Catharine Pendrel (Luna Women's MTB), the number-one ranked rider in the world beat the powerful Katie Compton (Spike Shooter) in an exciting sprint finish at Cheyenne Mountain Park on Saturday. Katerina Nash (Luna Women's MTB) rode much of the race alone to finish third. Her teammate Georgia Gould, who has been dealing with an illness, finished fourth followed by Lea Davison (Team Maxxis - Rocky Mountain) in fifth.
The racers did three 5.2-mile laps with 1,070 feet of climbing per lap at an altitude over 6,000 feet. The climb was a combination of doubletrack, and singletrack switchbacks. The descent was twisty, rocky, and extremely fast, and the run into the finish was on pavement.
Yesterday's short track winner Heather Irmiger (Gary Fisher/Subaru) won the start, but by the end of the initial pavement section, Pendrel led the riders onto the dirt. She attacked the climbs, particularly on the switchbacks, to put about a 100-foot lead on Irmiger, who was chasing hard.
Behind them were Compton, Nash, Gould, and Davison. It was obvious to anyone who has watched Gould race that she was not feeling like herself. Irmiger would later double flat, ending her chance at double podiums this weekend. Pua Sawicki (Ellsworth) and Judy Freeman (Tough Girls) also looked strong.
"I tried to get ahead on the singletrack climb which was the only place I felt that I had an advantage today," said Pendrel. "Then I would try to maintain that lead as long as I could. Katie was a little better at muscling through the rocks. On the last lap, I had a little fall on my face but was able to catch up."
"Catharine set a good pace and wanted to lead on the climbs. Heather and I were able to close it on the downhills," said Compton. "I'm working on my climbing and think that will come along when I start doing some speed work for 'cross season."
Davison made it onto the podium with fifth place. She had spent most of the spring racing on the road in Europe. "It's good to be back on the dirt and to be part of the US scene."
The next major race for the American riders is the US National Championships in Granby, Colorado on the weekend of July 18.