June 22/04 5:57 am - NORBA Mount Snow: Short Track and DH
Posted by Editoress on 06/22/04
NORBA # 5 Mount Snow
Courtesy USA Cycling
Starting out at a high pace as short track events often do, it was obvious right from the gun who the contenders of the day were. The men's race ended just as the crowd hoped with Paul Rowney (AUS) claiming the win in the final NORBA race of his career. Alison Sydor (CAN) edged out Kerry Barnholt (Boulder, Colo.) in a hard fought battle for the women's crown.
Early in the women's race, a group broke off the front to set the quick pace. Kerry Barnholt, Alison Sydor, Willow Koerber (Ashville, N.C.) Chrissy Redden (CAN), Katerina Hanusova (CZE), Shonny Vanlandingham (Durango, Colo.), and Gretchen Reeves (Boulder, Colo.) were in the lead pack while Dara Marks-Marino (Flagstaff, Ariz.), Kiara Bisaro (CAN), and Jimena Florit (ARG) raced to catch up.
At the half way point, Redden, Sydor, and Koerber quickened the pace while Vanlandingham and Barnholt tried to bridge the gap that was forming. Sydor, who had been sitting in to conserve energy, launched a vicious attack and distanced herself from the group. Kerry Barnholt was the only one with the strength to make contact as a one-on-one race got underway with three laps to go.
Sydor kept Barnholt in the lead for the remaining laps, a tactical decision which gave her the legs to eventually overpower her competitor at the finish line.
"I knew she had fresh legs and that she was making me work," Barnholt said after her second place finish. "But, I also knew the rest of the riders would catch us if we slowed down. With every race, I learn more about the tactics."
After the two front women battled it out for the win, Vanlandingham placed third, Hanusova fourth, and Koerber fifth.
The men lined up next, and it was obvious from the start that Paul Rowney wanted his last NORBA race to end with a victory. The leader right off the bat, Rowney broke away with a front pack of Trent Lowe (AUS), Chris Sheppard (CAN), Travis Brown (Boulder, Colo.) Seamus McGrath (CAN), Geoff Kabush (CAN), and Ryan Trebon (Corvallis, Ore.)
With three laps remaining, Kabush took off in the front with Rowney launching an immediate attack. Trent Lowe tried to slow down the pace in the chase group to help Rowney take his final moment in the spotlight. An all-out fight for the finish line began between Rowney and Kabush during the last laps.
"I knew Geoff was strong and I thought if I could get him on the descent, I could take him around the next few turns," an excited Paul Rowney said of his final minutes on the course. "I worked well with Trent Lowe, and the crowd was fantastic."
When asked if this was really his last NORBA race, the Aussie replied "I'll always come back at various points of the season to keep the bar tab open."
"I think everyone was hoping that Rowney would have the legs," Kabush said in the post race interview. "I definitely wanted to do my share of the work and make sure the other guys didn't catch up. I'm happy in second place."
Rounding out the podium in the men's contest was Liam Killeen, Travis Brown, and Trent Lowe in third, fourth, and fifth respectively.
1. Alison Sydor (Can) Rocky Mtn/Business Objects, 26:35
2. Kerry Barnholt (USA) Subaru-Gary Fisher, 26:38
3. Shonny Van Landingham (USA) Luna, 26:49
4. Katerina Hanusova (Cze) Luna, 26:52
5. Willow Koerber (USA) RLX Ralph Lauren, 26:55
6. Chrissy Redden (Can) Subaru-Gary Fisher, 27:05
7. Jimena Florit (Arg) RLX Ralph Lauren, 27:24
8. Dara Marks-Marino (USA) Ford Cycling, 27:29
9. Kara Bisaro (Can) Gears Racing, 27:36
10. Heather Irminger (USA) Tokyo Joe's, 28:00
1. Paul Rowney (Aus) Yeti, 26:38
2. Geoff Kabush (Can) Maxxis, 26:40
3. Liam Killeen (GBr) Subaru-Gary Fisher, 26:46
4. Travis Brown (USA) Trek-VW, 26:52
5. Trent Lowe (USA) Yeti, 26:55
6. Brent Miller, I(USA) ntense-Kenda, 26:57
7. Chris Sheppard (Can) Haro-Adidas, 27:00
8. Seamus McGrath (Can) Haro-Adidas, 27:05
9. Ryan Trebon (USA) Kona-Clarks, 27:11
10. Adam Craig (USA) Giant-Pearl Izumi, 27:25
The fifth stop on the NORBA circuit came to a close today with the downhill competition. In a sport that typically sees margins of just a couple seconds between the top riders, Kathy Pruitt (Lake Almanor, Calif.)shook things up this afternoon by besting her nearest threat in the finals by 18 seconds. Reigning World Champion Greg Minaar (RSA) took the win by three seconds over Dustin Adams (CAN)in the men's contest.
