From Phoenix, the US Junior Development team headed to Oldsmar, Florida for the Gator Nationals with much better conditions than last week; easy breeze with the sun out. Kamren Larsen, Colin Whittington, and Noah Ramos were all racing with Colin and Kamren not only racing the national but also racing Friday’s SX open on the big hill. Both guys have not ridden SX in over a year – so it was a bit nerve wrecking for both – but they managed to push through and qualify for the final with Colin coming in a respectable 6th place and Kamren going from 3rd place in the first turn to passing both riders ahead of him and taking the big win! Saturday & Sunday all three guys raced the USA BMX National – Colin had a bit of trouble qualifying during the weekend but Kamren hit the podium again on Saturday with a 3rd in 17-18 x and also making the main on Sunday. Clearly, a solid weekend for Kam. Noah rode consistently all weekend despite not hitting the podium, he made 3 out of 4 mains and has lots to build on going into the National Championships next month. Now, the guys all head back to California for a little rest before heading to Chula Vista’s Olympic Training Center for the first US Training Camp of the year.
The Winter Nationals in Black Mountain, Phoenix, Arizona has a deep race history in the American race scene and for a lot of us – the real first test for the season is here with such a big turn out in most classes across the board. The USA Cycling Junior Development Program has just partnered up with Rockstar Energy Drink in the last few weeks and looking to make its first full team line up appearance for the 2017 season.
Payton Ridenour was first up for the team racing Friday night at the World Championship qualifier and coming home with the big win and setting the stage for the rest of the weekend for the Team.
Saturday, as predicted all week, the heavens opened up raining all day long and turning the track into a slippery mud fest lotto for every rider racing. Noah Ramos 15 x, Colin Whittington 17-18 x and Kamren Larsen 17-18 x all were riding good but crashes due to the slick conditions made it impossible to be consistent up front all day but all still managed to make some Open finals — but again, crashes in the mud kept them off of the podiums. Payton Ridenour coming from the East Coast and a little more used to these kind of conditions put another solid day in coming in 1st in Open and 3rd in class.
With Sunday’s National cancelled due to more rain over Saturday night that’s a wrap on the Winter Nationals and the Team all head back to the East Coast for next week’s Gator Nationals in Oldsmar, Florida where everyone is looking for better conditions.
Big thanks to Jamie Staff and everyone at USA Cycling for the support of this new program and all the Teams sponsors for 2017.
Our East Coast USA Cycling Junior Development rider, Payton ‘P-nut” Ridenour from Pennsylvania kicked off her 2017 season debuting at the USA BMX Bluegrass Nationals in Louisville, Kentucky. Payton, at 14, is already a 6 x National Champion and only got her Haro built up a week ago but she still managed to take 3rd place on Saturday and back that up with the big win on Sunday despite little time on the bike setting the stage for a great year ahead on the new USA Cycling Junior Team. Next race up for Payton and the full Junior Team will in Phoenix in a few weeks time for the Winter Nationals.