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By Fred Dreier
Geoff Kabush (Rocky Mountain-Maxxis) and Georgia Gould (Luna) took home impressive wins at the opening round of USA Cycling’s Pro Cross-country tour (ProXCT), held at Southridge Park in Fontana, California. The race was also the second round of the Kenda Cup West, the West Coast half of the ShoAir-Specialized U.S. Cup series.
With the victory, Kabush maintained his perfect record at Fontana dating back to 2006 when the venue was integrated into the National Mountain Bike Series. Gould extended her Fontana win streak to three (’07, ’08, ’09), with her teammate Shonny Vanlandingham as the only other person to have won at the SoCal venue.
In his first race of the 2009 calendar, Kabush was forced to go head-to-head with the ShoAir-Specialized team of Max Plaxton and Sid Taberlay and Jeremiah Bishop (Cannondale-Monavie). The four sprinted into the top positions after a chaotic and dusty start that saw Olympian Todd Wells (Specialized) snap his chain and slip into the rear.
Both ShoAir riders came into the Fontana even with races in their legs — Australian Taberlay won the U.S. Cup opener at nearby Bonnelli Park on March 1st, and Plaxton finished tenth at last weekend’s Continental Championships in Santiago, Chile. Both took turns attacking Kabush, but the cagey Canadian said he didn’t lose his cool.
“I was dealing with a bit of team tactics from the Sho Air guys but I felt pretty in control; I just wanted to ride a smart, smooth race, which is my trademark,” Kabush said.
On the third of five laps, Kabush put in an acceleration that dropped Taberlay. On the final ascent the Canadian again punched it at the top and shed Plaxton. The younger Plaxton, who joined the California-based ShoAir team just last month, said he was pleased with his second-place finish.
“I just went for it today,” Plaxton said. “Geoff was the strongest guy today, period.”
Behind Plaxton, Jeremy Horgan-Kobelski picked his way into third place after getting stuck behind Wells during his early mishap. Horgan-Kobelski’s Subaru-Gary Fisher teammate Sam Schultz took the fourth spot, with U.S. champion Adam Craig rounding out the podium.
Riders tackled a new route at Fontana. Organizers shortened the loop from seven to five miles after local conservationists deemed part of the course habitat for a protected species of sand fly. The course opened with an ultra-steep, loose section that forced most of the riders off of their bikes.
The Fontana course is located on a section of rocky, unpopulated hills in the heart of the San Bernardino Valley, a major urban center. Housing developments and industrial centers border the course on all sides, and the trails are predominantly loose sand and powdery dust.
“It reminded me of (the Continental Championship course) in Santiago, Chile,” said Horgan-Kobelski, who, like the 113 other elite men, crossed the line covered in dirt. “I actually like the new course: the dusty ruts are a challenge.”
Gould said she preferred the older course, citing the hike-a-bike as a section that slowed her down. From the gun the American sprung to the front of the women’s field with her Luna teammate Pendrel, who won the Continental Championships last weekend in Chile. Pendrel dropped Gould on the steep opening climb, but not by much.
“I just tried to keep her in sight, because I’d catch up a bit on the downhills,” Gould said. “I think I was riding the flats better than her too.”
Gould caught Pendrel on the third of four laps and pulled away for good. Gould finished with a 1:36 advantage on her Canadian teammate. Behind the two, the remains of the women’s field fought for positions. Subaru-Gary Fisher teammates Heather Irmiger and Willow Koerber finished third and fifth, respectively, with Canada’s U23 champion Emily Batty notching her best-ever national-level finish in fourth.
The ProXCT continues with the April 19 Sea Otter Classic in Monterey, California. The Kenda Cup west continues with the Sagebrush Safari in San Diego, California on April 5.
