Nine national champions were crowned at the USA Cycling 24-Hour Mountain Bike National Championships on Sunday morning after the nation's best ultra-endurance off-road cyclists wrapped up 24 grueling hours on the trails of Wisconsin's Nine Mile County Forest.
Riders set out on Saturday for as many laps as they could complete on the 14-mile course in a 24-hour period. When time ran out Sunday morning, Chris Eatough and Pua Sawicki both repeated their 2007 titles in the men's and women's solo divisions.
It was the fifth year in a row for Eatough to take the win in the men's open division, but he first had to overcome strong opposition from runner-up Josh Tostado, who hoped to dethrone the four-time defending champ. Early on, Eatough and Tostado clearly defined themselves as the strongest riders in the 36-man field and the ensuing battle saw the pair swap the lead several times and complete 20 laps of the 14-mile course before the clock stopped. In the end, Eatough secured his spot atop the podium by finishing the 20 laps in 23 hours and 22 minutes compared to Tostado's 23 hours and 37 minutes. Nat Ross completed 19 laps for the bronze medal.
Sawicki successfully defended her title from a year ago with 18 laps which she completed in 24 hours and 3 minutes. Taking a huge lead right from the start, she put 13 minutes on her nearest threats in just the first lap and continued to distance herself from the rest of the 11-woman field over the 24 hours. When time ran out, she had completed two more laps than silver and bronze medalists Danielle Musto and Sarah Kauffman who each completed 16 laps.
In the men's duo division, Dax Massey and Dean Miller of Team Shake & Bake narrowly took the win over Jerry Long and Ryan Krayer of Two Steps Beyond Chaos. Both duos completed 22 laps - Massey and Miller in 24 hours and 35 minutes, Long and Krayer in 24 hours and 36 minutes. On the women's side, Chipotle-Titus pair Heidi Godsil and Kay Levesque combined their efforts over 18 laps for the women's duo national title.
After leading the mixed duo field for the entire 24 hours, Dejay Birtch and Rebecca Tomaszewski of Team Sho-Air/Niner/Wake Racing bested Sho-Air/Ronance/Rock N Road riders Mario Correa and Heidi Volpe for the gold medal after both pairs completed 21 laps.
Velo Rochester riders Sam Oftedahl, Brendon Moore, Chris Fisher, and Ben Moore teamed up for a total of 24 laps to fulfill their stars-and-stripes dreams in the men's 4-person team division while Team Ketchum If you Can led the women's 4-person field from start to finish with riders Claudia Hattrup, Rebecca Rusch, Karoline Droege, and Muffy Ritz completing 21 laps to earn top honors.
In the junior category, Baraboo B.A.M.F. riders Zack Geyer, Mitch Gantz, Erik Meier, and Sam Stone beat out EXPO Racing for the national title after both squads completed 21 laps.
Michigan Masters foursome of John Meyers, Neil Scharphorn, Dan Jansen, and Nate Versluis completed 23 laps in 24 hours and 38 minutes and bested the 22 laps of runner-up Team Weak Sauce.
In its third consecutive year hosting the national championship event, America's Dairyland 24-Hours of Nine Mile drew nearly 1,000 participants who, in addition to the nine national championship races, also competed in twenty non-national championship team and solo events in the 12-hour and 24-hour categories.
2008 USA Cycling 24-Hour Mountain Bike National Championships
Nine Mile County Forest - Wausau, Wisconsin Aug. 2-3, 2008
1. Chris Eatough (Baldwin, Md.)
2. Josh Tostado (Breckenridge, Colo.)
3. Nat Ross (Golden, Colo.)
1. Pua Sawicki (Mililani, Hawaii)
2. Danielle Musto (Grand Rapids, Mich.)
3. Sarah Kaufmann (Big Bear Lake, Calif.)
1. Velo Rochester Team: Sam Oftedahl (Shoreview, Minn.), Brendon Moore, Chris Fisher (Inver Grove Heights, Inn.), and Ben Moore (Rochester, Minn.)
1. Ketchum If you Can Team: Claudia Hattrup (Ketchum, Idaho), Rebecca Rusch (Ketchum, Idaho), Karoline Droege (Ketchum, Idaho), and Muffy Ritz (Ketchum, Idaho)
1. Team Shake & Bake Duo: Dax Massey (Boulder, Colo.) and Dean Miller (Littleton, Colo.)
1. Chipotle-Titus Duo: Heide Godsil (Nederland, Colo.) and Kay Levesque (Boulder, Colo.)
1. Team Sho-Air/Niner/Wake Racing Duo: Dejay Birtch (Tucson, Ariz.) and Rebecca Tomaszewski (Bone, N.C.)
Mixed Junior 4-Person
1. Baraboo B.A.M.F. Team: Zack Geyer (Green Bay, Wis.), Mitch Gantz (Green Bay, Wis.), Erik Meier (Baraboo, Wis.), and Sam Stone (North Freedom, Wis.)
Mixed Masters 4-Person
1. Michigan Masters Team: John Meyers (Kalamazoo, Mich.), Neil Scharphorn, Dan Jansen (Grand Rapids, Mich.), and Nate Versluis (Grand Rapids, Mich.)
© BikeRadar & USA Cycling 2008