Monday, August 5, 2013

In an awesome weekend of competition, both Specialized Racing Downhill and Cross-
Country stars are crowned America's fastest racers, while Junior Division athletes capture victories providing a promising glimpse into Specialized Racing's next generation of champions.

The USA Cycling Gravity National Championships went down at the Angel Fire Resort in New Mexico, a venue familiar to high-profile racing, as its resume includes hosting a World Cup only a few years ago. Reigning World Cup Champion, Aaron Gwin, was hungry for his fourth Downhill National Championship, and raced his Demo 8 to victory by over 11 seconds on the rugged Angel Fire terrain. Specialized's Mitch Ropelato rounded out the Pro Men's Downhill Podium by racing his Demo 8 to third place.

"It's an honor to get another National title this weekend," explains Gwin. "When I first started racing downhill this was the race I always wanted to win, its crazy how far things have come since then, but its always really cool for me to come back to where it all started and do well. Thanks to all the supporters who've helped make it happen for me!"

Brotherly Love: Walker and Luca Shaw Celebrate Another Victory

At each National-level race the Junior Division is loaded with the talent of tomorrow, and Angel Fire didn't disappoint, with the quickest rippers from across the country converging on a track running well over 6 minutes in length. USA Gravity Team racer Walker Shaw took home the win in the ultra-competitive Cat 1 17-18 year old division, while Charlie Harrison (ODI/Specialized Development Team) continued his amazing season by taking the National Championship in the Cat 1 15-16 year old class.

"What a wild weekend!" said Shaw. I didn't know for sure if I'd be able to ride after injuring my wrist in Andorra. I'm super happy to finish third in Dual Slalom and then bring home the win in the downhill! It was a great weekend and I'm looking forward to racing the next World Cup."

For terrain as rough and high-speed as Angel Fire, the race-proven Demo 8 equipped with Butcher DH tyres was the go-to setup for the National Championships. Both Gwin and Ropelato raced S-Works Carbon Demo 8s, while Shaw and Harrison rode their alloy versions to the top-step of the podium.

Cross-Country racing runs deep within the fabric of Specialized—from Ned Overend's inaugural XC World Championship victory in 1990, to today's paramount Cross-Country National series, the Pro XCT, our bikes are developed on the racecourse with the sole purpose of getting riders on the top step of the podium.

As the Pro XCT Series came to an end this past weekend at the Catamount Classic in Vermont, Specialized Racing's Cross-Country riders not only captured the Team Championship, but Olympians and newly crowned National Champions, Todd Wells and Lea Davison, won the XCT men's and women's overall series championships, while 20-year-old talent, Howard Grotts, from Durango, Colorado, finished strong as the top U23 racer.

The demanding Vermont conditions required race-bred S-Works equipment. With S-Works carbon hardtail and Epic options available, riders opted for setups best suiting their riding style. Wells raced his super-lightweight S-Works Stumpjumper 29 carbon fibre hardtail rolling an S-Works Renegade rear tyre and Fast Trak tyre on the front. Lea Davison also opted for her hardtail, racing her Fate 29 equipped with S-Works Fast Trak Tyres, meanwhile Grotts went the full-suspension route, racing the S-Works Epic 29 with Fast Trak Tyres.