Swenson rides to crit win | ParkRecord.com

Swenson rides to crit win

They can slow him down, but they can’t stop him.

Despite facing tougher restrictions than most of the field, Park City High School sophomore Keegan Swenson beat more than 60 older cyclists on his way to a state criterium championship for Category 4 riders on May 8 at Pioneer Park in Salt Lake City.

Junior cyclists (those under 18) are restricted to smaller gears in the state championships, for reasons Swenson can’t explain.

"I don’t know why they do it," he said. "I think it’s patterned after what they do over in Europe."

Swenson finished eighth in Cat. 5 last year (against a lesser level of competition) and credits better training and a three-inch growth spurt for his recent progress.

After years competing with the Young Riders program, he recently began riding for the Cole Sport Racing team – which also sponsors 2010 nordic combined gold medalist Billy Demong.

"It’s fun racing for a sponsor, but you have to work even harder," Swenson said.

His goal now is to move up to Cat. 3, which he can achieve based on results in his next two road races. If he reaches that level, he will be eligible for the road biking nationals in Bend, Oregon, at the end of June.

Cycling has already taken Swenson to California twice this season and once to Colorado, and he is part of USA Cycling’s Junior Development Program, which has introduced him to many of the nation’s top young riders.

Not surprisingly for a Park City resident, he is known as a strong hill climber and stars on the mountain bike circuit.

Swenson, who also cross country skis in the winter to stay in form, thanked his parents Tanya and Jordan and coach Tom Noaker for their supporting roles in his success.

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