Your New US National DH Champion

KHS Pro MT rider Kailey Skelton, the 2021 US Women's National Downhill Champion.

U.S National Championships are back in action after missing the 2020 Championships all athletes were beyond excited and very eager too claim all the titles that would be happening over the weekend. Showcasing all disciplines from Downhill, Dual Slalom, Cross-country, and all professional & amateur categories. Located in Winter Park Colorado at a elevation base of  9000 feet that would be the venue for the 2021 USA National Championships!

KHS Pro MTB rider Kailey Skelton practice run at the 2021 US Nationals in Winter Park Colorado.
KHS Pro MTB rider Kailey Skelton practice run at the 2021 US Nationals in Winter Park Colorado.

Kailey Skelton, Nik Nestoroff and Steven Walton would be competing in the Downhill category to try their best and claim victory and hold the national title throughout the 2021 season. The national title would consist of being the best racer on the mountain against the best American athletes. It is a very pristine title and each rider only has one shot at it each year. With that title it holds a lot of pressure to be victorious at other races like world championships and other national events that require each national champion to wear an American Stars & Stripes sleeve representing their title.

KHS Pro MTB rider Kailey Skelton practice run at the 2021 US Nationals in Winter Park Colorado.
KHS Pro MTB rider Kailey Skelton practice run at the 2021 US Nationals in Winter Park Colorado.

The KHS Pro MTB team arrived Tuesday evening to prepare themselves all the way for Sunday’s finals with that said Wednesday would be a day for track walk and also a day for acclimating for the high altitude in the Rocky Mountains. Not only is the base of the team pits located at 9000 feet, but the top of the downhill start was located over 12,000 feet in the pinnacle of the Colorado, Rocky Mountains.

KHS Pro MTB rider Nik Nestoroff practice run at the 2021 US Nationals in Winter Park Colorado.
KHS Pro MTB rider Nik Nestoroff practice run at the 2021 US Nationals in Winter Park Colorado.

Wednesday would consist of a great track walk with all the American downhill racers both male and female collaborating together to do one track walk together. It was very cool to see every competitor on the hill from all over the country join together and help each other out on the track walk. There were great vibes happening on the mountain for their first looks and glances at the track they would be competing on for the national title.

KHS Pro MTB rider Kailey Skelton practice run at the 2021 US Nationals in Winter Park Colorado.
KHS Pro MTB rider Kailey Skelton practice run at the 2021 US Nationals in Winter Park Colorado.

After the team’s successful track walk it would go into their first day of practice on Thursday afternoon. It consisted of a three hour practice with many riders and a long gondola lift ride to the top of the Rocky Mountain track. Practice went very well for all athletes. They were all acclimating to the high altitude and dry terrain. Steven Walton and Nik Nestoroff were coming off of the World Cup in Europe which was very muddy and quite different terrain compared to this national championship race. Also Friday consisted of another great day of practice with only a three hour session which would allow each team to focus on their athletes and adjust what needed to be adjusted to the harsh demanding terrain on their bikes and equipment.

KHS Pro MTB rider Steven Walton race run at the 2021 US Nationals in Winter Park Colorado.
KHS Pro MTB rider Steven Walton race run at the 2021 US Nationals in Winter Park Colorado.

All three athletes would be making drastic changes with their suspension tire and overall bike set up to accommodate their needs and make them feel as comfortable as possible for Saturday’s qualifying and seeding event that consists of a full-timed run from USA cycling‘s official timekeepers. Once Saturday rolled around the pressure was on for qualification and seeding. The athletes all went to work after countless days of practicing tuning, learning and focusing on their final goals of winning. It would be Kailey Skelton in the professional Downhill Women’s category who would qualify first! Nik Nestoroff would qualify 7th and Steven Walton would qualify 12th.

KHS Pro MTB rider Nik Nestoroff practice run at the 2021 US Nationals in Winter Park Colorado.
KHS Pro MTB rider Nik Nestoroff practice run at the 2021 US Nationals in Winter Park Colorado.

After qualifications all athletes would be reviewing their setups and discussing team tactics to get them on top of the podium for Sunday’s finals. Also they would be reviewing video footage and trying their best to get prepared for the final race run coming Sunday. Final adjustments would be done after qualification from the team mechanics and the riders input. Sunday morning would come quickly with high pressure on each athlete which obviously they had great expectations to do their best in their final race run. Each athlete would only get one or two practice runs to warm themselves up and make sure they were flowing for their final run.

