No need to heckle Georgia Gould (Luna) any longer after she pulled out two wins on the same day at Sea Otter Classic. The first one, the important one, was in the cross-country race which she then followed up with a victory at the first ever cyclocross race. She even had time to enjoy a salad handup.
“It’s been awhile since I’ve been felt good in a race.” Gould told podiuminsight after the race. “It’s really good, my training has been going really well so it’s been kind of frustrating to have a few races where I sort of didn’t feel the connection between how good I was feeling in my training. It’s great to have that match up.”
A tiny women’s field of eight riders led the organizers to shorten the race to 30 minutes, which most were happy given the heat and the loads of racing in the legs already. The course, which started and ended on the Laguna Seca raceway, meandered around the pond over some grassy somewhat off-camber sections, gravel instead of sandpits and included barriers right in front of the beer tent.
The Luna trio of Gould, Katerina Nash and Teal Stetson-Lee were off together from the start, off to decide who would get which step of the podium. Gould separated herself early and then Stetson-Lee dropped Nash to take second, her first podium with new squad.
“It’s great to take second in my first cross race for Luna.” smiled Stetson-Lee. “What a fantastic way to finish (Sea Otter), riding with my other two teammates who are the best ever to chase around.”
Belgium Ben Berden, clad in a Raleigh kit, escaped solo early on with roadie Aaron Schooler (H&R Block) giving chase. The positions remained the same until the finish. The real battle was behind for third place between Clif Bar Development teammates Mitch Hoke and Brad Kappius and Craig Richey, also clad in Raleigh. On the final lap, Richey caught the pair and sprinted for third place.
“It’s warm here. I come over Thursday. It’s fun but I did long rides every day, then we have to step up the pace and that’s really hard.” Berden said after the race. “It’s difficult, I don’t know if it’s the beginning of the season of the end of the season so it’s hard.”
When asked if he was riding for Raleigh, Berden simply said. “I know that I am riding for Clement. We are working on it, more news coming.” The discussions are in progress.
Richey also found it difficult to up his intensity so early in the year. “I was not ready for this, not at all. I was skiing three weeks ago and then to come race was argh. I had to ride very sneaky. I was working through traffic, jumping from group to group trying to not to have to pedal too much and then had to ride very aggressive to get those guys at the end.”
Behind the riders battling at the front, it was simply a party, with beer and dollar handups to the pleasure of the crowd.