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MTB News & Racing Round-up, Friday, May 6, 2011

Date published:
May 6, 2011, 04:00

Edited by Sue George, Mountain Bike Editor

Welcome to our regular roundup of what's happening in mountain biking. Feel free to send feedback, news, & releases to mtb@cyclingnews.com and results, reports & photos to cyclingnews@cyclingnews.com.

  • Henderson grabs first podium in Europe

    Henderson on the podium in Houffalize.
    Article published:
    May 3, 2011, 04:33
    By:
    Cycling News

    Aussie encouraged and hoping for more

    Last weekend’s Houffalize World Cup was a successful one for up-and-coming mountain biking talent Bec Henderson. Henderson took second in the under-23 race, 40 seconds behind winner Rozanne Slik (Feenstra Stevens Bike Team) but raced strongly and on another day may well have taken the win.

    "I started really well... and found myself at the front," she said on her blog.

    "I rode the lap shaking and a little uncomfortable thinking - what am I doing here? I don’t belong at the front of the race," the Aussie commented.

    When she was eventually caught at the front, it was only a lapse in concentration that ending up costing her a chance at the win.

    "I made the stupid mistake of looking behind on one of the climbs and stuffed up. This is where she got the gap and that was the race."

    "I gave it everything and got back onto her wheel, only an elite rider got between us and was stubborn and wouldn’t let me through."

    Describing the finale Henderson said that while it was disappointing to have been so close, she was more than happy with second.

    "The gap from me to her [Silk] first got as big as 40 second and as close as 25 seconds on the last lap. I was closing in on her but didn’t have enough in the tank to catch up."

    "I’m not sure what the final gap was [40 seconds], but I was stoked to cross the line in 2nd place, especially in such a highly ranked race."

    The day also marked the Australian’s first drug test for her time in Europe. Henderson was happy to be tested and hoped to be tested more.

    "If you’re being tested, you’re obviously riding well - so I want to be tested as much as possible."

    Henderson’s next race is the Racer Bikes Cup in Solothurn, Switzerland.

    You can follow all of the young Aussie’s riding reports here, on her blog.
     

  • Plaxton and Davison remain 2011 Pro XCT leaders

    Lea Davison (Specialized) settled into second place by herself
    Article published:
    May 3, 2011, 15:24
    By:
    Cycling News

    Mellow Johnny's Classic wraps up round four

    Max Plaxton and Lea Davison (Specialized) are the leaders of the US Pro Cross Country Tour (US Pro XCT) following the fourth round at the Mellow Johnny's Classic in Dripping Springs, Texas, on Saturday.

    Plaxton beat his teammate Todd Wells and Sam Schultz (Subaru-Trek) for the win in the most recent men's round. On a 90-degree (Fahrenheit) day during which several riders wore ice vests at the starting line, Plaxton used a surge on the last lap to overtake Wells for the win. Plaxton had started the last lap with a deficit of approximately five seconds.

    "I let Todd push the pace at the start and just kind of sat on Sid (Taberlay) and Sam," Plaxton said. "But when Todd got that gap, I knew I couldn't wait too long to catch him. When I got on my own, I found that I was riding that stuff faster than anyone."

    As a result, Plaxton has opened a 40-point margin over Wells in the US Pro XCT standings. Schultz, Jeremiah Bishop (Cannondale Factory), who was absent from round four and Jeremy Horgan-Kobelski (Subaru-Trek) round out the top five. Stephen Ettinger (BMC Mountainbike Development) is the top Under 23 rider, sitting in ninth place.

    In the women's round four, Georgia Gould (Luna Pro) finished five seconds ahead of Davison and Daniela Campuzano (Turbo Bike Team).

    Gould opened an early lead and never relented. "I wanted to be in front and pick my lines," Gould said. "I just rode my own race."

    Davison tried to stay with Gould in the early stages of the race, but changed her strategy at the midpoint. "It was important to relax and ride your own race because when I was focused on catching Georgia, I was all over the place," Davison said.

    With her most recent victory, Gould narrowed Davison's lead in the women's US Pro XCT standings to 10 points. Chloe Forsman (BMC Mountainbike Development), who finished fifth in the race, is 170 points behind Davison in third. Erica Zaveta (BMC Mountainbike Development) is the top American Under 23 women's rider, in 13th place.

