2019 USAC MTB National Championships

As of October 6, 2018, we still don’t know where and when National Championships will be, but I have gathered some info to put here and have a spot to discuss.

It will likely be the 2nd or 3rd week in July, since that is the time slot it has traditionally occupied.

Nationals have followed two trends (hesitate to say rules, but near that) that are rumored to not be in place anymore. Those were (1) it will be held two years in a row in the same location (2) it will alternate between East and West Coast.

From what I hear, bids from municipalities and other third parties have been tough to come by, hence the delayed announcement/decision, but I have heard whispers of it being in Winter Park or Aspen, CO. These rumors come from folks who would be in the know, but the rumor was that it was “likely”, not “decided”, so keep that grain of salt handy until we can officially update here.

There were also rumors of Texas or Wisconsin getting them, but those rumors seem to have died off.

At this point, Winter Park seems most likely.

Winter Park Beta
I just visited Winter Park today for the first time, so it would be great to get more local knowledge. That said, I rode much higher up the resort than what the XCO course would be like to get an idea of the terrain throughout the resort. That place is SO good! It was 20°F at the top and snowing, but the dirt was absolutely perfect. Dream day!

Up high, there is some dense pine growth with a lot of roots and embedded granite rock. The dirt has a somewhat loose composition – nothing like Mammoth’s kitty litter from a couple years ago, but it definitely isn’t hard packed clay.

As you drop in elevation, the roots decrease substantially in density, but the dirt maintains its somewhat loose composition. When wet, it’s like moist and compacted brown sugar (:heart_eyes:), and I can only assume that when dry it has the capability of becoming very hard packed but also losing its composition and crumbling. Any local info to help on this?

I think I’d stick with the Maxxis Aspen unless the dirt gets looser. In that case, I’d likely go to the Recon Race.

For hardtail vs. full suspension, they could make a course that would be good for either, but it seems like full suspension would be a better idea since it’s a bike park (big braking bumps and bomb holes are likely to develop).

For suspension settings, the roots up high would be best handled with lower than average air pressure of additional volume spacers to create more progressive (and thusly more initially plush) kinematics.

Overall, I think it is very unlikely they would make the course go up high to the roots, so likely not needed to account for that. However, if it was a Marathon event, they definitely could go all the way up there!

Okay, that’s all I’ve got. Any locals have info on Winter Park, or has anybody heard of Nationals happening elsewhere?

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Winter Park seems much more likely than Aspen. Affordable lodging would be a huge issue with Aspen (as much as I love that town) and frankly haven ridden there, it would be a stretch to make a good XCO course over at Snowmass.

Definitely curious to see how this shakes out since this is relevant to my race interests.

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Yeah, good points.

I could see a really good XCO course there at Winter Park with the fireroad and singletrack climbing options and a wide range of descending possibilities right there at the base of the mountain.

Eager to get some local feedback on where they assume a nationals XCO course would run on that mountain.

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Now that we know it’s Winter Park, I’m hoping this thread starts to take off. Base elevation 9,000’, ouch.

RIP my FTP as a sea level guy!

July 23-28th are the dates.

I’ll probably come out for a few days in 2019 to recon the area, with a plan to do a full 2 weeks in advance for 2020.


-15% Steve, nbd


I’m already scheming! Fortunately I have some high elevation experience already from Leadville, but definitely going to need to get comfortable with VO2max efforts at altitude.

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Yesss! I’m really excited for this. We need some local intel on courses that are frequently used in that region. Anybody?

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Did some digging and it seems like the local XC series has three routes that they may pull from:

Elk Creek: https://www.strava.com/activities/1718353545/overview
Rendezvous: https://www.strava.com/segments/12576321?filter=overall
Super Loop: https://www.strava.com/activities/1750133914

My guess is that it will include parts of Trestle to keep the DH and other action close, especially based on this segment:

Winter Park Race Start: https://www.strava.com/segments/18440688?filter=overall


Jonathan, would love to hear your training plans as I know this race is your big target for the next 2 years. I am looking at logistics still but I am hoping to make it my big target as well and would love to hear your plan for being podium ready come race day!

I’m a sea leveler as well, but did race Leadville this past year so I got a good taste for what I need to do to get my body altitude ready. Being in Colorado for 2 weeks before Leadville was pretty much perfect for my sea level lungs. I could listen to a whole podcast series on this one event for sure!

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I’ll be covering this in an upcoming episode and documenting all progress as I progress. I can’t wait!


Good digging Steve!

There are so many options there, but I would love to see them keep it in the resort. That would follow the usual pattern as well.

I am going to be talking with some friends that may be in the know in the next couple weeks. I’ll share what I learn!

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From USA Cycling’s venue/format requirements document:

“A pro cross-country race course that is 12-19 minutes long and approximately 4-6k for the elite categories to reflect the UCI required format.”

Might this mean they have to make some new sections of trail to create the required loop??

I haven’t ridden Winter Park, but live about 90 mins away. When the snow’s gone, and things dry up, I’ll have to take a trip over and check it out. Only have to wait 6 or 7 months :slight_smile:


What?..you live 90m away and haven’t ridden in WP? Don’t know ya but come on man!~!!! :wink:

Just giving you grief. Their XC series is the best that I have raced.

Yeah, I’ll get there next spring/summer! I moved to Steamboat last year, so a lot of good riding on our doorstep. When I get in the car to drive somewhere, so far it’s been Moab/Fruita. There’s also a lot of other places in CO on my bucket list - just need to find the time to get there!

Curious to see who else out there is planning to race nationals at Winter Park? Also, what races/method are you using to qualify? Three sanctioned MTB races or top 15 Marathon Nats?

Also, has anyone heard if Winter Park will repeat as host in 2020?

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They usually announce for two years in a row and the big was for two years in a row, but it’s a bit odd that they only announced for 2019.

Definitely curious if it will be at Winter Park in 2020.

I’ll be there with my wife. Will be out at Soldier Hollow to qualify. If that doesn’t work out I’ll need to figure out another option but I’m expecting us both to qualify. There is a local series of 3 races that are USAC sanctioned and serve as the State championship series so I may have to do the other two races if I don’t qualify at Soldier Hollow.

We race in Winter Park every other week starting in June and have for the last 8 years so very familiar with the area. Not sure on race course yet

Are you CO local? I am planning to go the Ridgeline Rampage, Battle the Bear series hopefully…not sure on third race to qualify since it will likely need to be in May before registration for Winter Park Nats opens up.

My goal would be to just get to Nats this year and feel it out ahead of making a more serious effort for 2020 if it is going to repeat there. TBD>

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Yep I live in Fort Collins. The first of that series is same weekend as Soldier Hollow so we won’t so the 3 race series. The Warriors Cycling website has the info but if you race all 3 that should count to qualify no matter how you place.

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