Keegan Swenson has been a busy guy the past month. Two top-3 finishes on the World Cup and a sweep of all 3 national championship jerseys last weekend in Sun Valley.
Get caught up on what America's top junior has been up to the past few weeks.
Mont Sainte Anne and Windham World Cups:
I have really been looking forward to these two world cups. Having done them
last year and having them on the same continent is pretty sweet. No jet lag,
less travel, just a lot easier! Make the Euros deal with those issues this
Alex [Grant] and I arrived in Quebec on Wednesday afternoon and were able to
get on the track on Thursday morning with Taylor. It was surprisingly dry for Mont
St. Anne, actually some dust out there! Which I liked because thatís all we get
to ride in UtahÖ. Good change from all the other wet World Cups. This nice dry
weather did not last long though, it poured Friday night making the course nice
and slippery. We got a lap in on Saturday before the elites raced and the
course had changed quite a bit, more exposed roots and slippery rocks. I only
went over the bars onceÖnothing unusual there. Good to get it out of the way
now I suppose.
Race day, I got called up first, which was really cool, too
bad I blew my start! Guess thatís what happens when your not paying attention.
So I collected myself and rode up onto Antonís wheel. I was with him up the
climb and we hit the first technical section and that kid was gone. Then it was
a race for second. It was the Canadian national champ, Ben Bradley and I. We
were all together going into the second lap, then I had a few crashes and the
Canadian dropped us. With 2 laps to go I dropped Ben on the climb and was
chasing the Canadian. He was within sight I just couldnít quite close the gap
before the finish. I am way happy with my 3rd place finish.
Windham, New York:
We had been in New York since the Monday after MSA, which
was awesome because we were able to do a bunch of laps on the course. It was
hot and humid just like last year, I wasnít super happy about itÖbut oh well.
We raced early Saturday morning, which was nice because it wasnít that hot.
Right from the start it was Anton and I at the front.
It was a hard pace but I felt fairly confident. At the top
of the climb we caught a group of 4 or 5 U-23 riders, Anton got around them and
I could not. He put a bunch of time into me on the decent and was gone.
The rest of the race I was just trying to manage my time and
not loose anymore to him. He ended up 3 minutes ahead, which I was really happy
about because thatís half the time of MSA. He took the win, I was second and Nicolas
Sessler (Brazil) was 3rd. Also congrats to Lucas Newcomb on his top
5 finish, way cool!
Nationals - Sun Valley, Idaho:
Iíve been on the road for some time so it was sweet to do a
race within driving distance from my house! The XC course was basically the
same as last year so it suited me well with that long steep climb, although not
a ton of fun. I did a few laps on the course and felt like I had it down pretty
well. Thursday night I went and hung out at the Santa Cruz Xfusion house and
ended up getting a gnarly hair cut, and then we set off some fireworks, pretty
fun 4th. We raced Friday morning, and it was hot out! But at least
it was dry heatÖ Taylor got the hole shot which was way cool but then crashed
on one of the sharp road corners because he rolled some knobbies which is not
the best way to start a race! Luckily he was about on his bike by the time I
caught up to him. Casey somehow got around the crash and was off the front.
After the start loop I reeled him in on the climb and pushed
the pace till he couldnít hang on. Once
I got a gap I just kept the hammer down to increase it to a comfortable margin.
I then just tried to ride smart and not blow up, flat, or crash before the
finish. I ended up crossing the line a couple minutes ahead of Lucas and Cody.
Congrats guys! Taylor ended up flatting a few laps in, thatís some really bad
luckÖ.but still managed 17th place out of 60 starters! Pretty
awesome with a crash and flat. Thanks to Colby and Tony Smith for the
encouraging words during the raceÖ ha!
Saturday we just relaxed and did a few laps on the Super D
course, which was pretty fun. It had a
5ish minute climb, fast fire roads and dusty flowy singletrack. Sunday morning
we warmed up and readied for the Super D. My strategy was to go as fast as I
could up the climb and then donít crash on the DH and point it down the fire
road Öand it worked! I won my second Super D ever! Taylor flatted about halfway
down the course, which is a real bummer cause he probably would have crushed
it. But it was good to keep the win within the CFR team.
Then that afternoon was short track. After doing the Super D
in the morning I was already warmed up so I didnít do much, just spin around and
do a couple fast paced laps on the track. Somehow I was called up to the front
row, awesome! I got the hole shot with Casey on my wheel and Tobin not far
behind. At first it was just Casey and I, but Tobin worked his way up pretty
quick. Tobin and I began taking pulls at the front and Casey slowly fell off
the pace, so it was just the two of us. With 3.5 laps to go Tobin put in a
solid attack but I was able to hold on to his wheel.
Right as he finished his attack I noticed he was starting to
get tired so I attacked him with just under 3 to go and was able to hold him
off for the win! That was one of the hardest races I have ever done! No rest at
all. Congrats to Tobin for his 2nd and Casey on 3rd, that
was some good racing guys. Overall I could not be any happier with 3 jerseys
this year at Nationals!