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By Kip Mikler, VeloNews editor
Overcoming the disappointment of mechanical problems that might have cost him the win in Saturday’s cross-country race at round seven of the NORBA series in Snowmass Village, Colorado, Maxxis rider Geoff Kabush put in a show of power to win the men’s short-track event on Sunday. Riding his gold full-suspension Turner bike, Kabush wasted little time fighting his way to the front, while the other 55 pro men swapped elbows and swallowed dust behind him.
“I watched the women’s race and saw that there wasn’t going to be much drafting in this race,” said Kabush after beating GT-Hyundai’s Todd Wells and Giant-Pearl Izumi rider Adam Craig, who generated the most crowd buzz by finishing third on a single-speed.
Kabush took the lead on the first lap, explaining later that he knew it would be safest to steer clear of the dust and crashes. Out in front of the scrum, the Canadian was able to choose his lines through the disintegrating berms.
“It was sketchy if you got off the right line,” said Kabush, who rode semi-slick Maxxis tires, sacrificing a bit of traction for rolling speed on the climb.
After Kabush made his move to the front on the opening lap, the first to chase was Trek-Volkswagen’s Travis Brown, followed by Ryan Trebon (Kona-Clarks), Frank Mapel (Specialized) and Chris Sheppard (Haro-adidas). All four of those riders would suffer the consequences of Kabush’s lethal pace, falling back as the race wore on. The course’s climb blew the field apart, and a telling sign of how the race unfolded was that only 20 riders managed to finish without being pulled.
Riding his single-speed hardtail with a giant gear, Craig made his move on the third lap. He passed everyone on the climb, including Kabush, to take the lead for three laps while Kabush followed.
The two leaders separated themselves from the field, while behind the lead duo, Wells was moving up, along with RLX Ralph Lauren rider Jeremy Horgan-Kobelski.
On the seventh lap, at the bottom of the climb, Kabush passed Craig, whose upper body was starting to bob as the strain of pushing a gear with a 40-tooth chainring and a 16-tooth cog began to take its toll.
“A 40/17 probably would have been perfect,” said Craig, who also used a rigid fork to build up a bike that weighed in around 19 pounds.
Once he dropped Craig, Kabush, who suffered a broken chain in Saturday’s cross-country race but still managed to finish third, was on his own. Wells passed Brown and Trebon to move up to Craig. With three laps to go, Wells, who won his first NORBA cross-country race on Saturday, dropped Craig to make a run at the weekend double. In the end, however, Kabush was able to hold off Wells by 10 seconds to take his second straight short-track win.
“I just tried to keep a good tempo and keep it steady,” said Kabush, whose third short-track win gave him a near lock on the overall title. Sheppard, who faded to finish 12th on the day, is second overall, heading into the series finals, followed by Brown, who finished ninth at Snowmass.
NORBA Championship Mountain Bike Series, Snowmass Village, CO. August 6-8
Men’s short track
1. Geoff Kabush (Can), Maxxis, 25:37
2. Todd Wells, GT-Hyundai, 25:47
3. Adam Craig, Giant-Pearl-Izumi, 25:53
4. Jeremy Horgan-Kobelski, RLX-Ralph Lauren, 26:00
5. Carl Decker, Giant-Pearl-Izumi, 26:06
6. Carl Swenson, RLX Ralph Lauren, 26:21
7. Alan Obye, U23 National Team, 26:28
8. Tristan Schouten, PCW Cycling, 26:33
9. Travis Brown, Trek-Volkswagen, 26:38
10. Anthony Colby, Trek 505-Honey Stinger, 26:43
Overall standings (after seven events)
1. Kabush, 881pts
2. Sheppard, 778
3. Brown, 764
4. Trent Lowe (Aus), Yeti, 716
5. Andreas Hestler (Can), 703