Posted by Editor on 07/29/00
Norba National Series #3 - Park City, Utah
by Chrissy Redden - Gary Fisher-Saab
Today saw both the women's and men's cross-country races. The course was mostly out in the open sun, with some very rough, dusty single track on the downhills. The race course was set up for some good spectator watching and cheering. After a small loop we came back around the chalet area then took off up the ski climb again for a fair bit of climbing and some technical descending. The major limiting factors for a lot of racers today was the scorching heat coupled with the fact that both races were scheduled for too many laps. It was about 30 deg C (90 deg F) with the sun periodically popping through the smoke clouds caused by a fire on a near by mountain. Hmmm, smoke and dust in our lungs. Oh yeah, and the course was so dry that we were surfing the moon dust out there. It was definitely an advantage to be up near the front today.
At 10 minutes to 11:00, a snow making hose burst and a new river formed on the course. So, we waited. The race started at about 20 after 11:00 so most of us were already warming down. My teammate Mary was the current leader, so she was called up first followed by Ruthie Mathies (Trek/VW), myself (Chrissy Redden) followed by the rest of my 60 buds. (I wish I could name everyone, but....) When the gun went off, I started fast with Jimena Florit (RLX Polo Sport), Ruthie, Alla Epifanova (Volvo Cannondale) and Ann Trombley (Koulious Zaard). Mary was a little off at the gun due to her not racing since Mt. St. Anne. And, I heard there was a huge crash 50m after the start line. I was glad Mary and I were not in it!! The women did 2 shortened laps and 3 full laps. Each full lap was about 7km and the shortened laps were about 4 1/2km. After the 1st shortened lap it was Jimena, myself, Ruthie and Alla. Mary was a short distance behind with Ann. I then dropped my chain (my fault, Kevin!), Ruthie attacked, and Alla and Jimena followed suit. I caught back up to the two, but Ruthie was on a mission today!! Going down the descent to the finish, Ruthie flatted which put Jimena in the lead, me a close second and Alla about 20 sec back from that. The first full lap saw Mary blast by Jimena and myself ( I stayed with my teammate for a bit, but she was too strong for me today), and in the process dropped Jimena. Ruthie, back on her mission, caught me. I again stayed with her for a bit (drafting is always good), and in the process, dropped Alla. Starting the last lap, Mary still had a good lead, but Ruthie was chasing hard. I had a good position on third, but blew to oblivion, than cramped. Alla bridged up to me, gave me a look (we have a positive rivalry going on that dates back to '97), saw I couldn't respond, so attacked me. Bye-bye third. Ruthie actually caught within 10 sec of Mary 2 km from the finish, but it was too late and Mary took her second NORBA win of 2000. And also retained the overall lead!! Ruthie is 2nd in the series and I am sitting in 3rd. Another neat note: The five women on the podium are all representing their respective countries at the Olympics, from 5 different nations! Australia, USA, Russia, Canada and Argentina Tomorrow is the Short Course at 4pm (4:30 for the men) and our team's goal is to retain Mary's overall lead in this race (and of course have one of us win). And should I mention, to have fun!
Men's Race (by Chrissy's team mate Andy Bishop)
With the western hot and arid conditions this year, the course appeared more like a lunar landscape, complete with inches of dust and thousands of loose, sharp rocks littered all over the course. As the men lined up, we knew that the day would turn out to be a long day in the saddle, particularly with the seven times up the steep climbs.
We started with two start laps, which helped avoid total chaos in a challenging uphill single track encountered during the large laps.. Russian Pavel Tcherkassov (Team Gary Fisher-Saab) and American Steve Larsen (Team LLBean/Mongoose) immediately took command during the first fire road ascent. Besides taking the lead into the first single track descent and climb, this turned out to be a smart tactic too because they avoided breathing the massive amount of dust kicked up from the dozens of cyclists. Pavel and Steve rode together for three laps until Steve pulled away for the duration of the race. However, Trek/Volkswagen rider and series leader, Kirk Molday, passed Pavel during the fourth lap and caught up to Steve. A battle between these two was lost when Molday flatted and could not finish the race. So, Pavel moved back into second place, extending his lead over the rest of the field, even though he laughingly said, "I felt like I was going so slow!"
Gary Fisher-Saab rider Ryder Hesjedal was on his way to a podium finish, riding in the top five, but once again suffered from a flat tire - and then another flat tire. He went from 5th place to a finish back in the high twenties. As for me (Andy Bishop, Gary Fisher-Saab), I rode most of the race in the twenties and finished 24th, though the last two laps I suffered some wicked leg cramping (like Pavel and Chrissy), which is only the third time in sixteen years that I can remember cramping so severely!!
Rounding out the top five, Roland Green (Canadian, Team GT) finished third, Travis Brown (American,Team Trek/Volkswagen) ended fourth, and Geoff Kabush (Canadian,Team Kona) finished fifth. All the riders in the top five-except for Steve Larsen-will be representing their respective countries in the Sydney Olympic Mountain Bike race. However, a bit of controversy surrounded the finish: Larsen brazenly announced that today should prove that he should be going to the Olympics and not the two riders already selected (Brown and Tinker Juarez of Team Volvo-Cannondale). This will certainly not be the last we hear of this drama! And we will keep you updated.
Tomorrow we will race the Short Track Cross Country (STXC) and will be looking to defend Tcherkassov's lead in this series. After today's second place, Pavel also assumed the lead in the regular Cross Country series-another leader's jersey to go with the two from teammate Mary Grigson!!
1. Steve Larsen (USA) L.L. Bean/Mongoose 2:32:27
2. Pavel Tcherkassov (RUS( Gary Fisher-Saab at 4:48
3. Roland Green (CAN) Team GT 6:40
4. Travis Brown (USA) Trek Volkswagen 8:47
5. Geoff Kabush (CAN) Kona 9:51
6. Andreas Hestler (CAN) Ford Devinci 10:32
7. Peter Swenson (USA) SoBe HeadShok 11:06
8. Marc Gullickson (USA) Mongoose Pro 12:00
9. Jeremy Horgan-Kobelski (USA) Nantucket Specialized 12:43
10. Chris Sheppard (CAN) Haro-Lee Dungarees 13:13
1. Mary Grigson (AUS) Gary Fisher-Saab 2:04:49
2. Ruthie Matthes (USA) Trek Volkswagen at 0:19
3. Alla Epifanova (RUS) Volvo-Cannondale 3:13
4. Chrissy Redden (CAN) Gary Fisher-Saab 3:49
5. Jimena Florit (ARG) RLX Polo Sport 6:32
6. Shonny Vanlandingham (USA) SoBe/HeadShok 9:03
7. Lesley Tomlinson (CAN) Polo Sport 10:12
8. Kelli Emmett (USA) Litespeed 12:36
9. Ann Grande (USA) Gymamerica.com 13:04
10. Gretchen Reeves (USA) Cane Creek 14:16
Men Overall Standings (after #3)
1. Pavel Tcherkassov 510 points
2. Roland Green 454
3. Geoff Kabush 436
4. Marc Gullickson 436
5. Seamus McGrath (CAN) Haro/Lee Dungarees 404
Women Overall Standings (after #3)
1. Mary Grigson 564 points
2. Ruthie Matthes 546
3. Chrissy Redden 520
4. AnnTrombley (USA) Koulius Zaard 448
5. Jimena Florit 424
Happy Birthday To...
Mountain biker (and Olympian) Roland Green (today).
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