KHS Pro MTB rider Kailey Skelton on the podium as the new 2021 US Women's National Downhill Champion in Winter Park Colorado
KHS Pro MTB rider Kailey Skelton on the podium as the new 2021 US Women’s National Downhill Champion in Winter Park Colorado

First to drop would be Steven Walton who was struggling from a little bit of altitude sickness and some arm pump, but would ultimately be able to push through the finish line with a top 15 result. Next to drop in would be Nik Nestoroff who would have a blistering run and only be a few seconds off podium position with a six place finish, an overall great run and very respected among the best.

The highlight of the weekend would be Kailey Skelton who would drop into a race run focused, determined and eager to cross the line with limited mistakes. Kailey had an amazing run from top to bottom. She did her best and would really exert herself physically and mentally to push as hard as she could. When she crossed the finish line it was huge cheers from the fans family and the announcer. Once she gained her bearings and could focus on herself from her tunnel vision race run she would hear over the announcement that she had just won her first title by 12 seconds over second place claiming the 2021 U.S national championship title.

KHS Pro MT rider Kailey Skelton, the 2021 US Women's National Downhill Champion.
KHS Pro MT rider Kailey Skelton, the 2021 US Women’s National Downhill Champion.

Kailey and all the athletes, team members and team managers were beyond stoked. The entire team put effortless amounts of time and dedication into getting this title. Everyone was beyond stoked that KHS Bicycles had claimed their 2021 title with over a decade of their last title being claimed in 2011 by Logan Binggeli. After the victorious race run and podium the team would be celebrating Sunday night’s dinner and congratulating Kailey and her first national title.

Once again KHS pro MTB wants to thank all their fans, family and sponsors for countless dedication and help throughout the season. All the athletes will have a one week break until heading up to Big Sky, Montana for the big mountain Enduro series. Everyone is very excited to get up in the Montana mountains and test their skills back into stage racing with one of the biggest Enduro races of the year. We’ll see you next time between the tape!

Winning at Tamarack Resort

KHS Pro MTb rider Kailey Skelton on the podium in first place at the Northwest Cupat Tamarack Resort Id.
KHS Pro MTb rider Kailey Skelton on the podium in first place at the Northwest Cupat Tamarack Resort Id.
KHS Pro MTb rider Kailey Skelton on the podium in first place at the Northwest Cupat Tamarack Resort Id.
Racing resumed this weekend for the team up in Tamarack, Idaho for round three of the Northwest Cup. It would be Kailey Skelton who would be holding it down for the pro women’s Downhill category. With Steven and Nik still over in Europe awaiting World Cup round two and Luke Whitlock is still finishing up film projects in Virgin, Utah.
KHS Pro MTB rider Kailey Skelton taking a practice run at Tamarack Resort,ID. for the third stop of the Northwest Cup.
KHS Pro MTB rider Kailey Skelton taking a practice run at Tamarack Resort,ID. for the third stop of the Northwest Cup.

This would be Kailey’s second time at this venue; she would complete a track walk Thursday which would entail a steep dusty loose track with lots of technical drops corners and tree sections that the Idaho mountains would create for this weekend’s race. Being a dry track Kailey was very familiar with these types of conditions which would play in her favor for Sunday’s finals.

KHS Pro MTB rider Kailey Skelton taking a practice run at Tamarack Resort,ID. for the third stop of the Northwest Cup.
KHS Pro MTB rider Kailey Skelton taking a practice run at Tamarack Resort,ID. for the third stop of the Northwest Cup.

Friday’s practice started off early morning and would go till 1 PM which would give plenty of time for Kailey to get up to speed and dial her lines in. With Kailey being solo at her first regional race in her career she had a lot of pressure on herself and would have to really tackle the course with her own set of skills without having the backing of Nik & Steven to trade questions and bounce ideas off each other. Friday’s practice went very well, a lot of confidence was gained on Kaileys part and would help out going into Saturday’s qualification.

KHS Pro MTB rider Kailey Skelton on her race run at Tamarack Resort,ID. for the third stop of the Northwest Cup.
KHS Pro MTB rider Kailey Skelton on her race run at Tamarack Resort,ID. for the third stop of the Northwest Cup.

