This past weekend Jill Kintner and Aaron Gwin won the 2015 USA Gravity Nationals DH at Mammoth. Details inside
(July 18, 2015) – Jill Kintner (Bellingham, Wash./Red Bull-Norco Bicycles) marched to the women’s pro downhill national championship and Chloe Woodruff (Prescott, Ariz./Team Stan’s NoTubes-Niner) sprinted to the women’s pro cross-country win, as the two athletes earned their second Stars-and-Stripes jerseys in as many days on Saturday at the 2015 USA Cycling Mountain Bike National Championships in Mammoth Mountain, Calif.
Aaron Gwin (Wildomar, Calif./Specialized Racing) also won his seventh downhill national championship, and Howard Grotts (Durango, Colo./Specialized Factory Racing) picked up his first pro men’s cross-country national title.
Kintner followed up Friday’s dual slalom win with a convincing 15.64-second downhill margin of victory, crossing in 4:03.95 to earn her 15th career professional national championship. She defeated dual slalom silver medalist Jacqueline Thomas (Winter Park, Colo.), who earned downhill silver in 4:19.59, while Rebecca Gardner (Marlboro, N.Y.) took bronze in 4:55.05.
“It definitely feels good to get another win. I’m happy to keep my sleeve a bit longer,” Kintner said. “I’m happy with how the day went and to represent America.”
Woodruff’s second gold medal of the weekend was not as lopsided, as the Arizona native outlasted Erin Huck (Boulder, Colo./SCOTT-3Rox Racing) in a final sprint, crossing in 1:39:39, one second ahead of Huck’s 1:39:40 finish. Woodruff and Huck battled throughout the majority of the five-lap race, two constants at the front that at times also included Rose Grant (Kalispell, Mont.) and Georgia Gould (Fort Collins, Colo./LUNA Pro Team). Defending champion Lea Davison (Jericho, Vt./Specialized Factory Racing) suffered a rear flat early, causing her to settle for sixth place and opening the door for other riders like Grant, who finished third in 1:40:16, to reach the podium.
“I had a lot of nerves coming into this weekend,” Woodruff said. “I wasn’t really thinking about (winning), but I had some people telling me, ‘Hey, you’re going to do it. You’re going to come away with two jerseys.’ I thought that’s a pipedream. I knew I could do it; it was just a matter of hanging with Erin.”
The pro men’s downhill competition came down to Gwin, the six-time downhill champion and No. 1 seed in the event. On the final run of the day, Gwin assembled a 3:20.52 effort that upended Michael Sylvestri’s (Truckee, Calif.) then-top time of 3:23.45 to take the win. Sylvestri earned silver and Luca Shaw (Hendersonville, N.C./SRAM-Troy Lee Designs) won bronze with his 3:24.47 run.
“National Champs have always been a special event for me,” Gwin said. “I’ve been fortunate enough to win it a few times, and it’s always a race I look forward to, one that I definitely want to do well at. I’m really stoked to keep the Stars-and-Stripes sleeve for another year and take it back to the World Cup.”