Hood River biker wins national title

NEW YORK — Hood River Valley High School graduate Alice Pennington capped a breakout season of bike racing by winning her first national title in the short track event at the Collegiate National Mountain-Bike Championships Oct. 25-28.

More than 330 riders from 74 colleges gathered in the Catskill Mountains for the four-day event, which featured short track, downhill, slalom and cross-country races.

Pennington, 20, of Oregon State University, won the short-track event against 60 Division IA women, and took third in the cross-country race despite high winds, freezing temperatures, mud, snow and ice pellets.

After more than two hours, she completed the cross-country course, and ended up finishing fourth in the individual overall standings.

Earlier in the year, Pennington showed her versatility on the road-racing scene, earning a third-place medal against 100 other women on a grueling, hill-laden course at the National Collegiate Road Race in Colorado Springs, Colo.

She also won second place at the U-23 Women’s National Road Race in Redding, Calif.

Pennington’s father Jim said that a successful 2001 has stirred the interest of multiple corporate sponsors. He said Alice will ride professionally for two teams — one road, one mountain — in 2002, while continuing her studies at OSU. With all her success, she naturally has plans for the future.

“I’m going to try to go as far as I can,” she said. “But for this year, a top 15 finish at the national-level races would be great.”

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