With over 765 elite and amateur starts, the opening round of the H2O Overdrive Triple Crown All Mountain Series in Bonelli Park proved to be a success.
Saturday started off with fireworks in the men's cross country race, as a select group of seven riders went off the front. That group contained all the heavy hitters, Sho-Air/Specialized's Max Plaxton and Sid Taberlay, Maxxis/Rocky Mountain's Geoff Kabush, Gary Fisher/Subaru's Sam Schultz and Jeremy Horgan-Kobelski, Cannondale Factory Racing rider Jeremiah Bishop and Specialized's Factory rider Todd Wells.
These seven riders would set the tone of the cross country race.
Subaru/Fisher's JHK was the first to get popped late into lap one, but the scrappy veteran would fight all day getting back on to the freight train, only to get dropped when the front six traded turns making multiple accelerations.
Newly signed Cannondale Factory rider Jeremiah Bishop stretched his legs, taking pulls at the front, but the former National Champion would soon surrender to the blistering pace set by Plaxton, Taberlay, Wells, Kabush and Schultz.
Then on lap three, Sho-Air/Specialized's Max Plaxton went on a suicide mission and rode off the front with three laps to go, leaving North America's top cross country riders in his dust.
While the "Mountie" went off the front, the cat and mouse games began in the chase group between Wells, Kabush, Taberlay and Schultz.
These games continued and allowed Bishop and JHK to join the group, as well as Trek's Adam Morka. But that was short lived, as Wells made an acceleration on the backside of the course, with only Kabush, Taberlay and Schultz able to respond.
Then with one to go, both Taberlay and Kabush suffered from flat tires, as they came into the tech zone side by side NASCAR style. That allowed Wells and Schultz to get away.
In a display of sheer determination, Sho-Air/Specialized's Taberlay clawed his way back to the trio, taking Kabush along with him. Out front, Plaxton was on cruise control, having no idea of the drama unfolding behind him.
On the final climb, Taberlay punched it into the forest section, dropping the trio of Kabush, Wells and Schultz. Taberlay rode in for second alone.
Kabush and Schultz sprinted for third with Schultz getting the nod, while Wells captured fifth.
Elite women's race
In the elite women's race, going on behind the men's race, a battle was raging. Kelli Emmett of Giant was locked in a personal contest with 2009 cross country World Championship silver medalist, Specialized's Lene Byberg.
The two women were never separated by more than a wheel during the five-lap race, with the American Emmett just getting away at the end to take a slim three-second victory over the Norwegian Byberg.
Third place went to Team Mata/Okole Stuff.com rider Pua Sawicki, followed by Rock N Road Cyclery's Allison Mann and Gary Fisher/Subaru rider Heather Irmiger rounding out the top five.
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Max Plaxton (Can) ShoAir/Specialized||1:35:35|
|2||Sid Taberlay (Aus) ShoAir/Specilaized||0:00:52|
|3||Sam Schultz (USA) Subaru-Gary Fisher||0:00:53|
|4||Geoff Kabush (Can) Team Maxxis-Rocky Mountain||0:00:56|
|5||Todd Wells (USA) Specialized||0:01:08|
|6||Adam Morka (Can) Trek Canada||0:01:24|
|7||Jeremiah Bishop (USA) Cannondale Factory Team||0:01:31|
|8||Jeremy Horgan-Kobelski (USA) Subaru-Gary Fisher||0:02:48|
|9||Barry Wicks (USA) Kona||0:03:30|
|10||Peter Glassford (Can)||0:03:31|
|11||David Tinker Juarez (USA) Cannondale Factory Team||0:03:51|
|12||Ryan Trebon (USA) Kona/FSA||0:04:16|
|13||Manuel Prado (CRc) Shoair/Specilaized||0:05:08|
|14||TJ Woodruff (USA) Trek Bicycles Boulder||0:05:13|
|15||Kris Sneddon (Can) Kona||0:05:18|
|16||Russell Finsterwald (USA) Subaru/Gary Fisher||0:06:01|
|17||Andy Schultz (USA) Kenda/Felt||0:06:24|
|18||Jason Sager (USA) Team Jamis||0:07:08|
|19||Mitchell Hoke (USA) Tokyo Joes||0:07:38|
|20||Stephen Ettinger (USA) Mafia/Felt/PBR||0:08:19|
|21||Colin Cares (USA) Kenda/Felt||0:08:46|
|22||Vincent Lombardi (USA) Sho-Air/Sonnance||0:09:07|
|23||Miguel Valadez (Mex)||0:09:17|
|24||Dana Weber (USA) Trek/World Bicycle Relief||0:09:34|
|25||Tad Elliott (USA) Sho-Air/Specialized||0:10:31|
|26||Adam Snyder (USA) 3D Bicycles||0:10:57|
|27||Aaron Bradford (USA) Specialized/Onsite||0:11:07|
|28||Evan Plews (USA) Www.Evanplews.Com||0:11:12|
|29||Romolo Forcino (USA) Bear Valley Bikes||0:11:21|
|30||Nate Whitman (USA) Cynergy/Specialized||0:13:44|
|31||Sean Donovan (USA) KHS 650B Crew||0:13:41|
|32||Doug Andrews (USA) Sho-Air/Sonnance||0:14:33|
|33||Jeff Herrera (USA) Hammerheadbikes.com||0:14:51|
|34||Jason Siegle (USA) Bike Religion||0:15:32|
|35||Brent Prenzlow (USA) Celo Pacific/B&L||0:15:52|
|36||Matthew Beaton (USA) Tokyo Joes||0:15:56|
|37||Alex Boone (USA) Trek Mtn Co-Op||0:16:15|
|38||Matthew Cochran (USA) Wins Wheels JWCF||0:17:05|
|39||Paul Freiwald (USA) Pivot Cycles||0:17:44|
|40||Eric Bierman (USA) Steven K Sports||0:18:38|
|41||Tom Obrien (USA)||0:18:42|
|42||Charles Jenkins (USA) KHS 650 Crew||0:19:26|
|43||Randall Jacobs (USA) Wheelworks Racing||0:19:55|
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Kelli Emmett (USA) Giant MTB Team||1:33:21|
|2||Lene Byberg (Nor)||0:00:02|
|3||Pua Sawicki (USA) Okole Stuff.com||0:00:52|
|4||Allison Mann (USA) Rock N Road Cyclery||0:03:32|
|5||Heather Irmiger (USA) Subaru-Gary Fisher||0:04:32|
|6||Amber Neben (USA)||0:06:16|
|7||Chloe Forsman (USA) Tokyo Joes||0:07:08|
|8||Krista Park (USA) Incycle/Cannondale||0:08:42|
|9||Anna Fortner (USA) Socal Cross-Cicle||0:17:58|
|10||Kay Sherwood (USA) Tokyo Joes||0:23:22|
|DNF||Rebecca Tomaszewski (USA) Niner/Ergon|