Kaysee Armstrong (Knoxville, TN) and Crystal Anthony (Newbury Park, CA), both of Liv Racing, took home second and third respectively at US Marathon Mountain Bike National Championships in Palo Duro Canyon, Texas.
The 45.4-mile course consisted of a short, 2.9-mile start lap, followed by two laps comprising of slightly different routes. The second-largest canyon in the US, Palo Duro offers remarkable views with challenging terrain and notable elevation gain in each lap. Due to recent rain, the course was closed to all athletes for the first day of pre-riding, so Armstrong and Anthony were unable to preview the majority of the course. More rain fell Friday night, delaying Saturday’s start and creating some muddy sections for the racers.
Hot off the start, Armstrong led the pack onto the singletrack but fell back to third after spinning out in a flat, muddy section. Anthony moved up, battling with Rose Grant (Columbia Falls, MT) for the top spot until she hit a rock and flatted, discovering her tube, C02, and inflator had fallen off her bike earlier on the trail.
“For a moment, I thought my day was done, as my rear tire was completely flat,” said Anthony. “Then, Kaysee came by and being the great teammate she is, gave me all her supplies so I could fix my flat! I was able to repair it and work my way back up and Kaysee and I finished together for second and third.”
Armstrong continued to have a tough run with the mud, having to stop to remove red clay clogging her rear wheel, but finished strong.
“I would be lying if I didn’t say I wanted to win the race,” said Armstrong. “But, to finish second was amazing and to go 2-3 with my teammate Crystal was amazing.”
Armstrong and Anthony will stay on the road this coming weekend for Epic Rides Grand Junction Off-Road, May 17-19.