Cameron Chambers (Ethos Racing) and Jari Kirkland triumphed in the 2012 USA Cycling Mountain Bike 24-hour National Championships in Colorado Springs on Sunday.
While four-time 24-hour national champion Tinker Juarez (Cannondale) withdrew with illness, Chambers led from the start and never looked back. By the halfway point, he had lapped second-place Cyril Jay-Rrayon, solidifying a lead that he consolidated over the final 12 hours.
Chambers completed his 18 laps in 21:30:21 hours, a full 1:27:12 hours ahead of Jay-Rrayon. Third-place finisher Wade Newsom (Honey Stinger-Bontrager) finished on the same lap, a further 30:59 minutes back, with Zach Guy also on 17 laps, 16:17 down on Newsom. Chambers’ fastest lap of 55:45 minutes, during which he averaged 14.53 mph, was the fastest of the race. The win gives Chambers his fourth 24-hour national championship, tying him with Juarez.
A close-fought women’s solo race saw Kirkland and second-place finisher Kristin Desantis (Tokyo Joe’s-Whole Foods) go head-to-head early on. Kirkland eventually dropped the hammer towards the halfway point to win her second 24-hour national title.
Kirkland eventually built up a 13:06 minute lead by the finish, having completed 15 laps to Desantis’ 14 laps. Kerri Willis, 19:52 minutes down on Desantis, was third, with Elizabeth Boese fourth, 8:54 minutes further back. Monilee Atkinson of Redmond, Washington, finished fifth and was the only non-Colorado-resident inside the top five.
Cody Kukulski (Northern Arizona University) won the singlespeed men’s race on 16 laps, in 23:05:50 hours. Rich Maines was second, having completed just 14 laps. Greg Parham, Charles Weaving (C Town Racing-C Town Bikes), and Jeff Wu all finished on 13 laps for third, fourth, and fifth, respectively. The trio was covered by 3:59:59 hours.
Melissa Liebling’s competition in the singlespeed women’s race consisted of the elements, luck, and her own psyche. She beat all three to complete 12 laps in 22:29:26 and take the women’s singlespeed national title.