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US Pro XCT #3: Sea Otter Classic 2011

Date range:
April 15-17, 2011

April 15, Elite men short track:

Plaxton attacks his way to to short track win

Sue George, Mountain Bike Editor
April 15, 2011, 21:31 BST,
April 17, 2011, 8:37 BST

Taberlay and Wells battle for second and third spots

Max Plaxton (Specialized) rides in alone to take the short track win at Sea Otter.

Max Plaxton (Specialized) rides in alone to take the short track win at Sea Otter.

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Max Plaxton (Specialized) proved himself the strongest man in the elite men's short track race at the Sea Otter Classic on Friday afternoon. Plaxton was part of a three-man lead group, including his teammate Todd Wells and his former teammate Sid Taberlay (Kenda/H20 Overdrive). With a few laps to go, the Canadian launched an attack and escaped on his own. He held on for the victory while Taberlay fought a charge from Wells for second place.

Adam Craig (Rabobank-Giant) steadily worked his way up, picking off other racers one by one on a course that was difficult for passing. Craig made steady forward progress to finish in fourth place ahead of Subaru-Trek racers Jeremy Horgan-Kobelski and Sam Schultz.

Brian Lopes made an early race appearance among the front few, before eventually dropping back. "Lopes insided everybody and caused quite a scrum," said Craig. "He had a sweet line - I started using his line mid-race to pass people."

In the first three laps, Plaxton, Taberlay, and Wells rode themselves off the front. They were initially chased by Barry Wicks (Kona), Jeremy Horgan-Kobelski (Subaru-Trek) and Jeremiah Bishop (Cannondale).

"I knew the start was key and wanted to be in the top three through the first three laps," said Plaxton. "Somehow we just got a gap - the three of us."

"It was a hard course, with tactics. There wasn't a lot of drafting," said Plaxton. "I didn't think Sid was riding as strong as Todd and me, so I figured one of us would take the win."

Plaxton was right. "I didn't have the power," said Taberlay.

"It was a tough race like always. It was a cool short track though because it's really hard and the fastest guy wins," said Wells. " There's not much drafting here, and it's a selective course. Where there's an uphill, it's off camber, bumpy and loose, so there's not a lot of time to sit on and recover. It's a full out race the whole time."

Wells and Plaxton took turn applying the pressure on Taberlay. "I felt good. It was nice having Plaxton with me and Sid. I attacked a few times and didn't go anywhere," said Wells. "When Plaxton attacked, he went at the top of the course where it was pretty bumpy and he was soaking up the bumps."

Plaxton raced a dual suspension Specialized while Wells was on the team's hardtail. "I came out here yesterday and did a lap each on my hardtail and full suspension. I timed them and the full suspension was faster," said Plaxton. "Little things like that make a difference."

Behind Plaxton, Wells and Taberlay raced - at times struggling to pass lapped riders on a short course with few good passing options.

"Sid chased Max, and I tried to jump across, but I couldn't go, so I figured I'd sit on Sid and try to get him at the end, but it didn't work out," said Wells. "He got me."

Taberlay won the tactical battle for second. "I led Todd for the last three or four laps, and he attacked me once in there, but I managed to stay with him. It was two against one, so I had to chase."

"I knew I didn't have as much power, so on the last lap, I made sure that at key sections, where Todd could have passed, I lifted the pace, so he couldn't get past," said Taberlay. "Once I had him going into the final descent, I knew I had him - it was too fast to pass there."

Wicks and Bishop faded backward through the field while Sam Schultz (Subaru-Trek) and JHK ended up trying to bridge to the leaders, but they didn't pull it off. The two rode the later part of the race together.

Craig seemed to get a slow start and then steadily started catching the riders in front of him. "I was second row at the start and I probably should have elbowed may way up to the first row, but what are you going to do?" said Craig.

"I had to settle in and ride my race. I had to wait for things to spread out, and then I started picking off people," said Craig. You had to ride twice as hard to pass anyone. It's so bumpy outside of the race line."

"Once I caught and passed Jeremy and Sam, I knew I'd still try to get Plaxton and those guys, but I didn't think I'd catch them," said Craig. "I don't need to burn that many extra matches. I figured I'd stay in foruth and save something for tomorrow."

The elite men will contest the Sea Otter cross country on Saturday afternoon.

For all of our Sea Otter coverage, please click here.


