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NORBA national series #1 (NE)

Big Bear, California, May 10-12, 2002

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Day 1 - May 10: Cross-country

Men    Women    Results    Photos

Florit takes center stage

By Micah Joseph

NORBA's 2002 Pro women's season opener started, and ended like a well-written script. The story opens with sixty-three women, fresh from a winter of training, waiting impatiently in the pre-staging pen. The crowd cheered as an announcer bellowed out the racers' names, signaling their starting positions. As the gun went off, racers exploded onto the first of three seven mile laps.

Right from the start the pace was intense. Reigning World Champ Alison Dunlap (Luna Women) and 2001 NORBA short track champion Jimena Florit (RLX Polo Sport) leaped to the front of the pack. Accompanying them were Shonny Vanlandingham (Sobe/Cannondale) and last year's Big Bear winner Mary Grigson (Subaru/Gary Fisher). Dunlap led the pack through the venue and to the first climb. It was Florit who attacked first, passing Dunlap on that opening climb. "I wanted to see how everyone would react, so I just pushed harder", said Florit. Her "push" immediately opened a small gap in the lead group. "I wanted to use an element of surprise, and I surprised even myself", said Florit.

By the second lap, Florit's lead increased to a full minute. Dunlap was followed by Mary Grigson, thirty seconds back, then Vanlandingham, Susy Pryde (Velo Bella), Lanie Mason (Cane Creek) and Susan Haywood (Trek-VW).

Grigson and Dunlap stayed together on the second descent with Vanlandingham closing nearly 30 seconds to join them by the start of the third lap. "The first downhill, I went slow", said Dunlap. "I followed Mary on the second and went amazingly fast, my eyes were huge". Fast descents are something Vanlandingham is known for. When asked if she was in top form, she answered "No!". Even while nursing a partially torn tendon in her leg, Vanlandingham tied her best ever NORBA National finish. Vanlandingham credits her finish to prayer. "Right before the race my sister prayed for my leg, it worked".

Dunlap surged on the third lap to regain second place. She finished two minutes forty-one seconds behind Florit's winning time of 1:58:58. Grigson held on to third, three minutes thirty seconds off Florit's time. Vanlandingham placed fourth, finishing fifteen seconds later. Pryde rounded out the top five with a finish time of 2:04:28.

Business as usual for Green

By Rob Karman

Roland Green (TREK/VW) picked up right where he left off by winning the opening round of the NORBA National Series in Big Bear CA today. The reigning World Champion attacked from a group of 4 on the last of four laps to win by a convincing margin of 1 minute 10 seconds over Mexican rider Ziranda Madrigal (Turbo) who outsprinted Green's training partner Ryder Hesjedal (Subaru/Gary Fisher). What made Green's victory even more remarkable is that he stopped for nearly 3 minutes on the second lap to tighten the cleat on his shoe.

The race was animated early as Madrigal attacked on lap 1 to quickly open a 30 second gap. A chase group formed consisting of Hesjedal, Green, Geoff Kabush (Kona), National Short Track Champion Jeremy Horgan-Kobelski (RLX Polo Sport), and Jose Adrian Bonilla (Cafe Costa Rica/Pizza Hut). Madrigal's second place is the highest ever finish for a Mexican rider in a NORBA Nationals race. As the top American finisher in fifth place, Horgan-Kobelski is now the leader in the season long series which determines the US National Champion. He missed his college graduation ceremony to race this weekend and it looks like it paid off.


Images by Rob Karman


1 Roland Green (Trek-Volkswagen)                      2.15.00
2 Ziranda Madrigal (Turbo)                               1.10
3 Ryder Hesdejal (Subaru-Gary Fisher)                    1.10
4 Geoff Kabush (Kona)                                    2.17
5 Jeremy Horgan-Kobelski (RLX Polo Sport)                2.17
6 Jose Adrian Bonilla (Cafe de Costa Rica-Pizza Hut)     4.14
7 Carl Swenson (RLX Polo Sport)                          4.32
8 Travis Brown (Trek-Volkswagen)                         5.10
9 Chris Sheppard (Haro Lee Dungarees)                    5.20
10 Salvador Barriga (Turbo Bike)                         6.16
1 Jimena Florit (RLX Polo Sport)                      1.58.58
2 Alison Dunlap (Luna Women)                             2.43
3 Mary Grigson (Subaru-Gary Fisher)                      3.49
4 Shonny Vanlandingham (Sobe-Cannondale)                 4.05
5 Susy Pryde (Velo Bella)                                5.30
6 Lanie Mason (Cane Creek)                               7.03
7 Susan Haywood (Trek-Volkswagen)                        7.46
8 Mary McConneloug (Unattached)                          8.32
9 Dara Marks (Titus)                                     8.40
10 Willow Koerber (Cane Creek)                           8.46 

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