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NORBA US national series #7 - NE
Snowshoe, WV, USA, August 18-21, 2005
Race 6 - August 21: Downhill
Pruitt and Hannah win Snowshoe Downhill
By Steve Medcroft in Snowshoe
When the Snowshoe NORBA downhill competitors ran the course in practice on Friday and Saturday, they were training in thick fog and on a wet, slippery surface. The course was also still dewey Sunday morning during qualifications. But by the time officials called the first woman downhiller to the start gate, the sun had come out and completely changed the course.
Mick Hannah (Haro) and Kathy Pruitt (Luna Chix) found the new conditions to their liking.
Kathy Pruitt (Luna Chix) felt she could place well in the race after she qualified third. "I was a little bit anxious about my riding style because this had been a sketchy course all weekend," she said. She was anxious because she could sense the course changing and didn't think the kind of conservative approach you might take to a slick course would win the race. So she adjusted her bike setup. "I changed my tires to something less grippy - a high-roller Maxxis instead of my Swampthing - and just tried to pretend I had a lot of traction." She also pulled on a skin suit. "This is a time-trial event," she said. "I sometimes have to remind myself of that."
Pruitt says she decided to take an aggressive approach on her final run and trust that the course would hold her in. "It's all mental, it's all in your head. I had to keep telling myself to stop racing the clock and just beat the course." Pruitt beat the course to the tune of 5 minutes, 5.6 seconds; good enough to earn her third win for the year.
Also among the twenty or so women pros, retired downhill legend Missy Giove took a start in the Snowshoe Downhill. The sole and cleat plate of her left shoe detached during her finals run though, and she had to finish with control over only one foot. Even with the challenge, she still managed a podium time of 5 minutes, 30.95 seconds.
Australians continue to have a phenomenal weekend at Snowshoe. After wins in junior-expert races, Mountain Cross and Dual Slalom, Aussies Mick Hannah (Haro) and Jared Graves came into the downhill finals with the fastest two qualifying times of the day.
Graves came through the bottom of the course hot and slipped into the lead with an almost flawless 04:16:37. "Although I did come to a dead stop at one point on the course and lost some momentum," he said after the finish.
That only left Hannah. "I was praying a lot at the top," he said immediately after his winning run. "I had a good smooth run; just rode within my limits. The track was awesome; a little bit pedally in the middle but that just tested the fitness."
The win was Hannah's first NORBA victory since 2001. "This was an awesome confidence booster going into Worlds," he said. "After winning the Four-Cross on Friday, it's been a sick weekend."
For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here
Images by Steve Medcroft/Cyclingnews.com
