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Sea Otter Classic - 1
Monterey, CA USA, April 12-15, 2007
Race 3 - Saturday, April 14: Short Track
Compton surprises women's field with win
Peraud comes from behind for victory in men's race
By Sue George in Monterey
Katie Compton (Spike) and Jean Christoph Peraud (Orbea) emerged victorious at the end of a wet, cold, and muddy short track battle Saturday afternoon on a course sandwiched between the dual slalom course and the Laguna Seca Raceway, where gravity racers and road pros were simultaneously competing.
The short track got off to a tentative start after the men's semi-pro event, scheduled to happen before the elites raced, was postponed until later in the day. A deluge of rain drenched racers and spectators alike in the late morning and stopped all mountain bike, road, and BMX racing action for an hour or two.
In the women's race, US National cyclo-cross champion and accomplished track racer Katie Compton (Spike) surprised most of the field at the start by going all-out from the gun. Unlike the other fast ladies, Compton did not race the time trial yesterday and therefore was assigned a starting position near the rear of the women's field.
Yet, Compton didn't stay near the back for long. Before the halfway point of the first lap, she had worked her way to the front, where she led a group that included Luna's Georgia Gould and Gary Fisher / Subaru's Heather Irminger.
"I had to work hard to get up to the lead girls," said a muddy Compton after the race. "Then I had some momentum going down the hill, so I thought I'd carry it to the top and see what happened."
Driving the pace in her trademark way, the 'cross specialist stayed at the front, and by lap three, she had built a 15 second lead.
It wasn't Compton's first short track. "I did it a long time ago," she said. The sloppy and chilly conditions on the grassy course were somewhat like a 'cross race, and her experience may have been an advantage. "I think the mud helped; however the course was not as smooth in 'cross. But the (skinny) tires and wheels I ran were good. They kept traction, so I could keep the pace uphill." Compton ran Aros 58 700c deep dish wheels by Cane Creek.
Compton indeed pushed the pace, uphill and down, and she finished with about a 30 second advantage after lapping many of her fellow competitors.
In her wake, yesterday's time trial winner Katerina Nash (Luna) first battled teammate Gould. Behind the blue-clad duo, another group of three chased, including Wendy Simms (Kona), Kiara Bisaro (Team RACE), and Willow Koerber (Subaru / Gary Fisher).
Gould suffered a crash and dropped back. As she chased to recapture lost places, she looked like she was struggling, but regained a more composed form near the end of the race. "I was up there, and I crashed on the downhill," said Gould. I lost a few seconds and three spots, and it took me a little while to get back into it. I never really got into my groove."
As the mud splattered up from the trail, some women tossed their glasses to their support crews. Those without often wiped their eyes and faces to keep their vision clear. Fortunately, with most ladies riding alone, they at least were spared the rooster tail from riders ahead.
On the last three laps, the rain resumed, but Compton rode on, looking strong and comfortable in her lead. Nash, Bisaro, Koerber, and Gould followed, each riding solo, chasing hard, but not changing places for the duration of the race.
"I sped up for the finish," said second-placed Nash, "but I was just a little far back. In the first lap, my legs just weren't ready. Then I warmed up and felt good, but at that point Katie had such a huge gap. She was too strong. I could see her on the switchbacks, but the gap was getting bigger and bigger."
Nash was undaunted by the slippery conditions everyone face. "This is mountain biking so you take whatever comes. I personally like when it's more challenging, especially the mud is kind of fun with the sliding around."
Peraud comes from behind for win
The men huddled under umbrellas and jackets until the last minute before their start, which was fast and furious from the gun. Ryan Trebon (Kona) set the pace, initially with rising star Sam Jurekovic (USA Cycling U23 National Team) hot on his heels. Trebon had reasons for his fast start. "It was so muddy, it was easier to pick your own line, and if someone balls in front of you, you could crash."
Todd Wells (GT) led the chase with Trebon's teammate Barry Wicks keeping tabs on his efforts. The field was strung out, in single file almost everywhere on the first lap as they negotiated slippery chicanes along the course.
By the end of the second lap, Trebon was off the front solo after Jurekovic couldn't hold Wells' pace and was caught and dropped by chasers. Wells continued to drive the chase, but he was marked by Wicks, who steadfastly maintained second in the chase group, thereby managing to keep any more organized effort from occurring.
