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March 03, Elite women cross country:

Pendrel opens season with victory at Mellow Johnny's US Pro XCT

By:
Dave McElwaine
Published:
March 04, 2012, 4:02 GMT,
Updated:
March 05, 2012, 14:26 GMT

Freeman surprises with second place ahead of Mata in third

World Champion Catharine Pendrel (Luna) opened her season with a win at the first US Pro XCT race of the season, the Mellow Johnny's Classic in Dripping Springs, Texas. Judy Freeman (Crank Bros) pulled herself from as far back as fifth place to nail down second place. Pua Mata (Sho-Air-Specialized) rode a consistent race to take third place. USA Cyclo-cross Champion Katie Compton was fourth, while Georgia Gould (Luna) finished a disappointing fifth.

Unlike previous editions of the Mellow Johnny’s Classic where heat was the major story, today’s weather at the Flat Creek Ranch was perfect for racing. The temperature never rose above 70 degrees Fahrenheit, the humidity seemed low, and there was a bit of moisture in the dirt which kept dust to a minimum. The hilly ranch course featured a huge amount of rocky singletrack complete with many technical features that challenged the riders.

Gould took the hole-shot on a one-mile start loop and seemed to be on track for her third straight Mellow Johnny’s win. Within the first lap she forced an elite selection that included Pendrel, Emily Batty (Subaru Trek) and Mata. Gould, however, began to have a series of bobbles that cost her the lead. She had a problem with a stream crossing, then had to stop on a technical climb, and according to Gould had “several off-trail moments”.

“I was slowly getting dropped by Emily and Catharine,” Gould said after the race. “I’m definitely a bit rusty.”

On the second lap the world champion attacked and only young Batty could keep pace. Unfortunately Batty then suffered a puncture nearly as far from the tech zone as possible. Pendrel felt that twenty-six inch (wider) tires were less prone to flats on this course. She commented after the race that 26" inch is where it’s at."

For the final two laps of the race, Pendrel padded her lead while riders behind her battled for podium spots. Gould drifted back to fifth while Freeman was clawing her way up from fifth to second place. The petite rider seemed to have every lined dialed and gave the illusion of floating over the endless rock gardens. A member of the USA Olympic “Long Team”, this was her first race for the Crank Brothers team. When asked what was different for her this season, she responded, “I’m a lot more focused this year.”

Pendrel seemed pleased with her performance, “I felt really good, really fluid…everyone rode strong physically and technically. It’s going to be an exciting 2012.”

When asked about how she prepared for the Texas terrain, she said, “We’ve (the Canadian Team) spent a couple weeks training in the desert.”

Mata, better known for endurance events, showed last year that she could be competitive at the World Cup level. She seemed to be the most consistent rider on the track yesterday in terms of speed. When you drop Gould, you know you are having a good day.

USA cyclo-cross Champion Katie Compton was impressive as well. “It was a fun day and I was happy to make the first group but the fitness struggled with the long effort," said Compton.  Her cyclo-cross races are typically 40minutes long.  “I need to get some base."

This UCI Cat. 1 race began the battle for USA and Canadian Olympic Team spots. Pendrel, the World Champion, is the favorite for the Canadians. Behind her, Batty, Amanda Sin (3Rox Racing), and Marie-Helene Premont are expected to compete for positions.

For the Americans, Gould is favored to grab one of two likely Olympic spots. Willow Koerber (Subaru Trek), Lea Davison (Specialized), Judy Freeman, Heather Irmiger (Subaru Trek), Chloe Woodruff (Crank Bros), and Krista Park (NoTubes) will join Gould in the competition for the remaining place

The World Cup racers will head next to Pietermaritzburg, South Africa for the first round of the World Cup Season. Willow Koerber, traveling with her two-month old baby, has already arrived there in hopes of acclimating and continuing her training.

