Ross makes podium in Austria |

Ross makes podium in Austria

Shauna Farnell
Special to the DailyCovered in mud, Vail pro mountain biker Nat Ross plows through the 24-hour course last month during the European championships in Gosau, Austria.

GOSAU, Austria – Local mountain bike pro Nat Ross squeaked onto the podium in the European Championship 24 Hour race, complete with wet shoes.The race, held June 18 and 19 in Gosau – very near the home of the 2004 World Mountain Biking Championships – featured a nine-kilometer loop with a field of nearly all Europeans.

“I was the only American,” said Ross, who finished in third place in the pro division and fourth place overall. He was lapped by former Austrian cyclocross champion Thomas Hodlmoser, who completed 51 laps for the victory, amateur German rider Gerhard Gulewicz and three-time Race Across America solo winner Wolfgang Fasching, who took second and third, respectively, with 50 laps each.Ross completed 49 laps, falling short of his goal but steering clear of the ambulance, a fate that befell several riders on the course. A steady rain fell throughout the race, rendering the course so muddy in places that race organizers were forced to re-route a section mid-event. This caused some confusion among the non-German speaking portion of the race field.”There were so many racers crashing on a super rocky, rooty and slippery part of the course that the race organizer rerouted the course after the fifth person was loaded into an ambulance from bad crashes,” Ross said. “Four course marshals were waving flags and pointing me in a different direction. Had I understood German, I would have known what to do. But I just kept on riding until I slammed into one of the guys and went flying over the bars. The course was real similar to something you’d see in Vail. On the downhill, it was pretty rocky and rooty – in the shade with a creek crossing. The rocks were really slick.”Vail Colorado

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