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New Course, New State for Final Pro XCT

Sam Schultz finishes up a test ride on the final descent of Missoula XC course at Marshall Mountain. Photo Tom Robertson www.tomrobertsonphoto.com

The finale of USA Cycling’s national cross-country series is being hosted at a new venue in a new state.

The sixth and final stop of the Pro XCT is the Missoula XC on July 23-24, which, according to organizers, will be the largest mountain bike event ever to be held in the state of Montana. The race will be held at Marshall Mountain, a retired ski hill, just outside of Missoula.

The 4-plus kilometer loop, which has a vertical gain of 900 feet and features an “A-line” jump, is complete, said Ben Horan the course designer.

“The course is riding well and we are excited to show racers a great  representation of Montana and Missoula riding,” he said, adding that the track is being ridden in by local racers.

“The course is fun and technical combining all the best features of Missoula-style trails — punchy climbs and some great descents await race participants,” said Brian Williams, technical advisor who worked closely with the Montana Conservation Corps to rough-in the cross-country course.

The promoter of the Missoula XC, Shaun Radley, said the plan all along was to create a friendly casual vibe for locals, amateur racers and pros alike. And while it’s Missoula’s first time hosting a national-level event, Radley said there is quite a bit of cycling history in Missoula. The only bicycle corps in the U.S. Army was stationed in Missoula before the Spanish American War, he said, and that corps rode from Missoula to St. Louis, Missouri by bike.

“We also have four current pro racers with ties to Missoula,” Radley said.  “Three grew up here: Sam (Subaru-Trek) and Andy Schultz (Kenda-Felt) and Zephanie Blasi (Stan’s NoTubes). The fourth pro, Georgia Gould (Luna Pro Team), graduated from the University of Montana in Missoula and bought her first mountain bike at Missoula Bicycle Works.”

Homepage photo:  Tom Robertson www.tomrobertsonphoto.com

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