    In the team standings, Specialized USA Factory Racing has a 36-point edge on Subaru-Trek. Luna Pro sits in third place, 10 points ahead of the BMC MTB Development Team. Specialized Factory Racing completes the top five.

    The US Pro XCT heads next to the Subaru Cup in Mt. Morris, Wisconsin on June 25.  The series is run by USA Cycling.

    See Cyclingnews' full coverage of the US Pro XCT round at the Mellow Johnny's Classic.

    US Pro XCT Standings

    Elite men US Pro XCT Standings after four rounds
    # Rider Name (Country)
    Standing
    1 Max Plaxton (Can) 770  pts
    2 Todd Wells (USA) 730  
    3 Sam Schultz (USA) 640  
    4 Jeremiah Bishop (USA) 560  
    5 Jeremy Horgan-Kobelski (USA) 440  
    6 Sid Taberlay (Aus) 440  
    7 Adam Craig (USA) 390  
    8 Spencer Paxson (USA) 355  
    9 Stephen Ettinger* (USA) 330  
    10 Geoff Kabush (Can) 290  
    11 Rotem Ishay (Isr) 275  
    12 Raphael Gagne (Can) 250  
    13 Ryan Woodall (USA) 246  
    14 Kerry Werner* (USA) 205  
    15 Adam Morka (Can) 190  
    16 Jason Sager (USA) 185  
    17 Troy Wells (USA) 185  
    18 Ignacio Torres (Mex) 180  
    19 Barry Wicks (USA) 160  
    20 Lachlan Norris (Aus) 130  
    20 Derek Zandstra (Can) 130  
    22 Mitchell Hoke (USA) 126  
    23 Justin Lindine (USA) 124  
    24 Dana Weber (USA) 112  
    25 Peter Glassford (Can) 100  
    26 Tj Woodruff (USA) 94  
    27 Drew Edsall (USA) 90  
    27 Ryan Trebon (USA) 90  
    29 Kris Sneddon (Can) 88  
    30 Benjamin Sonntag (Ger) 85  
    31 Seamus Powell* (USA) 80  
    31 Thomas Turner (USA) 80  
    33 Juan Carlos Herndandez (Mex) 80  
    34 Bryson Perry (USA) 72  
    35 Alejando Barajas* (Mex) 55  
    36 Vincent Lombardi (USA) 50  
    37 Jack Hinkens* (USA) 48  
    38 Emmanuel Valencia (Mex) 45  
    39 Matt Gordon (USA) 40  
    39 Jesse Anthony (USA) 40  
    41 Miguel Valadez (Mex) 39  
    42 Bryan Fawley (USA) 35  
    43 Kalan Beisel (USA) 35  
    44 Rick Wetherald (USA) 30  
    45 Blake Harlan (USA) 28  
    45 Colin Cares (USA) 28  
    45 Antoine Caron* (Can) 28  
    48 John Nobil (USA) 26  
    48 Kevin Fish* (USA) 26  
    50 Francis Morin* (Can) 24  
    51 Zachary Valdez (USA) 23  
    52 Lukas Buchli (Swi) 22  
    53 Brandon Draugelis (USA) 20  
    53 Brian Van Ulden (USA) 20  
    55 Jorge Munoz (USA) 18  
    55 Ben Bostrom (USA) 18  
    55 Jeff Herrera (USA) 18  
    58 Cody Kaiser* (USA) 16  
    58 Brady Kappius (USA) 16  
    58 Tyson Wagler* (Can) 16  
    61 Russell Finsterwald* (USA) 14  
    61 Sean Donovan (USA) 14  
