USA National MTB Series, Event 3
Cross Country titles awarded at Mount Snow NMBS #3
Short track and downhill titles awarded at final day of NMBS #3
Mary McConneloug rolls into XC first place
As the last training stop before the World Cup in Mount Ste. Anne, Quebec, along with UCI C1 prize money provided by USA Cycling, the NMBS stop at Mount Snow Resort had attracted McConneloug, Sauser and other top-level talent making their 2006 NMBS debut.
"I was pretty hungry for the win," said McConneloug, who returned to the United States from Europe on Tuesday. "I was in my big ring on very lap, which is something I'm growing into now; putting your head down and suffering like I've learned to do in the World Cups. It's so intense over there because everyone is so tooth-and-nail. After the first lap I heard I had a minute ten on second place and then two minutes by the second lap and I was like 'Ooh, I think I can chill on the next climb and be extra smooth - Save something for next week at Mount Ste. Anne.'"
McConneloug took the lead early on the 5.1-mile course, making easy work of the 1,000 ft. of climbing per lap. By the conclusion of her third and final lap, McConneloug crossed the finish line nearly two minutes ahead of series-leader Shonny Vanlandingham (Durango, Colo. / Luna) who finished second. McConneloug's win marks her second cross country win in a row at Mount Snow.
Earlier in the day, Sue Haywood (Harrisonburg, Va. / Trek/VW) placed first in the pro division of the Super D competition. Each class took to the course in a mass start - running with their bikes around a pylon before taking to the course. Haywood took first in a sprint finish ahead of teammate Lea Davison (Durango, Colo.) who finished second. Marla Streb (Los Osos, Calif. / Luna) finished in third; just six weeks after giving birth to daughter, Nicoya. Haywood's win in 7:10.52 was her second Super D win in a row.
"I was the first one to get on my bike and get down the hill which helped a lot," Haywood said, noting that the Super D is an event she enters "just for fun," since she has not been performing as well in cross country.
"I had a little bit of lead. Marla passed me, then Lea passed me and I passed Marla. It was really a perfect Super D course because you've got to have some uphill or some flat or it's just a sport downhill course. That balance between the fitness and handling, but it would be a lot more competitive if more cross country girls would do it," Haywood said with a smile.
In the dual slalom, top-seeded Tara Llanes (Los Alamitos, Calif. / Giant) won the championship and second-seed Melissa Buhl (Chandler, Ariz.) finished second.
Nash a winner wins second short track in a row
Day three of the 2006 National Mountain Bike Series at Mount Snow came to a climactic close for Ryan Trebon (Corvallis, Ore. / Kona/Les Gets) who picked up his first-ever professional victory when he won the men's short track competition Sunday.
NMBS series leader Katerina Nash (CZE) picked up her second NMBS short track win in a row Sunday, edging out Willow Koerber (Horseshoe, N.C. / Subaru-Gary Fisher) in the final 100 yards. Sue Haywood (Harrisonburg, Va. / Trek/VW) finished third in the field of 48 women.
"My teammate Heather (Irmiger) and I are just trying to practice being 'little better teammates out there - not being out in front or taking too many pulls out there - you know, because the Luna Chix are so strong," Koerber said. "In the final lap I followed Katerina up the final climb and just couldn't get past her so I was just that much behind her the whole time; all the way down and around and that sprint at the end, but obviously she had a wheel in front of me."
Throughout the contest, a lead pack of 11 riders established themselves early, with nearly every rider taking her turn at the front; however, Nash's move at the end was the one to put her across the line first.
"I just tried to be patient and just put a little out there at the end," Nash said. "I just put a little punch out there at the end and it just worked out."
In the pro downhill competition, World Cup silver-medalist Sabrina Jonnier (FRA) rode the fastest time in the field of 25 at 3:57.20. NMBS #2 winner, Australian Tracey Hannah was second, and Kathy Pruitt (Lake Almanor, Calif. / Jamis) was the top American finisher in third.
NMBS #4 runs July 8-9 in Park City, Utah.
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