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 has now won every Pro XCT event he’s raced this season.
He recently traveled to Mont St. Anne and Windham, New York to race the world
cup events there with Team USA. Read Keegan's report below.
Monte Sainte Anne World Cup, Quebec, Canada
The race started off super fast, just like
the previous World Cup I had done at Offenburg earlier this year.
As we hit the first climb the pack split a
bit and I was in a group with Andri Frishkernet (Scott-Swiss power), a couple
Canadians, and a Andrey Fonseca (Costa Rica). When we reached Beatrice, which
was the a super gnarly turn into a steep rock garden, I hadn’t really planned
on ridding the "A” line but the guys in my group rode it so I just went for it
as I did not want any gaps opening up.
We continued to take turns on the front for
the first two laps (of four) and I felt pretty good. Then I bonked pretty hard
and got dropped fast by that lead group….pretty sure the heat, humidity, and
dehydration got to me!
I then just tried to limit my losses and ride
smart by not crashing or anything. I ended up getting passed by two more racers
behind me and still ended up 5th.
Overall I was happy with my result
considering my circumstances…I also received a few UCI points for my 5thplace, which was pretty awesome, so that I could have a better start at the
Windham World Cup next weekend in New York. Lastly, the US National Team as a
whole did great, so good work guys!
Windham Mountain World Cup, New York.
I was super excited for this race, as it is
the only World Cup in the US. The track also has a bit more climbing then most
of the other world cups which was a plus.
Once again the start was ridiculously fast as
always, and I slipped my pedal. So that kind of sucked.
But I made my way back up to the front just
before the singletrack. Also, once again it was the same lead group as Monte
Sainte Anne, except this time I had fellow American Howard Grotts with me.
Howard and I just sat in near the back of the
group and followed wheels and attacks.
On the second lap I was behind Howard on the
downhill portion of the track, and his bars came loose! So that was kind of
sketchy, but he had it taken care of at the feed/tech zone and caught back up
Then after a little bit more time of sitting
in Howard threw in a massive attack at the top of the climb and I was able to
jump on his wheel. We cruised down the fast, rocky descent with a small gap
ahead of Andri and the rest of the chase group.
By the end of the downhill they had kind of
closed the gap so it was back together again for the stair-step climb up to the
top for the final lap.
Once again Howard put in a huge effort and
dropped everyone on the steep part of the climb. With Andri in 2nd,
the Costa Rican in third and me right behind we tried to chase Howard. Andri
opened up a small gap on the flatter section of the climb, so it was just the
Costa Rican and I.
I was just a few bike lengths behind him
going into the descent and flatted! So I then just rode the flat down the
entire downhill, banging across the rocks and what not.
I was passed by one more racer near the end
of the lap, so I ended up 5th once again. I was kind of bummed on
the flat…but that’s mountain bike racing!
And my rear ENVE wheel is not cracked or that
out of true…pretty impressive. Congratulations to Howard for taking the win!
And for Aussie/American Ryan Standish for holding on the 8th place!