    63 Jason Siegle (USA) 14  
    64 Aaron Elwell (USA) 12  
    64 Adam Snyder (USA) 12  
    64 David Tinker Juarez (USA) 12  
    67 Marton Blazso (Hun) 10  
    67 Carl Decker (USA) 10  
    69 Lucas Brusseau (USA) 9  
    69 Eric Batty (Can) 9  
    69 Aaron Bradford (USA) 9  
    72 Martin Cox (USA) 8  
    72 Joshua Carlson (Aus) 8  
    72 Kevin Smallman (USA) 8  
    75 Jason Young (USA) 7  
    76 John Rines (USA) 6  
    76 Tim Allen (USA) 6  
    78 Craig Wohlschlae (USA) 5  
    78 Ken Onodera (Jpn) 5  
    80 Anthony Sinyard (USA) 4  
    81 Ned Overend (USA) 4  
    82 Graham Aldredge* (USA) 3  
    82 Menso De Jong* (USA) 3  
    82 Jim Hewett (USA) 3  
    85 Wiley Mosley (USA) 2  
    85 Colin Osborn (USA) 2  
    87 David Hanes (USA) 1  
    Elite women US Pro XCT Standings after four rounds
    # Rider Name (Country)
    Standing
    1 Lea Davison (USA) 720  pts
    2 Georgia Gould (USA) 710  
    3 Chloe Forsman (USA) 550  
    4 Emily Batty (Can) 530  
    5 Krista Park (USA) 466  
    6 Catherine Pendrel (Can) 390  
    7 Heather Irmiger (USA) 350  
    8 Sarah Kaufmann (USA) 344  
    9 Amanda Carey (USA) 340  
    10 Daniela Campuzano Chavez (Mex) 310  
    11 Carolyn Popovic (USA) 306  
    12 Judy Freeman (USA) 290  
    13 Erica Zaveta* (USA) 290  
    14 Zephanie Blasi (USA) 260  
    15 Katerina Nash (Cze) 180  
    16 Lydia Tanner* (USA) 172  
    17 Kelli Emmett (USA) 160  
    17 Marie-Helen Premont (Can) 160  
    19 Pua Mata (USA) 140  
    20 Amanda Sin (Can) 130  
    21 Linnea Koons (USA) 126  
    22 Mical Dyck (Can) 120  
    23 Kathy Sherwin (USA) 90  
    24 Kelsy Bingham (USA) 90  
    25 Teal Stetson-Lee (USA) 80  
    26 Nina Baum (USA) 80  
    27 Sarah Maile (USA) 78  
    28 Shannon Gibson (USA) 75  
    29 Deyanira Guerrero (Mex) 67  
    30 Erica Tingey (USA) 63  
    31 Kaila Hart* (USA) 54  
    32 Laura Bietola* (Can) 50  
    33 Rebecca Rusch (USA) 45  
    34 Catherine Vipond (Can) 40  
    35 Aleksandra Mooradian (Pol) 30  
    36 Danelle Kabush (Can) 26  
    37 Kristina Laforge* (Can) 24  
    38 Alice Pennington (USA) 22  
    39 Rebecca Beaumont* (Can) 18  
    39 Brandi Heisterman (Can) 18  
    41 Caroline Mani (Fra) 10  
    42 Anna Fortner (USA) 9  
    43 Caley Brooks* (Can) 8  
    44 Laura Winberry (USA) 7  
    Teams US Pro XCT standings after four rounds
    # Team
    Standing
    1 Specialized Racing USA 191  pts
    2 Subaru-Trek 155  
    3 Luna Pro Team 146  
    4 BMC MTB Development 136  
    5 Specialized Factory Racing 9  
  • Tanguy and Beck sweep Cohutta 100 for Team CF