Qualification would be going off Saturday late afternoon Kailey would be up against some tough competition. The ladies that she was competing against are some of the best known racers in America. Kailey would fire out the gate and start heading towards the finish line on a great qualification run until about midway when she had a slip up and accidentally would wash the front and run into a tree. Luckily Kailey was OK and got right back up on her bike, straightened her handlebars out and continued on her qualification run. Even with a mishap crash Kailey unbelievably would still be able to qualify in the number one spot going into Sunday’s finals.

KHS Pro MTB rider Kailey Skelton on her race run at Tamarack Resort,ID. for the third stop of the Northwest Cup.
KHS Pro MTB rider Kailey Skelton on her race run at Tamarack Resort,ID. for the third stop of the Northwest Cup.

After the qualification Kailey would have to do some simple bike work to straighten out her handlebars and make sure her bike was running properly going into Sunday’s finals. Kailey knew if she could just keep two wheels up and stay off the ground she had a very good chance at winning this race! Sunday morning would Intel for each rider’s final race run and only one sighting lap would be allowed for each rider. Kailey took her sighting lap really slow and steady to make sure that all her lines were staying consistent and nothing drastically would be changing on the track.

KHS Pro MTB rider Kailey Skelton on her race run at Tamarack Resort,ID. for the third stop of the Northwest Cup.
KHS Pro MTB rider Kailey Skelton on her race run at Tamarack Resort,ID. for the third stop of the Northwest Cup.

Kailey would come out of the start gate on her final run with lots of confidence and pressure on herself to win the race. She was on an amazing run all the way through start to finish. Kailey stated “it was the best run all week for myself, everything came together and I stayed on my bike” with that being said Kailey crossed the line over 15 seconds up on the competition having a fabulous weekend and the overall win being hers! She had a blast racing the Tamarack track and gained oodles of confidence going into her next race which would be U.S National championships in Winter Park, Colorado only two weeks away! The entire team Pits and Racers will all join back together at the U.S National Championships here very soon. We are all very excited to have a shot at winning the National title in the men’s and women’s downhill category! See everyone back between the tape in the next two weeks!

Kailey Skelton Calms her Nerves to the Podium

KHS pro MTB rider Kailey Skelton works through her nerves to pull out a second place finish at the Northwest Cup in Port Angeles, WA.

The Pacific Northwest always has provided some of the best tracks in the Nation particularly the one on Dry Hill in Port Angeles, Washington where the notorious under world cup race event happens every year. This Northwest cup race will bring the best racers from East and West coast areas also including some of the best downhill racers from the borders of Canada to all come together and compete against each other for the top spot.

With Steven Walton staying back home to finish up some suspension testing it was up to Kailey Skelton and Nik Nestoroff to hold it down for the team in the PNW. The team would arrive Wednesday in Seattle to make their four hour journey North to Port Angeles. The official first day was Thursday with only track walk and sightseeing of the course.

KHS pro MTB rider Nik Nestoroff on track during a practice run at the Northwest Cup in Port Angeles, WA.
KHS pro MTB rider Nik Nestoroff on track during a practice run at the Northwest Cup in Port Angeles, WA.

After track walk both athletes were very excited to gear up for Friday’s practice session. After seeing the awesome well maintained track with tricky sections, lots of cornering, steep sections and roots to deal with, they were up for the challenging conditions.

Friday’s practice went very well for both Nik and Kailey; they adapted to the track very well and to their benefit they have raced this track for many years at past events. With that said they were getting up to speed very quickly and making very little changes to the bikes and they’re set ups.

KHS pro MTB rider Kailey Skelton on track during a practice run at the Northwest Cup in POrt Angeles.
KHS pro MTB rider Kailey Skelton on track during a practice run at the Northwest Cup in Port Angeles, WA.

Qualifying day came very quick and they were excited to throw down a hot lap to see where they would stand up against the competition. First they had a great three runs of practice before a late evening 5 PM qualifying session which would seat Kailey in 2nd and Nik in 6th.

KHS pro MTB rider Nik Nestoroff on track during a practice run at the Northwest Cup in Port Angeles, WA.
KHS pro MTB rider Nik Nestoroff on track during a practice run at the Northwest Cup in Port Angeles, WA.

