By Carl Pepin, SeacoastOnline
BEND, Ore. --- Bradford Perley has been racing mountain bikes for a long, long time. And now after all those races the Kennebunk High grad (Class of 2007) can call himself a national champion.
The 23-year-old Perley won the senior men's 19-29 race on Sept. 15 at USA Cycling's Marathon Mountain Bike Nationals in Bend, Ore.
Perley completed the course in 4:03.36, more than three minutes ahead of the runner-up. He races for Champion Systems/Cannondale out of Banner Elk, N.C.
The former Ram graduated from Lees-McRae College (in Banner Elk) in May with a business degree. When he's not racing, he's coaching at Brevard College (Brevard, N.C.) and has started to coach other cyclists as well.
Perley has had eight top 10 finishes in the 15 races he's competed in this year. Prior to his championship win in Oregon a couple weeks ago, Perley's top finish was a second-place effort at Stump Jump 2012 in Spartanburg, S.C. on April 22.
His other top 10 finishes include: ninth at the 2012 USA Cycling Collegiate Cyclo-Cross Nationals in January; sevent at The Shootout on Anglers Ridge in March; fourth at the Southeastern Regional Championship #2 on April 1; 10th at the Catawba Riverfront Classic in May; fifth at the Southeastern Regional Championship #7 in June; fifth at the Southeastern Regional Championship #10 on Aug. 5; and eighth at The Sizzler on Aug. 12.
Perley raced in 57 events in 2011 and he has a busy schedule planned for the remainder of this year as well.