Caught up with Kelton Williams, whom I featured in this Jan. 3 story, about how his first national championship experience was.
The Medal Stand: Teen cyclist makes nationals debut
Ashton cyclist Kelton Williams began 2016 with the biggest race of his young career.
The 14-year-old competed at the USA Cycling Cyclocross National Championship from January 5-10 in Asheville, N.C., after having accumulated just enough qualifying points over the winter at races in Utah, Montana and Colorado. It was the first national race for the Madison High School freshman, who made his competitive debut at age 11 in Driggs.
Williams competed against 15- and 16-year-old cyclists at nationals, placing 48th out of 90 despite a flat tire and being behind a wreck. Start order was based on point accumulation from the winter, and Williams started the race toward the back.
“It just shows me that I need to work that much harder to do better,” Williams said. “It was good to see where I stood and it was just a good time.”
Williams made the trip with his parents, Brian and Heather, the entrepreneurs of Kelson Bikes. It was the farthest he had ever traveled for a cyclocross race. He said the more humid climate was the least difficult adjustment.
“It was really nice because it was warm and the elevation was lower so my breath wouldn’t have gotten taken away as easily,” Williams said. “The time change was really difficult for me.”
Although he prefers cyclocross, Williams will be dabbling in other disciplines over the next few months. Next month are fat bike nationals in Ogden, Utah, and as the weather gets warmer, he will be doing mountain biking, road cycling and time trials.
“I haven’t done (other disciplines) much, but we’re gonna start trying it,” he said.
Coming up locally
The annual Teton Valley Great Snow Fest returns for its fifth year, beginning Friday and continuing through January 31 in Driggs, Victor, Tetonia and Grand Targhee Resort. Scheduled events range from Nordic ski races, fat bike clinics, ice skating, hockey and snow sculptures.
Grand Targhee’s latest “Knowledge is Powder” off trail ski and snowboard camp takes place 9 a.m. Friday to 5 p.m. Sunday. The second Club Series race hosted by the Teton Valley Ski Education Foundation—a slalom—also takes place Sunday at the resort.
Jackson Hole Resort hosts the USSA Wes Barron Speed Series Super G races from Friday to Sunday at Apres Vous Mountain. Skiers from the Intermountain Region will be competing.
Team USA update
Rigby snowboarder and 2014 U.S. Olympian Jessika Jenson has her first competition of the season today, the Grand Prix stop at Mammoth Mountain, Calif. Jenson has slopestyle qualifiers today. Finals are Saturday. Numerous Olympians, including halfpipe skier David Wise and halfpipe snowboarder Kelly Clark, are competing.
The countdown to the Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, reached 200 days on Monday, and athletes in various sports continue to gear up for a shot at the Games.
USA Basketball released its list of 30 finalists for the men’s basketball team for Rio on Monday. Among the finalists are Steph Curry, Dwight Howard, Kevin Love, LeBron James, Anthony Davis, John Wall, Kevin Durant and James Harden.
The Austin stop of the Arena Pro Series ended Sunday with exciting finishes. Katie Ledecky shattered another world record—this time her own—upon winning the women’s 800-meter freestyle in eight minutes, 6.68 seconds with the sellout crowd on its feet. Since winning the gold medal in world record time in the event at age 15 at London 2012, she has broken the world record three more times and now owns the top eight fastest times in history.
Earlier Sunday, Michael Phelps won his latest showdown with fellow multi-Olympic champion Ryan Lochte, coming from behind to claim the men’s 200 individual medley in 1:58.