Trailing by as much as one hundred feet with one lap to go, Max Plaxton (Specialized) fired the afterburners to hunt down Sam Schultz (Subaru-Trek), who finished second. Geoff Kabush (Scott-3Rox Racing), one of the race aggressors, had to settle for third place. USA Champion Jeremy Horgan-Kobelski (Subaru-Trek) finished a strong fourth, while Barry Wicks (Kona) raced at a new level to finish fifth.
Plaxton got off to one of the best starts in recent history. At the top of the first small hill, he already had opened a 30-foot gap. Burry Stander (Specialized) took up the chase with Horgan-Kobelski, Kabush, Todd Wells (Specialized), and Schultz all in tow.
During the second lap, the leaders all came together. Stander attempted to stamp his authority on the race but soon realized it was not his day. “From the first lap I felt a bit seized up and tired…after a few laps I knew I was not going to get up there for a win so I just sat up a bit and rode my own pace.”
Wells suffered some sort of chain problem early in the race, which doomed his chances of winning. While he chased valiantly for the rest of the race, he could not make up the ground to the leaders.
Kabush took a long turn at the front but was not able to dispatch anyone from the lead group. Schultz then took his first flier, but appeared to let up as he thought he was being caught.
“It’s always fun to feel good enough to make some moves," said Schultz. "I went into this race with the mentality that I was racing for the win. I’m trying to enter all the races with that attitude. It definitely helps."
With two laps to go, Schultz made another strong attack. “I could have sat on a bit more but with two laps to go, I decided to attack like it was the last lap,” said Schultz.
Unfortunately, that left him with little gas in the tank for the last lap. As Plaxton came through the start/finish, he passed Kabush and then flew up to Schultz in what seemed like just a few seconds.
"I felt good at the start and did a smart race," said Plaxton. "There were some tired legs out there at the end. I was saving something for one last good effort.”
Apparently Plaxton entered the race not knowing what to expect. “I didn’t have a plan. I haven’t been feeling great since before South Africa (which hosted round 1 of the World Cup), so I didn’t know how the legs would be.”
Wicks used to be seen at the front of short track races all the time. He is also a previous US short track national champion. But, in the past few years his emphasis on endurance stage races seemed to negatively affect his short track racing. He now seems to have benefited from his recent move back to Bend, Oregon, from Chicago, where he found it difficult to train properly.
Twenty-year-old Russell Finsterwald (Subaru-Trek) may have had the ride of the day, finishing an astonishing seventh. This gave the Subaru-Trek team three finishers in the top seven positions.
Sid Taberlay (H2O Overdrive), who finished ninth, and Colin Cares (Kenda-Felt), who finished 10th on his brand new Felt 29er, also had good rides.
The pro men will compete in cross country on Sunday.
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team|
|1||Max Plaxton (Can) Specialized Racing|
|2||Sam Schultz (USA) Subaru Trek|
|3||Geoff Kabush (Can) Scott-3Rox Racing|
|4||Jeremy Horgan-Kobelski (USA) Subaru Trek|
|5||Barry Wicks (USA) Kona|
|6||Todd Wells (USA) Specialized Racing|
|7||Russell Finsterwald (USA) Subaru Trek|
|8||Sid Taberlay (Aus) Kenda/H20 Overdrive|
|9||Burry Stander (RSA) Specialized Racing|
|10||Colin Cares (USA)|
|11||Stephen Ettinger (USA) BMC MTN Bike Racing|
|12||Howard Grotts (USA) Specialized Racing|
|13||Spencer Paxson (USA) Kona|
|14||Thomas Turner (USA) Jamis|
|-1lap||Alex Grant (USA) Cannondale Factory|
|-4laps||Carl Decker (USA) Giant Factory Off Road|
|-4laps||Troy Wells (USA)|
|-4laps||Andrew Watson (Can) Norco Factory Team|
|-4laps||Adam Morka (Can) Trek Canada|
|-4laps||Neal Kindree (Can) Specialized|
|-4laps||Kerry Werner (USA) BMC MTN Bike Racing|
|-4laps||Kris Sneddon (Can) Kona|
|-4laps||Mitchell Hoke (USA) Clif Bar|
|-5laps||Cory Wallace (Can) Kona Factory Team|
|-5laps||Jason Sager (USA) Jamis|
|-5laps||Cameron Jette (Can) Scott - 3 Rox Racing|
|-6laps||Drew Edsall (USA) Kenda-Felt|
|-6laps||Peter Glassford (Can) Trek Canada|
|-6laps||Andrew L'esperance (Can) Norco Factory Team|
|-6laps||Josh Carlson (Aus) Giant Factory Off Road|
|-6laps||Miguel Valadez (USA) Ellsworth|
|-6laps||Macky Franklin (USA)|
|-6laps||Cody Kaiser (USA) California Giant|
|-6laps||Zach Valdez (USA) Whole Athlete-Specialized|
|-6laps||Onodera Ken (Jpn) Team Specialized|
|-6laps||Kevin Smallman (USA)|
|-6laps||Thomas Bundgaard (Den) Racing 29Ers|
|-6laps||Brendon Davids (USA) Sho-Air|
|-6laps||Jason Moeschler (USA)|
|-7laps||Yuki Ikeda (Jpn) Topeak Ergon Racing|
|-7laps||Brennan Wodtli (USA) All Access Racing/Gia|
|-7laps||Brady Kappius (USA) Clif Bar|
|-7laps||Scott Tietzel (USA)|
|-7laps||Robert Marion (USA)|
|-7laps||Tyson Wagler (Can) Scott-3 Rox Racing|
|-7laps||Jason Siegle (USA) SDG Felt|
|-7laps||Alex Wild (USA)|
|-7laps||Tanner Hurst (USA) American Classic|
|-8laps||Clint Claassen (USA)|
|-8laps||Jordan Kahlenberg (USA) Giant Midatlantic|
|-8laps||Nick Truitt (USA) Yeti/Pactimo Pro XC|
|-8laps||Ross Holbrook (USA)|
|-8laps||Sheng Shan Chiang (Tpe) Specialized Racing|
|-8laps||Travis Glysson (USA) AZ Devo|
|-9laps||Craig Wohlschlaeger (USA) The Hub/Giant|
|-9laps||Stephen Dempsey (USA) Freehub Magazine|
|-9laps||Chris Thibodeau (USA) Specialized/Curve|
|DNF||Derek Zandstra (Can) Scott-3 Rox Racing|
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