LUNA TEAM WINS WORLD CUP OVERALL!
Catharine Pendrel 2nd in Overall, Georgia Gould 5th, Katerina Nash 7th
09.17.08 Sept 17, 2008 Colorado Springs, CO
It is another gorgeous day in Colorado Springs and I'm trying to get my work done so I can go for a ride. I leave tomorrow for the Clif Bar Epiphany Ride. I'm excited, but wondering how I'll feel after the 150 mile adventure on Saturday. I've never ridden that far in my entire life! I do know that means I get to eat A LOT of food that day. Haha!
The World Cup in Schladming, Austria, was the last stop for the tired and weary racers and I think everyone is ready for the season to be finished. Despite the fatigue, the team had another stellar race adding to the already phenomenal year for the LUNA mountain bike team. Back in April at the first World Cup in Houffalize, Belgium, the girls grabbed the lead in the team competition. Throughout the summer, with dominating performances, they maintained their lead, winning the women's team competition by a staggering 272 points over Rocky Mountain. In the National Mountain Bike Series, LUNA went 1-2 in the overall for both the cross country and short track cross country events, with Georgia Gould and Katerina Nash winning 5 cross country events and 5 short track races.
Catharine Pendrel had a breakout season where she landed on the World Cup podium, won the Bromont World Cup, was 2nd in the overall, and had a brilliant 4th place ride at the Olympics. Georgia maintained her iron grip on the National Mountain Bike Series, winning four events and finishing 1st overall in cross country and 2nd overall in STXC. She also improved her consistency in the World Cup series, placing on the podium numerous times and finishing a solid 5th overall. And in her first Olympic Games Georgia finished 8th. Katerina Nash had a breakout year, finishing 3rd at the Bromont World Cup, her first ever podium. She also won two NMBS cross country races and four STXC events. She has become the winningest rider in the STXC.
Congratulations to everyone on a spectacular season. The LUNA mountain bike team has gone from a vision Gary Erickson, founder and co-owner of Clif Bar, had back in 2001, to the number one team in the world. With thousands of fans in every state and country they raced, the girls have become the model of perfection, consistency, professionalism, and dominance. And of course they couldn't have done any of this without the support of Waldek Stepniowski (team manager), Chris Mathis (equipment manager and lead mechanic), and Zeph Wadsworth (team mechanic). Although Dave McLaughlin (general manager) wasn't able to attend many events, he was instrumental in keeping the LUNA program running with the best sponsors and support. A huge thank you to everyone. Great job team!
And now on to the Schladming World Cup.
Racing in Austria is like racing in a picture perfect postcard of Europe. Rolling green countryside, quaint bike paths that wander in and out of the small villages, and massive glaciers resting on top of the enormous mountains that line the valleys. Schladming is a tiny village and is everything you would imagine Europe to look like. Cute shops, great restaurants, a beautiful river cascading through the center of town, a wonderful bike path, and of course a ferociously steep ski area. And that's where the race took place. In 2004 when I raced the World Cup in Schladming, we had so much rain the night before the race, that the first climb off the start line was unrideable. We literally took 5 pedal strokes and then ran up the hill carrying our bikes. This year the course was much drier, but the hills were just as steep, making for brutal climbs and hair raising descents. Perfect for the LUNA Team!
Here's what Georgia had to say:
"I had a good start, that was about it. I was actually feeling ok, but then my legs cramped up on lap 3 of 5 and that added another magnitude of suffering to all the steep hills. I lost a few spots and some pride, limping across the line in 14th place. On the bright side, I still managed to hang on to 5th in the overall- barely squeaking onto the podium. I was hoping to have a kick-ass race to motivate me for next year, but maybe a bad race is more motivating? Come to think of it, a beach in Mexico sounds pretty motivating! And now it's on to the first cyclocross race of the season in Las Vegas. The best part will be heckling Waldek in the industry race!"
"Brrr it's getting cold! We wrapped up the World Cup season this weekend in Schladming, Austria. The town was beautiful with lush green mountains all around us. The race was tough. It seemed like it was all uphill and very steep. After a bit of trouble getting up to full race speed I finished strong 8th place and was able to maintain my 2nd overall in the World Cup series. Not the result I was looking for at the last race, but I'm satisfied. I'm now looking forward to the Ephiphany Ride, Interbike, and then some much sought after time at home!"
Katerina flew to her home in the Czech Republic immediately after the Schladming race, so I wasn't able to get an "up close and personal" account of her race in Austria. According to Waldek who had firsthand knowledge of the events from the feed zone, Katerina started strong, riding into 4th with Olympic champion Sabine Spitz (Central Ghost Pro Team) by the third lap. She was passed by Spitz and Rosara Joseph (Team Ghost International) the last lap and finished in 7th. Another solid performance that helped move her into 7th overall in the World Cup standings.
What's next: The team converges on Napa, CA this weekend for the annual Epiphany Ride. In 1990, Gary Erickson set off on a one day, 175 mile ride with his buddy Jay. As usual, he packed six energy bars from the only energy bar company on the market at the time. Halfway through the day, Gary realized he simply couldn't stomach another sticky, unappetizing, hard-to-digest bar. Then and there, at a moment he now calls "The Epiphany," the inspiration for Clif Bar was born. To commemorate that event, Clif Bar holds an annual Epiphany Ride, with distances ranging from 30 miles on up to the 150 mile leg buster. The company, race team, friends, and family are all invited to participate. This year the LUNA Team will be riding. Unfortunately I'm the only female from the team doing the biggie. I guess the girls are tired or something. Haha!
Then it is on to Interbike, the big bike industry trade show, in Las Vegas. The dirt demo is next Monday and Tuesday followed by three days at the show. It's a great opportunity to thank all the sponsors, sign autographs, reconnect with the folks at Clif Bar, and sample the new product from the company. The best part of Interbike is Cross Vegas, a nighttime cross race just off the strip. On Wednesday night, Katerina and Georgia will be lining up against the best cross racers in the world at the kick-off to the much anticipated cross season.
Then it is home for a much welcomed break; a chance to get reacquainted with the spouse, kids, and the dog.
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