Pitts to rep US at Pan Ams | TheUnion.com

Pitts to rep US at Pan Ams

Leslie Pitts
Special to The Union

Professional mountain bike racer Graeme Pitts of Nevada City has earned his third nomination to represent the United States in this year's Pan Am Championships in Argentina.

Each year, the top riders from each nation in the western hemisphere convene to test their skills. Argentina is hosting the event at Tafi de Valle, a ski resort 12 hours northwest of Buenos Aires.

Coming off of a first-place finish in the downhill pro division at the Keyesville Classic at Lake Isabella, Calif., Pitts felt strong and ready to take on the Pan Ams.

"I've done well at this event in the past, first in Chile in 2009 and then in Guatemala in 2010, and my training has been going great, so I'm looking for a good result in Argentina," Pitts said. "The event is on the eastern slopes of the Andes — very rocky — and it resembles Northstar and Mammoth Mountain, both places I love to compete."

Pitts has been racing since 2006 in the downhill discipline. Most of his races take place at ski resorts, and they are timed events with competitors racing the clock on the course in timed intervals. Courses usually include steep sections with many natural technical features, including large rocks, roots and sometimes thick mud.

The Pan Am Championships come with coveted points to be earned in order to race in World Cup events, located all over the world. Last September, Pitts made his way to Norway for the Hafjell Ski Resort's first World Cup event, and he plans to attend races in Scotland, Italy and Andorra later this year, as well as a return trip to Norway.

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The pro downhill event at this year's Pan Ams will take place Saturday. Right now, the forecast is calling for a 70 percent chance rain and thunderstorms, which should make for a challenging event.

To learn more about Pitts, visit http://graemepitts.com/ and his fan page on Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/pages/Graeme-Pitts-Pro-Downhill-Biker.

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