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Gould solos to short track win

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Georgia Gould (Luna Pro Team) celebrates her convincing Sea Otter short track victory.

Georgia Gould (Luna Pro Team) celebrates her convincing Sea Otter short track victory.
(Image credit: Epic Rides)
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Judy Freeman (Kenda Felt) tries to shake Zephani Blasi (NoTubes)

Judy Freeman (Kenda Felt) tries to shake Zephani Blasi (NoTubes)
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine/trailwatch.net)
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Katerina Nash (Luna Pro Team) seemed happy to be racing again.

Katerina Nash (Luna Pro Team) seemed happy to be racing again.
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine/trailwatch.net)
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Katerina Nash (Luna Pro Team) leads Emily Batty around the S-Turns

Katerina Nash (Luna Pro Team) leads Emily Batty around the S-Turns
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine/trailwatch.net)
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Georgia Gould (Luna Pro Team) on cruise control

Georgia Gould (Luna Pro Team) on cruise control
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine/trailwatch.net)
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Lea Davison (Specialized) on the fast descent

Lea Davison (Specialized) on the fast descent
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine/trailwatch.net)
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Chloe Forsman (BMC) streaks back to the start/finish area

Chloe Forsman (BMC) streaks back to the start/finish area
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine/trailwatch.net)
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Heather Irmiger (Trek Subaru) on the descent

Heather Irmiger (Trek Subaru) on the descent
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine/trailwatch.net)
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Kelli Emmett (Team Giant) traverses the top of the course

Kelli Emmett (Team Giant) traverses the top of the course
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine/trailwatch.net)
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Nina Baum (NoTubes) at the start

Nina Baum (NoTubes) at the start
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine/trailwatch.net)
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Teal Stetson-Lee does her first Sea Otter short track race

Teal Stetson-Lee does her first Sea Otter short track race
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine/trailwatch.net)
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Katie Compton moves up in the field

Katie Compton moves up in the field
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine/trailwatch.net)
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Amy Dombroski (Crank Bros) climbs the back of the course

Amy Dombroski (Crank Bros) climbs the back of the course
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine/trailwatch.net)
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Lea Davison (Specialized)

Lea Davison (Specialized)
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine/trailwatch.net)
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Emily Batty (Trek Subaru) is marked by Katerina Nash (Luna)

Emily Batty (Trek Subaru) is marked by Katerina Nash (Luna)
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine/trailwatch.net)
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Katerina Nash (Luna Pro Team) with an impressive second place ride

Katerina Nash (Luna Pro Team) with an impressive second place ride
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine/trailwatch.net)
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Judy Freeman (Kenda Felt) rides in the top 10

Judy Freeman (Kenda Felt) rides in the top 10
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine/trailwatch.net)
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Zephanie Blasi (NoTubes) on one of the few flat sections of the course

Zephanie Blasi (NoTubes) on one of the few flat sections of the course
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine/trailwatch.net)
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Lea Davison (Specialized) seemed to pay dearly for her early effort

Lea Davison (Specialized) seemed to pay dearly for her early effort
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine/trailwatch.net)
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Katie Compton (Giant Rabobank) pulls away from Lea Davison (Specialized)

Katie Compton (Giant Rabobank) pulls away from Lea Davison (Specialized)
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine/trailwatch.net)
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Teal Stetson-Lee makes a rare appearance in a mountain bike race

Teal Stetson-Lee makes a rare appearance in a mountain bike race
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine/trailwatch.net)
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Kathy Sherwin (NoTubes) rides with Kelli Emmett (Giant)

Kathy Sherwin (NoTubes) rides with Kelli Emmett (Giant)
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine/trailwatch.net)
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The NoTubes Elite Women's Mountain Bike Team

The NoTubes Elite Women's Mountain Bike Team
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine/trailwatch.net)
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Lea Davison (Specialized) has been on fire so far this season

Lea Davison (Specialized) has been on fire so far this season
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine/trailwatch.net)
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Katie Compton (Giant Rabobank) is making her season debut

