Wells earns short track national championship title

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.

Full Results

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#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Todd Wells (Specialized Factory Racing)0:26:27
2Stephen Ettinger (BMC Mountainbike Racing Team)0:00:27
3Jeremiah Bishop (Team Sho-Air Cannondale)0:00:47
4Russell Finsterwald (Trek Factory Racing)0:01:00
5Spencer Paxson (Kona Factory Team)0:01:07
6Kerry Werner (BMC U23 Development MTB Team)0:01:16
7Alexander Grant (Sho-Air/Cannondale)0:01:18
8Justin Lindine (Redline)Row 7 - Cell 2
9Tristan Uhl (ATC Racing)0:01:21
10Carl Decker0:01:37
11Ryan Woodall0:01:52
12Casey Williams (Whole Athlete)0:02:06
13Troy Wells (Team Clif Bar Cycling)0:03:15
-3lapsPayson Mcelveen (Usa U23)Row 13 - Cell 2
-3lapsCameron DodgeRow 14 - Cell 2
-3lapsMichael Broderick (Kenda/Stan's Notubes)Row 15 - Cell 2
-4lapsJacob Albrecht (Whole Athlete / Specialized)Row 16 - Cell 2
-4lapsEric ThompsonRow 17 - Cell 2
-4lapsColin Cares (Kenda/Felt)Row 18 - Cell 2
-4lapsCole Oberman (Breakaway Racing-Pa)Row 19 - Cell 2
-4lapsLewis Gaffney (Team F.I.Taos)Row 20 - Cell 2
-4lapsRichard Cypress Gorry (Whole Athlete / Specialized)Row 21 - Cell 2
-4lapsRyan Standish (Fort Lewis College)Row 22 - Cell 2
-5lapsMenso De Jong (Team Clif Bar Cycling)Row 23 - Cell 2
-5lapsSamuel Morrison (The Gear Movement Pro Cycling Team)Row 24 - Cell 2
-5lapsSkyler Trujillo (James Bros. Bikes)Row 25 - Cell 2
-5lapsThomas Sampson (Pemi-Baker Cycling Club)Row 26 - Cell 2
-5lapsChase Dickens (American Classic)Row 27 - Cell 2
-5lapsWilliam Melone (Riverside Racing)Row 28 - Cell 2
-5lapsRyan Geiger (Team Winded)Row 29 - Cell 2
-5lapsAlex WildRow 30 - Cell 2
-5lapsTravis (TJ) Woodruff (Momentum Endurance)Row 31 - Cell 2
-5lapsMichael Sampson (Pemi-Baker Cycling Club)Row 32 - Cell 2
-5lapsJustin PiontekRow 33 - Cell 2
-5lapsTyler Gauthier (Range Mountain Bike Association/)Row 34 - Cell 2
-5lapsDavid Flaten (Us Military Cycling Team Fueled By Frs)Row 35 - Cell 2
-6lapsGian Dalle Angelini (Monster Systems Racing)Row 36 - Cell 2
-6lapsDaniel Sturm (Black Bear Cycling)Row 37 - Cell 2
-6lapsKeegan Swenson (Cannondale Factory Racing)Row 38 - Cell 2
-6lapsBradford Perley (Champion System/Cannondale)Row 39 - Cell 2
-6lapsBen OrttRow 40 - Cell 2
-6lapsChristopher HamlinRow 41 - Cell 2
-6lapsCody PhillipsRow 42 - Cell 2
-6lapsKenneth Hall (Lindsey Wilson College)Row 43 - Cell 2
-6lapsScott Hoffner (Team Priority Health)Row 44 - Cell 2
-6lapsTanner Hurst (Nashvillecyclist.Com)Row 45 - Cell 2
-6lapsDavis BentleyRow 46 - Cell 2
-7lapsMitchell Hoke (Kenda Felt)Row 47 - Cell 2
-7lapsSam Chovan (Mafia Racing/Mafia Racing)Row 48 - Cell 2
-7lapsTaylor SchmidtRow 49 - Cell 2
-7lapsBraden Kappius (Team Clif Bar Cycling)Row 50 - Cell 2
-7lapsTodd Latocha (Appalachian Bicycle Racing Association)Row 51 - Cell 2
-8lapsJoshua WestRow 52 - Cell 2
-8lapsJake Wade (Toasted Head Racing)Row 53 - Cell 2
DNFJordan Kahlenberg (Giant Mid-Atlantic Off-Road Team)Row 54 - Cell 2
DNFSepp Kuss (RMCF-Devo)Row 55 - Cell 2

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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.

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