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Sea Otter Classic - 1
Monterey, CA USA, April 12-15, 2007
Race 6 - Sunday, April 15: Downhill
Atherton, Rennie Score Fastest Descents to Win Downhill Races
By Wendy Booher
"We'll take that," said Sea Otter fans today to sunny, windy weather in comparison to yesterday's rain. Crowds thickened near the top around the jumps, rhythm sections, and berms and then drifted downward as fields studded with world and national champions chipped away at finishing times. Rachel Atherton (Animal/Commencal) and Australian National Champion Nathan Rennie (Santa Cruz Syndicate) scored the fastest times on the 0.93-mile course. In a race where hundredths of seconds separated first from second, Rennie slashed more than two seconds off of second place finisher, Jared Graves. 19-year-old Atherton clinched her win by lassoing a little wind power while Rennie credited a smooth ride on a semi-slick rear tire to his win.
"We just had the best setup," said Rennie. "Semi-slick tire in back helped to ride smooth because you can't make too many mistakes on this course."
Atherton took advantage of wind direction coming out of some of the jumps to blow her back on course and straight toward the finish line. "Going into some of the turns you have to ride directly into the wind," said Atherton. "Because if you don't and you catch some air, you're likely to get blown off course."
Atherton arrived at Sea Otter for the first time with brothers Gee and Dan who also came to try their luck against a "best of" field of gravity racers. According to Rachel, who is the youngest of the three, they could be at the frontier of an up-and-coming gravity scene that's starting to grow in the UK.
World downhill champion, Sabrina Jonnier, earned a spot in the top five but couldn't defend the prestigious rainbow stripes of the world champion's jersey in today's races.
"I tried but couldn't," said Jonnier. "They (legs) don't work as well; my 'battery' is running really low. I think I was OK on the technical but the pedaling was hard for me."
Jonnier settled for fourth behind third place Melissa Buhl (KHS), second place Fionn Griffiths (Griffiths), and Atherton.
Elite Women 1 Rachel Atherton (Animal Commencal) 2.34 2 Fionn Griffiths (Griffiths Racing) 0.01 3 Melissa Buhl (KHS Bicycles) 0.02 4 Sabrina Jonnier (Monster Energy/Iron) 5 Kathy Pruitt (Jamis Bikes) 0.03 6 Jill Kintner (GT Bicycles) 0.05 7 Tara Llanes (Giant Mtb Team) 0.07 8 Micayla Gatto 9 Lisa Myklak (Morewood/Leelikesbik) 10 Joanna Petterson (Morewood Bikes / Cos) 0.10 11 Caroline Jarolimek (The Fix) 12 Mio Suemasa (Funfancy/Intense) 0.13 13 Abigail Hippely (Maverick) 0.14 14 Claire Bucher 0.15 15 Miranda Miller (Mad March Racing/ TE) 0.16 16 Katrina Strand (Scott Bikes) 0.19 17 Jacqueline Harmony (Team Cactus Bikes) 0.23 18 Wendy Reynolds (Bearnaked/Cannondale) 0.24 19 Leana Gerrard (Bear Naked / Cannond) 0.26 20 April Lawyer (Team Maxxis) 21 Emily Johnston (Go-Ride) 0.28 22 Gabriela Williams 0.29 23 Nevin Steinmetz 0.32 24 Jessica Vogt 0.33 25 Allegra Burch (Velo Bella Kona) 26 Hiroka Nakagawa (Team Commencal) 27 Chrystal Tunnell (Morewood Sram Cycles) 0.36 28 Carol Gibbs (Roter Bicycles) 0.37 29 Tasa Herndon (TTR) 0.40 30 Amber Zirnhelt 31 Mariska Chuse (Dark Horse Racing) 0.42 32 Stephanie Hatalsky 0.47 33 Katie Holden (Fluidride) 1.09 DNF Addie Stewart (Go-Ride) DNF Tenille Smith Elite Men 1 Nathan Rennie (Santa Cruz Syndicate) 2.13 2 Jared Graves (Yeti / Fox Racing FA) 0.03 3 Steve Peat (Santa Cruz Syndicate) 4 Filip Polc 5 Chris Kovarik (MS - Intense Factory) 0.04 6 Jurgen Beneke (Old World Plaster) 0.05 7 Cedric