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After the Fall and Winter seasons, all the team planning that most of us don’t see (nor do we probably want to) starts to come together. Filling up team rosters, DONE. Pitching those previous race season results to secure some factory backing, DONE. Drawing up the artwork for the kits, DONE. Receiving those boxes and boxes of bike porn like its Christmas all over again, DONE. Now what? Well that’s the fun part…….. It’s RACE TIME! Question: What does that mean for those in the Southeast region? Answer: ETSU, the first chance to secure your spot for Nationals in just a few short months.

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We are into the first week of May and yet Mother Nature sure seems like she’s reluctant to let us move into Spring. Leading up to the weekend it’s been unseasonable chilly and Mrs. Nature’s been bringing plenty of wet stuff to the Appalachians. Now with Johnson City (TN) lying just 30 or so miles north of the NC state line, no one was sure if all that rain would inch its way our direction or stay south, which was the prediction. The obvious sign, the excess cloud cover overhead was by no means the slight bit re-assuring. But, does it really matter?….. MTB racing is MTB racing. This ain’t like the other sport with roots in this area, NASCAR, racing goes on rain or shine.

Voicing the concern “The Rain is Coming” during the riders meeting, the ETSU crew was anxious to get this show on the road. Jamming two runs each in DH, seeding in DS, and wrapping the day up crowning the DS champ after eliminations was a tall order to pack into one day.

Up first, DH with the (single) Pro and Cat 1 Men. The heavy favorite for the day was the 2009 National Champion Gerrit Beytagh, but who would be his competition? With entries down from what was expected, it became a contest of time and not a contest confined to individual Categories. It was up to the fastest of the fast Cat 1 boys to give him a run. Gerrit was the first to lay tires on the dirt and set the pace for the day laying down a 1:19.24. Could any of the other 21 Cat riders pull the upset after two runs? Set one, nope, nope again….. ok try again, nope, and more nope. Josh Patton of the Airborne Flight Crew was the closest and topped the Cat 1 field with a 1:24.76. Come on now young guns, funnel this energy to unseat the king!

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On to DS…… First off, let’s mention that the ETSU deserves huge props. Extending the course by 30% and stepping up the game with a brand new pneumatic gate! Nice work guys, great addition to the quality of the event! After breaking in that new gate for about an hour worth of practice once again it appears that it would be a battle between Beytagh and Patton, with Chuck Pitts thrown in as the wildcard. Both runs Beytagh snapped the chain, that’s right twice, opening the door for a heck of a day for Josh Patton, opening the door to pull out an upset over Beytagh. Consider that there is a huge difference in age and experience between Beytagh and Patton, which says a lot about both riders. One, that Gerrit’s still got it and two, that with some more experience under his belt, Josh will be a force to be reckoned with in the not so distance future.

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Thanks to all involved, Thomas Wilkinson, Alan Sparks, ETSU as the host to this long standing event in the region. We’ll see ya at Snowshoe and Beech for the next couple rounds before Nationals!

Sponsored By:
ETSU Cycling
Hampton Trails Bike Shop
Mountain Khakis
GoJaMedia

Full Results:
ETSU 2013 Results on USA Cycling




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