Full Results

Elite women
# Rider Name (Country) Team Result
1 Catherine Pendrel (Team Luna Chix) 1:12:56  
2 Judy Freeman (Crankbrothers Race Club) 0:00:44  
3 Monique Mata (Sho-Air/Specialized) 0:01:16  
4 Katie Compton (Giant RaboBank Team) 0:01:27  
5 Georgia Gould (Luna Pro Team) 0:01:42  
6 Lea Davison (Specialized Racing) 0:02:21  
7 Heather Irmiger (Subaru/Trek) 0:03:14  
8 Emily Batty (Subaru-Trek) 0:03:34  
9 Chloe Woodruff (Crankbrothers Race Club 11) 0:04:29  
10 Amanda Sin (Scott-3 Rox Racing) 0:06:59  
11 Daniela Chavz 0:07:56  
12 Mariske Strauss (Pepper Palace.Spin-Tech Training p/b ABR) 0:08:02  
13 Zephanie Blasi (WXC World Racing) 0:08:20  
14 Sarah Kaufmann (Stan's No Tube Elite Women's Team) 0:08:28  
15 Erica Tingey (Kuhl/Rocky Mountain) 0:08:32  
16 Sage Wilderman (Kenda/Felt) 0:09:29  
17 Erin Huck (Tokyo Joes) 0:11:37  
18 Lisa Uranga (PACC) 0:11:57  
19 Christina Gokey-Smith (Colonels/Sho-Air) 0:13:22  
20 Meghan Korol (Pepper Palace.Spin-Tech Training p/b ABR) 0:14:44  
21 Haley Smith (Team Canada) 0:16:22  
22 Melanie Long (Tough Girl/ Scott) 0:18:16  
DNF AnnaJean Dallaire (Racin' for Riley p/b Alderfer Bergen)    
DNF Kaila Hart (Stan's No Tubes Elite Women's Team)    
DNF Kelli Emmett (Giant Factory Team)    
Junior women 10 & under
# Rider Name (Country) Team Result
1 Vallen Tupper 0:12:43  
2 Emmaline Baxter-Harwell (Southern Elite/Sun & Ski Sports/PARD) 0:00:01  
3 Emma Jones (Team Bicycle Sport Shop) 0:01:16  
4 Antoinette McCall (Orange Seal) 0:02:28  
5 Mackenzie Anderson (Bicycles Outback p/b Jubilee Mitsubishi) 0:02:42  
6 Gabriela Watts (Hill Country Bicycle Works) 0:02:52  
7 Natalie Barrera (787 Racing) 0:03:14  
8 Ella Waldrip (Hill Country Bike Works) 0:03:53  
9 Charlize Anne Hallett 0:06:12  
DNS Briana Roberson (enviroINKS.com / Bike Route)    
DNF Ava Foster (Lucky Spoke Pro Bike Service)    
Junior women 11-12
# Rider Name (Country) Team Result
1 Alexis Bobbitt (Retro Racing USA) 0:25:30  
2 Meg Howitt (McKinney Velo) 0:00:32  
3 Sarah Howitt (McKinney Velo) 0:01:03  
4 Emily Mathis (Bicycles Outback p/b Jubilee Mitsubishi) 0:10:37  
5 Katherine (Katie) Roberson (enviroINKS.com / Bike Route)    
Junior women 13-14
# Rider Name (Country) Team Result
1 Claire Boatman (Southern Elite/Sun & Ski Sports/APARD) 1:03:16  
2 Marley Kotick 0:01:03  
3 Kiara McDonald (Southern Elite/Sun & ski Sports/APARD) 0:13:53  
Junior women 15-18
# Rider Name (Country) Team Result
1 Mercedes Drummond (Bell & Company MTB Team) 0:44:54  
Senior women 19-29
# Rider Name (Country) Team Result
1 Heather Graham (Bikemojo.com) 0:44:02  
2 Larissa Tater (Team Chain Drop) 0:07:11  
3 Laura Gonzalez 0:12:55  
Master women 30-39
# Rider Name (Country) Team Result
1 Andrea Fox 0:44:43  
2 Rebekah Trevelise (Team Spin City) 0:02:19  
3 Darlene Streeter (BikesOnline.com Racing) 0:05:57  
4 Wendy Bobbitt (Retro Racing USA) 0:07:33  
5 Emmylou Layne (Bikeland Dev Factory Team) 0:13:06  
6 Angela Mathis (Bicycles Outback p/b Jubilee Mitsubishi) 0:25:56  
7 Sonia Rios (Level X) 0:28:27  
Master women 40+
# Rider Name (Country) Team Result
1 Melissa Grubbs (Team Bicycle Sport Shop) 0:45:13  
2 Laura Neighbors (Team Bicycle Sport Shop) 0:02:50  
3 Lori Watkins (Austin Flyers Women's Cycling) 0:23:12