2009 Fontana City National
1. Geoff Kabush Team Maxxis-Rocky Mountain in 1:50:36.74 VICTORIA BC CAN
2. Max Plaxton Shoair/specialized in 1:51:19.84 VICTORIA BC CAN
3. Jeremy Horgan-kobelski Subaru-Gary in 1:52:14.20 BOULDER CO USA
4. Sam Schultz Subaru-Gary in 1:52:15.78 COLORADO SPRING CO USA
5. Adam Craig Giant Mtb Team in 1:52:50.76 BEND OR USA
6. Sid Taberlay Shoair/specilaized in 1:54:34.46 SO PASADENA CA AUS
7. Derek Zandstra 3 Rox Racing in 1:55:17.30 TRENTON ON CAN
8. Seamus Mcgrath Jamis Factory in 1:55:56.56 VICTORIA BC CAN
9. Jeremiah Bishop Monvie Cannondale in 1:56:10.15 HARRISONBURG VA USA
10. Todd Wells Specialized in 1:56:12.69 DURANGO CO USA
11. Troy Wells Team Cliff Bar in 1:57:31.12 DURANGO CO USA
12. Andy Schultz Kenda/tomac/hayes in 1:57:32.15 MISSOULA MT USA
13. Carl Decker Giant Mtb Team in 1:58:49.72 BEND OR USA
14. Kris Sneddon Kona in 1:59:37.15 SECHELT BC CAN
15. Adam Morka Trek Store Racing Team in 1:59:37.51 BARRIE ON CAN
16. Barry Wicks Kona in 1:59:53.74 SANTA CRUZ CA USA
17. Travis Livermon Champion System/cannondale in 2:00:37.55 WINTERVILLE NC
18. Manuel Prado Shoair/specilaized in 2:01:01.30 LAKE FOREST CA USA
19. Stefan Widmer Rocky Mountain/different Bike in 2:01:19.61 VANCOUVER ON CAN
20. Tad Elliott U23 National in 2:01:54.07 DURANGO CO USA
21. Rob Squire Us National Team in 2:02:04.14 SANDY UT USA
22. Peter Glassford Trek Store Racing Team in 2:03:40.46 MANSFIELD ON CAN
23. Adam Snyder 3-D Racing in 2:04:07.59 WESTMINSTER MA USA
24. Colin Cares Kenda/tomac/hayes in 2:04:49.76 BOULDER CO USA
25. Cameron Jette Trek Bicycle Store in 2:05:38.88 TORONTO CAN
26. Mitchell Peterson Monvie Cannondale in 2:05:49.68 SANDY UT USA
27. Bryan Alders Monavie-Cannondale.com in 2:06:20.83 TAHOE CITY CA
28. Bart Gillespie Monavie/cann in 2:06:36.14 SALT LAKE CITY UT USA
29. Robert Marion Kenda/kmc/hayes in 2:06:48.55 MOUNT AIRY NC USA
30. Dana Weber Trek/world Bicycle Relief in 2:06:51.12 ALISO VIEJO CA USA
31. Tj Woodruff Adventure 212/specialized in 2:07:23.44 TUCSON AZ USA
32. Alex Grant Monavie-Cannondal.com in 2:07:37.26 SALT LAKE CITY UT
33. Steve Larsen in 2:08:15.50 BEND OR
34. Drew Edsall Scott Usa/wtb in 2:08:42.75 DURANGO CO USA
35. Erik Tonkin Kon in 2:08:50.62 PORTLAND OR USA
36. Spencer Paxson Team S&m Young Guns in 2:09:06.32 SEATTLE WA
37. Braden Kappius Clif Bar in 2:09:29.57 LITTLETON CO USA
38. Mitchell Hoke Colorado College in 2:09:36.94 COLORADO SPRING CO USA
39. Cody Peterson Dedicated Athlete in 2:09:40.41 BEND OR USA
40. Ryan Woodall Dedicated Athlete/industry in 2:10:13.70 OCALA FL
41. Trevor Downing Team Devo in 2:10:16.74 DURANGO CO USA
42. Ethan Gilmour U23 Nat Team in 2:10:55.85 ATHENS GA USA
