The first day of the Greenware US Gran Prix of Cyclocross Stanley Portland Cup came down to a dual Luna matchup. Once again it was Katerina Nash battling her team mate Georgia Gould for the win. Nash and Gould went out front early and exchanged the lead throughout the race. It was Nash who then out sprinted Gould for her 5th Stanley Portland Cup win. “I like it here, commented Nash. “I can’t complain. I really enjoy the extremely muddy conditions. It’s a challenging course.”
Sue Butler (Hudz Subaru) third place finish was threatened early by newcomer Linnea Koons (Embrocation Cycling Journal). “People were falling and I could get around them, said Koons. “I then looked up and there was Sue Butler. Sue and I got a little bit of a gap, the two Luna riders were ahead and I thought, ‘Holy crap!’ Wendy Simms (Ridley/FSA) went down in the second lap and I managed to get around her with no problem. Then it was all about staying on Sue’s heel and keeping everyone else behind me.” Koons finished fourth behind Butler.
“I was just riding as smooth and fast as I could,” said Butler “I wanted to get third so I just knew I didn’t want to take any risks. I saw the Embrocation gal (Koons) behind me and she was catching me. I put a gap on her.”
“It was totally different than yesterday, a lot more tacky, a little more gummy”, continued Butler. “ I think tomorrow will be totally different again because it’s supposed to rain. There was a path through a lot of places you could almost ride but that back section it was faster to run than ride. I ran it one time and then I was ‘oh that sucks’ so I just rode it every time (laughs) I just didn’t want to run it. It was good.”
Koons was rewarded for her efforts with the SRAM Most Aggressive Rider award.
Meredith Miller (California Giant/Specialized) had some challenges today also. Early in the race, a loose piece of course tape got caught in her drive train, she then crashed once the tape was removed. “I knew that Meredith Miller (California Giant/Specialized) had a bad start,” said Koons. “On the last two laps, I knew Meredith was coming. She was going to close like a freight train because she is really fast. I hate when you have to look over your shoulder when you are racing, but sometimes you have to do it.” Miller continued her gutsy ride coming from 15th position to finish the race in fifth.
The USGP series continues with Gould holding a commanding lead over Miller for the series overall leader jersey.
Katerina Nash (Luna). “The tape out there was everywhere. People were cutting it and leaving it.”
About her win. “I’ve won this race about 5 times now. I like it here. I can’t complain. I really enjoy the extremely muddy conditions. It’s a challenging course.”
Georgia Gould (Luna). “There was a trash barrel that came rolling onto the course. I just missed it but behind me I heard crunching. That was sketchy. There was a lot going on in that first lap. I got the course tape caught in my gears with about 3 to go. I started to peddle to find a gear to remove the tape from my cassette. The one gear that I could find that would work was a monster gear”
About the course. “There were a couple of those soggy sections that if you get in the better line, you just drive so much faster. It would change. Sometimes you would get in a fast line. The mud was tackier today. It dried out from this morning. It made a difference today.”
Sue Butler (Hudz-Subaru). “She [Georgia] was in the front and then I got around her on the right-hand turn, I knew there was that one single-track through the mud and I was like I’m going to get that first so I get it. I didn’t want to be out front in that headwind, I didn’t know how I was going to feel. I raced our State Championships two weeks ago but it’s a different caliber of competition so it was a little bit difficult and my legs felt like mud and I was real concerned at one point but I was like ‘you can do this, keep going’ so it was fine.”
About her race. “My legs just felt like shit. I think it’s just from not pushing that hard, racing against these two is never easy. I knew I wasn’t going to stay with them, I just knew I had to race my own race, ride smooth. Wendy got ahead of me a little bit, she ran that boggy section and I tried to ride, she got ahead of me and then I got around her and then she fell, I heard her fall, I think a few girls got around her too. I don’t really know what happened and then I was by myself and I saw the Embrocation gal behind me and she was catching me, I put a gap on her.”
What was she thinking about when solo in 3rd? “I was just riding as smooth and fast as I could, I wanted to get third so I just knew I didn’t want to take any risks. I should have pitted my back rear derailleur was gunked up really bad and I kept on thinking ‘if it breaks on the last lap I’m going to be so mad at myself.’ I missed the entrance to the pit and I thought okay next lap and then I forgot. It would have helped to have pitted.”
About having people cheer for her. “It’s pretty cool. It is nice because you just hear everyone cheering, it just keeps you motivated because I can’t let all these people down, it was nice to be able to get third.”
Linnea Koons (Embrocation Cycling Journal). “I grew up in New Zealand and I moved to the States when I was 16. I went to college in upstate New York. I started riding after college. I am a pro mountain biker. I just finished my first year on the pro circuit”
About her race. “Wendy Simms (Ridley/FSA) went down in the second lap and I managed to get around her with no problem. Then it was all about staying on Sue’s heel and keep everyone else behind me. I knew that Meredith Miller (California Giant/Specialized) had a bad start. On the last two laps, I knew Meredith was coming. She was going to close like a freight train because she is really fast. I hate when you have to look over your shoulder when you are racing, but sometimes you have to do it. It was my perfect race. It was a good start, a good middle, and a solid finish.”
Kaitie Antonneau (Cannondale p/b Cyclocrossworld.com). “It was kind of a race within a race, I just wanted to keep close to her and I just raced my own race. I just wanted to make sure I raced within myself. Ashley and I went back and forth a little bit and then I got ahead of her again and I just didn’t look back, I just did my own thing and it turned out okay. And then my pedal fell off over there and then I pedaled with one leg really fast but luckily I was right by the pit. (laughs) so it wasn’t that bad.”
How much do you pay attention to the other U23 riders? “Coryn is here today too so it was exciting to have our own little race. I’m happy.”
About the conditions. “Over there in the motocross track I ran that every time, a lot of other girls were riding it but I just felt more comfortable and I thought I was faster running it so I did that every time. Otherwise I really liked the course it was fun.”
Top 10 Elite Women
1. Katerina Nash (LUNA)
2. Georgia Gould (LUNA)
3. Sue Butler (HUDZ Subaru)
4. Linnea Koons (Embrocation Cycling Journal)
5. Meredith Miller (Cal. Giant Berries / Specialized)
6. Kaitlin Antonneau (Cannondale p/b CyclocrossWorld)
7. Katy Curtis (Bow Cycle / Cyclemeisters)
8. Kathy Sherwin (HUDZ Subaru)
9. Wendy Simms (Ridley / FSA)
10. Amanda Carey (Kenda/FELT)