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National Mountain Bike Series #3 (NMBS) - 2
Santa Ynez (Los Olivos), California USA, May 16-18, 2008
Race 16 - May 18: Elite Women Short Track
Nash wins again
By Dave McElwaine in Santa Ynez, California
In dusty 100 degree heat Katerina Nash (Luna MTB) again proved she is the queen of short track cross country by winning the women's event in Los Olivos, California. Without team-mate Georgia Gould in the race, due to the effects of the heat exhaustion she suffered in Saturday's race, Nash was challenged by a host of other competitors.
Kelli Emmett (Giant MTB) continued to have a fantastic weekend by taking second in an exciting sprint with Heather Irmiger (Subaru/Gary Fisher). Mical Dyck (Trek/VW) was fourth, followed by Catherine Pendrel (Luna MTB).
The short track course at the Chamberlain Ranch in Los Olivos was one of the flattest that the racers will face all year. The only hill was the scene of virtually every attack in the race, but significant headwinds forced the racers to ride in packs, making any solo breakaway very difficult.
How it unfolded
Emmett made the most of her front row start by getting the hole shot and leading most of the first lap. Both Pendrel and Irmiger took turns leading the race, but Emmett made her way back to the front following the second lap. While the jockeying was taking place, Nash was quietly biding her time and conserving energy behind them.
On the third lap Pendrel went to the front and increased the tempo with team-mate Nash closely behind. It almost appeared that Pendrel was going to sacrifice her race to split the group, making Nash's chances that much better. But shortly thereafter Nash launched the first of her two attacks and only Dyck was able to hold her wheel.
This attack ran out of steam as Irmiger, Pendrel, and Emmett bridged across the gap and became one group again. With two laps to go, Nash attacked again on the climb and immediately opened an impressive gap. The chasers were then relegated to battle it out for second place.
On the final climb of the race Irmiger led at the bottom but Emmette made it around her by the top of the hill.
"It was pretty tough and the headwind played a huge factor so it was a lot more tactical than usual," said Emmett. "Katerina made two attacks and the last one stuck and we couldn't chase her."
Emmett led Irmiger around the last corner to the finish. Both started sprinting as soon as they could see the line, with Emmett besting Irmiger only by inches.
"I lost second by a wheel knob," lamented Irmiger. "I was feeling really good and actually was thinking I could catch Katerina. But, I'm not really all that fast on the flat stuff so that's where my legs really started to hurt bad.
"Then Kelli attacked and I was really psyched to be able to sprint with her because she is really strong," she added. "She is the master of sprinting and the master of flats. The fact that I was within a tire knob makes me pretty stoked."
Nash said it was unusual racing without team-mate Gould present. Gould had been leading yesterday's elite women's cross country event when she was forced from the bike and taken to hospital suffering from heat exhaustion in the 103 degree temperatures.
"Usually we would set a faster pace in the beginning, and today, as you saw, it was a big group," said Nash. "It was kind of unusual but the course and the wind sort of favored the group staying away."
Nash now has a commanding lead in the NMBS short track series with two wins and a second place. Notably absent today were United States of America National short track champion Mary McConneloug (Kenda/Seven), Wendy Simms (Kona), Willow Koerber (Subaru/Gary Fisher), and Kathy Sherwin (Cannondale/Sobe). McConneloug had opted to stay in Europe after the first three rounds of the World Cup.
For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here
Images by Dave McElwaine/www.trailwatch.net
1 Katerina Nash (Cze) Luna Womens MTB Team 25.17 2 Kelli Emmett (USA) Giant MTB Team 0.07 3 Heather Irmiger (USA) Subaru-Gary Fisher 4 Mical Dyck (Can) Trek/Terrascape Racing 0.08 5 Catherine Pendrel (Can) Luna Womens MTB Team 6 Lea Davison (USA) Trek/VW 0.40 7 Heather Holmes (USA) Kenda/Titus/Hayes 0.46 8 Jenna Zander (USA) Sobe Cannondale 0.48 9 Sue Butler (USA) Monavie/Cannondale 10 Emily Van Meter (USA) Sobe/Cannondale 0.53 11 Jennifer Smith (NZl) Trek/VW 0.58 12 Maureen Kunz (USA) Lost Coast Brewery 13 Zephanie Blasi (USA) Kenda Titus Hayes 1.07 14 Amanda Riley-Carey (USA) Kenda/Titus/Hayes 1.24 15 Krista Park (USA) Kenda-Titus-Hayes 1.29 16 Nina Baum (USA) Sobe-Cannondale 1.50 17 Chloe Forsman (USA) Luna Womens MTB Team 1.53 18 Annajean Dallaire (USA) Sobe-Cannondale 2.02 19 Shannon Gibson (USA) Velo-Bella/Kona 2.16 20 Heather Ranoa (USA) Intense 2.36 21 Patricia Buerkle (USA) Tahoe Northstar/Giant 3.04 22 Joy Duerksen (USA) Cole/Marten Transport 3.14 23 Jennifer Tilley (USA) Velo Bella/Kona 3.17 One lap behind 24 Theresa Richardson (USA) Sobe Cannondale DNS Pua Sawicki (USA) Ellsworth DNS Rachel Lloyd (USA) Proman/Paradigm DNS Carolyn Popovic (USA) Cicle/Bear Valley Bikes DNS Christie Pleiss (USA) Cicle/Bear Valley Bikes DNS Georgia Gould (USA) Luna Womens MTB Team DNS Susan Haywood (USA) Trek/VW DNF Danae York (USA) Velobum.Com/Turner Suspension Bikes DNS Sarah Kaufmann (USA) Titus/Roaring Mouse Cycles DNF Judy Freeman (USA) Tough Girl/Contessa