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National Mountain Bike Series #3 (NMBS) - 2
Santa Ynez (Los Olivos), California USA, May 16-18, 2008
Race 17 - May 18: Elite Men Short Track
Kabush wins in a sprint finish
By Dave McElwaine in Santa Ynez, California
Geoff Kabush (Maxxis) rode a very tactical race and beat Barry Wicks (Kona) in a sprint to the line in the blazing heat of Los Olivos, California. At least five racers had a shot at victory with only a lap to go, with Jeremy Horgan-Kobelski (Subaru/Gary Fisher) finishing a strong third followed by Todd Wells (GT Bikes) and Sid Taberlay (Avanti), who had been the surprise winner of Saturday's cross country race.
With temperatures over 100 degrees and a stiff wind, the racers knew that it was not going to be a day in which a breakaway would survive. Conservation of energy by drafting was a key tactic practiced by all the leaders and as a result, more riders actually led in this race than in any other short track in recent memory.
The course was basically two long flat sections with one gradual uphill and one steep downhill that gave several racers fits. The uphill was the only place that attacks seemed to do any damage, but generally the groups then came back together on the flats.
How it unfolded
Wicks got the hole shot and led until the uphill section where Carl Decker (Giant MTB) took the lead. Decker seemed determined not to give up the lead position but by the beginning of the second lap Kabush went by him, towing a long line of racers behind him.
Three laps into the race Taberlay took his shot at victory but despite his best efforts could not get away. As the riders crossed the start/finish they would tend to sit up until someone new would take a pull.
With three laps to go Decker made another effort at the front but could not maintain the lead. "I thought I would get to the front to see if I could get away," said Decker. "Everybody was riding really hard on the uphill. That's what was killing me every lap. These guys were all better at the acceleration.
"I was on a dually and suffering on the climbs," he added. "I could ride way faster on all the bumpy flat stuff but by the time we got to the hill they just gassed it and I would have to bridge back again."
On the bell lap Wicks led from Kabush, Horgan-Kobelski, and Wells. Each knew that the first person to round the final corner to the finishing straight would be nearly impossible to beat.
It appeared that Wicks had the race won, but just before the final corner Kabush jumped by him with a massive effort. While Wicks made a close sprint out of it, rounding that last corner first is what gave Kabush another short track victory.
The younger racers had a great showing, including Chance Nobel (California Giant Berry) who rode with the leaders until the final few laps before finishing eighth. Andy Schultz also had his best short track result, finishing seventh. For much of the race Schultz was in no man's land, before finally bridging to the leaders but could not maintain his position.
"It was a good race," said Schultz. "It was the first time I rode at the front. It's actually easier because people would sit up and take turns pulling. But, I just couldn't hit the descent quite with the speed of everyone else."
Absent from the racing today was United States of America National Champion Adam Craig (Giant MTB), who is in Europe preparing for the next World Cup race in Andorra. Also missing were Jeremiah Bishop (Trek/VW), Ryan Trebon (Kona) and Michael Broderick (Kenda/Seven).
For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here
Images by Dave McElwaine/www.trailwatch.net
1 Geoff Kabush (Can) Team Maxxis 26.02 2 Barry Wicks (USA) Kona Les Gets 0.13 3 Jeremy Horgan-Kobelski (USA) Subaru-Gary Fisher 0.22 4 Todd Wells (USA) GT Bikes 0.27 5 Sid Taberlay (GBr) Avanti Sram 0.28 6 Carl Decker (USA) Giant MTB Team 7 Andy Schultz (USA) Kenda Titus Hayes 0.30 8 Chance Noble (USA) Calif Giant Berryf Arms 0.51 9 Jeff Schalk (USA) Trek VW- East 1.07 10 Troy Wells (USA) Tokyo Joes 11 Cody Peterson (USA) Scott Bicycles 1.08 12 Mike Phillips (USA) Adventure 212/Specialized 1.09 13 Charles Pendry (USA) Inland - Btd 1.10 14 Mitchell Peterson (USA) Mona Vie/Cannondale 1.16 15 Dana Weber (USA) Trek VW/Westcoast 1.20 16 Robert Marion (USA) Kenda Titus 1.22 17 Mitchell Hoke (USA) Tokyo Jos 18 Tim Allen (USA) Voodoo 1.25 19 Chris Peariso (USA) Adventure 212 /Titus 1.31 20 Ryan Woodall (USA) Industrynine/Powerbar 1.45 21 Adam Snyder (USA) 3-D Racing 2.17 22 Mike Andres (USA) Trek/VW West Coast Team 2.36 23 Aroussen Laflamme (Can) Webcor-Alto-Velo 2.42 24 Tad Elliott (USA) U23 National Team 2.43 25 Michael Lee (USA) Trek/VW West Coast 2.48 26 Tm Olson (USA) Trek/VW Westcoast 3.13 27 Chris Peterson (USA) Devo 6.04 28 Paul Freiwald (USA) Titus Cycles 7.04 29 Chad Wells (USA) 3D Racing 9.04 30 Stephen Ettinger (USA) Arlberg Sports 10.04 31 Trevor Downing (USA) Devo 11.04 32 Matt Rotroff (USA) Btd/Inland Construction One lap down 33 Kevin Smallman (USA) Sobe Cannondale 34 Matt Freeman (USA) Cyclery Usa/Gary Fisher 35 Dylan Stucki (USA) Mafia Racing DNS Kris Sneddon (Can) Kona Les Gets DNF Pablo Voigt (Mex) Turbo DNF Noah Holcomb (USA) Sobe Cannondale DNF Sean Donovan (USA) Cytomax/KHS DNF Ross Schnell (USA) Trek/VW