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NORBA US national series #7 - NE
Snowshoe, WV, USA, August 18-21, 2005
Race 7 - August 21: Short track cross-country
Excitement plus as short track rips riders
By Steve Medcroft in Snowshoe
Everyone at Snowshoe knew the short track race were going to offer plenty of excitement before they even started. The sun was out. The wind was gusting across the mountaintop. The course, which Team Maxxis manager Eric Wallace called the 'Hurricane of Pain' because it featured 100-feet of elevation gain over a third of the 0.8 kilometer lap, would favour power riders like Geoff Kabush (Team Maxxis) and Shonny Vanlandingham (Luna Chix).
Former US short track national champion and Trek/VW rider Sue Haywood wanted to put on a show in her hometown race, and teammate Jeremiah Bishop seemed determined to earn a NORBA triple podium - he was racing short track after winning the marathon and coming second in the cross country race.
Jeremy Horgan-Kobelski (Subaru-Gary Fisher) would be looking for redemption after crashing out of Saturday's cross-country race. Katerina Hanusova (Luna Chix) was after her third short track win of the year. Dara Marks-Marino (Ford-Specialized), who tasted the top step of the NORBA podium for the first time in the short track in Aspen, Colorado's Snowmass NORBA, has set a personal goal to win another this year.
Add to that a decent-sized crowd hovering near the finish line and Eric Wallace working the Public Address system like a high-school football announcer, and the race delivered on its hype.
Hanusova was aggressive from the start of the women's race. She strung the field out so fast than riders were being pulled off the course within the first five minutes of racing. She didn't stay away alone though. Sue Haywood and Dara Marks-Marino bridged up. Shonny Vanlandingham dangled in the wind for two laps but eventually made contact. Half way into the race, Luna Chix had two riders who could potentially work together in a lead group of four.
But Vanlandingham was blown by the effort of catching on and as soon as the group slowed coming into the second-to-last lap to begin the long climb through the finish, Hanusova tested her legs and opened a sharp gap.
"I needed to ride smart," Hanusova said after the race. "Sue Haywood is a super strong rider and has a lot of fans, so she was extra motivated to do well here. I just had to keep attacking and hope I could last." Haywood and Marks-Marino chased, but Hanusova, who had ridden the climb all day in her large chainring while much of the field middle-ringed it, had put too much rough air in front of her chasers to lose. The win was her third NORBA short track victory in 2005.
The men's race developed in a completely different way from the women's. For the first ten minutes, it seemed as if the entire men's field was intent on staying together and marching, single file, around the course. "Everyone was so tired from yesterday," eventual winner Seamus McGrath said at the finish. "Everyone was hanging out, waiting for someone else to go."
That someone would be Todd Wells (GT-Hyundai) who decided to press on a particularly soft section of the course (a short gravel downhill) and pulled an elite group of four other riders [Geoff Kabush (Team Maxxis) JHK (Subaru-Gary Fisher), Chris Sheppard (Haro) and Seamus McGrath (Haro)] away with him.
Subaru-Gary Fisher's Trent Lowe and Jeremiah Bishop chased but could never close the space between themselves and the leaders and the five riders came into the final three laps together.
Sheppard was the first to push into the wind for the win but was pulled back by Geoff Kabush just as the group was making the turn to come up the climb through the start/finish line. It was at that moment that McGrath saw an opportunity and countered. "It slowed right down when they caught Chris (Sheppard) so it was the perfect chance for me to escape."
His gap stuck and he rode the final lap solo, never in danger of being caught by the hard-chasing Kabush again. Sunday's win was McGrath's third Short-Track NORBA win.
