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!

Crankworx, Austria

KHS Pro MTB rider Nik Nestoroff on his race run at the 2021 Crankworx even in Innsbruck, Austria.
KHS Pro MTB rider Nik Nestoroff on his race run at the 2021 Crankworx even in Innsbruck, Austria.
KHS Pro MTB rider Nik Nestoroff on his race run at the 2021 Crankworx even in Innsbruck, Austria.

Being one of the most pristine races that gathers all disciplines of mountain biking under one event was held this past  weekend in Innsbruck Austria! The team would be competing against the best top riders in the world in Sunday’s Downhill Finals.

KHS Pro MTB rider Steven Walton on his race run at the 2021 Crankworx even in Innsbruck, Austria.
KHS Pro MTB rider Steven Walton on his race run at the 2021 Crankworx even in Innsbruck, Austria.

They would begin their journey with Thursday’s track walk which would be showcasing in the Austrian Alps with heavy vegetation, lots of roots and a big challenge ahead to memorize, calculate and get the best lines down to put in there one shot on Sunday to grab a solid result.

KHS Pro MTB rider Nik Nestoroff on his practice run during Friday's ​practice at the 2021 Crankworx even in Innsbruck, Austria
KHS Pro MTB rider Nik Nestoroff on his practice run during Friday’s ​practice at the 2021 Crankworx even in Innsbruck, Austria

Friday would be day one of training which would consist of a dry track with over 200 Pro Downhill men fighting to get the top spot. With ever so many people including amateur racers going down the track every day the conditions were changing drastically every run for team athletes Steven and Nik. They would continue their training and practice into Saturday which did not hold a qualifying session being a Crankworx event they do not have qualifying and everyone is able to compete in Sunday’s final race.

KHS Pro MTB rider Steven Walton on his practice run during Saturday practice at the 2021 Crankworx even in Innsbruck, Austria.
KHS Pro MTB rider Steven Walton on his practice run during Saturday practice at the 2021 Crankworx even in Innsbruck, Austria.

The athletes were really feeling up to speed and enjoying the nice weather that the venue was giving out. It was mostly sunny every day except for a few quick thunderstorms that rolled in late PM hours. These mountain areas which are known for quick rain storms only made the track conditions better and kept the dust down with so many riders on the mountain practicing day in and day out.

KHS Pro MTB rider Nik Nestoroff on his practice run during Saturday's ​practice at the 2021 Crankworx even in Innsbruck, Austria
KHS Pro MTB rider Nik Nestoroff on his practice run during Saturday’s ​practice at the 2021 Crankworx even in Innsbruck, Austria

Sunday’s finals came quick with only a couple practice runs to get up to speed and get the blood flowing before their final race run of the weekend. Both Steven and Nik we’re looking forward to the challenge and would put in their best to get the job done. Steven would have a few bobbles and wasn’t on his best form unfortunately would cross the line in 62nd place. Words from Steven “I guess I was just off the pace today. Not stoked on it but I don’t have any big excuses for my race run, I just straight up got my ass kicked today not stoked about it”

KHS Pro MTB rider Steven Walton on his practice run during Friday's ​practice at the 2021 Crankworx even in Innsbruck, Austria
KHS Pro MTB rider Steven Walton on his practice run during Friday’s practice at the 2021 Crankworx even in Innsbruck, Austria.

Nik would take off with a blazing run and would also fall short with a place of 49th. Needless to say this track was very short and times were very tight. Both racers are not super impressed with the results and will continue training efforts with an off week before round two of the World Cup series in France. Racing is always tough and the goal is always to win and get up on that podium. The athletes have been training super hard and will be brushing this event off and looking forward to another shot at getting that solid result! The team would like to thank everyone who has dedicated their time, effort and energy to always supporting us and giving the team the best shot at winning! See everyone in a few weeks in France!

Photos by: Sebastian Sternemann

World Cup Racing Starts in Leogang, Austria

Finish line at first World Cup race of 2021 in Leogang, Austria.

