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Sea Otter Classic Mountain Bike Races - 1

Monterey, California, USA, April 16-19, 2009

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Race 14 - April 19: Downhill - Elite men & women

Moseley fastest on dusty track

By Sue George in Monterey, California

Tracy Moseley (Trek) nears the finish
Photo ©: Dave McElwaine
(Click for larger image)

Tracy Moseley (Trek World Cup) took a narrow victory overy Melissa Buhl (KHS) in the elite women's downhill on Sunday morning. Moseley started first and enjoyed an open track en route to setting a time that would hold up as the fastest throughout the finals.

While waiting for the rest of the racers to finish and before she had any idea she had won, Moseley said of her run, "I'm pretty disappointed. I unclipped in the first turn and it took me a bit to clip back in and find my rhythm. I overcooked another turn, too. I wasn't riding as precisely as I would have liked."

Nonetheless, her run was still good enough for a win, which she collected thanks to a 0.6-second advantage over Buhl.

Buhl, who was the last rider to start and the other top favorite besides Moseley, encountered some traffic on the way down. She ran into interference in the final stretch as she attempted to pass the rider who had started in front of her, Abigail Hippely. "I've passed riders before, but I've never lost by this close of a margin after doing so. On this course, it's so close."

"My run was pretty good other than not being able to get around a rider at the end," said Buhl, who yelled a warning as she approached Hippely, but Hippely seemed startled and didn't yield the track until Buhl yelled again. "Anywhere I needed to put the power down, I felt like I could. I recovered really well from yesterday's dual slalom [which Buhl won. - ed.]."

Melissa Buhl (KHS)
Photo ©: Dave McElwaine
(Click for larger image)

Since no qualifiers were held, racers were put in a start order of reverse finish from the previous year. However, Moseley, who was slated to begin as the sixth rider out of 29, was concerned about potentially having to pass slower riders, and requested and received permission to start first.

Buhl said that while seeding runs are normally done, it would not have benefitted her in this instance. "A seeding run is helpful, but in this scenario, that wasn't the issue. The rider I passed is of good calibre. I think she should have been more conscious of what was going on. She was coasting to the finish so she either had a crash or a mechanical, but when that happens you should pull off. That's a matter of rider communication and as riders, we'll talk about it." Buhl was disappointed, but already thinking of solutions that might address the issue in the future.

Kathy Pruitt (Jamis) finished in third place. She looked tired after a long previous day of racing dual slalom and a team dinner last night. "It's hot and everyone is tired," said Pruitt. "The race is harder than normal. This course is fun in practice, but it's not fun to race. There is too much pedalling and you want at least some part of every course to be scary. There were none of those parts today." The Sea Otter downhill course is known on the circuit as one that does not drop significant elevation or offer significant technical obstacles.

The dusty and dry conditions didn't make it any easier. "The track is deteriorating a lot," said winner Moseley. "Each run, it's been getting looser."

Hannah continues strong comeback

Race winner Mick Hannah (GT)
Photo ©: Dave McElwaine
(Click for larger image)

After starting mid-way through the elite men's field contesting the downhill finals, Mick Hannah (GT) set an early fast time that held up as all the other favorites attempted to beat him. The man who came closest was last year's winner Greg Minnaar (Santa Cruz Syndicate), who also won last weekend's World Cup opener at home in South Africa. Minnaar was the final rider to make his run.

Racers tackled a dry and slippery course, which was the same as last year; however, this year, racers benefitted a bit from a tailwind.

"I didn't think my run would be quick enough," said Hannah. "I had a bobble. On one of the jumps up top, I landed off the front of it." Hannah qualified fastest last weekend and along with his win today proved that his comeback, after a year off racing, is well on track.

"I think the time off helped," said the winner Hannah. "I'm definitely fresher."

Minnaar finished just 0.06 seconds behind Hannah.

"I rode like a twat," said Minnaar, who was outwardly disappointed with his run. "I don't mind finishing second when I've ridden my best, but for some reason, I dabbed my brakes in the middle of one of the two turns high up. I lost all my speed, and that effect multiples coming out of the corner, and then I tried to play catch up the rest of the way. There is no room for mistakes on this course."

Greg Minnaar (Santa Cruz Syndicate)
Photo ©: Dave McElwaine
(Click for larger image)

Fellow South African Andrew Neethling (Trek World Cup) finished in third place. "I'm over the moon," he said with a big smile after his run. "This is my best finish."

"I've been having messy race runs, so I tried to do this one smoothly. One of my feet came out on the first turn, and someone said to me, 'It's ok Needles,' cause he thought I was going to stress about it and I probably would have, so I said to myself, "It's ok, it's just a foot, no big deal, and then I picked all the right spots to pedal the rest of the way down."

"To be so close to Greg and Mick after they were so strong last week feels really good," said Neethling.


