24 Hours of COS

Duo Mixed Podium - Sonya Looney and Jon Davis 1st, Me and Nick 2nd, Karen Borgstedt and Bill Clinesmith 3rd
Photo Tim Bergsten
The USA Cycling 24 Hour Mountain Bike National Championships returned to Colorado Springs and Palmer Park this past weekend and there was some fast racing. Nick and I were hoping to finish out the season with a new jersey, but the super strong duo of Jonathon Davis and Sonya Looney rode away from the rest of the competition on the first lap and kept adding to that lead through the night. They finished with a solid 20 laps before noon. Nick and I took second, squeaking in that 19th lap just before the noon deadline. Bill Clinesmith and Karen Borgstedt rounded out the top three in Duo-Open with 16 laps.

With all the logistics of hosting a race dead smack in the middle of town, Tim Scott did a fantastic job. He and his staff were out on a near daily basis two weeks before the race, attempting to keep some flagging up and the course mostly marked. One of the biggest hassles of 24 hour racing - setting up pit - was so much easier thanks to the city allowing us to set up and camp at the park Friday night. The start -finish line was really well set up, allowing solo to just roll through and the teams a nice easy in-out exchange. Not having to fumble with dimming or turning out lights with numb hands was also nice. All the volunteers he had out on course were great - enthusiastic despite the cold and damp hours of the night. I looked forward to the cheers from the Ascent Cycling Aid Station every lap.

I don't ride much in Palmer Park because it's a bit of a drive and very popular for hikers, horseback riders and other users. It's hard to get going fast when there's so many blind corners and you don't want to be "that mountain biker." When I do ride there, it's mostly slower, for fun or technical practice, or at night with the women. Tim managed to get the city to shut down the entire park for the race, so we were able to fly. I have never been able to ride some of those sections of trail so fast before. It was so much fun to come flying down  Palmer Point and KinniKinnik trails at top speed, floating off the rocks and banking the corners without having to worry about surprising a hiker or rider. Every mountain biker in Colorado Springs should be drooling over this race next year for that reason alone - riding some of the best single track in Palmer Park at top speed. Get your teams together now for next year!

I'll get the full race report posted soon.

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