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National Mountain Bike Series #4 (NMBS) - 1
Deer Valley, Park City, Utah, June 27-29, 2008
Race 4 - June 28: Elite Women Cross Country
Nash gets first cross country win
By Dave McElwaine in Park City
Katerina Nash (Luna Women's MTB), a frequent visitor to the second step on the podium, finally beat out her powerful Luna team-mates to win her first National Mountain Bike Series (NMBS) cross country race. Georgia Gould (Luna Women's MTB) rode in third position for much of the race, but nailed down second place with a massive surge on the last lap.
"I've been riding well," said Nash. "I just tried to be patient. I was climbing well and it just all came together. It was a good day.
"Catherine let me take the lead on a downhill and she made a small mistake [behind me]," she added. "From that point on I just tried not to make any mistakes."
Catherine Pendrel (Luna Women's MTB) led for much of the race, but finished third after over-shooting a corner on a fast descent. The Luna Women are the top ranked women's team in the world, due to strong World Cup performances this season.
"On the climb after the feed zone it started breaking up and Katerina and I were rolling off the front," said Pendrel. "I was feeling good so I went to the front on the climb and was going to let Katerina lead on the descent because she was descending better than me.
"I actually made a mistake on the descent," she added. "I was hoping to put in a strong last lap but Georgia put in a stronger last lap."
Many of the racers, including the Luna squad, traveled back from the World Championships in Italy this week. It was uncertain how everyone would respond to racing so soon. The question was answered in the few seconds of the race as Pendrel and Gould shot to the front and led the entire field up the mountain in a side-by-side effort.
How it unfolded
At the end of the first lap the Luna women descended the steep switchbacks to the start/finish riding in a tight formation 15 seconds ahead of a chasing Heather Irmiger (Subaru/Gary Fisher), and a surprisingly strong Pua Sawicki (Ellsworth). On the second lap, the race blew apart as Nash came through first, followed by Pendrel 20 seconds back, and Gould a further 20 seconds back.
At the end of two laps Irmiger trailed the Gould by 90 seconds, while Sawicki was an additional one minute behind. At this point they virtually had the fourth and fifth spots on the podium locked up as the gap to their rivals increased.
"Fourth place this year felt a whole lot better than fourth place last year," said Irmiger. "I was really surprised on the second lap…I could see them on the climb and they seemed really close, then suddenly the gap was two minutes. There was no real attack."
On the last lap Gould closed down a 15 second gap to Pendrel and passed her. "I am like diesel engine," said Gould. "It takes a while to get going."
For Nash, the Czech National Champion, the victory was sweet after some disappointment this season. At the NMBS race in Fountain Hills she sustained a knee injury that resulted in her narrowly missing out on a chance to represent her country at the Olympic Games in Beijing, China this August. Both of her team-mates made their respective teams - with Gould set to represent the United States of America while Pendrel will represent Canada.
Nash will maintain her lead in the NMBS Cross Country Series as the series heads east to Windham Mountain in New York for the next round.
For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here
Images by Dave McElwaine/www.trailwatch.net
1 Katerina Nash (Cze) Luna Womens Mtb Team 1.50.53 2 Georgia Gould (USA) Luna Womens Mtb Team 0.25 3 Catherine Pendrel (Can) Luna Womens Mtb Team 1.31 4 Heather Irmiger (USA) Subaru-Gary Fisher 2.48 5 Pua Sawicki (USA) Ellsworth 4.19 6 Jennifer Smith (NZl) Trek/VW 7.39 7 Mical Dyck (Can) Trek/Terrascape Racing 7.40 8 Chloe Forsman (USA) Luna Womens MTB Team 9.04 9 Judy Freeman (USA) Tough Girl/Contessa 10.18 10 Amanda Riley-Carey (USA) Kenda/Titus/Hayes 10.46 11 Jenna Zander (USA) Sobe Cannondale 11.50 12 Nina Baum (USA) Sobe-Cannondale 12.36 13 Emily Batty (Can) Trek Bicycle Store Toronto 13.35 14 Heather Holmes (USA) Kenda/Titus/Hayes 14.13 15 Kc Holley (USA) Subaru/Gary Fisher 14.48 16 Caitlyn Tuel (USA) Trek/Vw /Rocky Mountain 14.58 17 Krista Park (USA) Kenda-Titus-Hayes 14.58 18 Patricia Buerkle (USA) Vanderkitten 16.14 19 Jennifer Hanks (USA) Revolution/Peak Fastners 17.21 20 Sarah Barber (USA) Teambobs-Bicycles.Com 17.36 21 Zephanie Blasi (USA) Kenda Titus Hayes 18.25 22 Jana Repulski (USA) Team Tamarack Resort 18.44 23 Jennifer Tilley (USA) Velo Bella/Kona 19.06 24 Sonya Bugbee (USA) Yeti Beti 20.30 25 Stacey Scanlan (USA) Team Tamarack 21.32 26 Theresa Richardson (USA) Sobe Cannondale 22.44 27 Becca Blay (USA) Sobe/Cannondale 23.29 28 Shannon Edson (USA) Velo Bella 23.52 29 Lindsey Bishop (USA) Mafia Racing/Felt 25.53 30 Joy Duerksen (USA) Cole/Marten Transport 26.27 31 Heather Ranoa (USA) Intense 26.50 32 Sonya Looney (USA) Sobe Cannondale 36.19 33 Kathy Bodie (USA) Gu 36.56 34 Rachel Throop (USA) Devo DNF Kathy Sherwin (USA) Sobe-Cannondale DNF Kyia Anderson (USA) Ekho Hrm/Cannondale DNS Willow Koerber (USA) Subaru-Gary Fisher DSQ Barbara Kreisle (USA) Magura/6C