Men 1 Mick Hannah (Aus) Haro Bicycles 4.13.94 2 Jared Graves (Aus) Yeti Cycles 4.16.37 3 John Kirkcaldie (NZl) Team Maxxis 4.18.96 4 Geritt Beytagh (USA) Team Morewood 4.19.66 5 Andrew Neethling (RSA) Honda Turner 4.20.21 6 Cody Warren (USA) Haro Bicycles 4.20.95 7 Joel Panozzo (Aus) Wtb/Foxshox/Intnese 4.24.21 8 Duncan Riffle (USA) Yeti Racing 4.25.18 9 Jared Rando (Aus) Giant/Michelin 4.26.06 10 Curtis Keene (USA) Wtb/Fox Racing Shox 4.27.13 11 Rich Houseman (USA) Yeti Racing 4.28.36 12 Chris Del Bosco (USA) Lenz Sport/Fox Shox/Oakley 4.30.44 13 Henry O'Donnell (USA) Santa Cruz Syndicate 4.33.98 14 Luke Strobel (USA) Turner/Fox/Dhz 4.34.96 15 Aaron Peters (USA) Mongoose/Hyundai 4.35.64 16 Craig Woodhead (Aus) 4.36.42 17 Dave Ziegman (USA) Big Crank Racing 4.36.56 18 Christopher Herndon (USA) Specialized/Cane Creek 4.37.10 19 Matthew Eramo (USA) Green Mt Bikes 4.37.96 20 Lars Tribus (USA) 4.39.73 21 Evan Turpen (USA) Specialized/Fox/Troy Lee Desi 4.41.61 22 Chris Heath (USA) E13/Smith/Maxxis/Foxshox 4.43.39 23 Colin Bailey (USA) Maxxis Tires 4.44.15 24 Cole Bangert (USA) Fox Shox/Yeti/Hayes/Maxxis 4.44.58 25 Luke Strom (Aus) Full Tilt/Citizen 4.45.02 26 Todd Bosch (USA) Go-Ride/Iron Horse/Manitou 4.45.29 27 Coakley Jopling (USA) Magura/Monster Energy 4.48.85 28 David Klaassenvanoorsch (USA) Khs Bicycles 4.49.53 29 James Stoddard (USA) Elevate Cycles 4.50.33 30 Joe Haley (USA) Cane Creek 4.53.14 31 Matt Fisher (USA) Full Tilt/Gt/Oakley/Gamut 4.53.70 32 Sanjay Shanbhag (USA) Rip Kyle Rip 4.55.75 33 Gene Hamilton (USA) Better Ride/Astrix 4.58.06 34 James Schwanke (USA) Kenda/Utopia/Sdg/Monster En 5.00.96 35 Jeff Evans (USA) Khs 5.02.20 36 Matt Thompson (USA) Big Crank Racing 5.02.24 37 Steve Wentz (USA) Turner/Fox/Michelin/The Fix 5.07.83 38 Waylon Smith (GBr) 5.08.06 39 Quinton Spaulding (USA) Khs 5.08.86 40 Jonathan Canfield (USA) Honda Turner 5.09.57 41 Josh Misevcis (USA) Cannondale 5.10.82 42 Chris Van Dine (USA) Go-Ride.Com 5.12.20 43 Julius Syvanen (Fin) Mountain Cycle 5.15.16 44 Paul Smith (USA) Trek 5.24.86 45 Mihai Moga (Rom) Big Crank Racing 5.30.39 46 Trevyn Newpher (USA) Snowshoe/Hopey Dampers 5.43.25 47 Ross Milan (USA) Yeti 8.20.63 Women 1 Kathy Pruitt (USA) Luna Womens Mtb Tm 5.05.60 2 Bernardita Pizarro (Chi) Cannondale Mtb Team 5.10.98 3 April Lawyer (USA) Maxxis/Intense/Oakley 5.28.70 4 Missy Giove (USA) Trixter/Foes/Spy 5.30.95 5 Melissa Buhl (USA) Khs Bicycles 5.35.48 6 Lisa Myklak (USA) Morewood Factory Team 5.49.26 7 Danni Connolly (USA) Khs 5.50.48 8 Joanna Petterson (RSA) Morewood Bikes 5.52.61 9 Melissa Miller (USA) Swd Racing/Sram 5.54.95 10 Alexis Wruble (USA) Jra Cycles/Ems 6.12.63 11 Karen Eagan (USA) Jra Cycles/Ems 6.26.18 12 Leana Gerrard (USA) Cannondale Mtb Tm 6.41.36 13 Allie Rau (USA) Velo Bella 7.11.03 14 Hillary Elgert (USA) City Bikes 7.39.43 15 Carol Gibbs (USA) Litespeed/Tomac 8.27.12 Overall standings Women 1 Kathy Pruitt (USA) 795 pts 2 Bernardita Pizarro (Chi) 776 3 April Lawyer (USA) 662 4 Lisa Myklak (USA) 655 5 Danni Connolly (USA) 641 Men 1 Jared Graves (Aus) 775 pts 2 Joel Panozzo (Aus) 685 3 John Kirkcaldie (NZl) 684 4 Andrew Neethling (NZl) 669 5 Mick Hannah (Aus) 655