    Christian Tanguy (Team CF) on his way to winning the Cohutta 100
    Article published:
    May 3, 2011, 18:07
    By:
    Daniel Simms

    Sornson podium adds to squad's early season success

    The argyle-clad Team CF came out swinging in Ducktown, Tennessee, at the Cohutta 100, the 100-mile National Ultra Endurance (NUE) mountain bike series opener on Saturday. Team CF, now in its sophomore year, has set its sites on dominating the expanded 2011 NUE series. If Saturday's race was any indication, the team will be visiting some more podiums in the near future.

    The men's race came down to aid station 3, where Christian Tanguy broke away from the lead group to chase down Michael Simonson (Gary Fisher/SRAM/Notubes), who was on a flyer. Tanguy went on to a solo win.

    Chris Beck, left alone with last year's series winner Jeff Schalk (Trek), began plotting his attack to ensure a Team CF one-two sweep.

    "At aid station 5, Jeff slowed down to grab a bottle," said Beck. "I figured, I hadn't stopped at an aid station all day, why start now? I had about half a bottle and a shot at the impossible - beating Jeff Schalk in a 100-mile mountain bike race.

    "I trained with Jeff this winter. I knew I was outclassed, but my new team, my supportive family and my new bike inspired me," said Beck, who was on an S-Works 29er. It worked. He attacked, Schalk couldn't answer. And team CF claimed first and second places.

    On the women's side, Cheryl Sornson was hoping to take advantage of her early season race fitness coming off the Cape Epic mountain bike stage race in South Africa to get a "W" in a race where she has been the bridesmaid twice.

    "I came to Cohutta in the best shape I've ever been in this early in the season. I was gunning to hit eight hours and came in at 8:02:54, a personal best," said Sornson.

    That PR wasn't enough to put her ahead of Amanda Carey (Kenda/Felt), however, who turned on the heat in the second half to come in at a blistering 7:33:41.

    "I lost her about mile 30. For the rest of the race, I tried to stay strong. It can be hard when you're out there by yourself in the dark moments of racing 100s. But being part of such an inspiring team sure helps."

    Team CF was having a good weekend all around, not just at the Cohutta 100. In the team's home base of Pennsylvania, Nikki Thiemann took top spot in the cross country race at Mid-Atlantic Super Series (MASS) classic, Andrew Mein's Excellent Adventure, at Granogue on Sunday, while Selene Yeager clocked a dominating win in the four-hour enduro.

    Also on Sunday, fresh off Saturday's PR at Cohutta, Sornson, who had somehow managed to make the overnight trip from Tennessee to Pennsylvania in time, was back racing on her home turf. She battled Sue Haywood in a sprint finish at the Michaux Maximus, slipping on a root in the chute and missing the "W" by one second.

    The team's newcomers also excelled at the Mellow Johnny's Classic where Carolyn Popovic came in seventh and Brandon Draugelis pulled off 26th.

    All of this makes Team CF founder, enduro racer, and "elite scientist" Dr. James Wilson a proud man. "Our elite mountain bike team is off to an amazing start," said Wilson. "I suspect part of this success relates to the motivation they gain through the courageous efforts of their teammates who are making it happen off the bike while living with CF."

    The team races in support of those with cystic fibrosis.

  • Mata back on top after Whiskey 50 victory

    Pua Mata (Sho-Air/Specialized)
    Article published:
    May 3, 2011, 20:07
    By:
    Cycling News

    Sho-Air/Specialized racer beats tough competition in Arizona

    Monique "Pua" Mata served noticed that she is back to her old form, after taking a brief hiatus away from the sport at the end of 2010. Mata won the Whiskey 50 on Sunday in Prescott, Arizona, taking her first major win since rejoining the Sho-Air/Specialized squad for the 2011 season.

    The 2011 women's Whiskey 50 main event was stacked with top female competition, including Catharine Pendrel (Luna), who is currently ranked as the number one female cross country racer in the world. The race also included Kelli Emmett (Giant) and endurance icon Rebecca Rusch (Specialized), among others in the field.

    The race came down to Pendrel, Emmett and Mata, and the latter used her endurance racing savvy to overtake the two racers within the last few miles of the race.

    With just over a few miles to go in the race, Mata caught Pendrel and Emmett on the final descent leading into town. Seeing that her competitors were spent after over three solid hours in the saddle, Mata laid down a final, decisive attack. Then she rode away from both women toward victory.

    "Pua's win makes the whole team so proud," said Sho-Air/Specialized team president R. Scott Tedro. "She's been working hard these last few months and we hope to give her the environment we give all our athletes, and that is a place where they can thrive and focus on winning and being happy.

    "We are excited to have her back onboard with us and focusing solely on endurance events again."

    Earlier this season, Mata also won the first round of the US Pro Ultra Endurance Tour (US Pro UET), the Spa City Extreme in Arkansas.

  • 2011 Crocodile Trophy presented

    Bart Brentjens, Urs Huber and Mike Mulkens are the three top riders from the past two Crocodile Trophy editions
    Article published:
    May 4, 2011, 01:58
    By:
    Cycling News

    New finish for Australian mountain bike stage race

    The Crocodile Trophy mountain bike stage race will be held for the 17th time on October 18-27, 2011. Organizers presented this year's edition of the race, including its motto "Back to the roots ... and aiming high".

    The 2011 race will go further into the Australian outback than usual, so racers can expect more nature and less civilization.

