April 16, 2011 (Monterey, CA) – Another hot day lead to more attrition on a hard track course taking out 10 of the 35 starters in what proved to be an unexpected, dramatic victory for Canada’s Emily Batty (Subaru-Trek) over fellow Canadian and 2010 World Cup MTB XC series champion, Catharine Pendrel (Luna Pro Tream), by one second in a battle to the finish line.
Pendrel shot out in front as the race unfolded and it seemed to be just a question of who would nab second place, as her teammates, Katarina Nash (Cze) and Georgia Gould (USA) were strong favourites. Yet expectations are not always realized. Like her first victory in 2011 over Gould a few weeks ago in Fontana, California, this longer course suited Pendrel. “I haven’t been working as hard on the short bursty attacks necessary for the short track races – today I thought I had it but…”
For much of the race, on the same 8.16km/5.1-mile course as the pro men with one less lap (the men raced 8 laps), Pendrel dominated at the front with both Nash and Batty close behind, waiting for the other to crack. Finally, to the surprise of a huge crowd atop a hill (overlooking the legendary corkscrew turn at the Laguna Seca Raceway), Nash crashed and Batty bridged up to Pendrel. Like Velcro, she didn’t move from her slot until the last 100 meters when the sprinting to the finish line began.
“Catharine [Pendrel] and I talked before the final curve how we should finish it and she said ‘let’s do it like last year – let’s rock and see…” The frenzied crowd was cheering wildly, not for the world cup champion but for the underdog Batty as she delivered her first major Pro women’s victory, and was beaming, “I’m just so thrilled with my 29er, it was the perfect choice to ride today,” said Batty.
Yesterday’s short track victor, Gould, couldn’t bridge the gap after she flatted out. “I was just out past the tech area on the opposite side of where I could get help so that lap was fun running up and down with my bike. But it was really good cyclo-cross training (smiling)! By then there was no hope to bridge so I used the race as a good workout and worked on the technical parts of the course,” said Gould.
Batty, 22, like her North American peers is using this race as a springboard for fine-tuning, adding some technical tweaks to plans for the upcoming UCI MTB World Cup, in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa April 23-24th. With her huge win, she doesn’t bat an eye when asked if the pressure is now on her to lead more races – in fact she perks up. “It doesn’t add more pressure but more confidence.”
Batty, the darling of the crowd who chanted “Goooo Golden Girl!”, was draped in her trademark white pearlesque necklace looking more like a catalog model in her pro kit than a tenacious competitive rider. Always gracious, she shouted out to Pendrel after her victory asking how Nash was after her crash, nodding happily knowing Nash was fine (third place).
How the other Canadians fared:
– Mical Dyck (Can) Pro City Racing hovered in the top ten all day as she tried to bridge to the chase group and ended up riding solo for much of the race, putting in a solid performance for 9th place.
– Catherine Vipond (Can) Norco Factory Team made the top 20 finishing in 18th.
– Brandi Hesiterman (Can) from Team Whistler was pulled after racing hard finally succumbing to the heat.
– Newcomer for Trek Canada, 19-year-young Cayley Brooks found her second Pro race a bit too tough and was pulled, but she smiled offering no excuses, “I can only get better and I will, this was harder than I thought but fun!”.
1. Emily Batty (Can) Subaru-Trek 1:41:22
2. Catharine Pendrel (Can) Luna Pro Team 1:41:23
3. Katerina Nash (Cze) Luna Pro Team 1:44:09
4. Lea Davison (USA) Specialized 1:45:34
5. Kelli Emmett (USA) Giant Factory Off-Road Team
6. Heather Irmiger (USA) Subaru-Trek
7. Pua Mata (USA) Sho-Air 1:45:35
8. Georgia Gould (USA) Luna Pro Team 1:48:51
9. Mical Dyck (Can) Pro City Racing 1:49:28
10. Amanda Carey (USA) Kenda/Felt 1:51:15
11. Chloe Forsman (USA) BMC Mountainbike Development 1:51:37
12. Kathy Sherwin (USA) Notubes Elite 1:51:44
13. Teal Stetson-Lee (USA) Rocky Mtn Chocolate 1:51:54
14. Erica Zaveta (USA) BMC Mountainbike Development 1:52:13
15. Zephanie Blasi (USA) Notubes Elite 1:52:21
16. Sarah Maile (USA) Ventana Mountain Bik 1:52:31
17. Rebecca Rusch (USA) Specialized 1:52:46
18. Catherine Vipond (Can) Norco Factory Team 1:53:08
19. Nina Baum (USA) Notubes Elite 1:53:42
20. Judy Freeman (USA) Kenda / Felt 1:54:02
21. Erica Tingey (USA) White Pine Touring 1:54:08
22. Krista Park (USA) Notubes Elite 1:54:22
23. Sarah Kaufmann (USA) Elete Electrolytes 1:54:34
24. Alice Pennington (USA) Team S&M 1:55:28
25. Kelsy Bingham (USA) Team Jamis 1:55:42
26. Shannon Gibson (USA) Notubes Elite -1 lap
27. Carolyn Popovic (USA) Team Cf -1 lap
28. Brandi Heisterman (Can) Team Whistler -1 lap
29. Kaila Hart (USA) No Tubes Elite -3 laps
30. Lydia Tanner (USA) Lydia Tanner -3 laps
31. Caroline Mani (Fra) Sram -3 laps
32. Anna Fortner (USA) The Team -3 laps
33. Cayley Brooks (Can) Trek Canada -4 laps
34. Laura Winberry (USA) -4 laps
DNF Amy Dombroski (USA) Crankbrothers Race Team