The US Mountain Bike Nationals at Bear Creek Resort in Pennsylvania marked the end of an era on Sunday - the super D era - with the running of the final super D championships. In 2015, USA Cycling will hold an enduro championships, instead of a super D. The enduro will be held in conjunction with cross country nationals like the super D has been.
Fresh off defending his 2013 title on Sunday morning, Seamus Powell (Giant Northeast Off-Road Racing) was trying not to think about it being the last super D ahead of his run. "People said it was the last one the other day. I tried to keep it out of my head because it was a daunting thing to think about winning that," said Powell.
Noting that he won't have another chance to defend his super D title, Powell smiled and quipped, "So what does that make me, the all time defending champion of super D forever?"
Powell is a rider who's already made the switch to enduro, and he's excited about the newer enduro format being part of nationals next year. "I changed from cross country to enduro, and this year I've been focused on downhill and enduros. I just got my pro upgrade in downhill. From now on, it will all be enduro-type stuff for me."
Long time super D racer Mike Broderick (Kenda/NoTubes) also sees the change as a step forward. "The super D is really a single run enduro and it has been great. It is what it is and it's been a lot of fun. In my mind, it's similar to enduro, but I think the enduro format will be better. I'd love it to have several runs of a similar format. That would make more sense."
"To have one run... if you have a problem, it's a bummer. Having a couple of runs gives you more chances to shine. Everyone can make a mistake anywhere. It's also better for the industry to have people on bikes that are going to last and be tough, like in enduro."
Newly crowned 2014 super D national champion Georgia Gould, who was racing the second super D of her career, joked, "Now I think that getting rid of super D is a terrible idea. I can't believe they're going to get rid of it. How am I going to defend the jersey?"
Then she said, more seriously, "No, I get it. They're trying to replace it with enduro to stay current. That's good. I don't know how the enduro will work with the format. I feel like super D fits better schedule-wise."
USA Cycling told Cyclingnews that it was still working out exactly how it would fit the enduro into an already packed cross country mountain bike national championships week schedule.
2013 Super D national champion Teal Stetson Lee (Luna) was also looking ahead. "I'm a little sad. I started racing super D for the first time last year, and this is only my second year to do it. The enduro race will be awesome, too, and I'll definitely be doing that next year. It's fun to have variety - it's what makes mountain biking really interesting."