Katerina Nash has more wins than any other rider in the US Gran Prix of Cyclo-cross Portland Cup, and she brought that total up to five on the first day of the series' final weekend.
The Czech champion may have out-sprinted her teammate Georgia Gould for the victory, but Gould's finish was enough to sew up the 2010 series title - her second career USGP overall.
"I like it here," Nash said. "Usually I enjoy the extremely muddy conditions - that wasn't really the case today, but it's still a challenging course."
Gould put in a concerted effort to best Nash, taking the hole shot and putting in several attacks, but a mechanical in the final half of the race took some of the power out of her legs.
"I got a piece of the course tape in my cassette and that was when the gap opened up. Katerina capitalized on that and put in a good hard effort and made it extremely difficult to close that gap. I was pretty tired by the time I got up there," Gould said.
By the time they reached the final lap, the Luna duo had put minutes into the shattered field and focused on fighting each other for the win.
"The last lap we took turns [attacking] to see if we could make it stick, and it came down to that last corner," Gould explained.
"I kind of attacked coming out of the bmx track, and then led for the next couple corners, then she came around me right before the barriers. I was right there, it came down to both of us going as hard as we could out of that corner and she was faster than me."
Local favorite Sue Butler bounced back from a season-disrupting illness to claim the final podium spot in front of a supportive crowd. She had an aggressive start and led for part of the opening lap before letting go of Nash and Gould and focusing on time trialing for third.
"Two years ago at Portland I had my first USGP podium so it's pretty nice to be back on the podium," Butler said.
The women started under sunny skies, but a brisk winter wind wreaked havoc on the field before the technical section was even reached when a gust sent a barrel tottering into the course.
That incident benefited newcomer Linnea Coons, who turned heads with a strong fourth place finish.
"I got a great start down the left side, and a barrel came blowing on the course. I just happened to be out of the way of everything. People were falling and I got around them, and all of a sudden I look up and it's Sue Butler and Wendy Simms and I together with a gap and only two riders ahead," Coons said.
A New Zealand native, Coons moved to the US a decade ago at the age of 16. Following her first year on the pro mountain bike circuit, she scored her most prestigious finish in a cyclo-cross race with fourth.
"It was my perfect race, I guess, which I've been working towards all year," she said.
Third in the series at the start of the day, Meredith Miller had anything but a perfect race. After a season full of hard knocks, Miller hasn't managed to put all her bad luck behind her. On the first lap, a piece of loose course tape got caught up in her drive train just after the pit and the resulting struggle to find a working gear put her back in 18th position.
Miller used her strength and determination to slowly work her way back through the field to take fifth on the day, gaining enough points to move into second overall ahead of the absent US champion Katie Compton.
"I did what I could, it's tough when something like that prevents you from getting a result," said Miller.
The racing continues on Sunday for the USGP finale, where Gould will take home the title even if she fails to win a single point. She holds an untouchable 93-point lead on Miller.
|1||Katerina Nash (Cze) Luna Pro Team||0:42:07|
|2||Georgia Gould (USA) Luna Pro Team||0:00:01|
|3||Susan Butler (USA) Hudz-Subaru||0:01:50|
|4||Linnea Koons (USA) Embrocation Cycling Journal||0:02:09|
|5||Meredith Miller (USA) California Giant-Specialized||0:02:35|
|6||Kaitlin Antonneau (USA) Cannondale-Cyclocrossworld.com||0:02:40|
|7||Katy Curtis (Can) CMC/Bow Cycle||0:02:54|
|8||Katherine Sherwin (USA) Hudz-Subaru||0:03:03|
|9||Wendy Simms (Can) Ridley-FSA||0:03:06|
|10||Amanda Carey (USA) Kenda-Felt||0:03:24|
|11||Pepper Harlton (Can) Juventus||0:03:30|
|12||Devon Haskell (USA) Bike Station Aptos||0:03:32|
