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By Jason Sumner, VeloNews Associate Editor
For the second straight year Australian Mary Grigson (Subaru-Gary Fisher) blew away the field in the NORBA NCS cross country at Mammoth Mountain in California. Grigson finished the four-lap, 23.3-mile race around a windy, dusty track in 2:10:43, 1:42 ahead of second-place finisher and teammate, Chrissy Redden. GT’s Alison Dunlap was next across the line, 4:01 behind Grigson. Jimena Florit (RLX Polo Sport) and Ruthie Matthes (Trek-Volkswagen) rounded out the podium places.
Friday’s win at the fourth of five NCS stops almost assures Grigson of her second straight NORBA series title because riders can drop the worst of their first four results. Already this year Grigson’s won the first two NCS cross country races, and was second at race No. 3 in Deer valley, Utah.
“I really wanted to secure the series today so I could use Mount Snow as a build-up race,” said Grigson about next month’s NCS finals in Vermont, which precede the World Cup finals in Quebec and the world championships in Vail, Colorado in September.
After holding back in the early portions of the first lap, Grigson took the front, and had a three-second lead after the first trip around. From there she steadily pulled away from Redden and the rest.
“I think the secret was really pacing myself and having fun out there,” Grigson said.
Florit was the race’s early leader, but the Argentinean struggled badly in the descents, especially the steep pitched “No Fear” section. There, riders had to negotiate a 100-yard double-track drop through lose silty dirt that had many of them opting to run instead of ride.
“I hated that section,” Florit said. “But those are things you have to put up with.”
Grigson was at the other end of the spectrum, as the Aussie had no trouble with the slippery descent, and was putting time on people on every trip down.
Matthes’s result all but clinched another national title. Coming into Mammoth her closet pursuer in the points standings had been SoBe-HeadShok rider Shonny Vanlandingham. But Vanlandingham ended up seventh Friday. Another national title would give Matthes five in the last six years.
CHEVY TRUCKS NORBA NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP SERIES, Mammoth Mountain, CA. July 20-22.; Cross country; Women; 1. Mary Grigson (Aus), Subaru-Gary Fisher, 23.3 miles in 2:10:03; 2. Chrissy Redden (Can), Subaru-Gary Fisher, at 1:42; 3. Alison Dunlap, GT, at 4:02; 4. Jimena Florit (Arg), RLX Polo Sport, at 4:44; 5. Ruthie Matthes, Trek-Volkswagen, at 6:01; 6. Gina Hall, Zeal Optics, at 6:18; 7. Shonny Vanlandingham, SoBe-HeadShok, at 6:21; 8. Audrey Augustin, Zeal Optics, at 7:15; 9. Susan Haywood, Trek-Volkswagen/West Virginia, at 8:03; 10. Gretchen Reeves, Tokyo Joes, at 8:56; NORBA NCS OVERALL STANDINGS; (through 4 of 5 events); (lowest score has been dropped); 1. Grigson, 600 points; 2. Redden, 528; 3. Matthes, 522; 4. Florit, 468; 5. Vanlandingham, 450; 6. Sinclair, 436; 7. Augustin, 434; 8. Haywood, 416; 9. Thomas, 400; 10. McConneloug, 398