# Rider Name (Country) Team Result
1 Max Plaxton (Can) Specialized Factory Racing    
2 Sid Taberlay (Aus) Kenda / H2O Overdrive    
3 Todd Wells (USA) Specialized Factory Racing    
4 Adam Craig (USA) Giant Factory Off-Road Team    
5 Jeremy Horgan-Kobel (USA) Subaru-Trek    
6 Sam Schultz (USA) Subaru-Trek    
7 Stephen Ettinger (USA) BMC Mountainbike Development Team    
8 Jeremiah Bishop (USA) Cannondale Factory Racing    
9 Kerry Werner (USA) BMC Mountainbike Development Team    
10 Spencer Paxson (USA) Kona Factory    
11 Adam Morka (Can) Trek Canada    
12 Barry Wicks (USA)    
-1lap Ryan Woodall (USA) Brick City Bicycles / Mtfmx.Com    
-1lap Thomas Turner (USA) Jamis Factory Team    
-1lap Lachlan Norris (Aus)    
-1lap Alex Grant (USA) Cannondale    
-1lap Rotem Ishay (Isr) Team Jamis    
-1lap Justin Lindine (USA) Bikereg.Com / Joe's Garage / Scott    
-1lap Troy Wells (USA) Team Clif Bar    
-1lap Benjamin Sonntag (Ger) Team Jamis    
Pulled Jack Hinkens (USA) BMC Mountainbike Development Team    
Pulled Peter Glassford (USA) Trek Canada    
Pulled Robert Marion (USA) American Classic/Kenda/Tomac    
Pulled Joshua Carlson (Aus) Rockstar Racing/ Giant Bicycles    
Pulled Brian Lopes (USA)    
Pulled Mitch Hoke (USA) Tokyo Joes    
Pulled Russell Finsterwald (USA) Subaru-Trek    
Pulled Brady Kappius (USA) Team Clif Bar    
Pulled Jason Sager (USA) Team Jamis    
Pulled Kalan Beisel (USA) Yeti-Sram    
Pulled Kevin Smallman (USA) Incycle/Cannondale    
Pulled Adam Snyder (USA) Team Jamis    
Pulled Bradford Perley (USA) Champion System/Cannondale    
Pulled Jason Moeschler (USA) WTB/Cannondale/Shimano    
Pulled Bryson Perry (USA)    
Pulled Jon Stierwalt (USA)    
Pulled Kevin Bradford-Paris (USA) Emdesports/ Specialized    
Pulled Nathan Guerra (USA) Wheel & Sprocket/Vision    
Pulled Colin Cares (USA) Kenda/Felt    
Pulled Keisuke Goda (USA) Team Specialized    
Pulled Michael Hosey (USA)    
Pulled Cody Kaiser (USA) Cal Giant/Specialized MTB    
Pulled Garrett Gibson (USA)    
Pulled Christopher Michael (USA) American Classic/Kenda/Tomac    
Pulled Seamus Powell (USA) Giant-Mid Atlantic Pro MTB Team    
Pulled Tristan Uhl (USA)    
Pulled Hansueli Stauffer (Swi) IXS-Swiss Wheeler Team    
Pulled Scott Tietzel (USA) Specialzied Bicycles    
Pulled Jim Thijs (USA) Team Barracuda    
Pulled Christopher Hurst (USA) Stan's Notubes/Axa/Crca    
Pulled Jim Hewett (USA) Summit Bicycles    
Pulled Nicholas Weighall (USA) Cal Giant/Specialized MTB    
Pulled Blake Harlan (USA) Team Jamis    
Pulled Jason Young (USA) Feedback Sports Racing    
Pulled Will Curtis (USA)    
Pulled Nate Byrom (USA) Northstar-At-Tahoe/Giant    
Pulled Aaron Elwell (USA) Highgear/Trek    
Pulled Peter Odonnell (USA) GT Bicycles    
Pulled Kris Sneddon (USA) Kona    
Pulled Skyler Trujillo (USA) Niner/Stans/Ergon    
Pulled Mitchell Bailey (Can) Trek Canada Mountain Bike Team    
Pulled Matthew Paziuk (Can) Trek Store Toronto    
Pulled Ken Onodera (Jpn) Team Specialized    
Pulled Nick Truitt (USA)    
Pulled Riley Predum (USA) Whole Athlete Specialized    
Pulled Andy Schultz (USA) Kenda-Felt    
Pulled Mitchell Peterson (USA)    
Pulled Brent Steinberg (USA) Livetrainrace.Com    
Pulled Carl Decker (USA) Giant Factory Off-Road Team    
Pulled Dean Poshard (USA) Rock Lobster    

Note: Organizer results are missing two places, so results are not technically "full".