If Wilbraham & Monson Academy’s John Crocker ’25 wanted to race at the most competitive mountain bike event in the country, he was going to have to earn it.
He earned it.
After competing in a qualifying meet on July 7, John raced the next day against the best of the best at the USA Cycling Cross Country Mountain Bike National Championships in Macunguie, Pennsylvania.
The event was a Category 1 race, the highest level possible and John’s first attempt in that division.
Since he wasn’t nationally ranked, he had to place in the top 60 in order to advance to the championship. Despite an early crash, he took 56th and earned the right to bike against the most talented racers in the nation. He placed 98th in the final.
Quotes from John
On why he wanted to compete in a Category 1 race: “I wanted to compete at a higher, more competitive level. And this, being a national championship race, provided the opportunity to do that. There was competition from all over the country, which meant better racing overall.”
On crashing in the qualifier: “I crashed seconds off the start of the qualifier, immediately knowing that I might've ruined my weekend. The amount of racers in this competition is multiple times more than what I was used to so the start was much more chaotic. Getting back on the bike I was second to last at 79th and needed to gain at least 19 positions.”
On advancing to the championship: “Finishing the qualifier 56th, I was not yet sure if I advanced to the race itself. Once I knew I had, it was definitely relieving, but then I knew I had to perform well in the championship the next day.”
On competing in the championship: “The experience was eye-opening, not knowing what it would be like to compete at my first Cat 1 national race. After having local success at Cat 3 and then Cat 2, it was rewarding to be able to qualify for a Cat 1 national championship. While an exciting yet humbling experience, it left me with a desire to push myself. I hope to compete more at this higher level.”