In what was a hard-fought, tactical battle, Katerina Nash (Luna Women's MTB) once again had too much horsepower for the rest of the field and recorded another win in the women's short track event. Heather Irmiger (Gary Fisher/Subaru) tried to close down a sizeable gap on the last lap but came up short to take second place while teammate Willow Koerber, also active throughout the race, took third. Georgia Gould (Luna Women's MTB) was fourth for the second consecutive day and Mary McConneloug (Kenda-Seven-No Tubes) again finished fifth.
The Mount Snow course designers threw the racers a curveball today, changing what had been a fairly set short track course at Mount Snow. The change involved having the riders climb over twice as high as they have in the past. The course alterations weren't to everyone's pleasure, depending on whether they were a climber or power rider.
Lea Davison (Team Maxxis-Rocky Mountain) was a bit worried when she first saw it whereas Katerina Nash approved. "When I looked at the course this morning and saw the hill, I said, "Yes, that's good for me,'" explained the winner.
Light rain began halfway through the race, making corners extremely slick. Catherine Pendrel, who was leading the race at the time, crashed out. Lea Davison also crashed but was able to continue racing in front of her hometown crowd.
Much of the race saw the Gary Fisher women, Heather Irmiger and Wilow Koerber, near or at the front of the race. "The Gary Fisher girls were strong all day," said Nash. "Every attack I put in they were closing it down. I was concerned on the last lap [when Irmiger was chasing]."
Canadian champion and Luna teammate Catherine Pendrel took a decisive lead mid-race after attacking on the climb, which potentially altered Nash's chances of victory. "I said to myself, 'Oh damn it. I am not going to win today because I can't chase her down'," explained Nash. "You have to stay patient and unfortunately Catherine had a crash and it changed the race," she added.
How it unfolded
Heather Irmiger won the race to the hole shot and her teammate, Koerber, took over on the climb and led the group down the singletrack back to the start/finish. On the second lap a large group had separated itself from the main field. This included Nash, Koerber, Irmiger, McConneloug, and Davison. Gould was dangling off the back by about 15 feet.
On lap three Pendrel attacked. Koerber took up the chase, followed by Irmiger, while McConneloug moved up to fifth, followed by Gould and Davison. By the fourth lap Gould had caught back on but Davison had been dropped. Near the end of the lap Davison crashed hard and was never a factor again in the race.
Heading out onto the fifth lap everyone seemed to ease up. Nobody seemed eager to tae take the lead. Nash started up the hill first followed by Pendrel and the Gary Fisher women. There was a small gap back to Gould and perhaps 75 feet to Davison.
It was on lap seven that Pendrel launched what seemed like it would be a decisive attack. With Nash unable to bring back her own teammate, the work fell to the Gary Fisher women. Pendrel slowly edged away, however, as Gould continued to slip backwards.
As the women entered the eighth lap, Pendrel was not there. She apparently crashed out near the start/finish area. Now free to ride her own race, Nash attacked on the climb and immediately opened a significant gap on the Gary Fisher duo.
With three laps to go, Koerber seemed to be struggling somewhat as Irmiger was 50 feet back but gaining quickly on her teammate. With two laps to go, Irmiger had passed Koerber and was about 150 metres behind Nash. On the final lap, Irmiger started closing the gap to Nash but there wasn't enough real estate left to challenge her for the win.
With her second place finish, Heather Irmiger was awarded the series leader's jersey after the race. The finale will be held next weekend at Windham Mountain in New York State.
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|11||Maureen Bruno Roy|