Jeremiah Bishop (Cannondale) came out the victor in the men's short track at the Triple Crown final after a last lap tangle with Sid Taberlay (Sho-Air/Specialized). The two riders - one a former US short track national champion and one a current Australian short track national champion - were off the front together, trying to dodge lapped riders in the run-up to a chaotic finish. They collided after each had to take sub-optimal lines to pass lapped riders causing congestion in the later part of the race. In the final bermed turns, Taberlay went down. Bishop stayed up and won.
Behind them, Andy Schultz (Kenda/Felt) spent much of the second half of the race chasing and eventually finishing in second. Travis Livermon was third.
"I wanted it pretty badly on home turf," said Bishop. "I was willing to take a risk and so was Sid."
Neither of the two riders blamed the other for the crash. Instead, both cited the failure to pull slower riders before they were lapped by the leaders, especially on a course with limited passing.
"There was a real big problem with lapped riders on the course," said Bishop. "It was absolute mayhem. They should definitely pull the riders when they are even close to being lapped. It was dangerous. We were getting backed up behind riders. Then we came into those last two berms evenly matched after he took a high line and I took a low line to get around a lapped rider."
"Sid put in a good attack on the final hill. He hit some traffic and was screaming at the riders to get out of the way. He was taking chop turns BMX-style," said Bishop. "I knew a high line on the grass, so I dropped down in on him. He came into me, but I wasn't backing down. It was full contact. Honestly, he had the hole shot coming into this section. He was riding aggressive and trying to restrict the line and I don't blame him, he had so much bad luck on that last lap."
"JB was doing what he had to do," said Taberlay. "The issue was that the officials didn't pull people and we got caught behind slow riders. I couldn't hold the speed around the berms and I had to take a high grass line to go around some of those guys on the last lap." Taberlay had also gotten a stick in his drivetrain, which he removed just before the final berms with great skill while racing at high speed.
"JB was doing some lines to get past, but at the end of the day, the officials stuffed up. I was yelling at them with five laps to go because we were catching people. Every time one of us would attack, we'd get stopped by someone who was in the track. There was no point in attacking any more. I was telling them to pull people but they obviously weren't listening."
During the race, some riders were being pulled, but most were allowed to ride one more lap after being overtaken by the leaders. It was the first time the venue had ever hosted a short track-type race.
Tablerlay said the lapped riders effectively neutralized the race between him and Bishop for the last five laps. "JB was trying to go out the outside, and I had nothing to gain and everything to lose because I was at the front. I didn't want to do anything silly to the guy in front of me to get around, but at the same time I had to hold my line so JB couldn't get around. But then he kind of clipped my buzz and my front wheel went."
"I wouldn't have been put in that situation if we'd had a clear track," said Taberlay. "I'd have had the speed in the final turn and JB wouldn't have been trying to get round where I went down. We were so close in speed, and it would have come down to the final straight sprint, and I think I would have had a good enough acceleration to hold him off."
Schultz was riding in third, gapped off the two leaders, but Taberlay's crash opened the door for him to move up to second.
"I got kind of stuck in no man's land. They attacked, and I was a rider back and could go with them, nor could I close the gap on them," said Schultz. "But it turned out to be a good thing since they took each other out on the last lap. If I was right on their wheel, I would probably have gone down, too."
"I was coming through that last berm and saw dust everywhere and then I saw yellow, so I knew Sid went down. I was coasting at that point. Seeing him go down got my adrenaline up and I sprinted toward the end."
Travis Livermon, Tad Elliot and Nick Waite rounded out the top five.
With Bishop and Taberlay each having a win in the short track and super D today, Sunday's cross country will serve as the tie breaker for the weekend.
Emmett shows how short track is done and won
Kelli Emmett (Giant) cruised to her first short track victory. "This is the best short track course I've ever ridden," she said after winning. She also complimented organizers on the super D and cross country courses.
Given that in the Triple Crown, riders count their best result of either the short track or the super D, Emmett was happy to be able to put a notch in the win column.
"I had to make up for the super D, in which I got third. I wanted to be aggressive and go for the win." She did just that and only two riders could put up a chase: Anina Aaron and Krista Park. Aaron finished second, and Park was third.
As a relative unknown, Aaron surprised many with her runner-up performance.
"I felt strong, and I got the initial hole shot," she said. "What motivated me the most about this course were the berms and the switchbacks over there. It's so much fun. I worked a lot on carrying my momentum and chasing Kelly."
"I'm beginning to think that short tracks will be my strong point," said the second-year pro. Aaron, born in South Africa, has lived in North Carolina for 10 years and been mountain biking for the past five years.
Carolyn Popvic was fourth and local Sue Haywood put in a strong ride to finish fith. She may have garnered the loudest cheers of the race from Harrisonburg area residents watching the race.
Haywood was obviously hurting during the race, with her face almost as flushed as her orange jersey. "The locals cheering me was the only reason I did the race and stayed in. I had nothing at the end, but I did have good crowd support."
"It's been almost two years since I did a short track and about as long since I did an interval." Nonetheless, the retired pro was once a short track national champion and hasn't forgotten how to suffer through them.
With nine riders in their field, the women did not experience the same congestion and passing problems in their short track.
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Jeremiah Bishop* (Cannondale Factory Racing)|
|3||Travis Livermon* (Champion System / Cannondale)|
|5||Nick Waite* (kenda pro cycling)|
|7||Aaron Snyder* (Scott RC Mountain BIke Team)|
|8||Jeff Dickey* (Scott RC Mountain BIke Team)|
|9||Jordan Kahlenberg* (Breakaway Bikes)|
|10||Sid Taberlay* (California Giant Berry Farms/S)|
|11||Dave Weaver* (ALAN N. America Cycling Team)|
|16||Drew Scharns* (Boone Bike and Touring)|
|-1lap||Gunnar Bergey (Fast Forward Racing)|
|-1lap||Kyle Spisak* (Team Lake Effect)|
|-1lap||Jed Prentice* (Bike Doctor)|
|-1lap||Rickey Visinski* (Justice Madison Cycles)|
|-1lap||Colby Wallace (Gripped Racing)|
|-1lap||John Arias (Scott RC Factory Mountainbike)|
|-2laps||Cory Rimmer* (CY/Hayes/Kenda/Thomson)|
|-3laps||Jay Dodge (scott rc mountain bike team)|
|-3laps||Daniel Atkins (Adventures for the Cure)|
|-3laps||Ian Spivack (StudioOrganics.com)|
|-4laps||Aaron Hoag (Specialized/Dumonde Tech)|
|-4laps||Matt Lough (Gripped Racing)|
|-4laps||Alex Harrill (Inland Construction)|
|-5laps||Thori Wolfe (Route 1 Velo)|
|-5laps||David Parsons-Forfsi (Specialized-Dumonde Tech)|
|DSQ||Ty Kady (Sho-Air/Specialized)|
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Kelli Emmett* (Giant)|
|3||Krista Park* (Incycle/Cannondale)|
|5||Sue Haywood* (SBC)|
|6||Johanna Kraus* (Velo Bella)|