State champions crowned at Mt. Graham

Kyle Trudeau (CZ Racing) and Kat Salthouse (Sabino Cycles Racing) put the hurt on their opponents Sunday and sailed up Mt. Graham to win Arizona’s state championship hill climb with the overall best times.

Trudeau, a 23-year-old Cat 3 rider from Tucson, clocked 1:31:18. Trudeau competes professionally as a cross-country mountain biker.

“It was fun and an awesome climb,” Trudeau said. “I didn’t know what to expect since it was my first time ever being on that mountain. I kinda knew where to try and keep my power so I didn’t blow up so after it thinned out and it was down to three of us I put in a dig and opened up a gap and rode solo for the last 50-ish minutes of the climb.”

Trudeau followed the lead of Olympian cross-country mountain biker Chloe Woodruff, who took to the road on Mt. Graham in 2015 and blew away the competition with a time of 1:46:21.

Salthouse, 27, a Cat 2 rider from Tucson, rode to the top in 1:52:55. She had taken a few weeks off after an injury at the Cascade Cycling Classic over the summer, she said.

“[Mt. Graham] is always challenging in figuring out how to balance pushing the pace at the beginning and surviving the grueling climb,” Salthouse said. “I’m happy with how the first half of the race went, and was really suffering the last few miles. Graham is always fun because Sabino has a good turnout of riders and supporters, so there is always someone cheering you on.”

Not far behind were the top Cat 1 riders – Joey Iuliano (Sabino Cycles Racing) and Amy Chandos (Northern Arizona University) with 1:34:28 and 2:05:06, respectively.

No riders came close to breaking the overall course records, 1:20:11 by Carlos Lopez and 1:39:23 by Melissa McWhirter, both set in 2008.

Photos provided by Joey Iuliano


Erica Clevenger, left, and Kat Salthouse stand atop the podium for the Cat 2 Women state championship hill climb.

Full results:

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