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

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) TeamResult
1Catherine Pendrel (Team Luna Chix)1:12:56 
2Judy Freeman (Crankbrothers Race Club)0:00:44 
3Monique Mata (Sho-Air/Specialized)0:01:16 
4Katie Compton (Giant RaboBank Team)0:01:27 
5Georgia Gould (Luna Pro Team)0:01:42 
6Lea Davison (Specialized Racing)0:02:21 
7Heather Irmiger (Subaru/Trek)0:03:14 
8Emily Batty (Subaru-Trek)0:03:34 
9Chloe Woodruff (Crankbrothers Race Club 11)0:04:29 
10Amanda Sin (Scott-3 Rox Racing)0:06:59 
11Daniela Chavz0:07:56 
12Mariske Strauss (Pepper Palace.Spin-Tech Training p/b ABR)0:08:02 
13Zephanie Blasi (WXC World Racing)0:08:20 
14Sarah Kaufmann (Stan's No Tube Elite Women's Team)0:08:28 
15Erica Tingey (Kuhl/Rocky Mountain)0:08:32 
16Sage Wilderman (Kenda/Felt)0:09:29 
17Erin Huck (Tokyo Joes)0:11:37 
18Lisa Uranga (PACC)0:11:57 
19Christina Gokey-Smith (Colonels/Sho-Air)0:13:22 
20Meghan Korol (Pepper Palace.Spin-Tech Training p/b ABR)0:14:44 
21Haley Smith (Team Canada)0:16:22 
22Melanie Long (Tough Girl/ Scott)0:18:16 
DNFAnnaJean Dallaire (Racin' for Riley p/b Alderfer Bergen)  
DNFKaila Hart (Stan's No Tubes Elite Women's Team)  
DNFKelli Emmett (Giant Factory Team)  
Junior women 10 & under
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Vallen Tupper0:12:43 
2Emmaline Baxter-Harwell (Southern Elite/Sun & Ski Sports/PARD)0:00:01 
3Emma Jones (Team Bicycle Sport Shop)0:01:16 
4Antoinette McCall (Orange Seal)0:02:28 
5Mackenzie Anderson (Bicycles Outback p/b Jubilee Mitsubishi)0:02:42 
6Gabriela Watts (Hill Country Bicycle Works)0:02:52 
7Natalie Barrera (787 Racing)0:03:14 
8Ella Waldrip (Hill Country Bike Works)0:03:53 
9Charlize Anne Hallett0:06:12 
DNSBriana Roberson ( / Bike Route)  
DNFAva Foster (Lucky Spoke Pro Bike Service)  
Junior women 11-12
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Alexis Bobbitt (Retro Racing USA)0:25:30 
2Meg Howitt (McKinney Velo)0:00:32 
3Sarah Howitt (McKinney Velo)0:01:03 
4Emily Mathis (Bicycles Outback p/b Jubilee Mitsubishi)0:10:37 
5Katherine (Katie) Roberson ( / Bike Route)  
Junior women 13-14
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Claire Boatman (Southern Elite/Sun & Ski Sports/APARD)1:03:16 
2Marley Kotick0:01:03 
3Kiara McDonald (Southern Elite/Sun & ski Sports/APARD)0:13:53 
Junior women 15-18
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Mercedes Drummond (Bell & Company MTB Team)0:44:54 
Senior women 19-29
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Heather Graham ( 
2Larissa Tater (Team Chain Drop)0:07:11 
3Laura Gonzalez0:12:55 
Master women 30-39
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Andrea Fox0:44:43 
2Rebekah Trevelise (Team Spin City)0:02:19 
3Darlene Streeter ( Racing)0:05:57 
4Wendy Bobbitt (Retro Racing USA)0:07:33 
5Emmylou Layne (Bikeland Dev Factory Team)0:13:06 
6Angela Mathis (Bicycles Outback p/b Jubilee Mitsubishi)0:25:56 
7Sonia Rios (Level X)0:28:27 
Master women 40+
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Melissa Grubbs (Team Bicycle Sport Shop)0:45:13 
2Laura Neighbors (Team Bicycle Sport Shop)0:02:50 
3Lori Watkins (Austin Flyers Women's Cycling)0:23:12 


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