Luna Chix Pro Team Update: April/May 2014
Monterey, CA (April 12-13th, 2014)
Like the whipped cream peak of a good latte, Katerina Nash’s name again rose to the top of the weekend, after taking second place in both the Short Track and Cross Country events at the annual Sea Otter Classic. Fiery Teal Stetson Lee also earned a second place in the Enduro, and LUNA staffer Marla Streb was seventh in the venue’s new event. Neo-LUNA Pro Maghalie Rochette hung in well for ninth place in the short track, but could not finish Saturday’s brutally long and windy cross country event.
Although Katerina has been winning practically every short track entered this season, she just did not have the power of Marianne Vos. The two traded leads throughout the sandy and flattish loop, but in the last lap Road and cyclo-cross world champion Vos just turned on the turbo and rode away from Nash. Erin Huck was close behind but could not overcome the forever-young Katerina Nash.Several of the world-class favorites were at the first World Cup in Pietermaritzburg including Georgia Gould, but there were still plenty of heavy hitters (29 pro women) at the start line.
Pietermaritzburg, South Africa (April 13, 2014)
LUNA’s only participating athlete, Georgia Gould finished 21st in the first world cup of the season way down south on the other side of the world. Her only company and support was team mechanic and husband Dusty LaBarr.
According to Cyclingnews, the 5.7 kilometre course was completely new from last fall at the world championships, and most riders considered it to be harder. It challenged riders with technical rock gardens and jumps, and gave them no chance to rest with multiple climbs per lap. The heat also took its toll, particularly during the women’s race in the early afternoon.
Although Georgia is known to add a pinch of salt to her bottles of Clif Shot and water (true fact), she still became slightly dehydrated while dealing with the rocks and fell back in the field. But she did not give up and gained a few valuable UCI points.
LAKE LAS VEGAS, NV
(APRIL 13th, 2014)
Both Shonny Vanlandingham and Suzie Snyder stepped heavy but happy legs onto the podium at the XTERRA West, finishing in third and fourth respectively. Canadian Danelle Kabush got nipped for sixth place, and LUNA’s rising athlete Kara Lapoint was seventh.
The XTERRA West Champs terrain was challenging but apparently fun for most athletes. The course featured a 1.5k swim / 28.2k mountain bike / 10k trail run. The climbs were long and steep, the descent’s were fast and rocky. It was extremely hardpacked but rocky, so there was no significant, loose, deep or prolonged sand on the course.
Located just 17 miles from the famous Las Vegas Strip, held at the beautiful MonteLago Village at Lake Las Vegas Resort.
Cairns, Australia (April 27, 2014)
Georgia Gould stepped up her 2014 global game taking 11th place at the second round of the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup in Australia. Despite the heat, humidity and Kicker cord-swiping vines, Gould survived the jungle and finished with a solid result.
The highly acclaimed feature-clad XC course, which was a muddy mess earlier in the week, had dried out for race day. Georgia said the course had a little bit of everything: technical climbs, rock drops, swoopy fast descents, snakes, spiders…
Gould had a great start and was riding in the top-10 for the first lap.
The crowds observed lots of flats and crashes in the women’s event, but like a toddler’s ego, Gould’s Maxxis tires remained grounded and inflated (well, grounded for most of the race). Georgia forgot to mention that she stuck her wheel in a mud hole and had a spectacular over-the-bars crash. She did lose a couple of spots but managed to hang on to 11th.
Charlottesville, VA (April 26-27, 2014)
Suzie Snyder won the Conquer the Hill mountain bike stage race, held at the Miller School of Albemarle in Charlottesville, VA
According to the Virginia resident and multi-faceted LUNA Pro, “it wasn’t highly competitive but I won all three stages!
Saturday was a 1.7 mile uphill time trial and then there was a 30 min +2 lap short track race. On Sunday we did a cross-country mountain bike marathon where we had four hours to complete as many 8-mile laps as possible and I was the only pro/cat 1 female to complete five laps.”
Suzie will continue racing local events TBD, building up to the Xterra Southeast Championships in Pelham, AL on May 17.
Ontario, Canada (April 27, 2014)
Newest LUNA Pro Maghalie Rochette won the Paris to Ancaster Cyclocross race in Ontario, Canada. Here is Mag’s race report (untouched, so you can appreciate her vivacious personality):
“It was a really great event in every aspect. The organization was flawless, there were a lot of people (over 2000), and the course was awesome! It was a point to point cyclocross race that consisted in a mix of road, dirt roads, grass, mud and single track sections.
