Lunaâ€™s Gould and Pendrel Deliver 1-2 Punch
She canâ€™t help herself, itâ€™s become a habit: three-time U.S. MTB champion Georgia Gould won another Sea Otter XC Pro womenâ€™s race handily in 1:25:12 â€“ in fact, itâ€™s her fourth in six years and she won both the XC and XC Short Track in 2010.
When asked if she owns this race, she laughed, â€œNo, but Iâ€™d like to own property here!â€.
Hereâ€™s how it rolled under another practically windless +35 Celsius day, where even the sheep and squirrels that normally roam freely near the XC course, never showed. According to Gould, â€œCathy [Pendrel] and I took turns pulling along the fire roads and we helped each other during the first 2/3 of the race as it was windy, so we played off one anotherâ€™s strengths.
â€œIt felt good to be back in form, as last year had some disappointments, but I felt really good on the 29er today, so think I might have drunk the Kool-aid.â€
Gould and Pendrel built a gap of 20 seconds over Canadaâ€™s Emily Batty (Subaru Trek) and Lea Davison (USA) Specialized in the first 20 minutes. The time gaps stretched to almost four minutes by the time Gould hit the last major shadeless and scorching ascent known as Lookout Hill (better known as Heartbreak Hill to the riders).
Pendrel, who was 1:30 behind Gould at Lookout, lost more ground during the switchbacks to the final kick onto the Laguna Seca concrete track, finally finishing 1:55 behind her team mate at 1:27:07. â€œWe suffered out there! When Georgia attacked on a steep hill, I couldnâ€™t hold on but just wanted to keep my ground and make sure I wouldnâ€™t be caught,â€ Pendrel exclaimed.
Canadaâ€™s Batty rode smart, and like last year, when she powered past Pendrel for the win in the last 400 meters, this time she put the hammer down to finish off Davison, ending with a solid 1:29:03 to claim third on the podium.
Batty, (the only top Pro who prefers not to wear biking gloves) is upbeat about her chances for London hoping to earn a spot soon, so races like this â€œâ€¦are important to keep my form and competition high so I can hopefully be selected.â€
We wish her the best of luck in quest to race at London 2012.
The only other Canadian, Amanda Sin (Scott-3Rox Eacing), took 13th place with a 1:33:39.