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!