Catherine Pendrel, ranked second in the UCI's world rankings, today won her third U.S. Cup Pro XCT race in a row. Willow Koerber, riding a 29-inch bike for the first time, was second followed closely by her team-mate and U.S. Champion Heather Irmiger. Georgia Gould (Luna Women’s MTB) struggled a bit today, but took fourth. Mary McConneloug, winner here the past two years, was fifth.
The drier conditions at Mount Snow this year tipped the advantage slightly away from McConneloug, who excels in sloppy conditions. The contest today was largely decided by Pendrel’s superior climbing. The top three women all rode dual suspension bikes which they claimed made them faster on the technical descents.
Pendrel essentially rode in time trial mode the whole race. While Koeber came within 30 seconds at times, she was actually never a threat to take the lead. A more interesting battle was waged between the two Gary Fisher riders, Koerber and Irmiger. While Koerber is an amazing descender, Irmiger is the superior climber. In the end their talents nearly canceled each other out.
Pendrel remarked after the race "I felt good and had fun in the woods….and I had fun on the climbs. I got my bike under 23 pounds which is pretty awesome for a dually." She added "It was a bit of a mental edge for me. It was definitely fun to push for speed on the descents."
The Gary Fisher riders were equally gushing about their choice of 29-inch 'Superfly' bikes for today’s race. "It felt great. It just makes everything so easy. Those dips and mud bogs…you just kind of fly over those" remarked Koerber. "Heather was awesome. I was cramping up on the third lap and she said to me 'No, you’re not'."
Like her husband, Jeremy Horgan-Kobelski, Irmiger had received a new bike - to celebrated her US title - from her team before the race. "The bike was amazing. The paint job subtracted about a minute per lap. I rode the race like it was a national championship," she said.
How it unfolded
After a serious climb together, Katerina Nash (Luna Women’s MTB) led Irmiger, Pendrel, Gould, Koerber, and McConneloug down the first descent.
On the second lap Nash was missing from the group due to a flat tire. She later appeared pushing her bike to the tech zone.
Pendrel was in the lead with Koerber, Gould, Irmiger, Lea Davison (Team Maxxis-Rocky Mountain), and McConneloug not far off the pace. By the third lap, the entire field had strung out with 30 seconds between each rider. The order was Pendrel, Koerber, Gould, Irmiger, McConneloug, and Davison.
On the final lap Pendrel had increased her lead to 1:36 over Koerber and began to ride somewhat defensively to keep from flatting. Irmiger was only seconds behind Koerber. McConneloug and Davison had fallen further off the pace. Katerina Nash, recovered from her flat tire, had moved up impressively to 7th place.
Some of the Elite riders will race Super D on Sunday morning. All of them are expected to line up for Short Track racing in the afternoon. Stay tuned to Cyclingnews.com for full coverage all weekend.
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Catharine Pendrel (Can)||1:35:46|
|2||Willow Koerber (USA)||0:00:31|
|3||Heather Irmiger (USA)||0:00:56|
|4||Georgia Gould (USA)||0:02:10|
|5||Mary McConneloug (USA)||0:03:36|
|6||Lea Davison (USA)||0:03:38|
|7||Katerina Nash (USA)||0:07:39|
|8||Amanda Sin (Can)||0:11:59|
|9||Chloe Forsman (USA)||0:12:15|
|10||Zephanie Blasi (USA)||0:13:09|
|11||Sandra Walter (Can)||0:15:09|
|12||Karen Potter (USA)||0:18:34|
|13||Heather Holmes (USA)||0:19:43|
|14||Allison Mann (USA)||0:19:54|
|15||Kimberly Flynn (USA)||0:20:23|
|16||Alexandra Serrano (Ecu)||0:21:19|
|17||Lydea Tanner (USA)||0:21:19|
|18||Kathy Sherwin (USA)||0:21:54|
|19||Lindsey Bishop (USA)||0:22:53|
|20||Maureen Bruno Roy (USA)||0:23:21|
|-1lap||Bryne Nestor (USA)|
|-1lap||Jaime Dinkins (USA)|
|-1lap||Jane Pearson (USA)|
|-1lap||Molly Throdahl (USA)|
|-2laps||Danae York (USA)|
|-2laps||Philicia Marion (USA)|
|-2laps||Anina Aaron (USA)|
|DNF||Katherine O'Shea (Aus)|
|DNF||Pua Sawicki (USA)|