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US Open of Mountain Biking Report, Photos – Canada\’s Miller Wins Big

by Fraser Britton

May 25, 2009 (Mountain Creek, New Jersey) – Canada’s Miranda Miller (Mad March Racing) took home her career first major event win this past weekend at the US Open of MTB at Diablo Freeride park at Mountain Creek, pocketing the $5,000. She beat out Kathy Pruitt (USA) of Jamis Cycles and Fionn Griffiths (Gbr) of Norco by a tiny margin. On the men’s side Sam Hill (Aus) Monster Energy-Specialized took home yet another win. Hill narrowly edged out defending world champion Gee Atherton (Gbr) of Animal Commencal and Monster Energy Specialized teammate Brendan Fairclough (Gbr) for the victory.

The usually sunny US Open was interrupted by a massive thundershower midway through the junior men, and it turned the course into a sloppy, slippery mess. However, all pro men and women would share the same conditions so any so called “rain game” would not come into play.

Canada’s Miller was besides herself with her win, and was clearly at a loss for how to react. “It was pretty good, slippery. I was surprised. I only had one little bobbles but altogether good. You had to go a little conservative in the rocks, but once you had a feel for things you knew. It was a lot slipperier than I thought. Even the dirt was slippery!”

Hill ran cut down specialized prototype mud spikes on the course, which clearly helped him on the lower grassy turns. He talked about his run afterwards. “My run was pretty good It was slick up there like a whole different track to what we were practicing on. I had a couple of great lines that worked good up there and had one to change when I nearly went over the handle bars. I got down in one piece and it was kind of hit and miss on a track like this in these conditions.”

Last year’s winner, Canuck Steve Smith (MS Evil Bikes), went down hard low down on the course and slammed his head into the ground pretty good. “My run went amazing until I landed on my head really hard. I’m okay though. Yes mom – I’m ok.”

Canadians Micayla Gatto (Commencal Oakley) and Katrina Strand (Oakley Shimano) ended up 5th and 6th respectively for the women. For the men, Jamie Biluk (Transcend Orange) was 20th, James Jeannet (Transcend Orange) 28th, Jordie Lunn (Rockstar Jamis) 33rd in the pro category.

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