Mountain Bike Gravity Nationals Conclude With Cat 1, Pro Downhill

  
  


McKenna Merten is all smiles after winning the Junior Women 10 and under race. Photo by Weldon Weaver
McKenna Merten is all smiles after winning the Junior Women 10 and under race. Photo by Weldon Weaver
Beech Mountain, N.C. (July 22, 2012)
– The 2012 USA Cycling Mountain Bike Gravity National Championships are officially in the books as professional and category 1 downhill racing closed out competition at Beech Mountain on Sunday.
 
The hot place to be on the final day was the rock garden where music blasted, and everything from barking dogs to a fan in a bunny suit cheered on the riders as they descended the mountain.
 
Pro Races
Riding into Stars-and-Stripes jerseys in the pro events were Jacqueline Harmony (Sedona, AZ/) and Aaron Gwin (Temecula, CA/Trek World Racing).
 
Harmony clocked in at 02:36.6 to beat out silver medalist Melissa Buhl (Chandler, Ariz.) who posted a 2:45.9. Jaime Rees (Spokane, WA/The Bike Hub) grabbed the bronze medal while
Lauren Daney (Stafford, VA/) and Katie Holden (Scotts Valley, CA/) rounded out the podium in fourth and fifth.
 
"The whole weekend has just been awesome.  I've been training for this for many years.  Finally, everything clicked and everything was working,” an ecstatic Harmony commented.  “Awesome competition. All those girls, I'm so glad that all of them came out.  I'm glad they were all able to come ride this course because it was super fun - super good."
 
In the pro men’s race, Gwin was about three seconds faster than yesterday’s dual slalom champ Neko Mulally (Reading, Pa./Trek World Racing). He claimed the title with a time of 02:10.0 compared to Mulally’s 02:13.2. Eliot Jackson (Westlake Village, CA/) was the third fastest down the mountain while Logan Binggeli (Saint George, UT/KHS Factory Racing) and Kevin Littlefield (Auburn, WA/) were fourth and fifth.
 
it was always a big goal of mine and it definitely always feels good,” Gwin said about winning the national title.
 
Category 1 Racing
 
The day opened up with the category 1 races. Jay Fesperman (Davidson, NC) posted the fastest time of the morning with a time of 2:23.1 in the junior men’s 15-16 event.
 
Jay Fesperman after his win in the Junior Men 15-16 race. Photo by Weldon Weaver
Jay Fesperman after his win in the Junior Men 15-16 race. Photo by Weldon Weaver
"When I came across the finish line, I knew I had a clean run, but I didn't know if it was going to enough. But when everybody started screaming I kind of knew what happened, and I was pretty excited,” the junior rider said after his win. "This was the big race that I was shooting for this year and it's really good have your goals go through."  
 
Fesperman beat out second- and third-place finishers Shane Leslie (Birmingham, Mich.) and Charlie Harrison (Trabuco Canyon, Calif.) who posted times of 2:24.6 and 2:34.7 respectively.
 
Another notable category 1 race was the men’s 40-44 event where Kevin Liebig (Havre De Grace, Md.) descended to the win with a time of 2:36.4. Having also won his category’s dual slalom competition, it was the second national title for the Maryland rider in as many days.


“It's amazing to have two titles,” he said. “It's been 30 years of racing and it all came together this weekend. It's something to leave a legacy with the family.  And now I'm passing it down to my son. He's 3 years old and starting to race.”
 
