|Sedona alumnus Cody Kukulski wins national mountain biking title|
|Written by Staci Gasser|
|Friday, 16 November 2012 00:00|
A Sedona Red Rock High School alumnus is a national champion.
Cody Kukulski, 22, recently won the gold medal in the Men’s Single Speed Solo race in the 2012 USA Cycling Mountain Bike 24-Hour National Championships in Colorado Springs, Colo., making him a U.S. national champion.
Some of the best endurance mountain bikers in the United States competed to test their skills, toughness and determination during this race, which began at noon and continued through the night until noon the next day.
“This was pretty hard for a 24-hour course,” Kukulski said. “There was at least 1,000 feet of climbing per lap.”
The 13.5-mile course starts at a altitude of 6,476 feet and featured short climbs, technical zones and a combination of double-track and single-track surrounded by scrub oak, yucca and piñon pines, and sandstone rock formations at the foot of the Rocky Mountains in Palmer Park, Colo., a mountain biker favorite.
The riders literally bike for 24 hours in the race. Kukulski said he stopped for only two five-minute breaks where he scarfed down a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, took a breather and continued on.
“I was just trying to keep going,” Kukulski said. “I constantly had to figure out where I was at, focus on the competition in front of me and behind me, and make sure nothing was going wrong.”
Yet, Kukulski won his first gold medal when the 24 hours were over.
“I was pretty surprised, I wasn’t expecting it,” Kukulski said. “I was happy to be done though — being on a bike for that long.”
Along with the gold medal, Kukulski earned a Stars-and-Stripes jersey, a coveted token of accomplishment in the world of mountain biking. Only national champions receive one and are able to wear them at any endurance or 24-hour race.
Kukulski participates in 24-hour races once every two to three months while he races in 12-hour competitions almost every weekend. He also rides his bike every day he can, usually racking up 30 to 40 miles a day.
“You have to really mentally prepare your body for [these races],” Kukulski said. “You push your body to the limit.”
Kukulski has been into biking since his father put
For the full story, please see the Friday, Nov. 16, issue of the Red Rock News.