The elite women were starting with the elite men, so it made for a very fast and busy race with around 250 racers in the first wave. After a chaotic start, I was able to form a little group with some guys and the first women. We stayed together for the best part of the race and with about 7km to go, there was a really technical and muddy downhill section, so I made sure to enter this single track in first. When I got out of that wood section I had a gap, so I went for it and rode alone until the end.
Los Olivos, California (April 26-27, 2014)
LUNA amateur development athlete Hannah Rae Finchamp competed in a high school level swim meet on Saturday at an unknown locale in California. She won her race in the 500 freestyle despite cold conditions (apparently, California doesn’t have indoor pools).
On Sunday Rae competed in the season finale of high school mountain bike racing in the NICA league. Hannah said the course was very flowy and it was exciting for her to race without much of a pre-ride because of the swim meet the day before. She won the event by about two minutes, which made her the new Southern California Champion. She also qualified for the state championship.
So now, Finchamp will compete to defend her title at the California State Champs in Monterey, CA at Laguna Seca. on May 18th.
Whiskey 50, Prescott, AZ (April 26-27, 2014)
Katerina Nash finished in second place in the criterium and fourth place in the grueling cross-country event at the Whiskey 50. Birthday girl 30-something year old Danelle Kabush was 8th in the criterium and 9th in the long cross-country.
Comprising a who’s who of national and international mountain bikers, Prescott, Arizona hosted a fierce battle among roughly 150 professional riders for the $40,000 in cash. This is the largest single-event mountain bike purse in America equally split between pro male and female categories. 32 women started the Fat Tire criterium on Saturday, and those that got pulled or couldn’t finish received an 8 minute penalty for the cross country the next day.
There were tons of spectators at both at the Friday evening Fat Tire Criterium in downtown Prescott and along the 50 Proof (proof = mile) Whiskey Off-Road course on Sunday morning.
Nevada City, CA (May 4, 2014)
After leading for the first two stages, Teal Stetson Lee settled for second place overall at the TDS Enduro in Nevada City, CA. Here’s her report:
“I pre-rode on Friday all day and raced Saturday and Sunday, It was extremely well organized for a local race on private property. The crews and people involved were amazing. It consisted of 12 stages, 7 on Saturday and 5 on Sunday. The stages were all short and pretty downhill focused. The longest stage was about 6 minutes.
The courses had great variety from amazing berms, gap jump features, bridges, and wall rides to techie natural. loose, steep, narrow, rocky descents. We had climbing transitions from the bottoms of the runs back to the top. All runs started in the same location and then fanned out into different trails. The last few runs were shuttled for time purposes, as they were long days of riding.
I took 2nd behind Joanna Petterson*, an acclaimed downhill racer. I was leading after winning the first two stages but had a couple crashes and mishaps that made me lose some significant time on the technical downhill stages late in the day on Saturday. On Sunday I made up a lot of time, especially in the last stage, which had a good pedaling climb, but it was not enough to catch Jojo.”
Richmond, Virginia (May 4, 2014)
This just in from our LUNA amateur developmental athlete, Hannah Rae Finchamp: “I had one of my best performances in this fast, sprint distance draft-legal triathlon racing. I rounded up the podium in 3rd place despite a very rough swim. It was not the water moccasins that were lurking the banks that slowed me up but rather getting held back and cut off in the start, having my goggles knocked off and having to fix them that cost me time. I passed about 10 people in the last 300 meters of the swim. I was able to get in the lead pack of 7 girls which gave me some reprieve between long pulls (all that mountain biking makes sitting back in the pack seem too easy). I ran it in with one of my fastest 5ks to finish in 3rd. I can’t wait to come back to this greener side of the country in about a month to race the East Championship for XTERRA!”
Patapsco State Park, MD (May 10, 2014)
XTERRA athlete Suzie Snyder hammered to third at the Mother’s Day Mauler in Patapsco State Park, MD for the annual Adventures for the Cure event. Former downhiller/LUNA staffer Marla Streb lined up with Suzie in the Elite Cat 1 class and rounded out the podium for fifth.
