Steamboat Springs Steamboat Springs' top mountain bikers had their hands full with the competition at this weekend's National Off-Road Bicycle Association (NORBA) National Mountain Bike Series event.
"It was definitely my biggest race so far this year," Barkley Robinson said of the Deer Valley National competition Friday through Sunday in Park City, Utah. "You've got all the best bikers in the country and all the guys that are competing in from the European World Cup events that are mixed in."
Robinson noted the urgency among the country's elite tier of bikers in attending the fourth event of the six-event series, with potential points for Olympic selection on the line.
Robinson and Oak Creek's Jamie Morgan competed in the professional men's cross-country race that had them racing four circuit laps on a technically demanding, 30-mile course climbing up the steep base of Deer Valley Resort.
"It was certainly hard, but it felt good to have a pretty decent race," Robinson, who rides for Giant Bicycles, said about his 32nd-place finish. Morgan, a Moots Cycles rider, finished 59th.
Steamboat's next generation of pro riders also posted some impressive finishes on the national stage. Katherine Ingalls, a 16-year-old biker who also rides for Moots, took sixth in the junior expert women's division of Sunday's cross-country race.
"It wasn't my best race - I fell three times in my first two laps - the switchbacks were so steep and loose," said Ingalls, who rallied to finish a few minutes shy of the podium. Ingalls is the No. 1-ranked junior expert women's rider in the Mountain States Cup Rocky Mountain Regional Championship Series. Still a year shy of being able to qualify for worlds, Ingalls plans to cut her teeth this bike season at these regional-level events, the next of which is Friday and Saturday in Crested Butte, and at the NMBS finals, Aug. 9 to 12 in Snowmass Village.
She won't be alone in her quest to gain regional experience for the national-caliber races. Bryce and Brett Gordon - currently ranked No. 1 and No. 2 in their respective MSC age divisions - both took home silver from the Deer Valley races. Bryce Gordon took second in the junior expert men's short track race, and Brett Gordon was the runner-up in the junior men's 14-and-under cross-country race.