For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here

Images by Dave McElwaine/www.trailwatch.net


Elite men

1 Mick Hannah (Aus)             
2 Greg Minnaar (RSA)                         0.00.06
3 Andrew Neethling (RSA) Trek World Cup      0.00.71
4 Justin Leov (NZl) Trek World Cup           0.00.88
5 Brian Lopes (USA)                          0.01.06
6 Eric Carter (USA)                          0.01.20
7 Dan Atherton (GBr)                         0.01.44
8 Jared Rando (USA)                          0.01.74
9 Bryn Atkinson (Aus)                        0.02.14
10 Nathan Rennie (Aus)                              
11 Cody Warren (USA)                         0.02.21
12 Sam Hill (USA)                            0.02.79
13 Cedric Gracia (And) Furious               0.03.12
14 Joe Lawwill (USA) Santa Cruz              0.03.38
15 Marc Beaumont (GBr)                       0.03.41
16 Lars Sternberg (USA)                      0.03.45
17 Jd Swanguen                               0.03.58
18 Duncan Riffle (USA) Duncan Riffle         0.03.69
19 Kirt Voreis (USA)                         0.04.12
20 Waylon Smith (GBr)                        0.04.36
21 Brad Benedict (USA) Duncan Riffle         0.04.52
22 Curtis Keene (USA) Specialized            0.04.73
23 Chris Boice (USA)                         0.05.75
24 Brad Oien (USA)                           0.05.86
25 Jon Wilson (USA) Northstar                0.06.54
26 Steve Smith (Can)                         0.06.55
27 Evan Turpen (USA) Santa Cruz              0.06.59
28 Rich Houseman (USA)                       0.06.63
29 Matthew Simmonds (GBr)                    0.06.90
30 Ryan Condrashoff (USA) X-Fusion           0.06.91
31 Kyle Strait (USA)                         0.07.47
32 Kieran Bennett (USA) X-Fusion             0.07.75
33 Ross Milan (USA)                          0.07.82
34 Jeff Kendall-Weed (USA)                   0.07.92
35 Matt Fisher (USA) Mafia                   0.07.96
36 Ben Furbee (USA) Furbdog                  0.07.97
37 Scott Papola (USA)                        0.08.21
38 Nathaniel Lewis (USA)                     0.08.31
39 Cody Wilderman (USA) Yeti Fox             0.08.33
40 Josh Bryceland (GBr) Santa Cruz           0.08.36
41 Quentin Derbier (Fra) Rider's             0.08.43
42 George Stephenson Iii (USA) Yeti Fox      0.08.79
43 Scott Fellers (USA) Supercede             0.08.94
44 Joey Schusler (USA)                       0.08.96
45 Ryan Culp (USA)                           0.08.98
46 Tyler Mccaul (USA) GT Bikes                      
47 Rick Goldrup (USA)                        0.09.00
48 Erik Nelson (USA) Fox Racing              0.09.05
49 Brendan Fairclough (GBr)                  0.09.08
50 Jon Buckell (USA)                         0.09.24
51 Daniel Baggs (USA) Lezyne                 0.09.57
52 Tyler Gnitt (Can)                         0.10.42
53 Sam Benedict (USA)                        0.10.78
54 Mike Haderer (USA)                        0.10.93
55 Nick Olson (USA)                          0.11.19
56 Kevin Aiello (USA)                        0.11.49
57 Neko Mulally (USA)                        0.11.56
58 Amado Stachenfeld (USA) Santa Cruz        0.11.69
59 T Asprey (USA) Watta Bike                 0.11.76
60 Mitchell Delfs (Aus)                      0.11.88
61 Steve Wentz (USA)                         0.11.89
62 Caleb Cambern (USA) Transition            0.11.91
63 Alejandro Ortiz (Ecu)                     0.12.00
64 Quinton Spaulding (USA)                   0.12.04
65 Ariel Lindsley (USA)                      0.12.14
66 Chris Shewmake (USA)                      0.12.20
67 Camilo Sanchez (Col)                      0.12.27
68 John Hauer (USA) X-Fusion                 0.12.38
69 Kayman Benetti (USA)                      0.12.43
70 Graeme Pitts (USA) Santa Cruz             0.12.55
71 Jonathan Widen (USA) Factory              0.13.09
72 Kevin Albert (USA) Thunder                0.13.10
73 Craig Harvey (USA)                        0.13.45
74 Tyler Wilson (USA)                        0.13.46
75 Junya Nagata (Jpn) Funfancy               0.13.53
76 Ryan Cornilsen (USA) Cannondale           0.13.68
77 Jesse Trask (USA)                         0.14.00
78 Jeff Burcar (USA)                         0.14.19
79 Jimmy Amaral (USA)                        0.14.23
80 Justin Graves (USA) Piratedh              0.14.37
81 Nick Barton (USA) Supercede               0.14.53
82 Steven Hlebo (USA) Another                0.14.87
83 Ben Kubas (USA) POC Racing                0.14.88
84 Leland O'connor (USA) Dickies             0.14.94
85 Jonathan Kim (USA) Gummy                  0.15.06
86 Matthew Cipes (USA) Specialized           0.15.77
87 Daniel Cortina (USA) Cr1 Engine           0.15.84
88 Tommy Tokarczyk (USA) Jamis Bike          0.15.92
89 Ryan Kresich (USA)                        0.16.42
90 Sean Osborne (USA)                        0.16.50
91 Joshua Habbard (USA)                      0.16.83
92 Willem Cooper (USA) Voncooper             0.17.23
93 Phil Wheeler (USA)                        0.17.47
94 Mihai Moga (USA)                          0.17.92
95 Bryan Crum (USA) Wheel                    0.17.99
96 Andrew Cavaletto (USA)                    0.18.38
97 Kristian Short (Can)                      0.18.85
98 Casey Coffman (USA)                       0.19.38
99 Andrew Van Zuyen                          0.19.75
100 Jordan Lopez (USA) WTB                          
101 Naish Ulmer (USA)                        0.19.86
102 Dean Abrams (USA) Marzocchi              0.20.25
103 Doug Ewer (USA)                          0.20.32
104 Jonathan Canfield (USA)                  0.20.51
105 Garrett Eggert (USA)                     0.20.59
106 Michael Johnson (USA)                           
107 Tyler Thompson (USA)                     0.20.69
108 Ryan Tarver (USA)                        0.21.93
109 Luis Samayoa (USA)                       0.22.02
110 John Hlebo (USA)                         0.22.14
111 Geritt Beytagh (USA)                     0.22.26
112 Junwon Jang (USA) Gloval 7Th             0.22.44
113 Jason Memmelaar (USA)                    0.22.68
114 Taylor Cuisinot (USA)                    0.22.93
115 Heikki Hall (USA)                        0.22.99
116 Ryan Borick (USA) LH Bandits             0.23.53
117 Jerry Vanderpool (USA) Hippie Tec        0.24.49
118 Ian Massey (USA) Stone Racing            0.25.19
119 Jesse Chuse (USA)                        0.25.36
120 Matt Thompson (USA)                      0.25.48
121 Pete Maniaci (USA)                       0.28.99
122 Michael Johnson (USA)                    0.29.02
123 Erik Barton (USA) Supercede              0.33.75
124 Gee Atherton (GBr)                       0.47.12
125 Michael Town (USA)                       0.54.45
DNF Curtis Robinson (Can)                           
DNF Mike Kreger (USA)                               
DNF Ludo Gadois (Fra)                               
DNF Tyler Morland (Can) SRAM                        
DNF Brian Culp (USA)                                
DNF Ian Odom (USA)                                  
DNF Marshall Roach (USA)                            
DNF Erik Gosselin (USA)                             
DNF Preston Moore (USA)                             
DNF Ryan Stayskal (USA)                             
DNF Trevor Martin (USA)                             
DNF Sean Methven (USA) Turner                       
DNF Nick Van Dine (USA) Cannondale                  
DNF Tasso Koch (USA)                                

