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 Offenburg, Germany, to race the world cup event there with Team USA. Read Keegan's report below.
After pre riding this course I was
extremely excited to race! There were super fast S-turns and plenty of roots
and drops. And I had never ridden any course this fun. The majority of the
track was wide "singletrack” with plenty of passing room. Although there was
one asphalt climb and two (tech/feed) sections on a gravel road on this 5.1-kilometer
was pretty nervous coming into this race because I had no idea what to expect
with 125 other very fast juniors lining up to race. I got called up in about
the 3rd or 4th row, which was an awesome spot to start.
When the gun went off it was just a frantic sprint for the first corner, and I
slipped my pedal or something and was passed by a lot of racers. I am not quite
sure but I was probably back in 40th or something like that going
into the first real lap.
On the asphalt climb I was able to gain back a ton of places
pretty quick and could see the lead group a ways ahead going into the singletrack.
Then after descending "Duel Speed Drop’ which is like 5 drops in a row and was
super fun, we approached another climb through some roots and the next thing I
knew I was on my face in the roots!
I’m pretty sure a kid tried to pass me in a sketchy place
and got tangled up in my bars or something…. but either way I had crashed and
my chain was tangled up around by BB so I just ran that climb and tried to get
my chain back on at the top.
By the time I got my chain back on I had lost a lot of spots
and was back a long ways. The next two laps went all right and I passed a few guys
and did not get passed. I wasn’t quite warmed up enough so I could really ride
until the last lap and half (we got stuck in traffic!). On the last lap Marc [Gullickson]
told me I was in 50th and that there was a group up a ways up the
track. I buried myself to catch in to that next group, and It worked as I
caught and passed them! Then I passed a few more racers going off "Wolfs Drop”,
which is an extremely steep drop filled with a massive amount of roots. I
ending up crossing line in 43rd about 10 seconds back from another
group of racers.
Lesson of day: Be more aggressive and don’t get pushed
around. And pass whenever possible.
Good job to the other USA guys out there killing it.