Pedersons top their groups at race

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The father-daughter duo of Neal Pederson and Michelle Pederson had a big showing at the 2013 Cycling Gravity Mountain Bike Nationals.
The Pedersons, who are top local mountain bike competitors, both picked up wins in their age groups at the national race, which was Aug. 4 at Angel Fire.
Neal Pederson won the men’s 45-49 category 1 (expert) competition, clocking 6:38.25, while Michelle won the women’s junior 15-18 category 1 competition with her time of 7:56.80.
The course was 2.8 miles and went down approximately 1,700 feet at Angel Fire’s bike park.
For the elder Pederson, this was his second time competing at the national level and the second time he’s taken top honors in his age category. He did likewise at the 2010 race at Sol Vista, Colo., winning the 40-44 competition.
Michelle, meanwhile, was competing in her first national race, although she has made a name for herself locally, winning the women’s title at the 2012 Pajarito Punishment by nearly 45 seconds.
At the national race, Pederson cruised to victory, topping Summer Hill of Tucson by more than two minutes. Her win at nationals qualified her for an invitation to compete at the international finals in South Africa, although Neal said she’s not planning on attending.
Both Michelle and Neal represent Bike n Sport Racing.
Neal Pederson’s race was considerably closer, however. He had to hold off Rob Wexler of Corona, Calif., doing so by just over three seconds.
His win was complicated by a crash during the Aug. 2 practice round. Pederson said he sprained his wrist and had to ride with it heavily taped.
For Pederson, he said the best part of the event was getting to meet Aaron Gwin of California, regarded as one of the top downhill racers in the world. Gwin won the men’s national title last weekend with his time of 5:14.02, nine seconds better than Logan Binggeli of St. George, Utah.
One other racer from Los Alamos took part at the national event, Ty Brooks, who was fifth in the men’s 19-24 age group.