Photo: Chloe Woodruff races toward a national title last year at Mountain Bike Nationals in Mammoth.
The Volkswagen USA Cycling Mountain Bike National Championships go off at Mammoth Mountain this week, where riders will vie for top spots in cross-country, short track, enduro, downhill and dual slalom.
Soon-to-be Olympian and Prescott, Ariz.-homegirl Chloe Woodruff (Stan’s No Tubes-Pivot) is returning from UCI Mountain Bike World Championships to compete on U.S. soil before heading to Rio.
“So much of this race is about how you approach and respond at altitude, and I feel very confident about my chances to defend my national championship jerseys,” said Woodruff, who won nationals at Mammoth in 2005 as a junior and two titles last year as an elite at the same venue. “There’s a lot of mountain bike history at Mammoth, and the course really feels like a true American-style cross-country, which I like.”
She said her teammate, Rose Grant, is also going to be a strong contender.
“I hope there will be a couple of Stan’s NoTubes-Pivot riders at the front of the race,” Woodruff said.
Pro Kyle Trudeau (CZ Racing) of Tucson, Ariz. and Amy Chandos (Canyon Elite Women’s Racing/NAU Cycling) of Flagstaff, Ariz., who is competing in the women’s Cat 1/2, 25-29, both have a shot at placing well.
Trudeau won the single speed event last year, placed eighth in pro short track and seventh in U23.
“My goal for nats is to get top five in the pro [cross country] and pro [short track cross country],” Trudeau said. “This is the race I’ve been building toward all season, so I’m excited to see what I can do.”
Trudeau said the course, which has long climbs and a fast-flowing descent, suits him better than a course with short, punchy climbs.
Chandos said she hopes the altitude plays to her advantage; the course profile includes approximately 5.5-mile loops with about 1,000 feet of climbing per lap. Although registered for both cross-country and short track, the latter will be a first for her.
“I hear it’s like a crit on mountain bikes, so naturally I’m all in,” Chandos said. “I’m aiming for top three in [cross country], and I’d love to podium in short track, but as it’s my first time, I’ll be happy just going hard against some rip roaring fast ladies.”
She said her main goal is to “keep a smile on my face and shred some Cali dirt.”
2016 Volkswagen Mountain Bike National Championships stream schedule:
Saturday, July 16
6:30 p.m. EDT/3:30 p.m. PDT Event coverage begins
7 p.m. EDT/4 p.m. PDT Men’s STXC (LIVE)
7:45 p.m. EDT/4:45 p.m. PDT Women’s STXC (LIVE)
8:25 p.m. EDT/5:25 p.m. PDT Dual Slalom event recap
Main photo: Les Stukenberg