This past weekend the US Pro XCT visited Bonelli Park in southern California for a packed weekend of racing. The close proximity to Los Angeles ensured a large turnout of racers and spectators and the weekend's action kicked off first thing on Saturday with twenty five racers lining up for the Junior Men's XC. CFR's Keegan Swenson was the favorite going in to the race and he didn't disappoint, taking the hole shot and leading up the first climb.
"I knew I had the advantage in the rough singletrack since I was riding my Scalpel, so my plan was to get there first, try to create a gap, and hold it," said Swenson after the race. "It ended up going according to plan even though I had a pretty good crash on lap two." Swenson lost control in a loose corner and crashed, losing some of his lead, but quickly bounced up and stayed away from a large chase group for the rest of the race. "It feels great to grab my first big win aboard a Cannondale," said Swenson.
CFR's Taylor Smith also toed the line for the first time this season in the junior race and ended up twelfth, after riding in the top five for a portion of the race.
Later on in the afternoon, Alex Grant lined up for the Elite Men's XC, his first race of the season. Since the first race is always a test he wasn't sure what to expect but was pleasantly surprised to find himself riding inside the top five for much of the race. Warm temperatures and a blistering pace eventually led to some leg cramps and Grant lost a few spots but held on to a top ten placing to finish eighth. "It's still early and I had zero racing miles in my legs before this race, so I am encouraged by how I felt," said Grant. "It was a great course and the crowd was awesome. My Flash 29er rolled over the bumps and ate up the climbs."
Sunday afternoon CFR grabbed another podium spot with Grant's fifth place finish in the Elite Men's Short Track. Grant, who normally focuses on endurance races, was surprised to find himself in the lead group of the fast and tactical race. "I really had no expectations other than a good workout and some fun racing, so I was happy to be in the mix at the front of the race," said Grant. In the end he played his cards a little too early and had to settle for fifth in a tactical finish.
All in all a great weekend for Cannondale Factory Racing in Bonelli.
Meet Keegan Swenson: