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For the first time the best in the United States traveled east to Beech Mountain, North Carolina for the USAC Gravity National Championships. For some of Team RM East, this is considered “our backyard” as it’s only 3 hours from home and we have some great memories/history there. The team was hoping for a full assault on 2011’s edition of National Championships, but due to a rash of serious injuries it couldn’t happen this season. Gavin Vaughan has a fractured wrist, whereas Tim White and Jay Schultz recently broke their necks…. all three are out for the remainder of the season. This motivated the remainder of the team to “represent” and keep the winning vibe alive for the biggest race of the year for US riders.

What would Beech be bringing to this inaugural event in Western N.C.: infamous weather, a new course, new facilities and great friends?….. All were stoked to compete. The four day event included two major events: Downhill and Dual Slalom. Team RM East would attempt to qualify for both events.

Thursday was spent getting things set up, tents, bikes, course walks, you name it. The weather held out with a few sprinkles here and there….. but it wouldn’t last. It seemed every night was destined for rain which meant conditions each morning were “interesting”. Rain came Thursday night and the Amateur races were held early Friday morning, 9:15 a.m. sharp. Mud, ruts, thrills, spills, all came into play…. but Team RM East’s Josh Bagwell and Matt Haynes delivered the 1, 2 punch in Cat 2 Men’s 35-39.

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Saturday would turn out to be a very busy day, starting with qualifying for Pro DH and the finals of the Pro Dual Slalom. Conditions for the qualifying round of DH were superb, unlike Beech Mountain typical weather. The same was true for the finals of the Pro DS… the sun was out, where are we again? Team RM East Pro Cecil squeaked out a 12th place finish in the DS.

Once again, the sky’s opened up Saturday evening. It rained all night, making conditions the most “interesting” they had been all weekend. The morning practice produced such comments as “in 15 years of racing, I have never run in such mud and slop.” The blue sky and sun did make their appearance, but with such saturation, it made no difference. Picking up 10 pounds of mud each, Team RM East rolled across the line with fantastic results.

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Race comments from Team Rocky Mountain East manager and rider, Matt Haynes, “The amount of effort that Beech Mountain and its staff put into the race this weekend makes me feel like a proud parent. In my short history as a team manager and rider, I have been very lucky to get to travel to do what I love. Of the many places I’ve visited, it’s great to see a local mountain put on a world class event. The weather kept things interesting with both wet/dry practice and race days. It was a great weekend for us as riders and as a team. Thanks to all of our sponsors for such a great year!”

Thanks to all the sponsors riding along with us in the mud, rocks, and roots: Rocky Mountain Bicycles, Mountain Khakis, Billy Goat Bikes, Continental, Drift Innovation, Elka Suspension, Feedback Sports, Loaded Precision Components, MRP, Monster, ODI, Smith Optics, Sugarbush Resort, Suspension Experts, Urge , Von Cooper Productions, Nema Int’l, 661.

Official Results:
Pro Men:
7th - Adam Morse
17th - Max Morgan
32nd - Cecil Linder

Junior Men - 17/18:
17th - Dylan Conte (crash)

Cat 2 Men 35-39:
1st - Josh Bagwell
2nd - Matt Haynes

Pro Men: Dual Slalom:
10th - Cecil Linder

Cat 1 Dual Slalom:
15th - Dylan Conte

Cat 2 Dual Slalom:
7th- Matt Haynes

For any further information please contact: Jay Schultz, Vitalmtb ID waterdog, Team RM East – Public Relations

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