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Kabush and Vanlandingham on form at Snowmass

Shonny Vanlandingham (Luna) (file photo)

Shonny Vanlandingham (Luna) (file photo) (Image credit: Marek Lazarski)

By Steve Medcroft

Although the Mountain-Cross event was marred when a freak thundershower after men’s cross-country on Saturday destroyed any chance of there being a Mountain Cross final, the Aspen, Colo. Snowmass NORBA National Series race was a showcase in winning by two of the most dominant North Americans in mountain-bike racing.

Geoff Kabush (Team Maxxis) won his second NORBA cross country and third short track of the season at Snowmass, maintaining series leads in both disciplines, while Shonny Vanlandingham (Luna Chix) continues to show that she’s just about untouchable with her fourth cross-country win in a row (including the Phoenix NORBA where Vanlandingham won the race itself even though series points for the cross-country win went to three-stage GC winner Sue Haywood under the race’s scoring rules).

Kabush says he’s settled into a veteran’s role and takes a more mature approach to racing. “I’m learning to pace myself,” he said. In both Snowmass wins, he sat behind the lead group and waited for the early-race aggression to die down before making what turned out to be winning counter attacks.

With two World Cup podiums to accompany his NORBA series lead, Kabush says he’s finding good form right now on altitude courses. Which is encouraging leading up to his attempt at the World Championships in Livigno, Italy (Sept 4, 2005). “Worlds is also at altitude and it’s been in the back of my mind for a while now that I might do well there.” If he won, he would be the first Canadian world champion since Roland Green’s back-to-back World’s wins in 2001 and 2002.

To be ready, Kabush says he’s needs to focus on staying fresh for the next few weeks. Which means a week off followed by racing in the last three NORBA’s. “NORBA finals are the weekend before Worlds,” he says. “I’ll be going to Livigno straight from there.” Kabush says he will compete in the Cross Country Team Relay three days before the men’s World Championship race.

Vanlandingham says her run of success is due to year after year of consistent, progressive training. She works with Coach Rick Crawford in Durango, Colo. “His program seems to really be working for me,” she says. “We’ve put in big hours in the past three winters and I think I’ve just accumulated fitness over the years.”

Her current form and success in the NORBA series has Vanlandingham’s mind on World Championships too. “I’m excited for it. I’m hoping I can hold my fitness and reach another peak for Worlds.” But there isn’t much of a break between now. There are three NORBA races left and Vanlandingham has a vested interest in defending her NORBA Series title.

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