Katie Compton (Giant Rabobank) is making her season debut
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine/trailwatch.net)
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Lea Davison (Specialized) tries to match Georgia Gould (Luna)

Lea Davison (Specialized) tries to match Georgia Gould (Luna)
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine/trailwatch.net)
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Catharine Pendrel (Luna Pro Team) on the climb

Catharine Pendrel (Luna Pro Team) on the climb
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine/trailwatch.net)
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Katie Compton (Rabobank Giant) attacks the chase group

Katie Compton (Rabobank Giant) attacks the chase group
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine/trailwatch.net)
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Chloe Forsman (BMC) riding in the top 10

Chloe Forsman (BMC) riding in the top 10
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine/trailwatch.net)
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Zephanie Blasi (NoTubes) out of the saddle on the steepest climb

Zephanie Blasi (NoTubes) out of the saddle on the steepest climb
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine/trailwatch.net)
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Kelli Emmett (Team Giant) in her first race of the season

Kelli Emmett (Team Giant) in her first race of the season
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine/trailwatch.net)
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Georgia Gould (Luna Pro Team) climbs with a 100-meter lead in the short track

Georgia Gould (Luna Pro Team) climbs with a 100-meter lead in the short track
(Image credit: Epic Rides)
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Georgia Gould (Luna Pro Team) on a very steep section of the short track course

Georgia Gould (Luna Pro Team) on a very steep section of the short track course
(Image credit: Epic Rides)
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Georgia Gould (Luna Pro Team) with one lap to go

Georgia Gould (Luna Pro Team) with one lap to go
(Image credit: Epic Rides)
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Katerina Nash (Luna Pro Team) seemed happy with her second place.

Katerina Nash (Luna Pro Team) seemed happy with her second place.
(Image credit: Epic Rides)
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Georgia Gould (Luna Pro Team) leads out the elite women at the Sea Otter short track

Georgia Gould (Luna Pro Team) leads out the elite women at the Sea Otter short track
(Image credit: Epic Rides)
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Georgia Gould (Luna Pro Team) looks to repeat her 2010 Sea Otter victory

Georgia Gould (Luna Pro Team) looks to repeat her 2010 Sea Otter victory
(Image credit: Epic Rides)
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Georgia Gould (Luna Pro Team) climbs with a 100-meter lead in the short track

Georgia Gould (Luna Pro Team) climbs with a 100-meter lead in the short track
(Image credit: Epic Rides)

Georgia Gould (Luna) went to the front from the gun and never looked back as she soloed her way to victory in the short track race at the Sea Otter Classic. Behind her, four chasers battled much of the race for the remaining podium spots. Katerina Nash (Luna) won the contest for second ahead of Emily Batty (Subaru-Trek). Catharine Pendrel (Luna) finished fourth ahead of Katie Compton (Rabobank-Giant) in fifth.

"That was hard," said Gould as she struggled to catch her breath after the finish. "My perception of time was very different than how it was actually passing. One minute felt like two minutes. I was starting to get tired and I heard the announcer say, 'eight minutes in and they're not even halfway done'."

For several laps after the start, Gould had the company of Lea Davison (Specialized), but Davison eventually faded back to the chasers and then fell slightly behind them. Gould was left on her own for the duration of the 20-minute-plus-three-laps race.

"I wanted to be out in front from the start because I knew the first turn would be a cluster," said US cross country national champion Gould. "I wanted to get the hole shot. I saw that I was opening it up a little and I decided to ride steady, but then you kind of have to go all out on those two steep climbs."

Davison, who was delighted to be racing in front of her Little Bellas, surprised herself by slipping away with Gould. "I had no idea I was off the front with Georgia, but then on the second lap, I thought 'It's kind of quiet,'" said Davison. "I was super psyched, but at one point I took a different line on a corner and she got a bit of a gap and then I couldn't close it."