    Starting at the infamous "Lagoon" in Cairns, the race will head towards the "Grassy Hill" in Cooktown. The historic township in Far North Queensland has already hosted 13 stages for the Crocodile Trophy in recent years; however, it will be the first time as the race's final destination.

    Between the tropical, holiday resort and the picturesque finish line at the foot of a lighthouse are 10 stages and 1,200 kilometres of heat, sand and physical exertion. The deliberate move away from civilization will test racers' endurance.

    "We will stay overnight in little villages only twice, for all other stages we will set up camp in the bush, rainforest, on rivers or lakes," said race organiser Gerhard Schoenbacher.

    It is expected that the top three finishers in the 2010 edition of the race will be back to battle again.

    Belgian Mike Mulkes, who finished third the past two years, has already confirmed his participation. Two-time runner-up and Olympic Champion Bart Brentjens of the Netherlands is bringing along reinforcements with his Milka Trek teammate Jeroen Boelen and said, "Slowly but surely, it's time for a new Croc champion."

    Two-time winner Urs Huber was probably thinking otherwise when he registered last week. The Swiss rider will be aiming for his third overall win.

    A larger than ever international field is expected with riders from Europe, Australia, South Korea, Mexico, the US and South Africa.

    2011 Crocodile Trophy
    Stage 1: Cairns - Lake Tinaroo, 98km
    Stage 2: Lake Tinaroo - Koombooloomba, 127km
    Stage 3: Koombooloomba - Gunnawarra, 122km
    Stage 4: Gunnawarra - Irvinebank, 85km
    Stage 5: Irvinebank - Mt. Mulligan, 121km
    Stage 6: Mt. Mulligan - Mt. Mulugrave, 162km
    Stage 7: Mt. Mulgrave - Laura, 151km
    Stage 8: Laura - Kalpowar, 128km
    Stage 9: Kalpowar - Munburra, 130km
    Stage 10: Munburra - Cooktown, 99km

    For more information on the Crocodile Trophy, visit www.crocodile-trophy.com.

  • Schurter aims for fifth win of the season in Solothurn

    Nino Schurter (Scott Swisspower) races in Houffalize
    Article published:
    May 5, 2011, 18:00
    By:
    Cycling News

    Tough competition at next Racer Bikes Cup round

    The next round of the Racer Bikes Cup in Solothurn will be a part of the Swiss Velo Bike Festival Days, which last year drew more than 17,500 people. Nino Schurter, 2010 World Cup overall champion and winner of the first 2011 World Cup round, will face tough competition like Florian Vogel, the Flückiger brothers, Martin Gujan, Christoph Sauser, Patrick Gallati and German champion Milatz Moritz.

    A tight battle is also expected in the women's race between last year's winner Esther Süss, who is the marathon world champion and Olympic champion Sabine Spitz. Irina Kalentieva is another favorite while Swiss stars Katrin Leumann and Nathalie Schneitter and Italian Eva Lechner are also podium contenders.

    The festivities will kick off with a short format race on Friday evening. Schurter and Dario Cologna will go head to head in the sprint distance event. Last year, two Swiss racers won this event: Severin Disch and Nathalie Schneitter. Racers will compete a time trial over two laps.

    On Saturday, Schurter will be targeting his fifth victory of the season in the cross country race. He's already won Racer Bikes Cup rounds in Schaan and Tesserete and the World Cup Opener. Last weekend, he took top honors in Houffalize.

    "Events such as the Bike Festival Days are very important for me because I get to compete with the world's elite," said Schurter. "So I get to know more about my form and how strong the competition is. Of course, it would be nice if I could bring home a victory this year, but the competition will be tough."

    "Solothurn is a very special race given the high proportion of asphalt - a bit like a road race," said Milatz. "It will be important to be among the frontrunners at the beginning, as the pace from the start will surely be very high. I am highly motivated, after all, this is a home race for our BMC team. I will try to beat Nino and Florian, but it will be difficult against these world class racers."

    Schurter's Scott Swisspower teammate Vogel suffered an accident in training two weeks ago, but is back to training pain-free this week. Although he is coming off a training deficit, Vogel is looking forward to the race. "I'm not going to Solothurn with the intention to win, although after two second places the last two years, a victory here would certainly be beautiful. Nino is in clear favorite now. But the others - like the Flückigers and Martin Gujan - should not be forgotten," said Vogel.

