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National Mountain Bike Series #3 (NMBS) - 2
Santa Ynez (Los Olivos), California USA, May 16-18, 2008
Race 7 - May 17: Elite Men Cross Country
Taberlay takes first NMBS victory
By Dave McElwaine in Santa Ynez, California
Australian Sid Taberlay (Avanti SRA) succeeded today in a race of attrition due to temperatures in excess of 100 degrees in Los Olivos, California. Geoff Kabush (Maxxis) took second place with a surge late in the race while Barry Wicks (Kona), who had been doing much of the work on the last lap, finished third.
After leading early in the race Todd Wells (GT Bikes) held on for a fourth place ahead of Jeremy Horgan-Kobelski (Subaru/Gary Fisher) who rounded out the podium.
As the elite men's competitors lined up for their event all were aware of the carnage that had taken place in the women's race earlier due to the heat. Many of the men had ice packs on their backs trying to keep their core temperatures down.
Expecting it to be a hot day, the race organizers and UCI officials had shortened the race to two and a quarter laps. With lap times of approximately 48 minutes, it was still to be a two hour suffer-fest.
How it unfolded
As he often does Todd Wells (GT Bikes) won the start and single-handedly created the separation that would become key to the race. Within minutes Wells was towing Wicks, Taberlay, and Horgan-Kobelski. Kabush was dangling off the back, between 50-100 metres behind the bunch.
The racers completed a quarter of a lap before coming through the start/finish to begin the first full lap. By this point Kabush seemed to surge and almost made contact with the leaders. Halfway through the lap Horgan-Kobelski was gapped off the back of the lead group, which seemed to temporarily stall Kabush's forward progress.
"I was pacing myself but it (the heat) hit me all of a sudden then I just didn't have it," admitted Horgan-Kobelski.
Kabush echoed Horgan-Kobelski's comments, describing the conditions in California as intense "It was pretty intense out there with the heat and I was just cooking early on," he said. "I didn't want to make those efforts to get on the lead group, then I caught the group going into the last lap.
"On the last significant climb I was just about to make contact [with Wicks and Taberlay] when Sid attacked," he added. "I thought I might have a chance coming into the end but I kind of blew a corner on the descent."
Coming off three World Cup races it was not surprising to see Wicks, Horgan-Kobelski, Wells, and Kabush battling one another for the race win. Many were surprised however to see Taberlay survive not only the heat but the efforts of North America's best racers.
"I was just trying to be smart out there and keep the fluids going," said Taberlay. "I got put in the front and when I saw Geoff coming [and said to myself] 'if he gets back on he has a pretty good kick'. Barry then dropped off the back and I had to ride the last couple miles by myself."
Wicks felt that he had done most of the work that got the gap back over Wells and Kabush. "I tried to ride pretty smart for the fist lap and a half just sitting in," said Wicks. "After the steep climb it was just me and Sid.
"I ended up doing a lot of work," he added. "I finally got Sid to pull through and he pulled for a bit, then he attacked. I didn't quite have it to match him so I put it into damage control."
The top five racers came into the finish with at least a 30 second gap between each of them. Most went straight to sit in the shade near the finish line while replenishing their fluids after crossing the line and nobody moved for about 20 minutes.
Racing resumes on Sunday with the short track cross country and Super D events. The weather forecast isn't good for the riders, however, with another hot day at Los Olivos expected.
For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here
Images by Dave McElwaine/www.trailwatch.net
1 Sid Taberlay (Aus) Avanti Sram 1.43.38 2 Geoff Kabush (Can) Team Maxxis 0.36 3 Barry Wicks (USA) Kona Les Gets 1.00 4 Todd Wells (USA) GT Bikes 1.59 5 Jeremy Horgan-Kobelski (USA) Subaru-Gary Fisher 2.26 6 Carl Decker (USA) Giant MTB Team 3.09 7 Jeff Schalk (USA) Trek VW- East 4.31 8 Andy Schultz (USA) Kenda Titus Hayes 6.09 9 Ross Schnell (USA) Trek/VW 6.26 10 Ignacio Torres (Mex) Turbo Bikes 7.18 11 Manuel Prado (CRc) Sho-Air/Rock N Road 9.46 12 Robert Marion (USA) Kenda Titus 11.05 13 Adam Snyder (USA) 3-D Racing 12.34 14 Mike Andres (USA) Trek/VW West Coast Team 13.20 15 Dana Weber (USA) Trek VW/Westcoast 13.33 16 Robert Herber (USA) Intense 13.40 17 Mike Phillips (USA) Adventure 212/Specialized 13.43 18 Ryan Woodall (USA) Industrynine/Powerbar 13.50 19 Tim Allen (USA) Voodoo 14.10 20 Tad Elliott (USA) U23 National Team 15.07 21 Tim Olson (USA) Trek/VW Westcoast 15.54 22 Michael Lee (USA) Trek/VW West Coast 16.15 23 Sean Donovan (USA) Cytomax/Khs 16.46 24 Charles Pendry (USA) Inland - Btd 17.21 25 Ken Burt (USA) Jamis Kenda Hayes 17.38 26 Mitchell Hoke (USA) Tokyo Jos 19.18 27 Mitchell Peterson (USA) Mona Vie/Cannondale 20.03 28 Aroussen Laflamme (Can) Webcor-Alto-Velo 21.02 29 Sedly Rivas (Mex) Turbo 22.06 30 Chad Wells (USA) 3D Racing 23.46 31 Chris Peariso (USA) Adventure 212 /Titus 24.54 32 David Williams (USA) 25.01 33 Kevin Smallman (USA) Sobe Cannondale 27.43 34 Leonardo Sandoval (USA) Ur Mamas House 27.49 35 Cody Peterson (USA) Scott Bicycles 28.13 36 Paul Freiwald (USA) Titus Cycles 29.23 37 Pablo Voigt (Mex) Turbo 29.40 38 Garnet Vertican US1 Odi /Southridge 33.16 39 Chance Noble (USA) Calif Giant Berryf Arms 1.37.05 DNS Kris Sneddon (Can) Kona Les Gets DNF Charles Jenkins (USA) Ie Bikes Racing DNF Trevor Downing (USA) Devo DNF Stephen Ettinger (USA) Arlberg Sports DNF Troy Wells (USA) Tokyo Joes DNF Alex Howard (USA) DNF Dylan Stucki (USA) Mafia Racing DNF Matt Rotroff (USA) Btd/Inland Construction DNF Chris Peterson (USA) Devo