Georgia Gould Wins the Sea Otter Women's Cross Country
Georgia Gould, Katerina Nash, Catharine Pendrel, Chloe Forsman, and Alison Dunlap spent the weekend with Bev Robinson.
04.18.09 Monterey, CA Laguna Seca Raceway
Georgia Gould, Katerina Nash, Catharine Pendrel, Chloe Forsman, and Alison Dunlap spent the weekend with Bev Robinson, the winner of the Breast Cancer Fund Auction, racing, signing autographs, and enjoying the unseasonably warm weather at the annual Sea Otter Classic. Both Georgia and Katerina missed the event last year, as it overlapped with the first World Cup in Europe. For Catharine, it was her first Sea Otter with LUNA. For Chloe, it was another exciting weekend of fighting the dusty chaos of pro women's racing. And for Bev, it was the opportunity of a lifetime to spend four days with the number one team in the world. The LUNA women dominated the women's cross country with Georgia taking the win and Catharine finishing in 3rd. Katerina was 7th, and Chloe, despite massive stomach problems, was happy to say she finished.
Under gorgeous blue skies, the women raced their first short track event of the season. The course was slightly shorter than last year, which made for fast lap times and aggressive riding. Georgia and Catharine made the front group along with three other riders. After taking numerous pulls at the front with Georgia, Catharine attacked with 3 1/2 laps to go. She quickly established a gap and held it until the last lap. Emily Batty (Trek Canada)attacked up the climb, holding off Catharine and Lene Byberg (Specialized Factory Racing) at the finish. Georgia crossed the line in 5th. Katerina, after nursing a knee injury all winter, is slowly gaining fitness. She's not up to her usual dominating style of riding, but anticipates a return to the podium after a few more races. Chloe rode well until the last 1/3 of the race when she slowly faded from the front, finishing a respectable 14th.
The incredible weather continued on Sunday for the women's cross country. It was so incredible, in fact, that the officials shortened the race to one lap. There were rumors that it was over 100 degrees out on the course. With one lap over 19 miles long, it was still going to be a challenging day. In typical LUNA style, Georgia jumped into the singletrack descent in first, followed closely by Katerina and Catharine a little further back. After blowing a turn, Katerina came into the lead and took over as the downhill master. She and Georgia quickly established a gap. On the first big climb, Georgia moved in front of Katerina and rode off alone, where she remained for the rest of the race. Catharine and Lene Byberg were in the chase group, followed by Katerina and then Chloe, a little ways back dealing with painful stomach cramps. The temperatures kept climbing, making for a brutally hot race. The long head wind climb back to the finish was a welcome relief to the riders. Georgia held on for the win, with Catharine taking 3rd, and Katerina finishing in 7th. Chloe, despite wanting to crawl under a bush and die, managed to complete the entire lap and finish the race. The heat and a reaction to peanut butter were the culprits of her misery.
Georgia now has a commanding lead in the overall Pro Mountain Bike Cross Country Tour presented by Sho-Air with Catharine sitting comfortably in 2nd. LUNA also leads the women's team standings.
Back in October of 2008, the LUNA Pro Team held an online auction to raise money for the Breast Cancer Fund. The winner of the auction got to collect on her prize this past weekend. Bev Robinson, whose husband Dwayne placed the winning bid, was an honorary member of Team Luna Chix for the Sea Otter Classic. She got a brand new Orbea hardtail, Mavic shoes, Giro helmet, race clothing, casual clothing, and all the attention she could handle. Bev also got to race in the women's expert cross country race on Sunday morning as part of her winning package. Plus I (Alison) got to be her roommate, drive her to and from the venue, and play soigneur for her at the race. It was a fantastic weekend and we all enjoyed meeting Bev and sharing with her a part of our crazy lives as professional bike racers. And thank you Bev for all your support of the Breast Cancer Fund!
What's Next: Georgia and Catharine head over to Europe to contest round one of the World Cup series in Offenberg, Germany. Both Katerina and Chloe will be doing some road racing in the next few weeks before reuniting with the team at the Bump-n-Grind in Alabama, end of May.
About the Breast Cancer Fund:
The Breast Cancer Fund identifies - and advocates for elimination of - the environmental causes of the disease, and is the only national breast cancer organization focused solely on prevention. Through public education, policy initiatives, outdoor challenges and innovative campaigns, the Breast Cancer Fund mobilizes the public, lawmakers and corporations nationwide to secure the changes needed to stop this devastating disease.
About Clif Bar & Company: Clif Bar & Company (www.clifbar.com) is a leading maker of all-natural and organic energy and nutrition foods and drinks, including the CLIF BAR energy bar and LUNA, The Whole Nutrition Bar for Women. Committed to great food and sustainability, Clif Bar & Company works diligently to reduce its footprint on the planet from the field to the final product.
For more information please contact Alison Dunlap - Luna Team Media Liason
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Photo credit: Rich Adams and Waldek Stepniowski