Chloe Woodruff fends off Katerina Nash, battling back from late crash to claim victory in round three of the Epic Rides MTB Series.

CARSON CITY, Nevada (VN) — Chloe Woodruff’s race was in peril just 10 miles from the finish of the Carson City Off-Road when she crashed on a fast fireroad. However, the Pivot-Stan’s No Tubes rider would not be denied. She picked herself up. She fended off a late challenge from Katerina Nash (Clif Bar), and she won the 52-mile mountain bike race.

From the start of the third round of the Epic Rides Series, Woodruff took charge, leading into the first section of singletrack, Ash to Kings trail. Nash was close behind as the trail switchbacked up the barren hillside. Larissa Connors (Sho-Air) was a few seconds back in third.

That trail climbed about four miles before descending the other side of the hill, where Connors flatted, dropping her out of the front group.

On the undulating fireroad to the first aid station, a group of four came together at the front with Woodruff and Nash leading the way, along with Dong and Amy Beisel (Orange Seal).

“We had a good tempo going on that climb,” said Woodruff. “Evelyn [Dong] was doing some pace-setting. The steepest part of the climb, Katerina [Nash] really set the pace.”

The course pitched up to climb to Marlette Flume Trail, and Connors — after stopping a second time to plug the hole in her tubeless tire — put in a huge effort to rejoin the leaders. However, she was soon left behind as Woodruff rode clear on the steep singletrack to Tahoe Rim Trail.

Woodruff led over the course’s 8,600-foot high point, descending the Sunflower Hill trail alone.

“[Woodruff] pulled away on the Tahoe Rim Trail,” said Nash, “I was definitely suffering at Marlette peak, didn’t really see her on the downhill and then once we were on the fireroad I could kind of see her.”

On that fast section, Woodruff hit a patch of loose dirt and crashed hard.

“I hit my head pretty hard,” said Woodruff. Her helmet was visibly dented after the race. “Katerina wasn’t too far back, but I had a moment where I had to collect myself.”

Nash caught up with Woodruff and checked on her fellow competitor before they carried on together.

“I kind of went by her and was like, ‘Are you okay?’” Nash said, “She was moving but slowly. I just made sure she was okay and we just picked up the pace and worked together.”

The Czech Olympian, who lives nearby in Truckee, California, knows the area trails well. She tried to take advantage of that knowledge — and her handling skills — on the Secret Trail.

“I dropped into the Secret Trail and I was hoping to make up some ground but didn’t make up enough ground,” Nash added. “She powered up on that last uphill, and I went off the course altogether, I just had a little bit of blurry vision.”

After Nash’s mistake, Woodruff put in one final dig to ride clear. Behind Nash, Dong took third.

Apart from the crash, stormy weather early in the day made for a stressful race, although the thunder and rain passed through quickly.

“It was a little nerve-wracking looking at the mountain when we headed out today,” Woodruff added. “I carried a vest with me today, I didn’t need it. I was glad I had arm warmers with me at times.”

The Epic Rides Series concludes October 5-7 at the Oz Trails Off-Road in Bentonville Arkansas. Dong extended her overall lead while Crystal Anthony (Liv) jumped ahead of Beisel into second in the series, finishing fifth, 1:42 ahead of Beisel who was sixth. The series overall is tabulated based on cumulative finish time for all four races.

Carson City Off-Road pro women’s results