Liebig bested silver and bronze medalist John Nicholson (Landing, NJ) and Jerry Greene Jr. (Fletcher, NC)
 
In the very competitive Junior Men’s 17-18 field, Alexander Willie (Longmont, CO/Intense Cycles) rode away with the win in 02:23.8. He bested Cole Picchiottino (Murrieta, CA/) and Cody Kelley (Riverton, UT/) who clocked times of 02:25.2 and 02:25.4
 
Also making it to the top step of the podium on Sunday was Ethan Faw (North Wilkesboro, NC/Brushy Mountain Cycl) who won the junior men’s 10-12 event with a time of 3:11.6, and
Ben Bodycoat (Burlington, CT/) who clocked a 02:48.9 to take the win among junior men 13-14. Alex Dawson (Cary, NC/) posted a 2:31.8 to claim top honors among men 19-24 while Geoff Ayr (Westfield, MA/) clocked in at 02:35.9 to win in the men’s 25-29 race. As the men 30-34 descended the mountain, it was Thomas Schueler (Baldwin, MD/) to win with a 02:41.2, and then Mike Hummel (West Newton, PA/) was victorious among men 35-39 with a 02:43.7. G. John Leslie (Birmingham, MI/) descended into a Stars-and-Stripes jersey in the men’s 45-49 race with a time of 03:03.5 while Mark Poore (Slatyfork, WV/) clocked a 03:34.2 to win among men 50+.
 
In the junior women’s 1-10 race, McKenna Merten (Jamul, Calif.) posted an impressive 05:03.2 to become the winner. Coleen Pacurariu (Usaf Academy, CO/) was victorious among women 19-29 with her time of 03:18.3 while Heather Cowell (Pittsburgh, PA/) beat out the rest of the 30-39 category with a 03:37.5. In the women’s 40-49 event, it was Ellen Adams (Moravian Falls, NC/Brushy Mountain Cycl) to ride to the top of the podium with a 03:53.9.
 
PHOTO GALLERY
 
COMPLETE RESULTS
 
2012 USA Cycling Mountain Bike Gravity National Championships
Beech Mountain, N.C.  – July 20-22, 2012
 
Pro Women Downhill
1. Jacqueline Harmony (Sedona, AZ/) 02:36.6
2. Melissa Buhl (Chandler, AZ/) 02:45.9
3. Jaime Rees (Spokane, WA/The Bike Hub) 02:53.5
4. Lauren Daney (Stafford, VA/) 02:56.3
5. Katie Holden (Scotts Valley, CA/) 03:00.2
 
Pro Men Downhill
1. Aaron Gwin (Temecula, CA/Trek World Racing) 02:10.0
2. Neko Mulally (Reading, PA/Trek World Racing) 02:13.2
3. Eliot Jackson (Westlake Village, CA/) 02:16.8
4. Logan Binggeli (Saint George, UT/KHS Factory Racing) 02:17.2
5. Kevin Littlefield (Auburn, WA/) 02:18.3
 
Category 1 Junior Men 17-18
1. Alexander Willie (Longmont, CO/Intense Cycles) 02:23.8
2. Cole Picchiottino (Murrieta, CA/) 02:25.2
3. Cody Kelley (Riverton, UT/) 02:25.4
4. Ray Syron (Rockport, MA/) 02:28.3
5. Lucas Cowan (Sandiego, CA/) 02:29.9
 
Category 1 Junior Men 11-12 Downhill
1. Ethan Faw (North Wilkesboro, NC/Brushy Mountain Cycl) 03:11.6
2. Phillip Steele (Burnsville, WV/) 03:21.9
3. Palmer Metcalf (Dover, OH/) 04:27.9
4. Aiden Loorham (Rome, GA/) 04:52.8
 
Category 1 Junior Men 13-14 Downhill
1. Ben Bodycoat (Burlington, CT/) 02:48.9
2. David Dressler (Clayton, NC/) 02:55.3
3. Wyatt Freier (Castle Rock, CO/) 02:57.4
4. Andrew Wegiel (Leominster, MA/) 03:06.6
5. Owen Witcher (Woodstock, GA/) 03:12.2
 
