What a month it’s been for Missoula mountain biker Sam Schultz. Being named to the Olympic team? Check. Winning USA Cycling’s national cross-country mountain biking championship? Check. And finally to the goal of defending his Missoula XC championship in just the race’s second year… give him another check.
Schultz covered the 2.75-mile course up at Marshall Mountain on Saturday in a first place time of 1 hour, 20 minutes and 4 seconds. That was over a minute slower than his mark last year; keep in mind Schultz was battling hot conditions and an injured shoulder.
The 27-year old Missoula native said the hometown support helped him ignore the shoulder pain. “It’s unbelievable you know. I didn't sleep a whole lot last night and I was a little bit nervous this morning, said Schultz after the race. “But I got in the groove once I got up here man… the support was just unreal. Riding around and having people you know just cheering for me and giving me good shout outs is… oh man its super cool and really motivating.”
Howard Grotts of Durango, Colorado finished second in the men’s elite division 39 seconds behind Schultz.
Schultz’s Subaru-Trek teammate Jeremy Horgan-Kobelski was third in the elite division. He clocked a time of 1:21:06.