Posted by Editor on 03/22/09
Canadian team manager Steve Lund finally managed to get internet connectivity and sent the following report.
XC Racers hit the course today for the Pan American MTB Championships at La Ermita just outside of Santiago. The course was quite technical with two river crossings (thankfully on bridges) plus several short steep climbs and descents, all of which were very loose, rocky and dusty....and it was 30+ degrees again today.
The day started with a bit of stress for the women as our bus down the mountain was delayed since not all the countries were quite so prompt as the Canadian Team. Then there were a few extra stops picking up Mexican Downhillers and their luggage. It was a full bus! Once at the course we were finally given our number plates and Catharine and Amanda lined up for the start of the five lap Elite Women's race. At the end of the start loop Catharine was in fourth, just behind a trio of Americans, but by the feed zone she had a 30 second advantage.
Her lead steadily increased throughout the race and she easily took the win. Amanda suffered a rear flat while sitting in eighth place. After a quick change in the tech zone by our ace mechanic Jerome Sanfacon, she got back in gear and picked off a couple spots to finish a solid sixth place.
The U23 women started five minutes behind the Elite's, and Emily matched Catharine's ride, hitting the front early and steadily increasing her gap on the rest of the field in her four lap race. Emily also has the distinction of being the most photographed athlete at the Pan Am Championships, as she graciously posed the literally hundreds of adoring fans who wanted their picture taken with her! (Editor's Note: Emily is a BIG hit on some of the Chilean MTB Forums, as we discovered when looking for results)
The men had an equally challenging start to their race day as their bus simply didn't show up! However, in true Canadian form they were quick to charm a local who gave them a ride to the race course, and filled them in on a great ride to try on Monday.
The men's field was 50 riders and they hit the course in the peak heat of the day for seven laps, one too many by our estimation that seven laps would result in a winning time in excess of 2:15. Sure enough, it turned into a race of attrition. Max [Plaxton] battled a couple Americans for the first four laps, as the three riders exchanged places a few times, but none could match the pace of eventual winner from Colombia.
Seamus [McGrath] and Derek [Zandstra] sat in the second half of the top ten most of the day. Seamus made a strong charge on the fifth lap and moved up to fifth spot, only to be slowed by late race cramps as the heat took it's toll in what was the first race of the year for most of the Canadians.
Max admitted to cracking pretty hard, even though he thought he was pacing himself pretty well in the heat. Derek held a steady pace and was rewarded with a strong finishing lap that moved him up into sixth place. Matt [Hadley] was just about to start his last lap when the he was pulled off the course.
All in all, a great performance by our Canadian Team (lots of UCI points!) at the 2009 Pan American Championships!
1 Catharine Pendrel (Can) 1:50:38
2 Georgia Gould (USA) 1:55:14
3 Heather Irmiger (USA) 1:58:33
6 Amanda Sin (Can) 2:04:26
1 Emily Batty (Can) 1:37:21
2 Gabriela Serrano (Ecu) 1:44:50
3 Laura Abril (Col) 1:52:04
1 Fabio Castaneda (Col) 2:15:12
2 Sam Schultz (USA) 2:18:42
3 Jeremy Horgan-Kobelski (USA) 2:19:16
6 Derek Zandstra (Can) 2:21:26
9 Seamus McGrath (Can) 2:24:33
10 Max Plaxton (Can) 2:25:21
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