Elite women

1 Tracy Moseley (GBr) Trek      
2 Melissa Buhl (USA) KHS Bicycles            0.00.60
3 Kathy Pruitt (USA)                         0.06.16
4 Claire Buchar (Can)                        0.06.47
5 Lisa Myklak (USA)                          0.10.45
6 Miranda Miller (Can)                       0.11.22
7 Jacqueline Harmony (USA)                   0.13.86
8 Katie Holden (Can) SpecializeD             0.14.00
9 Danice Uyesugi (Can)                       0.14.64
10 Casey Brown (Can)                         0.15.38
11 Rebecca Mcqueen (Can) Race Face           0.15.40
12 Leana Gerrard (USA) Monavie-Cannondale    0.15.45
13 Mio Suemasa (Jpn)                         0.16.60
14 Lainey Aldridge (USA) Santa Cruz          0.16.66
15 Lorraine Blancher (Can)                   0.17.58
16 Tara Johnson (USA) Loeka                  0.19.18
17 Jennifer Wolf (USA) Vixen Racing          0.20.97
18 Darian Harvey (USA)                       0.23.01
19 Joy Martin (USA) Vixen Racing             0.23.50
20 Sondra Williamson (USA) Specialized       0.24.27
21 Karin Hanzi (USA)                         0.25.50
22 Connie Misket (USA) Velo Bella            0.26.94
23 Neven Steinmetz (USA) Ellsworth           0.29.51
24 Abigail Hippely (USA)                     0.33.03
25 Mariska Chuse (USA)                       0.35.75
26 Jessica Vogt (USA) Dainese                0.38.65
DNF Sage Wilderman (USA)                            
DNF Johauna Rathbun (USA)                           
DNF Tasa Herndon (USA) Serfas ODI                   

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