Davison faded from Gould's wheel and was caught by the chasers including Nash, Batty, and Pendrel. An untimely crash on a corner then cost Davison some more time and she was gapped by the chasers

As Davison was slipping backward, US short track national champion Compton was working her way forward through the strung out women's field.

"My start was ok, but there was a crash on the first techy, rooty turn," said Compton. "I was behind that and in a big gear. I had to come to a stop and then muscle up it. There wasn't a lot of passing, but I finally got to the front. Then I made an effort, but I couldn't follow through - I don't have the recovery yet. Katerina and Catharine were letting Georgia get up the road a bit. It was a hard effort - now that's out of the way."

With Gould well off the front, the pressure was off Nash and Pendrel, who were able to play the tactics.

"Georgia got away so there was no need to push the pace," said Nash, in her first major race of the 2011 season. "I focused on staying in the group there and saving a little for the last lap. It was a strong group, and when Katie bridged up the pace went up."

"We didn't have a plan. We all wanted to set a hard pace, and Georgia was the best one of us to do it," said Pendrel. "In our chase group, we were trying to stay there and make it hurt. I knew if wanted to finish up any higher, I'd have to go solo, but I didn't have that today."

After Compton caught the other chasers, she surged to the front, but wasn't able to hold the lifted pace. Batty and Nash proved the stronger of the chasers and rode away from Compton and Pendrel in the final laps.

"It came down to tactics at the end," said Batty, who was delighted to be racing her 29er hardtail. 2011 is the first year Batty has had a chance to race 29ers.

Nash won that tactical battle against Batty and ended up second. "I attacked on the last lap to get ahead of Emily, who was leading me. I knew that if I could sneak by her at the top of the hill, there'd be nowhere left for her to pass me."

Nonetheless, Batty was pleased with her podium result. "I felt awesome and it was a great race. A top five today in the short track was good - I'm racing some of the top women in the World Cup today."

The short track course was shorter than in previous years, with the effect that there was one less climb per lap and more people got lapped sooner in the race. Passing got crazy for the lead women as they lapped the slower racers.

"There are not many places to pass safely. The people I was passing were racing too and they don't want to get pulled," said Gould. "I think maybe a little longer course would be better. It used to have another uphill in which gave more places to pass."

Saturday's cross country race should be a longer battle among the same top women. "It's going to be a cat fight, and and it will come down to a lot of team tactics," said Batty. "They've shortened the cross country course and in a way, it's like a giant short track. It will be a fun race."

Full Results

Elite women
#Rider Name (Country) Team
1Georgia Gould (USA) Luna Pro Team
2Katerina Nash (Cze) Luna Pro Team
3Emily Batty (Can) Subaru-Trek
4Catharine Pendrel (Can) Luna Pro Tream
5Katie Compton (USA) Rabobank-Giant Off Road Team
6Lea Davison (USA) Specialized
7Heather Irmiger (USA) Subaru-Trek
-1lapChloe Forsman (USA) BMC Mountainbike Development Team
-1lapKelli Emmett (USA) Giant Factory Off-Road Team
-1lapMical Dyck (Can) Pro City Racing
-1lapJudy Freeman (USA) Kenda / Felt
-1lapZephanie Blasi (USA) Notubes Elite
-1lapKathy Sherwin (USA) Notubes Elite
-1lapAmy Dombroski (USA) Crankbrothers Race Club
PulledBrandi Hesiterman (Can)
PulledAmanda Carey (USA) Kenda/Felt
PulledSarah Kaufmann (USA) Elete Electrolytes
PulledPua Mata (USA)
PulledErica Zaveta (USA) BMC Mountainbike Development Team
PulledKelsy Bingham (USA) Team Jamis
PulledKrista Park (USA) Notubes Elite
PulledShannon Gibson (USA) Notubes Elite
PulledSarah Maile (USA) Ventana Mountain Bikes
PulledNina Baum (USA) Notubes Elite
PulledCarolyn Popovic (USA) Team CF
PulledKaila Hart (USA)
PulledCayley Brooks (USA) Trek Canada
PulledLaura Winberry (USA)
DNFLydia Tanner (USA) Tokyo Joes

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