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Klamer Victorious at 2013 Marathon Nationals

Fitzy Team rider, Gabe Klamer, won the Men’s 30-34 Class at the 2013 Marathon Mountain Bike National Championships last weekend in Sun Valley, Idaho.  For his victory, he was awarded the much coveted USA Cycling stars and stripes jersey and a podium in front of his compatriots.  Seems like it was fitting way for Gabe to celebrate his Fourth of July weekend, by going out with a bang!

For Gabe, 31, the road to victory began a year ago when he committed to the 2013 race.  He figured that Sun Valley was the perfect place to make a run for a national title: he had raced there before, its terrain resembled Jackson’s, and it was an easy distance away by car.  So, this winter when the Teton snowpack looked grim, Gabe began to spend more time on his snow bike than on his skis.  In the spring, he was able to do 200 miles of “focused training” per week because the temps were relatively warm and the roads dry.  But, it wasn’t all work and no play.  Gabe married his sweetheart, Jenny, in May and squeezed in a family reunion in Indiana in June.

Gabe said that the early season races around the valley really helped him to prepare for Nationals.  He credited a lot of his success to Snow King because, “It’s where all my race seasons are built.”  He snow biked there in the winter and recently competed on its trails in the Outerlocal Games at the end of June.  At all of these local races, Gabe found himself going head to head with another Fitzy Team rider, Jason Berning.  He and Jason had consistently finished close together in the results and they had come to know each other’s riding style quite well.

So, when the starting bell went off in Sun Valley last weekend and Jason took off like a rocket on the first “monster climb,” Gabe felt he, “had no choice, but to chase him down.”  They separated themselves from the main pack and at the top of the climb, Jason got around a group of pros, leaving Gabe to fend for himself on the “monster descent” and two other short climbs.  By the end of the first lap and its 3,000 feet of climbing, Gabe figured he was at least three minutes behind. Jason was nowhere to be seen.

The second round of the “monster climb” promised to be hot and steep, and Gabe knew that if he wanted to wear the stars and stripes, he would have to catch Jason.  He said that he put his head down and, “after ten minutes of suffering, I saw the orange [Fitzgerald’s Bicycles] shirt.”  He caught Jason about ten minutes from the summit.  They rode together for a while before Gabe went past him and, “drilled it to the top.”  The rest of that second lap, he rode hard, “convinced that Jason was on my heels.”  Gabe crossed the finish line for the 40 mile race in 3:26:24, just three minutes ahead of Jason, exclaiming all the while, “I did it! I did it!” He achieved what he set out to do – win the National Championship!

Congratulations to Gabe, Jason and AJ Linnell, who all proudly represented the Fitzy Team in Sun Valley.  In addition, kudos to Amy Fulwyler for placing second in the Women’s 45-49 Class, to Cary Smith for winning the Men’s Singlespeed Class, and to all area riders for competing in the 2013 Marathon Nationals.  Good luck going forward!

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