With Sunday came the Downhill final event for the team they were gunning for top spots and podium positions both in the professional men and women’s Downhill category. Kailey Skelton would come across the line in an overall position of second place with a very solid run! Kailey stated “I struggled with confidence on this track all weekend and I was super grateful to walk away in second place” Kailey has put in the hard work and her consistent podiums have definitely been shining throughout the 2021 season. In the men’s category it was Nik Nestoroff who would stick in a consistent six place overall just one position off the podium. For the pro men’s category times were very tight with Nik only being five seconds off the winner of Charlie Harrison.

KHS pro MTB rider Kailey Skelton works through her nerves to pull out a second place finish at the Northwest Cup in Port Angeles, WA.
KHS pro MTB rider Kailey Skelton works through her nerves to pull out a second place finish at the Northwest Cup in Port Angeles, WA.KHS pro MTB rider Kailey Skelton works through her nerves to pull out a second place finish.

The team’s overall performance was awesome throughout the weekend and showed that we can compete with the best no matter what track destinations we end up at. The team is always striving for the top spot and will continuously be our goal throughout the season!

KHS pro MTB Kailey Skelton on track in Port Angeles, WA. at the Northwest Cup.
KHS pro MTB Kailey Skelton on track in Port Angeles, WA. at the Northwest Cup.

Now with a three week break the team will refocus and get some good training and testing in before the first Downhill UCI World Cup event happening in Leogang, Austria quickly followed up with next week’s crankworx, Innsbruck event also happening in Austria!

Podiums out in Fontana for the KHS Pro MTB team

KHS Pro MTB rider Steven Walton taking the first place in the Pro Men's DH race out in Fontana at the final round of the Southridge Winter Series.
KHS Pro MTB riders Nik Nestoroff and Steven Walton going 1 and 2 in Fontana at the final round of Enduro at the Southridge Winter Series.
KHS Pro MTB riders Nik Nestoroff and Steven Walton going 1 and 2 in Fontana at the final round of Enduro at the Southridge Winter Series.

It would be Steven Walton Kailey Skelton and Nik Nestoroff competing in Saturday’s Enduro and also Sunday’s final downhill race. Fontana has produced some of the best Enduro and Downhill racers in America and continues to do so. Saturday would fire off with Enduro racing with three complete stages the team would have to really focus in and stay consistent throughout each stage.

KHS Pro MTB rider Kailey Skelton racing on the Enduro track out Fontana at the Finals of the Southridge WInter Series.
KHS Pro MTB rider Kailey Skelton racing on the Enduro track out Fontana at the Finals of the Southridge WInter Series.

Kailey Skelton would have some tough competition. She was leading stage one and two but with some minimal mistakes on stage III she would end up second place overall in Saturday’s final pro Women’s and Enduro category.

KHS Pro MTB rider Nik Nestoroff racing on the Enduro track out Fontana at the Finals of the Southridge WInter Series.
KHS Pro MTB rider Nik Nestoroff racing on the Enduro track out Fontana at the Finals of the Southridge WInter Series.

As far as the pro men’s Enduro category goes it would be a battle between teammates Nik Nestoroff and Steven Walton would be battling each other throughout all three stages to see who would come out on top. After stage one it was Nik Nestoroff leading the pro men’s category with a super blazing time. They would have to transfer over the Southern California mountains to stage two which Steven Walton would throw down a blistering time to win stage 2.

KHS Pro MTB rider Steven Walton racing on the Enduro track out Fontana at the Finals of the Southridge WInter Series.
KHS Pro MTB rider Steven Walton racing on the Enduro track out Fontana at the Finals of the Southridge WInter Series.

It was very intense coming into the final stage with time so close and basically whoever won stage III would win the overall Enduro Pro men’s  category for the day. After it was all said and done Nik Nestoroff would take the win in the pro men’s Enduro category. After combining all three stage times it would only be a three second difference between Nick in first place and Steven in second place.

KHS Pro MTB rider Steven Walton racing on the DH track out Fontana at the Finals of the Southridge WInter Series.
KHS Pro MTB rider Steven Walton racing on the DH track out Fontana at the Finals of the Southridge WInter Series.

Sundays Downhill finals started off with great practice for Steven Walton and Kailey Skelton. Nik Nestoroff would be on the sidelines due to Mother’s Day and his big win and the enduro category. The track was very technical and fast and the two KHS athletes were really enjoying the final Fontana course. In fashion it would be Kailey Skelton who takes the big win in the professional women’s Downhill category and to top the day off it would be Steven Walton who would come down with a blistering time to beat some of the top factory athletes to take the win!

