Finsterwald, a Coronado High School graduate, won the U23 National Cross Country championship on Friday at Sun Valley in Ketchum, Idaho.
Winning the national tile was one of the Subaru Trek rider's goals for this year.
Video interview with Finsterwald talking about nationals. "I want to win that jersey," he said.
Video interview from earlier this season.
He also won the U23 title at the Pan American Continental Mountain Bike Cha... in April.
From USA Cycling:
The U23 men's race quickly turned into a two-rider showdown between Russell Finsterwald (Colorado Springs, Colo./Trek Subaru) and Howard Grotts (Durango, Colo./Fort Lewis College). Finsterwald collected his first U23 national title as he prevailed by 52 seconds, completing the five-lap, 29-kilometer race in 1:32:27. Grotts rode away with the silver while Skyler Trujillo (Fort Collins, Colo./Niner Stans Ergon) placed third, 5:36 behind Grotts.
Finsterwald got the hole shot and began opening a slight, early lead on Grotts, gradually growing his lead to about 20 seconds after three laps. The two riders dueled as Grotts excelled on the climbs and Finsterwald was faster down the descents.
"It was definitely my day. I felt great out there. It was so hard, though," Finsterwald said. "I wanted to put as much as pressure on Grotts as I could. He would catch me at the top of each climb. I was able to come around him somewhere on the descent and open it up a bit. He made me work for it. That was not easy."