A surprise pre-race downpour likely caused by climate change had Suzie crashing on the very first lap, on a course she had never seen. Working hard to catch the front of the field, Suzie managed to pass a couple women on the slick singletrack and complete the four-lap grueler in third place.
Riding her Orbea Oiz, Streb focused on her most delightful type of riding experience- muddy and slippery downhill singletrack with rapidly disintegrating brake pads.
High School CA Mountain Bike State Championship- Laguna Seca in Monterey, California (May 11th, 2014)
Hannah Rae just won her 16th race in a row in high school varsity conference. This race was part of the California NICA (National Interscholastic Cycling Association) series, where high school mountain bike teams compete in NICA Leagues throughout the country.
Here’s how the LUNA amateur developmental athlete explains her California State Championship win:
“This weekend I got the chance to defend my title at the high school mountain bike state championship.
The course was shaped like a V, downhill for about 2.5 miles then uphill for 2.5 miles. We did 4 laps. The first 2 laps I pulled the entire time, despite my best efforts to get someone to take a pull. Going into the 3rd lap I knew since the course didn’t have any really technical sections or tough turns I would just have to pick a moment and go for it!
On the 3rd lap when we started going uphill I geared up and put it all on the line. Once I had the gap and was no longer giving a nice draft I was able to hold the position for the next lap to the finish. It was a great way to end high school mountain bike racing.”
Albuquerque, NM (May 11th, 2014)
Shonny Vanlandingham won the Oak Flats mountain bike race over Mother’s Day weekend in the Tijeras mountains just outside of Albuquerque, NM. The race was held high up in the National Forest on trails between 7500 and 7800 feet. The area was named Tijeras, scissors in Spanish, in 1880 because major roads, north-south and east-west, came together like a scissors.
Shonny reported that the course was fun and included fast single track with some nice rock features and chunky downhills. This race was a part of the NMORS (New Mexico Off Road Points Series), and not as torturous as the weekend before, when she also won the La Tierra Torture mountain bike race in Santa Fe, NM. The Texan reminded us, “sierra means ‘land’ in Spanish. So it was a tough race on land… but not exactly torture when you love riding your bike!”
Thanks to Shonny for our Spanish lesson for the day.
Catharine Pendrel has officially recovered from a broken collarbone injury. Here she writes about her first big race back in the saddle, on her way to the Canada Cup on May 17th:
“Both Maghalie and I will race Canada Cup #1 Mont Tremblant, Quebec (1hr from Magh’s house) on Saturday, May 17th. It is a C1 event and will have strong competition with Emily Batty, Marie-helene Premont and 2013 Canada Cup Champ Sandra Walter lining up.
I couldn’t be happier to be sitting on a plane. I am going racing! It has been a long time since I raced at Mont Tremblant (2007?), so I am looking forward to meeting up with my teammate Maghalie near her hometown and friendsfor an awesome weekend of racing. Not even the forecasted 35-45mm of rain will dampen my spirits!
It has been 7 weeks since I was sidelined with a broken collar bone, but I have been able to train well and progressively return to what I hope is top form. Rather than getting 8 days at home between two, month long trips I got to spend 1.5 months at home to recover, recharge and build on my form. Hopefully this will pay off later in the season.
XTERRA Southeast- Pelham, AL (May 17, 2014)
Suzie Snyder was the top LUNA Pro at XTERRA Southeast in Pelham, AL by taking third in a stacked field, under dramatic weather changes. Danelle Kabush survived a spectacular fall (on the run!) to end up just off the podium in sixth place, and LUNA sponsored athlete Kara LaPointe followed in seventh. Shonny Vanlandingham was not able to finish due to a temporary but severe condition of stomach delicacy and imbalanced bodily humors.
Colorado resident and “Big Fish” Flora Duffy won the event at Oak Mountain State Park amidst radical weather conditions that went from downright chilly to overcast to torrential downpours to brilliant sunshine over the course of just three hours.
Luckily for the thin-skinned, the event was wetsuit-legal for both pros and amateurs diving into the cold water as the official Oak Mountain Lake town thermometer read 54F.
About 10 minutes into the women’s bike leg the skies darkened to create eerie conditions under thick forest canopy. Those same dark skies quickly proceeded to dump buckets of water, saturating the once tacky trail tread on a technical mountain bike course.