KHS Pro MTB rider Steven Walton taking the first place in the Pro Men's DH race out in Fontana at the final round of the Southridge Winter Series.
KHS Pro MTB rider Steven Walton taking the first place in the Pro Men’s DH race out in Fontana at the final round of the Southridge Winter Series.

It was awesome to see a KHS Bicycles take both wins in the Downhill category on the same day. History was made with both professional men and women taking top spots and continuing the teams domination of the Fontana Winter series.

Winning is Costa Rica

KHS Pro MTB rider Nik Nestoroff taking a breath after a practice run in the Costa Rican mudd.
KHS Pro MTB rider Kailey Skelton standing in first place at the Costa Rica World Cup race.
KHS Pro MTB rider Kailey Skelton standing in first place at the Costa Rica World Cup race.

The team has made it down South to Costa Rica for their first international race of the 2021 season! They would be competing against the highest level of South American athletes as well as contenders like Charlie Harrison Neko Mullally and Dakota Norton.

It was a big international flight all the way from LAX down to Costa Rica and then another three hours to the venue. The team arrive Tuesday to acclimate themselves and prep their bikes gear for the future weekend.

KHS Pro MTB rider Kailey Skelton getting to ride in Costa Rica.
KHS Pro MTB rider Kailey Skelton getting to ride in Costa Rica.

Wednesday was the official UCI downhill track walk and the course had a lot of great obstacles, jumps, high speed sections and overall an exciting track to be racing on Sundays finals. The team really enjoyed the track walk and was excited for Thursdays training session.

Thursday was an excellent day of training and practice for the team conditions could not have been better and they were really enjoying the track and the atmosphere down South. Conditions presented as dry loamy dirt that the team was very used to riding back home with similar conditions.

KHS Pro MTB rider Nik Nestoroff taking a practice run in the Costa Rica mudd.
KHS Pro MTB rider Nik Nestoroff taking a practice run in the Costa Rica mudd.

Friday came quick with another day of training and practice the team was really getting up to speed on the track, but as soon as they woke up Friday morning it had rained over 3 inches and it was going to be a whole new ball game with the wet and slippery conditions. All three team members were prepped and ready to get muddy on the slip wet jungle track. With such wet conditions they were only able to get three runs per rider which really wasn’t enough time on the changing track conditions. The athlete stated it was very slippery and it was almost impossible to stay up on their bikes.

Saturday was qualifying day for the team and the track was still getting pounded down by 3 to 4 inches of rain per evening. It was difficult for the local shuttle system to get all the racers and riders up to the top. After qualifying was wrapped up it was Kailey Skelton who qualified with the top three and Nik Nestoroff and Steven Walton would qualify in the top 13 with both of them sliding out in their qualifying race run.

KHS Pro MTB rider Nik Nestoroff taking a practice run in the thick Costa Rica mudd.
KHS Pro MTB rider Nik Nestoroff taking a practice run in the thick Costa Rica mudd.

They were very excited for Sunday’s finals also they where more excited about the weather because it was supposed to rain a lot less and they would have a better chance at staying on their bikes. All three athletes knew that they could do much better in the final race run if they could just keep their bikes upright and not slip out in the wet conditions for their final race run.

KHS Pro MTB rider Nik Nestoroff taking a practice run in Costa Rica
KHS Pro MTB rider Nik Nestoroff taking a practice run in Costa Rica

It was time for their final race run and they are very excited to lay one down to try and win the race. It was Nik Nestoroff who came across the line in 6th place for the pro men’s category. Steven Walton would have a great run putting him in 4th place overall. And it would be Kailey Skelton who would claim the victory and when the overall Costa Rican open downhill race for the 2021 season in the female pro category. All the athletes were very pleased with the results since the track was still very slippery and wet conditions that made it very difficult to ride.

KHS Pro MTB rider Steven Walton fourth place in Costa Rica
KHS Pro MTB rider Steven Walton fourth place at the Costa Rica World Cup race.

The team and athletes always want to thank all their fans, family and sponsors for all the continuous help and support throughout the season they are very grateful to be traveling around the world and racing bikes with some of the best athletes in the world till next time we’ll see you at the races soon!