It’s the most exciting part of the year with World Cup racing beginning in Leogang, Austria! It would be Steven Walton & Nik Nestoroff who would be making the European trip to compete at the highest level of racing. They would be flying from Los Angeles, California all the way into Munich, Germany to race. A lot of pre-trip planning and documentation would go into this trip to make it as safe as possible and following the CDC guidelines. Nik and Steven would be showing up one week in advance before the first round. To dial in their KHS Downhill bikes and get their feet underneath them with time changes, jet lag, language adjustments and do some overall testing to adjust to the European Alps.
KHS Pro MTB RIder Nik Nestoroff getting in a race run at the first World Cup race of 2021 in Leogang, Austria.
KHS Pro MTB RIder Nik Nestoroff getting in a race run at the first World Cup race of 2021 in Leogang, Austria.
They would need a place for all this testing to happen, it would be in Schladming, Austria just down the road from the actual race venue to complete some of their crucial testing and get them up to speed and rolling at top-notch levels! The KHS athletes had sunshine and a great few days of riding some of the best DH track in the world. After testing was completed and the athletes were feeling up to pace they would move onto Wednesday’s track walk which was a crucial day for nNik and Steven to get a look at the track that they were going to have to compete on Saturdays finals. The track walk weather was very good with sunshine and clear skies everyone was very excited for day one training which would be Thursday!
KHS Pro MTB RIder Nik Nestoroff getting in a practice run at the first World Cup race of 2021 in Leogang, Austria.
KHS Pro MTB RIder Nik Nestoroff getting in a practice run at the first World Cup race of 2021 in Leogang, Austria.
Thursday would be a training day only to get everyone up to speed, but with Thursday’s training day came some horrific thunderstorms that would produce over two inches of rain and would completely switch from the dry conditions that track walk had to full mud tires, tear offs and rain gear just to get down the track. It was a very tactical task just to complete a total of five runs for both Nik and Steven and accomplish line selections and overall get the track down and memorized going into Friday’s qualification day.
KHS Pro MTB RIder Nik Nestoroff getting in a practice run at the first World Cup race of 2021 in Leogang, Austria.
KHS Pro MTB RIder Nik Nestoroff getting in a practice run at the first World Cup race of 2021 in Leogang, Austria.
Friday’s qualification day would come with training and practice just before qualifying once again the rain came down that evening which would play a consistent part in keeping the track very tricky and slick. All the athletes would be on their toes and struggle to just keep the bike up off the ground. Qualification would get underway, it would definitely be a track that would be hard to keep consistent on. It was a tough day on the hill for many with some of the most talented riders not qualifying along with a massive bummer for Steven Walton who would crash midway on the track and would not qualify for Sunday’s finals. With that burden of the news there would come positivity with Nik Nestoroff making it into the finals and would be on the hunt for Sunday’s finals.
KHS Pro MTB RIder Steven Walton getting in a practice run at the first World Cup race of 2021 in Leogang, Austria.
KHS Pro MTB RIder Steven Walton getting in a practice run at the first World Cup race of 2021 in Leogang, Austria.
Sunday’s finals came very quickly and the ever-changing track would be drying out and the weather in the Austrian Alps would be sunshine and blue sky‘s for the finals! With that said with the track conditions being so wet the track was becoming very blown out and you had to stay very focused on your lines with the track literally changing every run for each rider. Nik would be roughly starting at 2pm and would put massive pressure on himself to perform and do his best. Nik would have a blistering run with very minimal mistakes which was basically impossible for anyone to have a clean run on this type of track and its conditions that were presented. Nik would cross the line with the top 50 result with the best downhill athletes in the world. It was definitely a battle from the first day and goals were met and we were walking away with healthy riders going into next week’s race in Innsbruck Austria for the first round of the crankworx series.
Finish line at first World Cup race of 2021 in Leogang, Austria.
Both Steven and Nik learned a lot from this first World Cup race and would continue to better themselves going into next week’s race. I believe we achieved a lot of data and confidence getting the first round under the teams belt and will only progress from here. Once again we want to thank all our fans, family, friends and ever dedicated sponsors that provide us with all the immaculate tools to compete at this level of racing and make dreams come true. The team will be heading on a short trip to the other side of Austria to prepare themselves for the first Crankwox event of the year! Both Nik and Steven will be completing in Downhill only and will be once again on the hunt to better themselves and get that podium result the team has been working so hard for! See you next weekend for once again some of the most action packed and highest level of racing for 2021!

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.