43. Jeff Herrera Adrenaline Race Team/titus in 2:12:00.16 MARICOPA AZ USA
44. Ken Onodera Subaru-Gary Fisher in 2:12:32.85 YAMSHINA KYOTO JPN
45. Aaron Bradford Onsite Ultrasound in 2:12:59.49 HOLLISTER CA USA
46. John Bennett Whole Athlet in 2:14:13.78 EL CERRITO CA USA
47. Chris Peariso Adventure 212/specialized in 2:14:30.79 AMHERST WI USA
48. Simon Happy Rst Velo Sports in 2:14:41.38 PREVOST CAN
49. Aaron Olson Unattached in 2:14:47.16 SANTA BARBARA CA USA
50. Robert Herber Dixon Art in 2:15:12.43 MURRIETA CA USA
51. Kalan Beisel Procycling/cts in 2:15:14.65 COLORADO SPRING CO USA
52. Jason Siegle Bear Valley Bikes in 2:15:56.14 LAGUNA NIGUEL CA USA
53. Colin Osborn Bikeparts.co in 2:16:49.61 DURANGO CO USA
54. Greg Carpenter Devo/giant in 2:16:53.92 CANTON OH USA
55. Yuki Saito Topeak-Ergon in 2:17:01.70 DENVER CO JPN
56. Nathan Ringquist 3d Racing in 2:17:51.39 WESTMNSTER MA USA
57. Paul Freiwald Kenda in 2:18:08.99 LAKE FOREST CA USA
58. Ryan Clark Cynergy Cycles in 2:18:18.88 ALISO VIEJO CA USA
59. Stephen Ettinger Black Diamond Sports Therapy in 2:19:21.88 CASHMERE WA USA
60. Chris Suter Adrenaline-Titus in 2:20:33.80 FLAGSTAFF AZ USA
61. David Williams Bear Valley Bikes in 2:20:34.60 PORT ANGELES WA USA
62. Charles Jenkins Cytomax/khs in 2:21:56.39 SAN DIEGO CA USA
63. Sean Donovan Cytomax/khs in 2:22:42.71 TUSTIN CA USA
1. Georgia Gould Luna Womens Mtb Team in 1:35:13.50 KETCHUM ID USA
2. Catherine Pendrel Luna Womens Mtb Team in 1:36:49.96 KAMLOOPS BC CAN
3. Heather Irmiger Subaru-Gary in 1:38:20.27 BOULDER CO USA
4. Emily Batty Trek Bicycle Store Team in 1:39:59.62 BROOKLIN ON CAN
5. Willow Koerber Subaru-Gary in 1:41:23.50 ASHEVILLE NC USA
6. Amanda Sin 3 Rox Racing in 1:41:25.16 SUDBURY ON CAN
7. Kelli Emmett Giant Mtb Team in 1:44:27.97 COLORADO SPRING CO USA
8. Pua Sawicki Ellsworth in 1:45:04.24 YUCAIPA CA USA
9. Melanie Mcquaid Shoair/specilaized in 1:45:28.58 VICTORIA BC CAN
10. Allison Mann Ie Bikes in 1:46:56.76 MURRIETA CA USA
11. Kathy Sherwin Kenda/tomac/hayes in 1:48:36.55 HEBER CITY UT USA
12. Chloe Forsman Luna Womens Mtb Team in 1:50:08.01 BOULDER CO USA
13. Amanda Carey Kenda/tomac/hayes in 1:50:16.71 VICTOR ID USA
14. Krista Park Incycle/magura/notubes in 1:51:48.62 MADISON SD USA
15. Aleksandra Rokita Lechia Piechowice in 1:53:38.28 WROCLAW POL
16. Natasha Hernday Amgen in 1:53:39.31 VENTURA CA USA
17. Anina Aaron Kenda/kmc/hayes in 1:53:40.20 OAK RIDGE NC
18. Sue Butler Monavie/cannondale.com in 1:55:48.02 PORTLAND OR USA
19. Zephanie Blasi Kenda/titus in 1:57:59.82 MISSOULA MT USA
20. Maureen Kunz Lost Coast Brewery/marin Bikes in 1:58:18.59 OAKLAND CA USA
21. Sarah Kaufmann Titus/roaring Mouse in 1:59:07.13 HESPERIA CA USA