Gracia (Oakley/Commencal) 8 Bryn Atkinson (Gt Bicycles) 0.06 9 Gee Atherton (Animal Commencal) 10 Chris Vandine (Cannondale The Cut) 11 Ryan Finney (Wtb Fox Santa Cruz) 12 Brian Lopes 0.07 13 Cody Warren (C-Dub Racing) 14 Duncan Riffle (Honda Ironhorse) 15 Dan Atherton (Animal Commencal) 16 Eric Carter 17 Mick Hannah (Cannondale The Cut) 0.08 18 Shaums March (Mmr Camps Marin Bike) 19 Justin Leov (Yeti / Fox Racing Fa) 20 Sam Blenkinsop 0.09 21 Geritt Beytagh (Morewoodbikes Usa) 22 Jared Rando (Giant Mtb Team) 23 Waylon Smith (KHS) 24 Dave Cullinan 25 Curtis Keene (Cane Creek) 26 Ross Milan (Yeti / Fox Racing FA) 0.10 27 Andrew Neethling (Honda/Turner) 28 Christopher Herndon (Core Creek) 29 Curtis Beavers 30 Mark Weir (Wtb/Santa Cruz) 0.11 31 Aurelien Giordanengo (Rivierabike.Com Fmf) 32 Cameron Cole (Team Maxxis) 33 Andrew Mitchell (Cove/Sram) 34 Jon Wilson (Dirt Works/Pimp Bike) 35 Nathan Riddle (Mountain Cycle/ Arro) 0.12 36 George Stephenson Iii (Ellsworth Bicycles ) 37 Evan Turpen (X-Fusion/ Iron Horse) 38 Cole Bangert (Morewood Bikes/Utopi) 39 Karim Amour (Rivierabike.Com Fmf) 0.13 40 Aaron Peters (Wtb Santa Cruz) 41 Steve Smith (Cove/Sram) 42 Mike Haderer (Fox Shox/Yeti/Easton) 43 Daniel Weinman (Paradise Power Co.) 0.14 44 Mark Clemens (Hutchinson) 45 Scott Martinez (Intense/Atomlab) 46 Heikki Hall (E.13 Hayes Michelin) 47 Joel Bain (Fox Racing) 48 Kyle Wideman (Wtb) 49 Scott Fellers (Supercede) 0.15 50 Steve Wentz 51 Tyler Morland (Sram) 52 Ian Odom (Khs) 53 Matt Fisher (The Fix And Turner B) 54 Nick Quinn (Calgary Cycle DH Tea) 55 John Hauer (X Fusion Shoxspecial) 56 Chris Heath (Pedal The Peaks/Iron) 0.16 57 Dave Mclaughlin (Eastern Bikes) 58 Lars Sternberg (Iron Horse/Fluidride) 59 Jeff Kendall-Weed (Cal Poly Wheelman) 60 Garrick Anderson (G-Unit) 61 Mathieu Laurin (Marin Bikes) 62 Nicholas O'neil (Privteer) 63 David Beeson (G.T./Mongoose) 64 Luke Strobel (Team Maxxis) 65 Sam Hill (Monster Energy/Iron) 66 Hank Cadle (Intense National) 0.17 67 Tj Sharp (Yeti / Fox Racing Fa) 68 Alfonso Garcia (Team Rotec) 69 Kim Eakin (Bear Naked-Cannondale) 0.18 70 Scott Papola (Fox Shox/ Yeti/ East) 71 Sean Mcclendon (Decline) 72 Cody Wilderman (Team Totally Wired) 73 Kyle Adams (Odi-Southridge) 74 Tommy Tokarczyk (Jamis Bikes) 0.19 75 Michael Jones (Mmr Camps Marin Bike) 76 Daniel Hultgen 77 Ryan Cranston (Ruby Canyon/Speciali) 0.20 78 Kyle Ritchie 78 Julius Suvanen (Commencal Usa) 80 Keith Mott (KHS) 81 Kain Leonard (Astrix/Shimano) 82 Chris Boice 0.21 83 Andrew Pierce (Gor Ride.Com) 84 Quinton Spaulding (KHS Bicycles) 85 Michael Forest 86 Shawn Wilson (Oakley X-Fusion Gamu) 0.22 87 Trevor Martin (Pedal The Peaks) 88 Guilherme Renke (Versus Cycles) 89 Eric Opperman (Dh Reno) 0.23 90 Sean Methven (Turner/Michelin) 0.25 91 Rick Goldrup (Swd Racing) 92 Andrew Parson (Versus Cycles) 0.26 93 Mike Howse (The Fix Maxxis Ironh) 0.27 94 Dante Harmony (Team Cactus Bikes) 95 Jesse Jackson (Michelin Motion Tire) 96 Matt Medore (Nicolai Usa) 0.28 97 Zachary Griffith (Leelikesbikes) 98 Tom Grzesik (Coaltion Clothing) 99 Rudy Unrau (Yeti Rpm) 0.30 100 Phil Wheeler (Fleet Street Cycles) 0.31 101 Dominick Menard (Giant Bicycle Canada) 0.32 102 Jason Simon (PTP Iron Horse) 0.33 103 Stephen Darcy (Go-Ride) 104 Jonathan Canfield (Honda/Ironhorse) 0.35 105 Mihai Moga (Big Crank Racing) 0.36 106 Evelio Suarez (Nicolai) 0.37 107 Tom Wehe (Kenda-Turner) 1.01 DNF Amiel Cavarlier (Giant Mtb Team) DNF Jiro Makamura (Wb Santa Cruz) DNF Matt Thompson (Big Crank Racing) DNF Chris Powell (Avent/Bombshell) DNF Kyle Strait (Specialized Factory) DNF Ryan Condrashoff (WTB/X-Fusion/Santacr) DNF Daniel Baggs DNF Steve Johnson