Preview: US Mountain Bike National Champs in Colorado

Will Craig and McConneloug repeat? Can Palmer podium?

The 2009 USA Cycling Mountain Bike National Championships take place at the SolVista Basin in Granby, Colorado from July 16-19.

Over 1,200 professional and amateur off-road riders, including a strong contingent of more than 400 junior racers, will compete on the world-class terrain of the SolVista Bike Park for Stars-and-Stripes jerseys in cross-country, short track, super D, single speed, mountain cross and downhill contests.

In the professional cross-country events, two-time Olympian Mary McConneloug (Kenda-Seven-No Tubes) and 2008 Olympian Adam Craig (Giant Mountain Bike Team) will fight to defend their national titles from a year ago. They’ll be up against some tough competition though, like the husband and wife duo of Jeremy Horgan-Kobelski and Heather Irmiger (Subaru-Gary Fisher), who are both fresh off of wins at the USA Cycling Mountain Bike Marathon National Championships.

In the women’s race, National Racing Calendar leader Alison Powers (Team Type 1), along with Willow Koerber (Subaru-Gary Fisher), Georgia Gould (Luna) and Katie Compton (Spike) will all be serious threats.

On the men’s side, riders like Ryan Trebon (Kona), Barry Wicks (Kona) and Todd Wells (Specialized) will be on hand to heat up the competition.

Multi-time BMX and Mountain Bike World Championship medalist Eric Carter (GT) will contest the pro men’s mountain cross and downhill events, as will pros like Cody Warren (Specialized/Redline) and Duncan Riffle (Cannondale Factory Team). Extreme sports legend Shaun Palmer will also race, once again for Intense.

In the pro women’s gravity events, contenders will include 2008 Olympic BMX bronze medalist Jill Kintner (Intense) and last year’s downhill national champ Melissa Buhl (KHS Bicycles).

Despite the rain that Colorado has been receiving this year, riders should expect dusty and rocky conditions on the trails at SolVista.

Competition is set to begin on Friday with cross-country and mountain cross events. The pro cross-country contests will be the highlight of the day on Saturday, while short-track cross country and downhill action will bring things to a close on Sunday. For more information, visit www.solvistanationals.com.

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