Georgia Gould (Luna Pro Team) rode yet another impressive time trial to win the Mellow Johnny's Classic for the second straight year at round 4 of the US Pro XCT near Austin, Texas, on Saturday afternoon.
Lea Davison (Specialized) gave chase for a lap but decided ride her own pace in the heat to take second place. Daniela Campuzano (Team Turbo) from Mexico had her best finish ever in third. Krista Park (Cannonadale/No Tubes), who along with Gould just returned from the World Cup in South Africa, finished fourth. Chloe Forsman (BMC) earned her first ever US Pro XCT podium with a fifth place finish.
The race was held on Lance Armstrong's vast ranch, which has been the site of many cross country events. Permanent courses have been constructed, and they've gotten rave reviews from the racers. The Texas hills, twisty singletrack, and tough dirt road climbs combined to test even the best technical riders.
With the race starting at 10:30 am, the women were able to avoid some of the heat that the men would be subjected to later in the day. Even so, the humidity was so high that many riders struggled to keep their body temperatures down.
"It's hot out there," said Gould, "but the trail is so fun that today was suffering combined with fun."
At the race start, Gould immediately went to the front and put her head down. "I wanted to be in front and pick my lines. I just rode my own race," she said at the finish.
After the first lap, the racers were spread out all over the course. A smaller than average women's field meant that there were fewer opportunities to form groups and strategic alliances. Davison, who attempted to stay with Gould for a lap, decided mid-race to change her strategy. "It was important to relax and ride your own race because when I was focused on catching Georgia, I was all over the place.
Davison finished the race covered with Texas dirt. "I went down twice. I wasn't quite on my game," said Davison. She was unhurt although her surgically repaired hip took a bit of abuse in one of the falls.
Campuzano was a new face near the front of a US Pro XCT race. She rode impressively and was able to shed a strong Park to nail down third place. Her team went absolutely wild for her at the finish. "For me this was a good opportunity. This was my best race of my life. I am very happy," said a grinning Campuzano.
Park is finding herself in the mix at more races this season. She spent the winter training in Tucson, Arizona, then raced the spring series in Cyprus and most recently finished well enough at the World Cup in South Africa to assure a call-up at the next world cup in Dalby Forest, England.
Likewise, Forsman seems to have come into her own as an elite racer. As holder of many collegiate and junior national titles, it was only a matter of time until she started getting results. She won the short track race last month in Fontana, and today made it onto her first US Pro XCT cross country podium.
Former US National Champion Heather Irmiger (Subaru-Trek) was present today but did not race due to an illness picked up during her recent trip to South Africa.
Gould was a late addition to the start list this week. She had planned to take the week off after spending 40-plus hours in airplanes, but said she changed her mind when she got home and was feeling good.
Most of the top elite women will have next weekend off before traveling to the World Cup at Dalby Forest.
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Georgia Gould (USA) Luna||1:21:13|
|2||Lea Davison (USA) Specialized||0:05:09|
|3||Daniela Campuzano (Mex) Turbo Bike Team||0:06:25|
|4||Krista Park (USA) Cannondale/No Tubes||0:06:26|
|5||Chloe Forsman (USA) BMC Development Team||0:07:46|
|6||Sarah Kaufmann (USA) elete Electrolytes||0:08:08|
|7||Carolyn Popovic (USA) Team CF||0:09:49|
|8||Meghan Korol (USA) Momentum Racing/Pro Bikes||0:19:46|
|9||Erica Zaveta (USA) BMC Development Team||0:21:18|
|10||Linnea Koons (USA) Embrocation Cycling Journal||0:36:18|
|DNF||Judy Freeman (USA) Kenda/Felt|
|DNS||Heather Irmiger (USA) Subaru-Trek|
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