Category 1 Junior Men 15-16 Downhill
1. Jay Fesperman (Davidson, NC/) 02:23.1
2. Shane Leslie (Birmingham, MI/) 02:24.6
3. Charlie Harrison (Trabuco Canyon, CA/) 02:34.7
4. Matthew Branney (Highlands Ranch, CO/) 02:36.9
5. Matthew Fitzgerald (Apex, NC/Cycle Youth) 02:36.9
 
Category 1 Men 19-24 Downhill
1. Alex Dawson (Cary, NC/) 02:31.8
2. Corey Zell (Apollo, PA/) 02:35.7
3. Joseph Crosby (Colorado Springs, CO/) 02:35.8
4. Danny Cesare (Pisgah Forest, NC/) 02:38.9
5. Anthony Leonarduzzi (Snoqualmie, WA/) 02:39.8
 
Category 1 Men 25-29 Downhill
1. Geoff Ayr (Westfield, MA/) 02:35.9
2. Matt Henderson (High Bridge, NJ/) 02:38.4
3. David Medina (Cumming, GA/) 02:40.7
4. Willem Cooper (Newport, RI/) 02:41.8
5. Steven Trottier (Lewisville, NC/) 02:43.1
 
Category 1 Men 30-34 Downhill
1. Thomas Schueler (Baldwin, MD/) 02:41.2
2. Jeremy Edge (Fletcher, NC/) 02:47.5
3. Gary Bethea (Palm Coast, FL/Team Primal Racing) 02:47.7
4. Aaron Polly (Phoenix, AZ/) 02:50.4
5. John O'Shura (Morganton, NC/) 02:53.1
 
Category 1 Men 35-39 Downhill
1. Mike Hummel (West Newton, PA/) 02:43.7
2. Kyle Kutzler (Saylorsburg, PA/) 02:47.0
3. Lane Boertmann (Toms River, NJ/Gravity East Series) 02:47.2
4. Kevin Addair (Glade Spring, VA/) 02:50.9
5. Coy Miller (Caseyville, IL/Bike Surgeon/Contine) 02:51.8
 
Category 1 Men 40-44 Downhill
1. Kevin Liebig (Havre De Grace, MD/) 02:36.4
2. John Nicholson (Landing, NJ/) 02:46.3
3. Jerry (Butch) Greene Jr (Fletcher, NC/) 02:54.6
4. Matthew Adams (Moravian Falls, NC/Brushy Mountain Cycl) 02:58.1
5. Heath Boedeker (Zanesville, OH/) 03:01.3
 
Category 1 Men 45-49 Downhill
1. G John Leslie (Birmingham, MI/) 03:03.5
2. Robert Safrit (Beaufort, NC/) 03:05.9
3. Stefan Daney (Stafford, VA/) 03:09.4
4. Steven Brown (Lighthouse Point, FL/) 03:10.7
5. george bodycoat (Burlington, CT/) 03:17.0
 
Category 1 Men 50+ Downhill
1. Mark Poore (Slatyfork, WV/) 03:34.2
2. Stefan Cihylik (Allentown, PA/) 03:43.5
 
Junior Women 1-10 Downhill
1. McKenna Merten (Jamul, CA/) 05:03.2
 
Category 1 Women 19-29 Downhill
1. Coleen Pacurariu (Usaf Academy, CO/) 03:18.3
2. Caroline Westray (Charlotte, NC/) 03:26.4
3. Heather McFadden (Morgan Hill, CA/) 03:35.8
4. Eva Wilson (Kensington, NH/) 03:40.9
5. Corrine Miller (Caseyville, IL/Bike Surgeon/Contine) 03:51.4
 
Category 1 Women 30-39 Downhill
Place. First Last (City, State/Team) Time
1. Heather Cowell (Pittsburgh, PA/) 03:37.5
2. Roxanne Canent (Lafayette, CA/) 04:17.4
 
Category 1 Women 40-49 Downhill
1. Ellen Adams (Moravian Falls, NC/Brushy Mountain Cycl) 03:53.9


This Article Published July 22, 2012 For more information contact:
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