Nash goes big at Northstar

Auburn rider breaks through for first win on Pro Gravity Tour
By: Todd Mordhorst Journal Sports Editor
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The stage was set perfectly and Mike Nash delivered on the rocks, dirt, jumps and bumps scattered across the mountain at Northstar Resort last weekend. The 18-year-old from Auburn broke through for his first victory on his mountain bike. He won the expert division at the Pro Gravity Tour, a national series that draws high-caliber competition from all over the country. “It’s one of the main races in the U.S., so it was pretty cool,” said Nash, who graduated from Maidu High School in Auburn in 2009. “It was my first win at a race, so I was really happy with it.” Nash started mountain biking about five years ago and honed his skills quickly. He didn’t start racing until last year, but he was a regular on the trails in the American River Canyon. “I’ve known Mike for awhile and I’d say he’s one of the better natural riders in Auburn,” said Jordan Lopez, who rides professionally for the Northstar Mountain Bike Team. “He’s been riding since he was young and he’s fast.” Nash originally saw his bike as his ticket to freedom. He used to ride motorcycles, but came to enjoy the easy access his mountain bike offered to the vast trails available just outside of Auburn. “I’ve always been into hiking and skiing and outdoor sports,” said Nash, who has suffered a broken wrist and a broken ankle in the past three years of riding. “As a kid, you can go ride your bicycle and go wherever you want. On a mountain bike you can get on and go whenever you want and that’s my favorite thing about it.” He’s got a nice ride for his frequent ventures out after getting a sponsorship from Canfield Brothers Bikes. The Utah-based company provided a full-suspension frame, pedals and a stem for Nash this season. He built up the bike himself and has been thrilled with the results. You can often find Nash flying down the Confluence Trail, a long, winding trail that offers those willing to climb the wall of the canyon a thrilling descent. Last weekend, Northstar provided a nice advantage for Nash. He rides at the Tahoe-area resort often. “I think that had something to do with (my win),” Nash said. Racing in the age 19-29 category (he turns 19 on July 11), Nash beat out dozens of other riders to claim the victory. It was a big step up after he placed 13th at the first Pro Gravity Tour race in Port Angeles, Wash. earlier this year. He plans to race at the next Pro Gravity Tour event in Winter Park Colo. later this month, which could put him in the running for the series crown. A sophomore-to-be at Sierra College, Nash is still undecided as to what his focus will be in college. He’s also unsure about his future in mountain biking. “I pretty much just love doing it,” Nash said. “I’m not sure where I’m going with it.”