Dong. "Having structure over the winter was good. Last year, I had trained over the winter, but I'd mostly go ride in the snow on my snow bike. I was doing workouts on the road this winter. I could tell that helped."

Dong is a former elite back country skier and she still skis, but not as much. "I coach a kids' ski team in Salt Lake, so I ski with them. Mostly we play games, it's pretty fun."

She also juggles her racing and travelling with a job working on copy writing for Jan's Bike & Ski Shop in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Dong is skipping the Catamount Classic final Pro XCT this weekend and taking a much needed break.

"I'm going home for a week, then I will go to Mont-Sainte-Anne and Windham. No Catamount Classic - that would have made it six weeks on the road. I'm bummed because I love Catamount and it's Lea [Davison]'s hometown, but the schedule is pretty tight."

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Sue George is an editor at Cyclingnews.  She coordinates all of the site's mountain bike race coverage and assists with the road, 'cross and track coverage.