Amy Beisel and Payson McElveen win marathon XC national titles
Riders descended onto Arkadelphia, Arkansas this year, ready for a full day of cross country riding. The US National event brings the best endurance cross country athletes in the country for more than the normal amount of backwoods riding. Coming into the race with a large bulls-eye on his back was Payson McElveen, the reigning national champion in the discipline.
Payson had made this event an important aspect of his 2018, and knew he had more than one person looking at him.
"Winning a second Marathon National title was my biggest goal of the year," said Payson. "Although the course was the same as in 2017, I thought the challenge would be even tougher. It was. Howard went for a complete kamikaze tactic that involved racing the first 20 minutes like a short track, the 90 after that like an XC, and the final 90 as a battle of survival as our exhausted bodies started to fail us."
"I was supremely confident in my equipment choice, right down to the suspension set up and tire pressure--that was an enormous factor, as it allowed me to put all of the energy I had in to the mental battle at hand. When I crossed the line, I didn't even have the energy to put my arms in the air. The feeling of relief was enormous. Relief that it was over, relief that I hadn't given up the hundred times I'd wanted to, and relief that I won't have to change my wardrobe for another year. 24 hours after, the happiness is starting to kick in too, and an enormous sense of gratitude knowing that it took a village to pull this off. The fact that Amy won also is a testament I think to what an amazing program the Orange Seal Off-road team is even in its first year. "
Amy came into the race as a major threat, and made her presence felt. The win confirms the potential that many knew Amy possessed, and puts her at the top of the endurance MTB scene in the United States.
"Iron Mountain is an amazing course with mostly single track," said Amy. "I knew it was going to be imperative I position myself near the front of the field as there would be minimal opportunity for passing. The tempo was set early on by Kaysee at a blistering pace. Somewhere mid race the lead pack was torn apart, with Larissa and I battling it out as the lead pack. Heading into the second lap, I knew I had to get up front and hold that position. I was thinking for sure we were going to have a sprint finish in our hands, but about 5 miles to the end I got a gap! When I realized this, I threw down everything left in my tank to the finish line. I had great legs from the start and mentally prepared myself for the hard day. I could not have done it without the support the Orange Seal Off-Road Team and my dialed Trek Top Fuel."