A win looked well within Pruitt's reach when she won the qualifying round in 4:51:28, 17 seconds faster than Chile's Bernadita Pizarro. The margin was quite the confidence booster going into the finals, but nobody would have imagined Pruitt to shave 12 seconds off of her own time in the final fun. The crowd went wild as she came into sight and stole the victory from Pizarro. In a final run of 4:39:27, Kathy Pruitt would have placed in the top 40 had she competed against the pro men.
Pizarro took second place by clocking a 4:57:48, and Lisa Sher (Capistrano Beach, Calif.) took third in 5:03:74. A career day for Dawn Bourque (Campton, N.H.) saw her come in fourth posting a time of 5:06:38. Although she was ranked eleventh after qualifying, Danni Connolly (Truckee, Calif.) rode to her first podium finish of the year in a fifth place time of 5:09:79.
On the men's side, Minaar took it easy in the qualifying run posting a tenth place time of 4:20. Of course, he saved the excitement for last. As the last man down the mountain at NORBA round five, Minaar bested his time by 24 seconds, finishing in 3:56.
Dustin Adams (CAN) was very close, but not close enough. The second place winner clocked a 3:59, which was 13 seconds faster than his qualifying run. Third, fourth, and fifth places went to John Kirkaldie (NZL), Shaums March, and Bryn Atkinson.
Minaar is concentrating on the NORBA circuit this year as opposed to the World Cups. The champion explained in a pre-race interview, "I really like racing the NORBA series, and I would also like to build my fan base here in America." Judging from the number of young mountain bike hopefuls surrounding his tent over the weekend, it looks like his American fan base may just be growing.
The NORBA National Championship Series continues next month at the Schweitzer Mountain Resort In Sandpoint, Idaho.
1. Kathy Pruitt (USA) Luna, 4:39.27
2. Bernadita Pisaro (Chi) Red Bull-Michelin, 4:57.48
3. Lisa Sher (USA) Chumba Wumba, 5:03.74
4. Dawn Bourque (USA) Rhino, 5:06.38
5. Danni Connolly (USA) KHS, 5:09.79
6. April Lawyer (USA) Maxxis-Puma, 5:09.83
7. Joanna Petterson (USA) RPM-Yeti, 5:10.95
8. Michelle Dumaresq (Can) Santa Cruz, 5:11.01
9. Claire Bouchar (Can) Balfa, 5:21.46
10. Gale Dahlager (USA) RPM-Sport Legs, 5:25.49
1. Greg Minnaar (RSA) Honda, 3:56.7
2. Dustin Adams (Can) Giant-Pearl Izumi, 3:59.7
3. John Kirkcaldie (NZl) Maxxis, 4:02.9
4. Shaums March (USA) NORCO, 4:05.6
5. Bryan Atkinsons (USA) Iron Horse, 4:06.5
6. Jared Rando (USA) Giant-Pearl Izumi, 4:06.7
7. Chris Van Dine (USA) Go Ride, 4:07.1
8. Andrew Neethling (USA) Honda, 4:07.3
9. Shane Wode (USA) Funn-Foes, 4:07.5