By Justin Graves
Three of Humboldt State’s top riders qualified for this year’s Collegiate MTB Nationals at North Star Resort in Truckee, Calif. On Friday, the first day of competition, Joe Mulleary competed in the Division II Championship XC race. This is the first national Mulleary has ever attended and only the fourth race of his career. Mulleary had a strong ride in his rookie bout, finishing 29th on a very technical and physically demanding course. The race started at 6300′ making it all the more taxing for racers. Mulleary said that the course was littered with flats, mechanicals, crashes, and even the occasional walker through North Star’s famous rock gardens.
Friday was the first day of practice for Downhill. HSU has two riders entered in this weekend’s gravity events including freshman phenom Kevin Pabinquit enjoying his first trip to nationals in his rookie collegiate season and Justin Graves returning to nationals for the second time after claiming a 5th place in 4x and 3rd in DH last year. The Downhill course is North Star’s “Gypsy” trail, a fast, flowy, rocky course that should run around four minutes. The course is very physically demanding and took a toll on team bikes during Friday’s practice, but all is fixed and ready for Saturday’s 4x Finals. Mulleary will also be competing in Short Track Saturday morning at 11am.