Suzie Snyder had just endured racing in the mud the weekend prior at Mother’s Day Mauler in Maryland, so she was freshly rehearsed at riding the ruts. The Virginian commented, “It was crazy weather day! I’m surprised I only had one fall in the sloppy conditions (which happened on the run, oops!) and FINALLY had a strong run to finish the day in third. Congrats to all who made it through a sloppy course!”
Mont Tremblant, CAN (May 17, 2014)
Catharine Pendrel has done the difficult, winning a major event shortly after recovering from a collarbone fracture. This time she won the Canada Cup XC #1 in Mont Tremblant near Montreal QC on treacherous trail conditions. Young teammate Maghalie Rochette also skillfully rode a strong race to finish seventh in the elite category and second in the U-23 class.
The 2011 World Champion, multi-time World Cup Champion and Olympian took the victory along with the UCI C-1 points after three laps on an “insanely” muddy track. For a Canadian to say the mud was insane says a lot.
Pendrel explained, “The amazing rocky, rooty singletrack that turned to slick soup overnight was a great physical and technical challenge (for me) before heading to Europe for the World Cups.”
But prior to packing for Europe, the two LUNA Pros celebrated later that evening with a BBQ at the Rochette family home near Montreal, QC.
Xterra Southeast Championships is definitely my favorite race course on the US Pro Series. The race is held in Oak Mountain State Park which is taken care of beautifully, the lakewater is warm and the trails are top-notch single track. This year the temps were a little cooler than we’ve seen in years past, but I don’t think anyone was complaining! In fact, we were greeted with some rain on race morning, which no one saw in the forecast, but that was just the start of the surprises for the day!
The next surprise came with the announcement that the swim was wetsuit legal after measuring the water temp at 64 degrees. We were all a little shocked and shaking our heads because after swimming in it the previous two days, we knew it was far warmer than 64, but at this point we’ve learned that there is no sense in arguing. So we donned our wetsuits and proceeded to bake in them for the (just short of) 1500m swim. I didn’t have a great first lap; the group split into two shortly after the start and I found myself swimming solo in the middle. I chose to merge into the pack on the left side where there were some pro men and then felt like I just couldn’t hold a straight line to the buoy. On the second lap I found a good draft to settle into en route to the first buoy and then found my strength and picked up the pace, pulling away from a couple swimmers slightly by the finish.
Nove Mestro, Czech Republic (May 25, 2014)
Catharine Pendrel proved that her collarbone is fully knitted up from an early season fracture (eight weeks prior) by storming to second place at the UCI World Cup #3 in Czech republic. The technical course was not for the faint of pecs, and the roots and big hits tested Pendrel’s upper body strength where she earned an A for effort.
Both Katerina Nash (15th place) and Georgia Gould (21st place) remarked about the energetic crowds, who left their ears ringing.
LUNA teammate Maghalie Rochette also made the trip far east for her first European World Cup tour, and finished 19th in the U-23 class.
Catharine Pendrel gushed, “Today was great. I had a decent start and steadily worked my way through traffic to the front.”
“I love the World Cup here. There were so many people out cheering that you climbed to a roar of cheers and chainsaws! The course is also amazing. Beautiful single track where technical skill and fitness allow you to open gaps on both the up and down hills if you’re firing on all cylinders.”
Durango, CO (May 25, 2014)
Teal Stetson Lee won the Iron Horse Bicycle Classic MTB, Fat Tire Criterium race in downtown Durango, CO her hometown.
The mountain bike race was cancelled because of a large amount of rain, which turned the course into un-rideable mud with a clay base.
Teal reported, “I actually rode my warmup on some trails and by the time I got to the start line, my tires were like road slicks with the amount of mud caked on and no visible tread. Even though Maxxis tires are the best of the best, even they couldn’t gain traction in the conditions on the course. After a strong one hour warm-up with adrenaline coursing through my veins, the race was cancelled.”
“Fortunately, the event promoters chose to whip up a quick alternative. They hosted a MTB criterium in the afternoon. There was already a course set up for the planned road racers, so we were able to poach it. I had a great time and suffered really hard. They started the pack of mountain bikers as one big pack. I raced with a few other women but was able to ride off the front and then tried my best to hang onto the wheels of the pro men’s field, including Clif bar riders Troy Wells and Brady Kappius. It was an aggressive start and I quickly popped off the back and ended up time-trialing most of the race alone. The guys provided a great challenge every time I had a chance to work with them.”