"The Kona boys were working their tactics," said Max Plaxton, who sat in fourth behind Wicks.
About mid-way through the race, Wells ran out of juice and dropped rapidly off the pace, then driven by Plaxton, but still marked by Wicks. Peraud moved up and sat behind Plaxton. Geoff Kabush trailed a few seconds back on his own, but was looking stronger and stronger as the race went on.
With three to go, Peraud turned on the afterburners Trebon. "I felt good. I attacked and caught him," said Peraud. The course didn't slow Peraud down - he remarked that it wasn't nearly as bad as last year.
"I was doing all the work there because I'd been chasing (Trebon)," said Plaxton after the race. "I was hoping someone else would help me out, but when he (Peraud) passed me, I couldn't get on his wheel. I tried." Left on his own, Plaxton trailed Peraud by five seconds, and Wicks and Kabush rode together as a pair in fourth and fifth.
"The race went good until about two laps to go," said Trebon. That's when Peraud caught him as the two passed under the finish banner. "I could see him coming," said Trebon. "I was always saving a little bit and tried to hold on and maintain my position." However, a charging Peraud soon opened up a five second gap, an insurmountable lead he held until the finish.
Plaxton tried valiantly to catch Trebon, but he had to settle for third, in one of his best short track finishes ever. Kabush eventually dropped Wicks, and both finished solo, rounding out the podium.
For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here
Images by FJ Hughes/http://www.fhughesphoto.com/
Images by Sue George / Cyclingnews
Images by Mitchell Clinton/www.clintonphoto.com
Elite Women 1 Katie Compton (USA) Spike 2 Katerina Nash (Cze) Luna Women's MTB Team 3 Kiara Bisaro (Can) Opus 4 Willow Koerber (Can) Subaru-Gary Fisher 5 Georgia Gould (USA) Luna Women's MTB Team 6 Shonny Vanlandingham (USA) Luna Women's MTB Team 7 Wendy Simms (Can) Frontrunners-Steed Cycles 8 Alison Sydor (Can) Rocky Mountain/Business Objects 9 Dellys Starr (USA) BMC/Sports Garage 10 Heather Irmiger (USA) Subaru-Gary Fisher 11 Chloe Forsman (USA) Luna Women's MTB Team 12 Asa Erlandsson (Can) Subaru-Gary Fisher 13 Mical Dyck (Can) TREK/Terrascape Racing 14 Melanie Mcquaid (Can) BMC/Natures Path 15 Susan Haywood (USA) Trek/VW 16 Megan Monroe (USA) BMC-Sports Garage 17 Jennifer Gersbach (USA) BMC/Sports Garage 18 Lene Byberg (Nor) Specialized Factory Racing 19 Chrissy Bono (USA) Intense Cycles 20 Kathy Sherwin (USA) Titus 21 Lea Davison (USA) Trek/VW 22 Kelli Emmitt (USA) Giant MTB Team 23 Carolyn Popovic (USA) Trek/VW East Coast 24 Kristin Danielson (USA) Velo Bella 25 Rie Katayama (Jpn) Trek 26 Sabina Kraushaar (USA) HealthFx 27 Sara Bresnick-Zocchi (USA) Lynskey Performance 28 Sarah Kerlin (USA) Another Bike Shop 29 Sue Butler (USA) Bear Naked/ Cannondale 30 Emily Van Meter (USA) Bear Naked/Cannondale 31 Monique Sawicki (USA) Ergon / Ellsworth 32 Patricia Buerkle (USA) Tahoe Northstar/Giant 33 Jennifer Tilley (USA) Velo