Maddie Munro, Bjorn Riley and Hattie Harnden all won in impressive fashion
Some of Trek’s youngest athletes turned in huge performances this past weekend, racking up three (!) U23 national title kits. Trek Factory Racing’s Maddie Munro and Trek | Vaude’s Bjorn Riley won the women’s and men’s U.S. championships, respectively, while Hattie Harnden held onto the British kit for the second year in a row. All three riders won in equally impressive fashion.
Munro got a gap and never looked back. The 20-year-old TFR rider has been steadily picking up momentum this season, recently earning her first World Cup top 10 finish of the year in Lenzerheide. Saturday, she arguably laid down her best effort yet, winning by 51 seconds over Sofia Waite.
With the win, Munro checked off a major season goal.
“My coach, team and support have all worked so hard and I think this really shone through this weekend,” Munro said. “It was also really special for me to have so many of my friends and family there at the race. Getting to hear their cheers and celebrate with them at the end is the cherry on top.”
Munro rode a nearly perfect race … outside of one small miscue.
“Coming into the race I made a solid plan with my coach about how I wanted the race to go, riding my own pace and knowing just how hard I could push on the first climb at 9,000 feet without blowing up,” Munro said. “This allowed me to drop the riders I was with and maintain my gap throughout the race. I did have one little bobble on the first lap in the rock garden and gave the crowd a bit of a fright, I think.”
Unlike Munro, Riley had to scratch and claw his way to a title. He was locked in a tight race with former Bear Devo teammates Robbie Day and Brayden Johnson for most of the race, with all three riders attacking each other and struggling to create daylight. Day crashed on the third lap, creating a two-man race. Then Johnson nearly rode away from Riley on the last lap, only for Riley to reel him then empty his tanks for a 15-second victory.
“I got just a few seconds on Brayden, which gave me a lot of confidence,” Riley said after the race. “And I’d say I’m one of the fast ones on the descents, so I was able to get more time there. And then all the way to the finish, it was just, ‘Don’t look up, just push as hard as you possibly can.'”
Riley, who is in his first year riding with Trek | Vaude, was grateful for the opportunity to celebrate with the Bear Devo crew, especially program director Julia Violich. He moved to Austria in February when he joined Trek | Vaude, and is enjoying his experience on a squad that he says has a very familiar and supportive vibe.
“Moving over to Europe for me was a big jump. I really had no clue what was going to happen,” Riley said. “But so far, everything’s been amazing. I’m excited for the next couple races to really prove I’m one of the top, and being in the US Jersey will be nice. But it’s been a game changer to be over in Europe and riding with such an amazing team.”
Harnden was a favorite to win the British women’s U23 race after taking the title in 2021, and winning junior titles in 2018 and 2019 before that. (UK nationals were canceled in 2020, meaning Harnden has been a reigning UK champion for four years now.) Still, she managed to wow the crowd with a 4:25 victory margin over second-place Elena McGorum. It helped that the conditions of the track were to her liking.
“We had quite a bit of rain for two days leading up to it, so it was quite slippy, which made it a bit more exciting,” Harnden said after the race. “It was a brand new course so we had never raced it before, so that was also fun to go someplace new.”
Harnden also took third place in her first women’s short track race ever, 26 second behind TFR teammate Evie Richards, who took second.
“Obviously Evie is super strong, and Annie [Last] and Isla [Short] as well, so I was super happy to come in third,” Harnden said. “I’m really happy for Evie for her second place. It’s cool to share a podium with her.”
Now, according to Harnden, it’s “time to go and have some fun on the big bike.” She will be swapping her Supercaliber for a Slash as she heads to Whistler on Tuesday to prepare for three straight North American Enduro World Series races beginning Aug. 6.