Sports

Fall City resident among top national mountain bike racers

Mountain biker Chris Bentley clears an obstacle at the USA Cycling National Championship, held near Denver this summer. The Fall City man took second in his division. - Courtesy Photo
Mountain biker Chris Bentley clears an obstacle at the USA Cycling National Championship, held near Denver this summer. The Fall City man took second in his division.
— image credit: Courtesy Photo

With two national top-five finishes to his credit, it’s been a productive summer for competitive mountain-bike cyclist Chris Bentley.

The Fall City man finished second in the men’s Category 1 Downhill in the 45-49 age group and fourth in the men’s 40-49 age group Super-Downhill at the USA Cycling Mountain Bike Nationals, held in July at a resort near Granby, Colo., about an hour west of Denver in the Front Range mountains.

“At my age, it felt great,” Bentley said. “I’m just trying to maintain in the sport, because it’s so physically demanding.”

He trains year-round, mostly at the Duthie Hill Mountain Bike Park outside of Fall City, but also at Whistler, B.C.

Bentley was invited to nationals on the basis of his regional success, which includes a victory and a second place finish in two Fluidride Cup races, one in June, the other just before the national meet took place in July. Both of those races were held at Mount Hood, Ore.

According to Bentley, the downhill races were “very similar to what you see in downhill skiing,” running around five minutes in length.

The Super Downhill has a very exciting element.

“The catch with this is you all go out at once,” he said, meaning that it’s basically every rider for himself on this course; races in this class run around 15 minutes.

Bentley has been competing for a decade, and has had numerous winning finishes in recent years. There are three major categories; Bentley’s is the top of the class, an “expert” designation.

“Cat 1 at my age is also considered a master class,” he said.

Bentley’s friends and family have come to expect his success.

“It was like, ‘Oh well, Chris got on a podium again,’” he said.

Bentley competes this fall at the Mount Hood course.

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