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On March 3, the cross-country MTB national champion completed the nearly-100 mile loop in Canyonlands National Park in 5 hours, 28 minutes, and 17 seconds, ousting gravelleur Pete Stetina from the throne by six seconds.
In October, Stetina toppled Swenson’s previously set FKT of 5:30:21. Swenson says he wasn’t OK with that.
“I wanted to win,” he said in a video about his most recent ride. “I had it, and I wanted it back.”
Was Swenson’s FKT attempt nine days before the Specialized Cactus Cup stage race in Arizona one last training ride (he won the three-day event last weekend, BTW) or just a continuation of the fun riff on racing that is Everesting and FKTs?
Stetina says that he’s recently sensed that a re-do in Utah was on the horizon for the mountain biker.
“I could see from his training that he was preparing specifically for that, and that it was coming soon,” Stetina said. “So I knew that this was a coming possibility. It was pretty interesting to see it come down to a game of seconds again. It seems like none of us have had the perfect weather yet, so I still think a faster time’s out there.”
Swenson says that the post-FKT banter with Stetina has been friendly; neither rider has any intention of giving up on this perfect marriage of fun, competition, and camaraderie.
“I’m sure he’ll go back,” Swenson said. “but then so will I if he snags it.”