Bella - Kona 34 Kristina Maier (USA) BMC/ Sports Garage 35 Shannon Bibson (USA) 36 Christie Pleiss (USA) Pass PT 37 Carolyn Van Vurst (USA) Trek VW - SE Region 38 Mary-Ellen Ash (USA) Easton/Specialized 39 Melanie Meyers (USA) Kenda/ Titus/ X-Fusion MTB Team DNS Sheryl Loan (USA) Bear Naked/Cannondale Mountain DNS Theresa Richardson (USA) Bike Team DNS Nina Baum (USA) Bear Naked/Cannondale DNS Becca Blay (USA) Bear Naked/Cannondale DNS Zephanie Blasi (USA) KENDA / X-Fusion / Titus MTB Team DNS Jenna Zander (USA) Bear Naked/Cannondale Elite Men - Heat 1 (Consolation) 1 Erik Tonkin (USA) Kona/Team S&M 2 Kelly Magelky (USA) 3 Chance Noble (USA) Giant/Specialized 4 Thomas Turner (USA) Cannondale MTB 5 Nat Ross (USA) Subaru-Gary Fisher 6 Ken Onodera (Jpn) Subaru-Gary Fisher 7 Cody Peterson (USA) Scott Bicycles 8 Nick Martin (USA) Trek/VW 9 Cale Redpath (USA) 3D Racing / Santiam Bicycles / Breakaway 10 Ben Thompson (USA) Consulting 11 Unknown 12 Adam Snyder (USA) Balance Bar/DEVO 13 Michael Andres (USA) Trek VW CA 14 Matthew Hadley (Can) Rocky Mountain - Haywood 15 Shun Matsumoto (Jpn) Trek Japan 16 Paul Freiwald (USA) Titus Cycles 17 Andy Schultz (USA) Montana State University 18 Mitchell Peterson (USA) Devo 19 Kevin Smallman (USA) Bear Naked/Cannondale 20 Trevor Downing (USA) Bear Valley Bikes 21 Michael Raney (USA) Voodoo Cycles 22 Kenny Burt (USA) Motion Based / Garmin MTB Team 23 Dror Pekatch (Isr) Subaru-Gary Fisher 24 Unknown 25 Lee Michael (USA) Coast 26 Paul Hanson (USA) Naked/Cannondale Elite Men - Final 1 Jean Christophe Peraud (Fra) Orbea 2 Ryan Trebon (USA) Kona 3 Seamus Mcgrath (USA) 4 Geoff Kabush (Can) Team Maxxis 5 Barry Wicks (USA) Kona 6 Todd Wells (USA) GT Bicycles 7 Ruzafa Ruben (Can) Orbea 8 Max Plaxton (Can) Rocky Mountain Haywood 9 Adam Craig (USA) Giant MTB Team 10 Sam Schultz (USA) Subaru-Gary Fisher 11 Nino Schurter (Swi) Team 12 Liam Killeen (GBr) Specialized 13 Burry Stander (RSA) GT Bicycles 14 Christoph Sauser (Swi) Racing 15 Jeremy Horgan-Kobelski (USA) Subaru-Gary Fisher 16 Sam Jurekovic (USA) U23 National Team 17 Kris Sneddon (Can) Factory Team 18 Jeff Hall (USA) Salsa Cycles 19 Ross Schnell (USA) Trek/VW 20 Thomas Frischknecht (USA) Swisspower DNS Kevin Bradford Parish (USA) Lapierre DNS Grant Kier (USA) Red Barn Bicycles DNS Bruce Muhlfeld (USA) Trek/VW DNS Sean Donovan (USA) Cytomax/KHS Semi Pro Men 1 Tim Allen (USA) VooDoo 2 James Williams (USA) Bendelitemtb.com 3 Nigel Hill (USA) TREK VW West Coast 4 Nathan Winkelmann (USA) Bike Lane/ Edward Jones 5 Shane Bresnyan (USA) SOULCRAFT 6 Denton Bowers (USA) INTENSE CYCLES 7 Timmy Evens (USA) Rebound SPL 8 Damian Schmitt (USA) sunnyside sports 9 Allan Laframboise (USA) Don's Bikes/Intense 10 Sean Ollila (USA) Purelycustom.com 11 Lyle Warner (USA) 12 Michael Hosey (USA) SOULCRAFT 13 Art Nelsen (USA) 14 Tsering Alleyne (USA) Team Lost Coast Brewery 15 Dean Poshard (USA) 16 Luke Brechwald (USA) Rad Racing NW 17 Phil Roberts (USA) SF Velo/Cycles Gladiator 18 Evan Hyde (USA) KHS/Kenda 19 Justin Swett (USA)