Zanesville, OH (May 25, 2014)
LUNA PR Pro Marla Streb won the Mayhem Enduro near The Wilds in Ohio, taking all five of the technical, jump-strewn stages. In a stacked field including current Pro Gravity Tour leader Rae Gandolf and 2013 National Downhill Champ Anne Galyean, Streb was pleased to finally take her first true MTB victory (along with the $1,000 stack of fives) after becoming a mom 8 years ago.
Marla’s last triumph was back in 2005, when she won the Singlespeed World Championships in State College, PA. on her carbon Orbea Alma and a random go-kart. Orbea’s beefier X Team Rallon was her choice for the Appalachian Ohio Adventures’ hand-groomed courses, packed with features such as river and road jumps, doubles, wall rides, “death” and rock drops, and berms galore. This was not just a downhillers’ race however, because many claimed the pedaling portions became the decisive factor for the overall win.
Albstadt, Germany (June 1, 2014)
In a sizable field of 79 starters, Catharine Pendrel raced to fifth place at the fifth round of the UCI XC World Cup Series in Albstadt, Germany. Georgia Gould ended up in 18th, and Katerina Nash was just behind in 19th place. In the U-23 division, Maghalie Rochette finished in 14th.
Liv Pro team rider Pauline Ferrand Prevot won her second-in-a-row world cup, decisively leading the race by practically the first turn.
The track featured singletrack climbs limestone drops and rollercoaster descents and drew massive crowds because it was a beautiful day and there was great spectating from both sides of the course.
After the start gun, all three LUNA Pros were riding in foreward spots with the second main group. Catharine and Georgia were even working together and blocking when they could.
But by the second lap Catharine had managed to push further through the field, pulling a small crowd of competitors including Prevot’s teammate Jolanda Neff and Maja Wloszczowska and legend Gunn Rita Dahle Flesjaa around the fast rolling course.
Bear Creek Lake Park, Colorado (May 1, 2014)
Teal Stetson Lee earned a breakthrough cross country race at the all-women’s Beti Bike Bash in Colorado. After a tough off-season of diagnosing and healing her chronic lower back issues, Teal worked to regain her strength and stamina, and her mostly confidence. She has seen doctors and specialists, and even started cross training by racing enduros while her back was on the mend. But now her back is back!
Here’s what Teal had to say:
“I had a great race at the Beti Bike Bash. There was a large field of women and I had a killer start and won a $100 priem coming in first on the first lap. I led most of the race and worked really hard. Unfortunately, given how tactical the course was, my long pulls in the front cost me on the last lap. I ran out of steam and didn’t have as much left in the tank as some of my competitors. I got passed half way through the final lap by Katie Compton (1st) and Megan Carrington (2nd). I finished in third, feeling satisfied that I had truly left it all out there.”
Irving, Texas (May 31st, 2014)
LUNA’s developmental athlete Hannah Rae Finchamp had the honor of competing as part of TEAM USA for the Junior Elite Pan American Triathlon Championships. The talented athlete finished 20th, taking one for the team by chosing to help Team USA by leading out and bridging up one of her teammates in the run, instead of resting. This sacrifice allowed Team USA to secure three spots in the World Championship!
Here is what Hannah had to report:
“It was an on-road draft legal sprint distance triathlon (750 meter swim, 20k bike, 5k run).
It was a race of quick decisions and unexpected challenges. Unfortunately in the random call ups I had my usual luck and was called up 45th of 53 which left me swimming almost 50 yards longer than the people with higher call ups. After enjoying the water a little longer than I would have liked entering the bike I had new goals for the race. Knowing that my cycling abilities were the strongest in the pack, I could either rest myself for the run and sit back in the pack or I could do the work myself to bridge the gap between the packs to pull the USA’s fastest runner to the lead group. I chose the latter option which meant sacrificing a stronger run for myself, but allowing the USA to secure a spot on the podium. I was successful in bridging a gap of a minute and 45 seconds and allowed our runner to draft off of me to make it to the front pack. While my personal result, 20th, was a little lower than I might have hoped I am pleased to say that my efforts aided the USA in a stellar performance of 2 girls on the podium and securing 3 spots in the World Championship!”