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National Mountain Bike Series #5 (NMBS) - NE
East Coast National, Windham, New York, USA, July 11-13, 2008
Race 16 - July 13: Elite Women Short Track
Nash takes another victory
By Dave McElwaine in Windham, New York
Katerina Nash (Luna Womens MTB) continued to dominate the National Mountain Bike Series (NMBS) short track with a win over her team-mate Georgia Gould. Mical Dyck (Trek/VW) claimed third place over Wendy Simms (Kona), while Heather Irmiger (Gary Fisher/Subaru) rounded out the podium in fifth place. Young Emily Batty (Trek/VW) continued to impress race fans with a strong sixth place finish, just shy of a podium finish.
"I was really strong on the uphill," said Nash. "I didn't do that well on the flat. That's where Georgia was stronger. Once we got away it was clear that we each needed to take some pulls and stay clear of the group."
Gould went off the front at the gun and opened a sizeable gap on the field. Nash, the series leader, had to make a decision whether to chase down her own team-mate.
"Yeah, I'm leading the series so it's important even though it's your team-mate because you want to do well in the series," said Nash of her response to Gould's move. "I stayed behind the other racers for a little bit, but it [the gap to Gould] was starting to get a little too big so I had to go."
Often throughout the season Luna's rivals have focused on beating each other rather than chasing down the powerful squad, but that wasn't the case today. The chasers were highly motivated with Irmiger, Catherine Pendrel (Luna Womens MTB), and Wendy Simms each sharing the workload in a effort to bridge back to Gould and Nash.
"Having Luna riders on the front was a good team goal," said Gould. "It [the race] was a lot more tactical than some short tracks are."
Throughout the race one of the chasers would separate themselves from the group, only to be caught again - usually on the grassy downhill. Simms appeared to have a shot at getting to the leaders with a couple laps to go.
"I felt pretty good the first half of the race," said Simms. "Heather was actually doing quite a bit of work. I was trying to stay in between the Luna girls because I have been worked over by them before as everybody has.
"Then the two Luna girls [Nash and Gould] got away and Catherine kept trying to bridge up," she added. "Then with two laps to go I was in good position, so I went for it but Mical Dyck bridged back to me."
The new short track course at Windham Mountain traveled up a fire road climb and then made a 180 degree turn on slick off-camber grass. The riders then rode a lumpy downhill with more off-camber sections until they bottomed out near the base lodge. The course continued along a flat before tackling a small climb on a sweeping turn that took them back to the start/finish line.
How the race unfolded
Gould won the start and immediately got a gap over team-mates Pendrel, Nash, Irmiger and Dyck. On the second lap the gap continued to grow but the chasers got organized with Irmiger leading the charge.
Nash made her way back to Gould on lap three, but she brought the other chasers with her. Nash assumed the lead on the following lap and opened a 40 foot gap back to Gould, Irmiger, Simms, Dyck, and Batty.
The entire group came together with Gould on the front on the fifth place. Sue Butler (Mona Vie) had now attached herself to the back of the group. Pendrel moved to the front two laps later and simultaneously Gould slipped back to sixth position.
Nash opened a gap to Irmiger, who was taking her turn at the front of the chasers, two laps latter. Pendrel, Simms, Dyck, and Gould were all close behind her. It appeared that Nash was making one of her winning moves but again the racers came together near the start/finish.
Nash attacked again hard on lap nine and only Gould could respond. The other chasers were led by Simms, who was surprisingly fast after a week at the BC Bike Race. Sue Butler, also a BC Bike Race finisher, came unglued from the group on the climb.
The next two laps saw Gould and Nash trading pulls, but not putting significant time into the chasers. Nash attacked again on lap 12 at the climb and opened a 150 foot gap on Gould within a half lap. Behind them Irmiger led the chase followed by Simms, Pendrel, Dyck, and Batty.
Dyck moved up to claim third place on the final lap behind Nash and Gould while Pendrel slipped back to seventh.