Park City native and Whole Athlete/Specialized racer Keegan Swenson is the reigning 15-16 year-old national XC champion. This season is his first with the Whole Athlete squad and his first in the 17-18 category. Keegan will be representing his team and the United States throughout the 2011 season and he will be posting a weekly blog on MTBRaceNews.com.
Keegan is now 3 for 3 at Pro XCT events this season. He recently traveled to Sun Valley, Idaho, to race the US national championship. Read Keegan's report below.
Nationals Race Report 2011
After pre-riding the course I was pretty
excited because I knew that massive climb would suite me well. After lining up
to start I was in the 3rd row but luckily my teammate Bobby Zidek
gave up his spot for me in the second row! Thanks a lot Bobby. By the time we
were actually on the line I had made it up to the front row.
The start gun then went off and I slipped my
pedal and slid back a few places but made my way up to the front quick. It was
then teammate Tony Smith and I leading it up the first part of the climb. I
pushed it a bit harder and separated myself from the rest of the field.
After only a minute or so Howard Grotts
(Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory) was on my wheel. At the top we sort of
sprinted to the singletrack. I made it there first, which was helpful in being
able to descend my own speed. I put a few U-23 racers between Howard and I but
it wasn’t quite enough. He caught
me on the climb the next lap, and attacked 1/3 of the way up, by doing this he
put about 45 seconds on me.
So the next two laps I was just playing catch
up. By then of the race I was able to get within 20 seconds of Howard but just
couldn’t close it. Congrats to Howard on the win, Cypress Gorry (AZ Devo) for
his 3rd place , teammate Max Houtzager for an awesome 4thplace and Casey Williams in 5th. I also want to congratulate Lucas
Newcomb for his win the cat 1 15-16 category.
After a long warm up and start delay, because
of a horrible crash in the women’s race and a course re-route, we lined up at
the start. Once again I was in the front row and totally blew it by slipping my
pedal and falling to the back of the field.
After getting it together I hammered it to
make my way up to the front. It took a quite a few laps, but I eventually made
it up there. I road with Howard for a bit then quickly faded back to 5th…I
I went way too hard trying to get up to the
front! With three laps to go I was in 4th, then started to feel
better again and road my way into third by the end of 2nd to last
lap. I saw Payson McElveen about 10 seconds up, I poured it on to get onto
Payson’s wheel then just waiting for the proper time to try and get around him.
The last straight away I made my move and beat him to the left hand turn to the
I came in just about a bike length ahead of
him! Great race Howard for taking the win again! And that was an awesome race
Payson, good fight. Lastly, my teammate Taylor Smith rolled in at 5thafter a killer Super-D run.