What an amazing season to look back on with the KHS Pro MTB race team!
What an amazing season to look back on with the KHS Pro MTB race team!
Wow, where to begin the whole team was literally racing all over the world from Killington Vermont to Crans, Montana Switzerland. All the way over the Atlantic Ocean would be Nik Nestoroff holding it down for the world Enduro series for the second to last EWS of the season. A brief quick summary he would continue a success on the world tour with Saturday and Sunday firing off with racing stages. The first day would intel of the pro stage which was over six minutes of racing in snowcapped conditions. Yes, you heard that right, the Switzerland alps are already getting snow and it would be tough conditions for Nik Nestoroff who would end up 41st in his pro stage and moving onto the next day Sunday for his next final stages. Nik would fight through the day and end up top 50 overall in the Swiss Alps. He would overcome some mechanicals and have an overall steady finish.
Back on the soil in Killington, Vermont it would be Kailey Skelton, Nathan Kitchen, Steven Walton holding it down for the U.S. Open Mountain bike event which was the final event on USA soil. This event was mega and would bring athletes all across the world! With a massive prize purse each event showcasing $15,000 for the winner people would gather to try their best to claim the big prize money! To fire off into the event it would be our junior pro Nate Kitchen holding down first place in dual slalom! Nathan Kitchen was fresh off his collarbone injury from US national championships and would make everyone proud for finishing on the top step of the podium after continuously rehabbing his collarbone and starting from ground zero back on the wood.
From there Nate, Steven and Kailey would be holding it down full-time in the Downhill professional and junior professional categories. Also, our superstar free ride athlete Luke Whitlock was also attending the U.S. Open for the whip off contest. Luke would have full attention Saturday night under the lights with a mega freestyle jump throwing down backflips, Superman ‘s and obviously the best weapon. Luke is definitely an asset when it comes to our free ride side and it’s great to see him showing off his skill sets among the thousand fans scattered across the mountain side watching the whip off contests.
Back at it with the racing events held in Downhill, Kailey Skelton was on a long journey overcoming some health issues on the way out traveling over 3500 miles from California she was dedicated and showing great passion towards her career. She would have a long five days ahead of her with two practice days, a qualifying day and a final held Sunday she had a lot to overcome in the least to say, the team was very proud of her. For the two boys Steven Walton holding it down in the professional pro men’s downhill field and Nathan Kitchen holding it down in the junior pros field they were showing great speed and great qualifying times but just couldn’t put it together when it came down to the finals. Both of them would unfortunately crash out and end up top 25 in both of their categories. It was all up to Kailey Skelton to hold it down for the team in the racing categories, Kailey would push very hard and cross the line in fourth place against some of the best races in the world. Those racers would be Nina Hoffman, Jill Kitner and the list goes on. Kailey did an excellent job finishing on the podium against the best international racers in the world. We are all very proud of her for throwing it all down for her final race of the season!!
Nik Nestoroff will continue his Enduro campaign in European territory, heading off to the world Enduro series final which will be hosted in France, from there he is heading to the trophy donations. Some detail on that event is that he has qualified in the top three positions for all American racers to represent team USA at the highest level of Enduro racing. We are very excited to see what Nik can do on these last two events overseas and wish him the best of luck.
As always, the team is very dedicated, passionate and grateful to be racing mountain bikes across the world and showcasing each individual ‘s talents. We want to thank all of our continuous sponsors, family, friends, and all our fans that support us throughout the season who make all of our dreams come true. Till next time I’ll see you between the tape!
What an amazing race. The 2022 US national championship was definitely one for the books from start to finish. Held in the high-altitude mountains of Winter Park Colorado this was one to Remember. Team KHS Pro MTB would be racing events such as Dual Slalom, Enduro and Downhill.
Practice for Downhill and Enduro would fire off early in the week starting Tuesday. Everyone on the team will be competing in Downhill. It would be Nik Nestoroff holding it down for the Enduro category. Wednesday and Thursday would consist of two-hour sessions on the downhill track. The team would be dialing in the lines and making their best efforts to have the track completely in tune for Saturday’s seeding.
Friday would consist priorly of Dual Slalom. Steven Walton and Nate kitchen would be practicing, qualifying and racing finals all within six hours on Friday. Both athletes would qualify within the top 10 to seed them perfectly in the round of 32. The track was short, snappy and very physical. Steven Walton would make it through his first round and go onto the round of 16, from there would have some tough competition and be eliminated in the second round with good efforts and showing high amounts of speed against the best build in America. Nate Kitchen would be holding it down in the junior pro category and would make it all the way to the second to find round battling for third and fourth position on his final run when he would unfortunately have a massive crash due to his bicycle crank arm coming in contact with a flag and taking him down hard. His crash would result in a broken collarbone and be taking him out of Sunday’s final downhill race. Nate was definitely one tough cookie and even with his costly crash he would be holding down a national podium for junior pro and would be fourth overall for the day.
