Liv Co-Factory Off-Road Team rider Kaysee Armstrong attacked the US Marathon Mountain Bike Nationals course in Arkadelphia, Arkansas on Sunday to take the silver in the women’s pro category.
The 50-mile race consisted of a 4-mile start loop, followed by two 23-mile laps on the Iron Mountain trail system at DeGray Lake in Arkadelphia, Arkansas. The fast, flowing singletrack kept racers on their toes, rewarding those with cornering skills and superior line choice.
“Going into the race, I was recovering from four weekends of racing and bronchitis, which I feel ended up lowering my expectations” said Armstrong. “But, the course was very beneficial to me because my skills as a pro cyclist shine on the singletrack. In the back of my mind, that gave me hopes of a good result.”
Immediately at the start of the race Armstrong moved into a strategic position in the lead group, spending much of the first lap at the front. After the first aid station, congestion with other categories on trail ended with Armstrong having a minor accident and causing her to lose contact with the lead group. She quickly recovered, catching and passing the third-place rider. She proceeded to spend the majority of the remaining lap riding alone, only catching the second-place rider with a few miles to go.
“After the last aid station, I decided it was time to lay it all out there. I knew the other two girls were minutes ahead of me, so I didn’t expect to catch them. In the last few miles, I spotted Larissa [Conners, Silverado, CA] and my heart skipped a beat. I felt good, so I put the watts down and passed on a climb leading into a rocky descent. I didn’t look back and crossed the line in second, a minute off first. I’m excited to fuel the rest of the season with this result and confidence,” said Armstrong
Armstrong noted her Pique Advanced team bike, outfitted with DVO suspension and Shimano components, was the best bike for this race. The 27.5 wheels allowed her to flick her bike around corners with ease and float over rock sections – up or downhill. Kaysee also wore her Rev Liv helmet, which helped keep her cool in the muggy conditions.
Armstrong’s racing season continues in two weeks with the 40-mile Grand Junction Off-Road race in Colorado.