Friends, family celebrate mountain bike national champion

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WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KJTL) — Folks at The Bike Stop are honoring an Iowa Park native who happens to be a national champion.

Aaron McDaniel took first place in the Singlespeed Men category in Canyon, Texas.

He is one of the 24 medal holders from the championships, out of more than 350 riders.

It’s one thing to ride 45.4 miles through canyons on a bike, it’s another to be crowned champion.

“There was about three of us together on the first lap and I felt really good and I had a plan in my mind when the second lap started and I executed it and everybody was out of sight by the time the end of the race come along so that was a good feeling,” MTB Marathon National Champion Aaron McDaniel said.

Friday, folks from the Wichita Falls cycling community offered him their congratulations. They said although he’s deserving, he’s a humble guy.

“He doesn’t want any notoriety, he worked very hard,” McDaniel’s friend Scott Hutchins said. “He had a struggle last year in the national championship, had a couple mechanical issues and as soon as he finished the race he started working towards this year.”

McDaniel calls cycling a hobby, a hobby that has earned him high honors. He began his cycling journey in 2014.

“I bought a cheap bike off of craigslist and started riding the Wichita trail which is our mountain bike trail here in town and just got addicted and here we are,” McDaniel said.

As for his hometown bike shop, McDaniel’s medal comes as no surprise.

“To those of us that know him well, it wasn’t a shock at all,” Hutchins said.

He’s bringing his competitive spirit back to Texoma for Hotter’N Hell Hundred next weekend, with hopes of standing atop the podium once again.

“I have actually never won the Hotter’N Hell mountain bike race due to either just being outright beat or mechanical issues so I’m hoping this year will be the first for that,” McDaniel said.

Hard work and dedication to be number one, with hopes of the same feat in the place he calls home.

After Hotter’N Hell Hundred, McDaniel said it’s time for a vacation. He’s headed to Colorado though and you bet he’ll be cycling through the mountains there.

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