Utah State Championship Series Race #1
Lambert Park, Utah
Swenson Beats Grant in a Sprint Finish, Sarah Kaufmann Bests the Women's Field
Written by: Shannon Boffeli
Saturday marked the beginning of a new mountain bike race
series in Utah, the Utah State Championship Series (USCS). If Saturdayís race was any indication the USCS will quickly become a major player in local MTB
Despite being the first event, the race, in Lambert Park,
went off like clockwork. After the finish, all participants raved about the
great course and exciting race atmosphere.
The pro event started at 12:30, with the weather holding off
just long enough for a dry race. The men started first and got things going
quickly as Kuhl rider Kevin Day charged off the line and into the lead on the
opening climb. Day was quickly over taken by Bryson Perry (Lifetime Fitness),
Alex Grant (Cannondale), and Keegan Swenson (Whole Athlete/Specialized) and it didnít
take long for the turbo-charged trio to open up a gap on the demanding Rodeo
Just behind, a chase group of talented riders lined up
including Nick Fisher (Roosterís), Jason Sager (Jamis), and Chris Holley (Trek
The short course XC format favored those riders with early
season high-end fitness and lead group had plenty. The group of three never let
off the gas and held the chasers off for the duration of the hour-long event.
On the third of four laps Grant surged ahead before the
Rodeo descent and pushed the limits in the tight singletrack. The attack
dislodged Perry from the group and briefly undid Swenson.
The Cannondale rider said after the race, "I opened it up a
bit on the rocky downhill and got a gap but Keegan was hooking up really well
in the swoopy, loose stuff later in the lap and he closed it up in there.Ē
Perry did his best to stay close but the leaders were now
out of reach. On the final lap Grant again opened it up on the more technical
descent but not enough to keep the 17-year old XC national champion from
reeling him back in.
Grant still held the lead and tried everything to create a
gap without success. Swenson was pasted to Grantís rear wheel as the two
exited the singletrack and prepared for the uphill finishing sprint.
Only one last bump remained between Grant and the final
paved section leading to the finish line and on that bump the Cannondale
riderís foot slipped from his pedal. In that instant Swenson was able to take
over the lead. While Grant was able to recover and contend for the win he
couldnít bring the youngster back.
By mere seconds, Keegan Swenson took the win in with Grant
Bryson Perry rolled in for a well-deserved third place
followed by Jason Sager.
Nick Fisher had an inspired ride to take 5th.
The women had an equally exciting showdown with Sarah
Kaufmann (Elete Electrolytes) and Kelsy Bingham (Jamis) who have been battling
it out on the national scene going up against Utah stalwart KC Holley (Trek
This time it was Bingham taking the early lead before the
descent that left Kaufmann all over her rear end.
That didnít last long as Binghamís read end proved to be her
undoing. Before she finished the opening lap the Jamis riders rear skewer had
come undone and her wheel was beginning to come out.
By the time she diagnosed the problem Kaufmann and Holley
had moved on.
Now out front, with a clear line of sight, Kaufmann used her
expert descending skills to shred the Lambert Park course. Attacking the
descents and powering through the rocks the Elete rider moved well out front.
After 4 laps, Kaufmann took the win with a time better than
most of the expert men.
Holley rode a strong and consistent race holding off Bingham
and securing the second step on the podium. Kelsy Bingham took third.
Swenson and Kaufmann now lead the Utah State Championship
Series and are in the drivers seat for the series win in August.
Riders will face off again for the second round of the USCS
on June 25th in Park City, UT. The traditional length XC event will
take place in Round Valley and feature some of the areas best high-speed
USCS officials paid 8 riders deep in the pro men's field and all three pro women went home with cash in hand. Checks also went to the fastest overall sport and expert finishers both male and female
For more information and full results from the event go to www.raceuscs.com
1, Keegan Swenson (Whole Athlete/Specialized)
2, Alex Grant (Cannondale)
3, Bryson Perry (Lifetime Fitness)
4, Jason Sager (Jamis)
5, Nick Fisher (Rooster's)
6, Chris Holley (Trek 29er Crew)
7, Kevin Day (Kuhl)
8, Brent Pontius (Rooster's)
9, Geoffrey Montague
10, Alex Rock
11, Quinn Bingham
12, Blake Zumbrunnen (Kuhl)
13, Ryan Krusemark (Kuhl)
1, Sarah Kaufmann (Elete Electrolytes)
2, KC Holley (Trek 29er Crew)
3, Kelsy Bingham (Jamis)