Giant Bicycles gets to add one more Super D win to go with the two it picked up last year in the debut event at the Sea Otter Classic. Carl Decker succeeded in overpowering former World Cup downhill pro Jurgen Beneke (Marin/Mercury Rev) on a short climb near the top and managed to stay away from Beneke for the remainder of the three-mile race.
“I wanted to be up over the top before Jurgen, who is very strong in the downhill,” said Decker.
The course got a slight redesign from last year’s course and the shorter run eliminated the long flat straightaway that favored cross-country racers in last year’s event. Nevertheless, Decker, an avid singlespeed rider, tappedinto power usually reserved for one-gear climbing to overcome the bullying wind.
Decker remarked that the course was fast with plenty of waterbars so “you could really get some air. It was windy in spots, though it was mostly a tailwind, and the chicanes were great.”
The women battled from the start and a group of ten charged down the side of Laguna Seca toward the finish on Guidotti Road. A break of three including defending champ Kelli Emmett (Giant), Lea Davison (Trek/VW) and Jean Ann McKirdy (Rocky Mountain), broke free to fight for first until attacks by Davison and McKirdy left Emmett holding on for third.
“The course was more technical than I thought it was going to be,” Emmett said.
The lead passed between Davison and McKirdy until Davison gave a final push on the pedals to emerge as the victor.
“It was a really hard effort. I dug deep, though it was so much fun having everyone jockeying for the lead the whole time,” said Davison, who developed a “speed” habit as an alpine skier in her native Vermont.
“It’s like the Chinese downhill on skis, and I love it,” Davison said.
1. Lea Davison (Trek/VW)
2. Jean Ann McKirdy (Rocky Mountain)
3. Kelli Emmett (Giant)
1. Carl Decker (Giant)
2. Jurgen Beneke (Marin/Mercury Rev)
3. Mike Garrigan (JetPower/Epic Ride)