    Last year's Solothurn women's winner Süss will have her hands full against Spitz, European champion Leumann, former world champion Irina Kalentieva and local favorite Schneitter.

    "I'll use the home course advantage to my favor as I race in front of my fans," said Schneitter. Her fan club will be out in force cheering their favorite.

  • New Ride Sun Valley Festival includes US Mountain Bike Nationals

    A rider flies along singletrack in Sun Valley, Idaho
    Article published:
    May 5, 2011, 18:20
    By:
    Cycling News

    Championship races and fun events and rides pack the schedule

    The Ride Sun Valley Bike Festival, presented by Scott Sports, will be held in conjunction with the 2011 USA Cycling Mountain Bike Cross Country National Championships on July 14-17 in Sun Valley, Idaho. The week-long event will include the three national championship race disciplines of cross country, short track and super D as well as events like a fat tire criterium, a pump track championship and plenty of riding.

    "We couldn't be more pleased to be hosting an event of this caliber and starting a tradition of celebrating the amazing mountain biking which we are so stoked to have here," said Greg Randolph, General Manager of the Sun Valley Chamber of Commerce. "Once people get a taste of our community, trails, and surroundings, the biggest challenge will be leaving."

    On Thursday evening, July 14, a Fat Tire Criterium for cyclists of all ages and experience levels will be run in downtown Ketchum. Held on a fast, technical course, this race is designed to create inspiring rides and spectator excitement.

    The cross country, super D and short track races will be held on Bald Mountain, a ski area operated by Sun Valley Resort. Over 1,000 racers are expected to participate. Scott will be backing a two-day all mountain competition, combining the results of the super D and cross country races.

    There will also be a "Week of Epic Rides", which are daily guided and shuttled mountain bike rides in addition to the aptly named "Ride Sun Valley Local Stoker Rides" that will feature some of Sun Valley's most epic trails. Cyclists can experience the regional back country scenery while riding demanding Northwest trails.

    On Saturday, July 16, the Ketchum Bike Parks pump track will host the Second Annual Idaho Pump Track State Championship. Riding on the success of 2010's event, this year's competition is prepared to bring the next level of pump track racing to the national stage. This fun, family-oriented event, will round out the week's festival atmosphere.

    "Sun Valley has a very strong mountain biking community and we're very excited to be holding our USA Cycling Cross Country Mountain Bike National Championships there for the next two years," said USA Cycling National Events Director Kelli Lusk."

    "When we learned that Sun Valley had earned the bid for the 2011-2012 Cross Country National Championships, Scott was immediately interested and involved in the event," said Adrian Montgomery, Marketing/PR Director at Scott Sports. "We want the Ride Sun Valley and the nationals to be the most successful event possible. Scott has a long-term commitment to the event and to the community we live and work in. We invite the industry and the mountain bike enthusiasts nationwide to come and partake in what Sun Valley has to offer. It's a singletrack fantasy that you must experience."

    For more information on the races including race schedules, courses and community events, visit www.ridesunvalley.com.

    For more info on the USA Cycling national championship event, visit www.usacycling.org/events/2011/mtbnationals/.

  • Nash strikes balance between mountain bike and 'cross racing

    Katerina Nash (Luna Pro Team)
    Article published:
    May 6, 2011, 02:43
    By:
    Sue George, Mountain Bike Editor

    Video: Luna racer gets mountain bike season off to later start

    Katerina Nash is the only original member of the Luna Women's Pro Cycling team still racing. The elite Czech racer competes regularly in mountain bike races and cyclo-cross and is in her 10th year with the Luna squad. Cyclingnews recently spoke with her to talk about her 2011 mountain bike season just as she was kicking it off.

    "It's amazing - hard to believe," said Nash when asked about her longevity on the squad. "People ask me why I've been on the same team so long, but I say, why wouldn't I? The fact that I'm starting the 10th year, I think explains everything."

    When Nash started racing in Luna colors, she was teammates with former world champion Alison Dunlap, Marla Streb, Kelli Emmett and Gina Hall.

    The 33-year-old Nash has kept racing fresh and interesting by mixing competition in several disciplines: mountain bike, road and cyclo-cross. She's best known for the off-road disciplines, which she says compliment each other, but uses the road races mostly for training.

