Davison defends US short track national title

Lea Davison (Specialized) made it two for two on the weekend by winning the short track the day after winning the cross country national championships at Bear Creek Resort in Macungie, Pennsylvania on Sunday afternoon. She also successfully defended her short track title from 2012. Chloe Woodruff (Crankbrothers) finished second ahead of Georgia Gould (Luna).

"Today, I was trying to save as much energy as I could until the right moment," said Davison. "My legs, like everyone else's, were a little tired from yesterday's hot effort. I was dangling a little off of Chloe and Georgia. They were putting in some strong efforts."

"At some points, I wasn't sure if my strategy would work out. I was sometimes just clawing my way back on."

Woodruff led out the start, closely followed by Mary McConneloug (Kenda/Stan's NoTubes). Gould, Davison and Teal Stetson-Lee (Luna) came next in the train in very dry and dusty conditions.

Gould and Davison moved ahead of McConneloug, who then rode much of the race in fourth place.

In the first few laps, Gould and Woodruff took turns at the front though neither one was intentionally attacking.

"The start was hard and it was only about four people wide before it went down to very narrow very quickly," said Gould. "It was a little disappointing for a national championship start, but I managed to make it work because I was all the way on the right and got a good start."

"I didn't really have the spunk in my legs to be super aggressive. I felt like I was racing slower than I was pre-riding," said Gould.

Woodruff said, "I wasn't really riding aggressively. Yes, I was at the front, but where I was gapping off girls was on the downhills. As soon as I would come off the downhills, I could take a breather, and then it was like game on for the next hill. I didn't plan it that way - I just realized I felt more comfortable at the front on some of those rocky sections."

Both Gould and Woodruff figured that Davison was biding her time, but Gould didn't want the place to be too slow as she didn't want to get beat in a sprint.  At times during the race, the top five women would be together, but at other times they were more spread out.

"I didn't want the race to be so tactical that I ended up getting outsprinted by like six people, so I just kind of drove the pace a little bit at the end," said Gould. "I knew there was a big group of us and I decided to take my chances by going to the front."

Davison timed her attack perfectly, launching it on the final lap. "I tried to get second wheel when it came to crunch time. With two to go, I was second wheel because I didn't want to get gapped off on the descent. I was barely hanging on to Georgia, and I knew my best bet was to punch it up the climb and see if it worked out."

"I took a little peek and I thought they were right there and I'd have to really hit it on each of the climbs for the rest of the first lap," said Davison.

Woodruff said, "I knew that Lea would be attacking with three or two to go, so I was waiting for that to happen. I couldn't really respond when she did, but I am happy to finish second. Lea and I came around Georgia at the same time, but she had more of a gap than me, and I think we were all trying to hang on to our places. I had a little gap on Georgia, but I was still terrified to have her behind me."

Davison was delighted with her second win of the weekend and complimented organizers on the course. "I thought it was a great course. It flowed really well. The climbs were just long enough and it flowed a little bit. There was even some classic technical Pennsylvania singletrack thrown in. But maybe I am a little bit biased?"

Woodruff held off Gould and was happy with second place - her best short track nationals finish yet. Being on the podium was also especially important after what had happened yesterday, when she was fourth and just missed out on the podium.

"I was pretty motivated for a top three finish today. I've been racing for about a decade, and they've always done five on the podium for nationals. The joke was on me that I didn't know the rules had changed, so I went from the highest high to have finally made the podium at nationals only to have the arbitrary 'tough luck, we're doing three' kick in. But they are doing five today, so go figure." [Editor's note: this year USAC changed the podium to include top three - instead of top five - for all UCI categories for pros. The short track is not a UCI discipline, but the cross country is.]

"In reality, it wouldn't have changed anything yesterday or today. I gave it my all both days," said Woodruff.

McConneloug rode in for fourth place ahead of Stetson-Lee in fifth.

Full Results

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Elite women
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Lea Davison (Specialized Factory Racing)0:28:33
2Chloe Woodruff0:00:08
3Georgia Gould (Luna Pro Team)Row 2 - Cell 2
4Mary Mcconneloug (Kenda/Stan's NoTubes)0:00:15
5Teal Stetson-Lee (Team Luna Chix)0:00:23
6Pua Mata (Shoair/Cannondale)0:00:33
7Evelyn Dong0:00:42
8Judy Freeman (Crankbrothers Race Club)0:01:59
9Christina Gokey-Smith (Colonel's /Sho-Air)0:02:13
10Erica Zaveta (Team Redline)0:02:37
11Shayna Powless (BMC Mountainbike Development Team Usa)0:02:47
12Deidre York (The Gear Movement Pro Cycling Team)0:03:06
-2lapsAmy BeiselRow 12 - Cell 2
-2lapsLauren Catlin (Durango Devo)Row 13 - Cell 2
-2lapsNina BaumRow 14 - Cell 2
-3lapsErica Tingey (Team Jamis)Row 15 - Cell 2
-3lapsSarah Kaufmann (Team Roaring Mouse)Row 16 - Cell 2
-4lapsKaila Hart (No Tubes Elite Womens Racing)Row 17 - Cell 2
-4lapsEmily ShieldsRow 18 - Cell 2
-4lapsJamie Busch (Quadzilla Racing)Row 19 - Cell 2
-6lapsSarah Sturm (Durango Devo)Row 20 - Cell 2

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Sue George is an editor at Cyclingnews.  She coordinates all of the site's mountain bike race coverage and assists with the road, 'cross and track coverage.

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