USA Cycling 2000 mountain bike Olympians headline the competition at Crystal Mountain, using America's premier mountain bike series as a stepping stone to the Olympic Games.
This year marks the first time the Chevy Trucks NORBA Nationals visit Crystal Mountain since 1989. Retired pro riders Sara Ballantyne and Joe Murray won the event 11 years ago. Located on the edge of Mount Rainier National Park, Crystal Mountain is only a one hour, 20-minute drive from Seattle.
In addition to the scenic cross-country courses, downhill riders are met with a view of Mount Rainier as they disembark the ski lift and begin their journey down the technical, wooded course.
Currently, three-time consecutive national champion and 2000 Olympian Ruthie Matthes (Durango, Colo.) is second in the cross-country rankings, with 2000 Australian Olympian Mary Grigson in the lead. Matthes proved her strength last week at the series' third round in Deer Valley, Utah.
The three-time consecutive national champion led most of the race before a disappointing tire flat let Grigson get the gold instead.
Matthes' U.S. Olympic Team member Ann Trombley (Golden, Colo.) remains in striking distance of a national medal, as she currently holds fourth place in the overall standings. Olympian Alison Dunlap (Colorado Springs, Colo.) is road racing in Europe, and will not compete at Crystal Mountain.
Mark Gullickson (Boulder, Colo.) leads the U.S. men in the cross-country standings at fourth overall. Russian Pavel Tcherkassov leads the series, after placing second in Utah last week. Americans Kirk Molday (Temecula, Calif.) and Steven Larsen (Jacksonville, Ore.) are ranked sixth and seventh, respectively.
Molday won the opening round of the 2000 Chevy Trucks NORBA Nationals in May, while Larsen dominated the Utah cross-country, beating the field by nearly five minutes.
Olympians Travis Brown (Boulder, Colo.), currently ranked 20th, is back in the thick of things after an early-season injury. Tinker Juarez (Downey, Calif.) returns to action at Crystal Mountain after missing the third round and is ranked 26th.
The VISA Downhill was notably missing reigning world downhill champion Myles Rockwell (Durango, Colo.) in Utah. Rockwell suffered a hip injury during practice, but is expected to be back on his game for Washington. Kiwi John Kirkcaldie currently is in first place, 110 points ahead of third-place Rockwell.
Elke Brutsaert (Durango, Colo.) has held the top spot in the women's VISA Downhill since round one, winning two of the three rounds thus far. Lisa Sher (Laguna Beach, Calif.) is hot on Brutsaert's wheel, trailing in second place by only 26 points.
The SoBe Dual Slalom continues to heat up with the top-three riders only 20 points apart from each other. Last year's national downhill champion Eric Carter (Temecula, Calif.) is the top American at second, with Aussie Chris Kovarik leading the series.
Past national champion Mike King (San Diego) is tied with Carter in points, but is ranked third. Past national dual slalom and BMX champion Cheri Elliott (El Dorado Hills, Calif.) is on top in the women's series.
The fourth round of the Chevy Trucks NORBA National Championships will lead its competitors one step closer to the stars and stripes of the national championship jerseys. National champions will be crowned at the Chevy Trucks NORBA Nationals finals at the fifth and final round, Sept. 8 - 10 in Mammoth Mountain, Calif.
Friday, Aug. 4
11 a.m.: Pro Women's Cross Country (Olympic discipline)
2 p.m.: Pro Men's Cross Country (Olympic discipline)
4 p.m.: Pro SoBe Dual Slalom (Qualifying)
Saturday, Aug. 5
3 p.m.: Junior Olympic Cross Country Race
4 p.m.: Pro Women's Short-Track Cross-Country
4:30 p.m.: Pro Men's Short-Track Cross-Country
5:30 p.m.: Pro SoBe Dual Slalom
Sunday, Aug. 6
10 a.m.: NORBA Sunday Morning Fun Ride (Non-competitive)
11:30 a.m.: Pro Downhill (Qualifying)
1 p.m.: Semi-Pro Downhill (Finals)
1:30 p.m.: Pro Women's VISA Downhill (Finals)
2 p.m.: Pro Men's VISA Downhill (Finals)