Lea Davison (Specialized) won her first elite national title in the short track race in Sun Valley, Idaho on Sunday afternoon. Davison battled Georgia Gould (Luna) on the last few laps, and while Gould led with one to go, Davison found one of the few places to pass and went around the Luna rider, holding her off until the finish. Mary McConneloug (Kenda Seven NoTubes) raced to third place.
"I'm so excited to win my first national title," said Davison. "I love short track, and I'm thrilled. It's been a good couple of weeks with a lot of firsts."
From the start, four women formed the lead group: Davison, Gould, McConneloug and Chloe Woodruff (Crank Brothers Race Club 11). Davison and Gould were the strongest, with Gould setting the pace for a majority of the time.
"We were all seesawing back and forth, but Georgia and I were pretty consistent and mostly at the front," said Davison. "Georgia led more, I maybe led for a lap and a half. We were working together for sure."
Eventually, McConneloug and Woodruff started to struggle, constantly trying to close small gaps that opened up. Woodruff fell off the pace first, then McConneloug could no longer hang.
That left Gould and Davison racing the final laps together. Heading into the last lap, Gould led Davison.
"That was an intense last lap," said Davison. "It was a real battle. I tried to get around Georgia going into the last lap. The last three laps I had kept trying to figure out where you could pass. This course is so high speed, there aren't many places to pass."
Gould said, "I let Lea pull a little, but I could see Mary was going to catch us and maybe Chloe and Kelli so I went to the front. I got a little impatient and figured that even if I did a lot of work, it'd be worth it to only deal with one person instead of four people. Chloe and Mary are both savvy racers and have won short track races before."
Davison saw her chance on the final lap's climb. "Georgia left a line open on the last climb, and that's where I got by. Then I had a little gap. She closed on me and I saw her right on my wheel, so I kept pushing it and honestly, she couldn't get around."
"Lea made a smart move and went at the right place," said Gould. "There wasn't a finishing straight, and I tried to pass. When we came out to go over the bridge again, I thought maybe I could go inside." However, it didn't work out for Gould, and Davison held her off in the final sprint for the win.
Third placed McConneloug said she felt great and was delighted with her finish.
"It was so fun. I was so happy to get called up fifth. When the gun went off, I was right there," said McConneloug. "I was chilling in the draft - waiting and watching and testing to see what the speeds would be like on the corners. On the fifth or sixth lap, Georgia was starting to make some attacks and Lea was covering. Chloe and I were dangling a bit, and I knew I had to get around her. I came around Chloe and was in range of Georgia and Lea for a few, but I couldn't quite get up to them."
Woodruff was happy to make the podium. "This was our second short track of the year - we don't get as many any more. It was a flat and fast course and I think it suited me, but there wasn't much room for recovery. You were on the gas the whole time."
"I started to get gapped off Georgia and Lea about halfway through. I lost them, and Mary came around me. It would have been hard to do it off the back of that group - you have to put yourself in a fast position and hang on."
Kelli Emmett (Giant) tried that - riding alone in fifth for much of the race, but the morning's super D winner was eventually passed and missed out on the podium. Meredith Miller (California Giant Berry Farms) finished in fifth place.
"I'm not sure which was worse, yesterday or today," Miller joked at the finish before adding more seriously, "I could hear people yelling that Kelli was dying so I kept going. The second half of the race is usually my forte - that's what I tend to do with cross races. I knew I had to keep the pressure on."
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Lea Davison (Specialized Factory Racing)||0:29:23|
|2||Georgia Gould (Luna Pro Team)||0:00:01|
|3||Mary McConneloug (Kenda-Seven-NoTubes)||0:00:35|
|4||Chloe Woodruff (Crankbrothers Race Club 11)||0:00:49|
|5||Meredith Miller (California Giant Berry Farms/Sp)||0:00:55|
|6||Teal Stetson-Lee (Luna Pro Team)||0:01:06|
|7||Kelli Emmett (Giant Mountain Bike Team)||0:01:09|
|8||Heather Irmiger (Subaru/Trek)||0:01:15|
|9||Erin Huck (Tokyo Joes)||0:01:19|
|10||Pua Mata (Sho-Air)||0:01:35|
|11||Rebecca Gross (Tough Girl Cycling)||0:01:43|
|13||Katherine Sherwin (Stan's NoTubes Elite Women's Team)|
|15||Lauren Catlin (Durango Devo)||0:02:22|
|16||Rose Grant (Sportsman & Ski Haus)||0:02:24|
|18||Amy Dombroski (Crankbrothers Race Club)||0:02:53|
|20||Kaila Hart (No Tubes Elite Women's Racing)||0:02:57|
|21||Sage Wilderman (Durango Devo)||0:03:01|
|-2laps||Sarah Sturm (Durango Devo)|
|-2laps||Deidre York (The Gear Movement/Epic Pro Cycling)|
|-3laps||Rebecca Blatt (Ronin Racing)|
|-3laps||Jena Greaser (NorEast Cycling)|
|-3laps||Aliciarose Pastore (BMC Mountain Bike Development Team)|
|-6laps||Katie Sodergren (Tokyo Joe's -Whole Foods)|