Catlin solos to U23 women's national cross country title

Under 23 women and junior 15-16 and 17-18 women kicked off the cross country racing action at the US National Championships in Sun Valley, Idaho, on Friday morning. The ladies raced in bright and sunny conditions, but finished before the heat of the day kicked in.

Catlin solos to U23 victory

Lauren Catlin (Durango Devo) raced to a solo win in the four-lap U23 women's race, 1:21 ahead of Deidre York (Gear Movement/Epic Pro Cycling) and 3:14 ahead of Jill Behlan (Tokyo Joe's).

Catlin, 19, made her move on the first lap. It wasn't something she had planned.

"That was the most nervous I've ever been at the start line," said Catlin to Cyclingnews. "I felt like I would throw up. I bobbled on the first rock garden and was kind of a bit off the back. Then I got into my rhythm. I thought I would follow people on the climb because I felt great when I was warming up this morning. I thought I'd hear them breathing and then see what they were doing, but I just decided to make my move on the first lap."

"I thought, 'I only have one race today - this is it, I might as well make the move.'"

York kept the leader close for the first two laps. "I'd check on Deidre on the climbs," said Catlin. "I know she can kill me on the descents, so I had to make sure I was climbing strong and staying safe on the descents."

York, 21, said to Cyclingnews, "It was tough. Lauren was riding strong - I think there's no stopping that girl. She was climbing way too strong. None of us could keep up with her."

"Each lap, I'd make up some time on the downhills, and I'd be able to see her coming through the start loop each time, but once we'd get to the climb, she'd go. The descents weren't quite long enough to make up the time on her."

It was Catlin's first non-collegiate national title and York's best ever nationals finish. "I raced all as a junior and never had a top two finish before, so I'm happy with this," said York.

Behlan, who won the U23 national title last year, finished third, after holding off a charging fourth place on the final lap.

"Kaila caught me on the last lap, and I was able to pull away from her on the climb," said Behlan to Cyclingnews. "I felt good although it was hot and hard."

Behlan, who also has another year left in the U23 ranks, commented on quality of the field and the race. "The course was the same as last year - just as hard. This year Deidre and Lauren were climbing well, and I couldn't hang with them. Last year, I was able to get away at the beginning and stay away, and I think that's what Lauren did this year. Every year, there are more of us and we get better - it's great to see."

Alexander wins junior 17-18 title on home turf

Grace Alexander (BMC Development MTB Team) won the three-lap junior 17-18 women's race with a powerful ride. Although she started two minutes behind the U23s, she caught and passed many of her elders.

"It's always great to get any spot on the podium especially with such high quality competition here," said Alexander, who lives a few hours away in Boise and crossed the line in 1:07:46. "It's an amazing feeling to wear the stars and stripes, and I couldn't have done it without all the support from my teammates and USA Cycling. I'm happy."

Last year, Alexander was second in the Junior 17-18 race. "I wasn't sure how I would feel today. I was a little tired this morning. I figured I'd try to keep it a steady pace that I knew could handle throughout the whole race. I wanted to make sure I wouldn't blow up on a hill. It's pretty taxing going up that long climb."

Alexander finished 1:15 ahead of runner-up and teammate Shayna Powliss. "It was fun, and I had a good time. The hardest part was definitely the climb. Overall it was fun and I loved it."

Third place finisher Kate Courtney had to overcome some problems from early in the race to work her way back on the podium. The Whole Athlete/Specialized rider was leading on the first lap, after establishing a gap on the climb, she she crashed on the downhill.

"I had about a minute and a half gap up the hill. Then I went around the corner and slid out. I bent my bars at a 45-degree angle," said Courtney to Cyclingnews. "I stopped to try to fix it. I had a minute, then Grace caught me, then Shayna caught me. I was like 'no, I'm not going to sit here', so I rode down with my bars at 45 degrees, almost crashed and got to the tech zone. Then I had to stop again and they tried to fix it but bent them the other direction and I had to stop yet again."

She fell to seventh spot and then determined to catch as many more girls as she could. "I fought back up to third. I'm still happy with my race, and if I had to give it to anyone else, I'm glad Grace and Shayna got it."

Waller earns junior women's 15-16 title

India Waller (Durango Devo) put in a strong ride to win the three-lap junior 15-16 stars-and-stripes jersey. Tiziana Dehorney (Get Out! New Mexico) and Ksenia Lepikhina (BJC/Tokyo Joe's Junior Development) rounded out the top three.

"It was unexpected," Waller said to Cyclingnews of her win. "Going around the first lap, Ksenia [Lepikhina] and Tiziana [Dehorney] were in front of me, but on the uphill I was surprised, and I felt good. I passed them and then I didn't see them again."

Waller crashed on the downhill, but held on for the lead. "I had a blowout on the turn - I think I got road rash on my lips. Then my chain fell off, and I couldn't get it back on." It was Waller's first national title.

Full Results

Swipe to scroll horizontally
U23 women
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Lauren Catlin (Durango Devo)1:32:48
2Deidre York (The Gear Movement/Epic Pro)0:01:21
3Jill Behlen (Tokyo Joe's -Whole Foods)0:03:14
4Kaila Hart (No Tubes Elite Women's Racing)0:03:36
5Katie Sodergren (Tokyo Joe's -Whole Foods)0:07:09
6Aliciarose Pastore (BMC Mountain Bike Development)0:09:04
7Lauren Gregg0:11:17
8Linnea Dixson (University of Wyoming)0:14:26
9Ellen Patten (Tokyo Joe's -Whole Foods)0:20:25
10Emily Paxson0:23:58
11Ellie Atkins (BJC/Tokyo Joe's Junior Development)0:38:02
Swipe to scroll horizontally
Cat. 1 Junior women 17-18
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Grace Alexander (MTB PRO Team: BMC Mountainbike)1:07:46
2Shayna Powless (MTB PRO Team: BMC Mountainbike)0:01:15
3Kate Courtney (Whole Athlete-Specialized)0:02:47
4Josie Nordrum (Whole Athlete-Specialized)0:03:38
5Kaylee Blevins (Durango Devo)0:03:52
6Emily Schaldach (Durango Devo)0:07:31
7Mackinzie Stanley (Whole Athlete-Specialized)0:07:42
8Karen Brocket (Ethos Racing)0:12:00
9Sarah Ogden (Whole Athlete-Specialized)0:12:14
10Caroline Woods0:14:07
11Ariana Dittmer0:18:02
12Emma Klingaman0:18:06
13Moriah Griesbach0:27:00
14Julie Barton (Victory Velo Racing)0:27:52
15Emily Shull (Alberto's Sport)0:29:46
DNSCorrie Osborne (Team Extreme)Row 15 - Cell 2
Swipe to scroll horizontally
Cat. 1 Junior women 15-16
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1India Waller (Durango Devo)1:14:36
2Tiziana Dehorney (Get Out! New Mexico)0:03:27
3Ksenia Lepikhina (BJC/Tokyo Joe's Junior Development)0:04:13


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