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Keegan Swenson three-peats in mountain bike cross-country national championship

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Devon Balet
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Keegan Swenson rides over a rocky stretch of the USA Cycling Mountain Bike National Cross-Country Championship in Winter Park, Colorado, Saturday.

Last weekend, a Park City native and Heber City resident won a third consecutive mountain-biking national championship.

Keegan Swenson won the USA Cycling Mountain Bike National Cross-Country Championship in Winter Park, Colorado, Saturday. It was the 28-year-old’s third national championship there in four years, including 2020 when the race was canceled due to COVID-19.

“It's just a course that suits me,” he said. “It's kind of a more old-school-style cross-country course at Winter Park, and a ski resort, so it's got a little bit of a longer climb, faster, long descent, and it's at altitude, too, which helps because I’m from Park City and pretty used to the altitude.”

The course is a 5.2 mile loop at 9,000 feet. There’s a challenging rock garden at the beginning.

Racers did four laps. Swenson finished in a little over an hour and 20 minutes

The Park City High School graduate decided to start fast early in the race and took the lead immediately. His opponents never caught up.

“For me, it's better to have a pretty hard race,” Swenson said. “I think it's nice to set the pace high from the beginning and [would rather] it be tactical than have a last lap, like, more or less a sprint. So, I think for me, I like to spread the effort out and make it kind of harder the whole time and a longer, drawn out effort.”

Coming in second was Christopher Blevins of Colorado, a World Cup winner and short track world champion. He’s a regular opponent of Swenson’s. Eric Brunner, also from Colorado, took third.

Next up for Swenson, the Leadville 100 and Steamboat Gravel Race, which are August 13 and 14. In those races, he’ll cover over 240 miles in back-to-back days.

Ben Lasseter reports for KPCW in Wasatch County. Before moving to Heber City, Ben worked in Manti as a general assignment newspaper reporter and editor.