    "At the end of the day, it's still about pedalling your bike," said Nash. "Of course, mountain bikers have an easier time jumping in the 'cross races and road races because we bring the skills from the dirt, but it's the other way around, too. Plenty of roadies come do 'cross races and mountain bike races. I think you just have to ride your bike hard and the technique and the terrain will also play a role."

    "Cross and mountain biking go hand in hand. There are a lot of overlaps in technique," said Nash. "In 'cross you get to use tactics a bit more just because you stay with a pack a bit longer. That helps in short track or in cross country courses that have a lot of pavement."

    Nash spends summers in the northern hemisphere racing her mountain bike in World Cups, Worlds and other major events. In the late fall and winter, she switches to cyclo-cross. That often means a slightly later start to the mountain bike season in the spring, compared to some of her competition.

    "With cyclo-cross going so late, I essentially miss one-third of the mountain bike season. Sea Otter was my first mountain bike race back this season," said Nash, who finished second in the short track behind teammate Georgia Gould and third in the cross country. "There is plenty of racing to go. You have to pick your battles and Luna is such a strong team that I didn't have to go to the first few US Pro XCTs. My team gave me time to get ready for this mountain bike season."

    Nash said the Luna team is concentrating on World Cups again in 2011 as it aims to repeat the honor of being the number-one ranked team in the world according to the UCI.

    When she's not racing around the globe, Nash will do local races in northern California, near where she lives in Lake Tahoe. "I've done the Nevada City Classic, and I'll do some road racing - the local stuff - rather than travelling to all of the US Pro XCT races. I don't do the short track or cross country overalls any more. I go to races that make sense for the team. I'm trying to stay at home more and focus on the mountain bike World Cups."

    During the 'cross season, Nash spends time in her native Czech. "I had dabbled in 'cross for a few years, and then I got excited to go race 'cross in Czech the winter before last because Worlds were there."

    "I spend less time in hotels in the winter because I can visit family. It's fun to have a home cooked meal from mom and then go off and race," she said. "If I only raced in the US, I wouldn't see my family as much. It's a good balance."

    2010 was her first time at the UCI cyclo-cross world championships and she finished fourth in Czech. She returned to cyclo-cross Worlds again in January 2011, when they were held in Germany, and won a bronze medal.

    Given that she still wants to be successful on her mountain bike, she does not race a full 'cross season either. "You have to look at your schedule carefully. I don't do the full 'cross World Cup, but I pick enough races to get enough points and to be competitive when I go to Worlds. It worked out perfectly this year, I had the front row, and I walked away with my biggest race ever."

    Nash takes her off season after the 'cross Worlds each year in February and March. "It's not your typical cyclist's off season. I do backcountry skiing for a month and a half. I was out on my skis hiking for about five hours a day. I get a good mental break from cycling yet I get a lot of exercise."

    Nash loves to ride her mountain bike on singletrack and said she is looking forward to riding a "big bike" with lots of suspension around the trails near Lake Tahoe, when she's not off racing. "It's more suspension than I've ever had, and I'm excited to try that for training and local events."

    Big bike or not, an event she won't get to do is the Downieville Classic, one of her favorites. It conflicts with the World Cup round in Windham, New York, in mid-July.

    Looking ahead, Nash is the rare elite mountain biker who is not focusing on the Olympic Games. It's not that she wouldn't like to go, it's just that she's not emphasizing the Olympics as an objective.

    "Maybe it's related to what happened with the last Olympics? - not making the team (in 2008). I got hurt and the only two weekends I didn't do well were our qualifications. But it's sport and that happens."

    "I haven't made that commitment to the Olympics," she said. "Let's just say it's not my only goal. I enjoy just racing and trying to do well at all the events I go to rather than just picking one race far out in the distance."

    Nash emphasizes finding a balance in her racing, and it may just be that poise that pays off and gets her to the Olympic Games anyway.

    "I always say that if I happen to be at the Olympics, great, and if I don't go, that's ok with me. But then on the other hand, I'm the person who's been on the same team for 10 years and I'm probably not going anywhere, so chances are a year from now, I'll be more serious about it. I think I'm probably doing most of what I need to do to get to the Olympics, I'm just not thinking about it that way."