Swenson aiming to become elite national champion | ParkRecord.com

Swenson aiming to become elite national champion

Park City native currently sits atop Pro XCT standings

Park City native Keegan Swenson goes off of a jump on the trail at Soldier Hollow during the Tech Dev Pro XCT event in May. Swenson is aiming for a national title at the USA Cycling Mountain Biking National Championships in Snowshoe, West Virginia, July 18-23.

The last couple of weeks have been busy for Park City mountain biker Keegan Swenson.

In early June, Swenson, 23, traveled to Missoula, Montana, where he competed in and won the cross-country and short-track titles at the Missoula Pro XCT. The next weekend, he was in Carson City, Nevada, where he finished in second and third place in the cross-country and fat tire crit races, respectively, at the Epic Ride Carson City Off-Road event.

Swenson, a racer for the Cannondale 3Rox team, finished up his busy slate by continuing his tour of the country by going to Angel Fire, New Mexico, for the Angel Fire Pro XCT, where he solidified two more wins in the cross-country and short-track disciplines.

"I’d say it’s a pretty standard season, but I have attended more of the Epic Rides marathon events and those have been really fun," Swenson said. "It’s nice to mix it up a bit with some longer 50-mile events, although they are still super hard in their own way."

Swenson has enjoyed a successful 2017 campaign, sitting atop the Pro Mountain Bike Cross-Country Tour standings with 166 points. He has never finished a season on top of the standings — last year's ninth-place finish was the best of his young career — and the Park City native hopes he can continue to ride his current wave of success through the end of the year.

While he'd welcome the opportunity to become the overall Pro XCT champion, one of Swenson's main focuses is the USA Cycling Mountain Biking National Championships that are scheduled to take place July 18-23 in Snowshoe, West Virginia.

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"I would like to win [the Pro XCT overall title], but the big goal is nationals," Swenson said. "Expectations are always tricky. I like to try and set small goals and then build up to bigger ones."

Last year at the event, Swenson — who previously secured national titles in the U23 and Junior fields — finished in second place in the cross-country discipline and fourth in the short track. If he can become a better and faster bike racer by the time nationals rolls around, Swenson might walk away from West Virginia as a national champion, he hopes.

But even when nationals concludes, Swenson's season isn't over. Though he'll have a much-needed week off, which will include a stop in Park City, Swenson will return to the East Coast for the Mont Sainte Anne World Cup and the Windham Pro XCT. It's been a tricky World Cup season for Swenson so far, but he isn't done quite yet.

"The World Cups have been tough," Swenson said. "Sometimes it’s hard to get your head in the game over there on the biggest stage, but I’ve got a few new tricks to try at the next World Cup I’ll attend."

First, though, Swenson has to take care of business in West Virginia. His main goal is to become an elite national champion, but he's also set a personal goal to simply get better.

"Obviously, the [biggest goal] is just to get faster and be a better bike racer," Swenson said.