Saturday would entail all the best American Enduro riders all fighting for a title there were four grueling stages all very physical and high demanding. Winter Park has always been known to be more on the physical side instead of the talent side. Nik Nestoroff would complete all three stages and head into the final stage in the top three positions. 30 seconds before the final stage he would have a big mechanical that was completely out of his control with losing his chain derailleur and unfortunately finish eighth overall in the pro men’s Enduro category. On top of the Enduro final going on Downhill seeding was late that afternoon; it would be the first top to bottom timed run to see where all the athletes would be sitting. With a solid run for Kailey, she would seed first and gain great confidence going into Sunday’s final. Both Nik and Steven would seed in the top 20 positions and have a lot more in the bank to give in the finals come Sunday.
Sunday would start off with bright blue sunny sky with an awesome practice session from all the athletes. As the amateur ranks made it down the mountain for their final runs the athletes were waiting their turn to head up the gondola for their final race run, literally lightning struck and the US national championship downhill race was on hold due to severe rainfall and lightning. Within 30 minutes there was approximately 3 to 4 inches of rain dumped down on the track changing conditions dramatically and making for an unknown run for all the riders with wet slippery conditions. Steven Walton would try his best to acclimate to the ever-changing conditions and with a clean solid run he would finish 32nd out of the field of 150 pro downhill racers. Nik Nestoroff would have a blazing run and hold down the hot seat for a good portion of the race until overall he would finish ninth place. It would all be up to Kailey Skelton to back her 2021 national championship title up. She would be the last woman down the racetrack with tremendous pressure on her shoulders not only to back up her first place seeding run but to back up her 2021 national championship title. Kailey would have a massive bobble at the top, nearly almost crashing but keeping the rubber side down and putting the bottom half of the course to her advantage. Kailey crossed the line and would win her second national title ever in her career. The emotions would fly high for the entire team with Kailey claiming her second title and becoming the 2022 US national Pro women’s downhill champion.
The team will definitely be celebrating all of their achievements and hard work over the weekends, but not for too long most of the team will be heading off to West Virginia for the UCI World Cup Downhill being held next weekend. Once again, we’d always like to thank all of our sponsors, friends, family and fans for all the tremendous support. It was another amazing national championship event with KHS Bicycles claiming another title!
The team was firing off on all cylinders for the second round of the Downhill national series hosted at Mountain Creek bike Park, in Vernon, New Jersey. The team would be arriving Wednesday to get acclimated to the East Coast conditions and get the bikes all prepped and built up from the long travels. Thursday would kick off with track walk which would consist of a very explosive track Mountain Creek has always had some of the best downhill tracks in America. With super steep conditions, lots of rocks challenging lines and an overall physically demanding track there was not much missing from being an absolutely amazing track.
Friday would be day one of practice and we had some heavy competition on the mountain Dakota Norton from Factory Intense along with Neko Mulley would be among the field which was your current and past national champions. The whole team had a solid day of practice besides a massive crash from Kailey Skelton that would have involved a severe sprained wrist. Unfortunately, this would sideline Kailey for the remaining event and even put her overall championship title hopes on the fence.
Saturday which would be qualifying day would intel of big weather changes that would now put rain into the equation. It would change the track dramatically and make for a completely new track to get down. With the new slick conditions, the team would qualify with Steven Walton sitting in 10th position, Nik Nestoroff 5th position and out Jr. Pro Nathan Kitchen grabbing 4th. All the athletes would have their work cut out for them come Sunday finals. Good news the weather was not sticking around it would be lining up Finals to make out with perfect conditions!
Sunday finals would bring out massive crowds and fans to cheer on the full day of racing! All three athletes would take a look at the ever-changing lines on track to make sure they were set for their final run. Our Jr. Pro would stay consistent on all track conditions coming in a solid 4th place. Steven Walton would throw down a blistering time and come in podium position taking 5th place. It would be Nik Nestoroff who would be holding down the hot seat for some time but would end up 3rd place with a stellar run! All three athletes did an excellent job throughout the event and kept in the hunt for the championship title!! The team has a moment off till round 2 of the BME Enduro series up in Big Sky, Montana. The team would like to continue to thank all our sponsors, friends and family for all the amazing support.