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Buhl prevails in Sea Otter downhill

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Melissa Buhl (KHS) makes a gold medal run

Melissa Buhl (KHS) makes a gold medal run
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine/trailwatch.net)
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Jill Kintner (Trans-Union) has a silver medal run

Jill Kintner (Trans-Union) has a silver medal run
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine/trailwatch.net)
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Jamime Rees rides through the pine trees

Jamime Rees rides through the pine trees
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine/trailwatch.net)
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Melissa Buhl (KHS) makes a flawless run to first place

Melissa Buhl (KHS) makes a flawless run to first place
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine/trailwatch.net)
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Cierra Smith soars through the trees

Cierra Smith soars through the trees
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine/trailwatch.net)
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Adrienne Schneider muscles her way down the track

Adrienne Schneider muscles her way down the track
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine/trailwatch.net)
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Jaime Rees rides through some whoops

Jaime Rees rides through some whoops
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine/trailwatch.net)
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Mary Moncourge is full on the gas

Mary Moncourge is full on the gas
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine/trailwatch.net)
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Communing with the pine cones

Communing with the pine cones
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine/trailwatch.net)
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Adrienne Schneider makes a top 10 run

Adrienne Schneider makes a top 10 run
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine/trailwatch.net)
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Soaring through the trees

Soaring through the trees
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine/trailwatch.net)
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The scenic Monterey countryside

The scenic Monterey countryside
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine/trailwatch.net)
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Melissa Buhl (KHS) on one of the flatter sections of track

Melissa Buhl (KHS) on one of the flatter sections of track
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine/trailwatch.net)
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Joanna Petterson earned a silver medal in dual slalom last night

Joanna Petterson earned a silver medal in dual slalom last night
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine/trailwatch.net)
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Jaime Rees (Loeka) rides to fifth place

Jaime Rees (Loeka) rides to fifth place
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine/trailwatch.net)
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Jaime Rees in the air on the top of the course

Jaime Rees in the air on the top of the course
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine/trailwatch.net)
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Cierra Smith has a great run on the dry track

Cierra Smith has a great run on the dry track
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine/trailwatch.net)
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The women were flying nearly as high as the men

The women were flying nearly as high as the men
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine/trailwatch.net)
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British Columbia's Miranda Miller races to third place

British Columbia's Miranda Miller races to third place
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine/trailwatch.net)
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Darien Harvey makes a practice run

Darien Harvey makes a practice run
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine/trailwatch.net)
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Mariska Chuse airs it out

Mariska Chuse airs it out
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine/trailwatch.net)
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Darien Harvey racing in the top 10

Darien Harvey racing in the top 10
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine/trailwatch.net)

Melissa Buhl rode to victory at the Sea Otter downhill race on Sunday morning. She was 2.5 seconds ahead of the other top favorite Jill Kintner (Transitions). Miranda Miller finished third ahead of Cierra Smith in fourth and Jamie Rees in fifth.

"It was a good run and I felt strong," said Buhl. "I tried to stay on the gas the whole time. Every time my tires landed off a jump, I tried to get right on it. This track is a burner for everyone. There is a big fitness aspect to this course. Those last two straightaways are long and you're wondering where the finish line is."

Buhl was the final rider down and experience, including past Sea Otter wins, paid off.

The morning after winning the dual slalom, Kinter, the second to last racer down the hill, wasn't having as good of a day. "This one kind of baffles me. There is so much sprinting, and I was off a bit on a few things. That's all it takes I guess.

"It's all about the pedaling more than than cleaning all the stuff. Melissa owns this course."

Miller was delighted with her third place. "This is the best Sea Otter result I've had so I'm pumped," she said.

Since last year, organizers hired trailbuilders to give the downhill course an overhaul. Their efforts were successful as the riders across the board seemed to favor the changes.

"The guys who came out and gave the track a face lift did a really awesome job," said Buhl. "They tightened it up a bit so some of the corners are a bit more technical and they worked on the jumps."

"They made some changes to the course and it flows a bit better," said Miller. "Halfway down, you're still thinking, 'I thought I trained but it doesn't feel like it at this point.' I just tried to pedal and lay off the brakes - you don't need them."

Junior downhill world champion Lauren Rosser was seventh in her first Sea Otter. Freshly signed by Commencal Young Guns, the Canadian had just gotten her bike two days ago. She was in her first race of the season and preparing for the Canada Cups and a few World Cups.

"I felt strong, but halfway down I slid out on a corner and got turned around," said Rosser. "Then I just kept on the gas and kept going. I liked the course."

Full Results

#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Melissa Buhl (USA) KHS Bicycles0:02:28.1
2Jill Kintner (USA) Transition Racing0:00:02.6
3Miranda Miller (Can) Santa Cruz / SRAM / Pink Bike0:00:09.5
4Cierra Smith (USA) Specialized AllRide Academy0:00:11.3
5Jaime Rees (USA) Loeka/The Bike Hub0:00:13.6
6Joanna Petterson (USA)0:00:15.3
7Lauren Rosser (Can) Commencal Young Guns0:00:21.6
8Mary Moncorge (USA) Santa Cruz Alliance0:00:24.8
9Darian Harvey (USA) Vixen Racing0:00:24.9
10Adrienne Schneider (USA) Troy Lee Designs0:00:27.3
11Jennifer Wolf (USA) All Mountain Cyclery0:00:30.2
12Katie Holden (USA) Specialized USA0:00:34.8
13Megan Zemny (USA) Santa Cruz Alliance0:00:36.7
DNFMariska Chuse (USA)
DNFGabriela Williams (USA) TPR Racing

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