For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here
Images by Steve Medcroft/Cyclingnews.com
Men 1 Seamus McGrath (Can) Haro Bicycles 24.20.75 2 Geoff Kabush (Can) Team Maxxis 0.01.53 3 Jeremy Horgan-Kobelski (USA) Subaru-Gary Fisher 0.02.15 4 Todd Wells (USA) Gt/Hyundi 0.15.43 5 Chris Sheppard (Can) Haro Bicycles 0.20.27 6 Trent Lowe (Aus) Subaru-Gary Fisher 0.33.55 7 Jeremiah Bishop (USA) Trek/Vw 0.34.47 8 Mathieu Toulouse (Can) Team Maxxis 0.37.95 9 Peter Wedge (Can) Kona/Les Gets 0.42.63 10 Brent Miller (Aus) Wtb/Fox Shox/Santa Cruz 0.54.81 11 Roland Green (Can) Kona/Les Gets 0.55.06 12 Joshua Powers (USA) Red Rock Racing 13 Adam Snyder (USA) Balance Bar/Devo 14 Christopher Phillips (USA) Gary Fisher 15 Jorel Hendershot (USA) Cannondale Mtn Bike 16 Bryan Fawley (USA) Wheelsinmotion/Kenda 17 Earl Bradley (USA) Southeast Trek-Vw/Jbl 18 Nick Martin (USA) Trek-Vw 19 Troy Wells (USA) Kona/Easton/Cca/Sra 20 Thomas Spannring (Aus) 1800 Contacts/Jans 21 Joey Thompson (USA) Balance Bar/Devo 22 Eric Ransom (USA) Tamarack Resort/Intense 23 Thomas Turner (USA) Cannondale Pro Mtb Team 24 Charles Pendry (USA) Inland -Btd 25 Dylan Cooper (Aus) Ausnatlteam 26 Jason Sager (USA) Team Hotel San Jose 27 Nick Waite (USA) U23 National Team 28 Charles Storm (USA) Inlandconst/Btd 29 Daniel McConnell (Aus) Aus Natl Team DNF Daniel Matheny (USA) Wood-N-Wave Women 1 Katerina Hanusova (Cze) Luna Womens Mtb Team 24.50.91 2 Susan Haywood (USA) Trek-Volkswagen 0.04.55 3 Dara Marks-Marino (USA) Ford/Specialized 0.07.84 4 Shonny Vanlandingham (USA) Luna Womens Mtb Team 0.19.17 5 Heather Irmiger (USA) Tokyo Joes/Go Lite 0.37.47 6 Kerry Barnholt (USA) Subaru-Gary Fisher 0.52.27 7 Alison Dunlap (USA) Luna Womens Mtb Team 0.57.80 8 Georgia Gould (USA) Tamarack 1.01.44 9 Kathy Sherwin (USA) Biogen-Idec 1.10.98 10 Willow Koerber (USA) Subaru-Gary Fisher 1.24.40 11 Sara Bresnick-Zocchi (USA) Ford/Specialized 1.39.98 12 Kelli Emmett (USA) Ford/Specialized 13 Jenna Zander (USA) Cannondale 14 Lea Davison (USA) Balance Bar/Devo 15 Zephanie Blasi (USA) Kenda/Dt Swiss/Gu 16 Laura Bowles (USA) Inlandconst/Btd 17 Nina Baum (USA) Cannondale 18 Emma Colson (Aus) Aus Natl Team 19 Trudi Franzel (USA) Scott Usa 20 Kimberly Flynn (USA) Defeet 21 Kristi Lewis (USA) Sun & Ski Sports 22 Chenoah Hendershot (USA) Cannondale 23 Kristy Mantz (USA) Snowshow/Dirtbean.Com 24 Shannon Gibson (USA) Crazy Cat Cyclery/Yeti Grassroots 25 Cassandra Perkins (USA) Land Rover Touring Sport 26 Theresa Richardson (USA) Cannondale Mtn Bike Team 27 Caitlyn Tuel (USA) Penn State 28 Heather Svahn (USA) Reno Wheelman/The Backcountry Overall standings Women 1 Katerina Hanusova (Cze) 1053 pts 2 Sue Haywood (USA) 1000 3 Shonny Vanlandingham (USA) 978 4 Dara Marks-Marino (USA) 972 5 Heather Irmiger (USA) 856 Men 1 Geoff Kabush (Can) 1063 pts 2 Jeremy Horgan-Kobelski (USA) 936 3 Todd Wells (USA) 917 4 Seamus McGrath (Can) 900 5 Adam Craig (USA) 842