|13||Alice Pennington (USA) Team S&M||0:03:34|
|14||Barbara Howe (USA) Ibis And The Danger Twins||0:03:38|
|15||Teal Stetson-Lee (USA) California Giant-Specialized||0:03:45|
|16||Amy Dombroski (USA) Luna Pro Team||0:04:05|
|17||Maureen Bruno Roy (USA) Bob's Red Mill p/b Seven Cycles||0:04:07|
|18||Wendy Williams (USA) River City Bicycles||0:04:53|
|19||Ashley James (USA) Team Kenda||0:05:09|
|20||Coryn Rivera (USA) Peanut Butter & Co. TWENTY12||0:05:21|
|21||Serena Bishop (USA) Sunnyside Sports||0:05:29|
|22||Linda Sone (USA) Planet Bike||0:05:59|
|23||Rebecca Blatt (USA) Silverbull Central Wheel||0:06:32|
|24||Emily Thurston (USA) Missing Link||0:06:50|
|25||Katrina Baumsteiger (USA) Team Rambuski Law||0:06:59|
|26||Shannon Gibson (USA) Velobella- Ellsworth||0:07:21|
|27||Kelly Jones (Can) North Shore Sports Medicine||0:07:23|
|28||Abby Watson (USA) Embrocation Cycling Journal||0:07:48|
|29||Megan Chinburg (USA) Veloforma||0:07:56|
|30||Joele Guynup (USA) Island Racing Club-Everti-Shimano|
|31||Corey Coogan (USA) Team Plan C Pb Stevens||0:08:08|
|32||Carrie Cash (USA) Team Vera Bradley Foundation||0:08:18|
|33||Tina Brubaker (USA) The Vanilla Workshop/Speedvagen||0:08:21|
|34||Laura Winberry (USA) Elite Endurance/Cascade Couriers||0:08:30|
|35||Brigette Stoick (USA) River City Bicycles||0:08:41|
|36||Karen Oppenheimer (USA) Yard Sale Cyclocross||0:09:31|
|37||Becca Blay (USA) Mafia Racing||0:09:32|
|38||Renee Scott (USA) Sunnyside Sports||0:09:37|
|39||Tiffany Cromwell (Aus) Lotto Ladies Team|
|40||Lisa Curry (USA) GAS/Intrinsik||-1laps|
|41||Annette Padilla (USA) Celo Pacific||-4laps|
|DNF||Anna Dingman (USA) Gas/Intrinsik Cycling Team|
|DNF||Brenna Lopez-Otero (USA) Bend Memorial Clinic Total Care Race Team|
|DNS||Anissa Cobb (USA) River City Bicycles|
|DNS||Christina Probert (USA) The Team|
|DNS||Megan Elliott (USA) Black Mountain Bicycles|
|DNS||Jennifer Gaertner (USA) Riverstone Cda|
|DNS||Patricia Dowd (USA) Team Delphine|
|1||Georgia Gould (USA) Luna Pro Team||288||pts|
|2||Meredith Miller (USA) California Giant-Specialized||195|
|3||Katherine Compton (USA) Planet Bike-Stevens Bikes||190|
|4||Katerina Nash (Cze) Luna Pro Team||140|
|5||Katherine Sherwin (USA) Hudz-Subaru||127|
|6||Amy Dombroski (USA) Luna Pro Team||112|
|7||Kaitlin Antonneau (USA) Cannondale-Cyclocrossworld.com||104|
|8||Susan Butler (USA) Hudz-Subaru||94|
|9||Laura Van Gilder (USA) C3 - Athletes Serving Athletes||86|
|10||Teal Stetson-Lee (USA) California Giant-Specialized||83|
|11||Maureen Bruno Roy (USA) Bob's Red Mill p/b Seven Cycles||83|
|12||Nicole Duke (USA) Hudz-Subaru||72|
|13||Natasha Elliott (Can) Garneau Club Chaussure-Ogilvy||70|
|14||Pepper Harlton (Can) Juventus||52|
|15||Amanda Carey (USA) Kenda-Felt||50|
|16||Alice Pennington (USA) Team S&M||43|
|17||Ashley James (USA) Team Kenda||43|
|18||Amanda Miller (USA) Hudz-Subaru||40|
|19||Andrea Smith (USA) LadiesFirst Racing||33|
|20||Sally Annis (USA) crossresults.com p/b JRA Cycles||33|
|21||Katy Curtis (Can) CMC/Bow Cycle||32|
|22||Linnea Koons (USA) Embrocation Cycling Journal||30|
|23||Linda Sone (USA) Planet Bike||30|
|24||Devon Haskell (USA) Bike Station Aptos||26|
|25||Barbara Howe (USA) Ibis And The Danger Twins||24|
|26||Lisa Strong (USA) Hudz-Subaru||19|
|27||Kimberly Flynn (USA) Grace Law-Trek p/b Vantaggio||19|
|28||Robin Williams (USA) Mercy-Specialized||17|
|29||Carrie Cash Wootten (USA) Team Vera Bradley Foundation||16|
|30||Wendy Simms (Can) Ridley-FSA||14|
|31||Jennifer Maxwell (USA) Van Dessel Factory Team p/b Sterke Meiden||14|
|32||Holly Klug (USA) Pony Shoop||10|
|33||Nicole Borem (USA) DRT Racing||9|
|34||Lisa Curry (USA) GAS/Intrinsik||8|
|35||Corey Coogan Cisek (USA) Team Plan C||6|
|36||Marne Smiley (USA) Scott/Ollett Coaching||6|
|37||Anne Schwartz (USA) Flying Rhino Cycling Club||6|
|38||Lisa Hudson (USA) Feedback Sports||4|
|39||Shannon Gibson (USA) Velobella- Ellsworth||4|
|40||Wendy Williams (USA) River City Bicycles||3|
|41||Kristal Boni (USA) Blue Sky Velo||3|
|42||Miranda Long (USA) Team Pg-13||3|
|43||Megan Taylor (USA) COMotion Sports||2|
|44||Meghan Korol (USA) Bob's Red Mill||2|
|45||Coryn Rivera (USA) Peanut Butter & Co. TWENTY12||1|
|46||Erin Silliman (USA) ALAN North America Cycling Team||1|