Posted by Editoress on 04/15/07
Sea Otter Classic
Photos: Men, Women
Day 3 of the 2007 Sea Otter Classic served up rain and mud for the Pro Short Track. The Short Track at Sea Otter is long and tough in ideal conditions, but today it was made even harder by a storm which swept in two hours before the race to thoroughly soak the track and make the descents slippery and treacherous.
This made for perfect conditions for Katie Compton (Spike) in the women's race. Compton is a member of the U.S. national cyclo-cross team, a discipline of cycling which thrives on the conditions faced in today's race. After a slow start from the back of the field, Compton worked her way to the front by the three-quarter mark of the first lap and then literally rode away from the cream of the mountain bike field to win by a substantial margin. Yesterday's time trial winner, Katerina Nash (Luna), finished second, with Canadian Kiara Bisaro (Team Opus) in third.
"It was perfect for me," Compton admitted. "It is half the time as a 'Cross race with the same effort. But it was still a hard race because I started at the back and spent the first half lap moving up. It is hard to move up on the dirt because there aren't too many places to pass."
Bisaro finished the first lap just barely in the top-10, but moved up steadily during the 20 minute +, 3 lap race to move into third with three laps to go. "This is the first time I have ever actually made the podium in a short track. It was a very typical start for me, with moving up all race; I just don't normally make it up that far."
The women benefited from a brief break in the rain, but just before the start of the men's race the sky opened up once again. U.S. national cyclo-cross champion Ryan Trebon (Kona) immediately shot off the front of the pro men's race to establish a significant 15 second gap on the nearest chaser. Behind Trebon, Todd Wells (GT) was the first to take up the chase, but was passed after a lap by Max Plaxton (Rocky Mountain-Haywood). Behind Plaxton, Geoff Kabush (Maxxis) was moving up, as was Jean-Christophe Peraud (Orbea).
"The Kona guys worked it." explained Max Plaxton. "Ryan (Trebon) went out hard at the start and Wells started chasing. But every time he slowed a bit (Trebon's team mate Barry) Wicks would go to the front and put the brakes on. I got past that because I was feeling pretty good and it was safer to be at the front."
Peraud was biding his time, and with three laps to go he started to surge on the fading Trebon, passing his rival with two laps remaining in the race. The Frenchman, looking smooth and fast despite the mud, gradually pulled away from Trebon to take the Short Track title. Trebon hung on for second, while McGrath in third and Kabush fourth.
"Trebon was very fast at the start, and my start was not so good, so I had to work my way up to the front of the chasers." said Peraud. "When I got up to the front (of the chasers) I could see that Trebon was slowing a bit and I was feeling very strong, so I was able to catch him."
- At the same time as the Short Track the NRC road events were scheduled to take place on the Laguna Seca circuit - 22 laps for the women and 31 for the men. The women were caught in the worst of the storm, when plunging temperatures, high winds and rain driving sideways forced cancellation of the race at about the halfway point. The men's start was delayed by nearly two hours, but finally got underway in light rain, which cleared up for the final few laps. The attrition in the men's race was fierce, with riders trickling across the finish line. The most impressive ride was be winner Dan Ramsey (Successful Living), who was away in an early break with Andy Jacques-Maynes (California Giant Strawberries), and then went again with 8 laps to go, hanging on for the solo win over the shattered field.
- The Dual Slalom was postponed during the 'monsoon', but run later in the day, with Mick Hannah beating out Jared Graves for the title. Steve Peat took third. In the women's event, Sabrina Jonnier beat world champion Jill Kintner, with Rachel Atherton in third.
- Tomorrow is the 'Queen' stage for mountain bikers; the 19 mile (30.5 km) long will be covered twice by the pro men and women, and always ends up being a battle between the top two or three riders. For the men, it is likely to be Kabush, Plaxton and Peraud at the front, although, Christoph Sauser (Specialized) is sure to find this race more to his liking than the very short time trial and the short track. The women will likely see Luna team mates Georgia Gould and Nash, plus Kiara Bisaro, Sue Haywood (Trek-VW), Willow Koerber (Subaru-Gary Fisher) and Alison Sydor (Rocky Mountain-Gary Fisher).
- Official results show Seamus McGrath 3rd, but Plaxton WAS 3rd.
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