By Jason Sumner, VeloNews Associate Editor
There were times when it looked more like cyclo-cross than mountain biking. But when the day was done there was no mistaking the names at the top of the podium, as reigning world mountain-bike champions Roland Green and Alison Dunlap took cross-country wins at NORBA NCS No. 2 at the Alpine Valley Resort in southern Wisconsin.
Friday’s racing began with the women taking on 3.5 laps of the slick, muddy 6-mile course, and right from the outset it was Dunlap (Luna) charging off the front. The Colorado Springs resident led the 60-rider field up the first climb, and a third of the way through the first full lap she had built a 20-second lead on Chrissy Redden (Subaru-Gary Fisher), who sat second. From there it was another 1:20 back to a four-rider group that included Mary Grigson (Subaru-Gary Fisher), Alison Sydor (Trek-Volkswagen), Jimena Florit (RLX-Polo Sport) and Mary McConneloug (Seven Cycles).
For all the racers, running proved just as important as riding, and that played a big role in Dunlap’s win. A multiple national cyclo-cross champion, Dunlap had no problem getting off and on the bike.
“That’s how she got away from me,” said Redden, who would eventually finish 2:40 behind Dunlap in the 21-mile race.
Added Dunlap, “It wasn’t who rode the fastest today, it was who went the fastest. I bet I was off the bike maybe 20-percent of the time.”
The toughest of the Alpine Valley Resort course’s sections was a nasty drop called the Trek Liquid Launch. After a twisty section of single track, riders faced a short, steep plunge down a super slick drop that ended in a small creek. From there it was quick jaunt through ankle deep mud before remounting the bike. Most riders ran the section, while others tried — and usually failed — to ride it.
One who did manage to negotiate it upright most of the time was Grigson, who slipped away from the main chase during the second lap and wound up third, at 4:32. Next to finish was Sydor, who rode with Florit for much of the day, but dropped the Argentinean on the last lap to claim fourth. Florit, the winner of round one at Big Bear, called her day a test of survival, managing to hold on for fifth.
“This definitely isn’t my element,” said a mud-splattered Florit after the race. “I’m just happy I finished.”
Finishing proved to be a tougher task in the men’s race where several top contenders dropped off the pace — or out of the race all together — because of course-induced mechanical problems. Among the most-damaged was Canadian Ryder Hesjedal, who saw his firm hold on second place evaporate when a crash ripped his saddle off his seat post. The Subaru-Gary Fisher rider wrapped an inner tube around his seat rails to protect himself from injury, but ended up settling for 28th, 16:18 behind Green.
With Hesjedal out of the running, Volvo-Cannondale’s Kashi Leuchs took over second place. But his stint there was short lived after a double flat of his front tire sent him back to the pits with a DNF. Also failing to finish was Costa Rican Adrian Bonilla (Café de Costa Rica-Pizza Hut), who was sitting third midway through the second of 4.5 laps before crashing into a tree and breaking his derauiller hanger.
Those mishaps opened the way for Americans Jeremy Horgan-Kobelski (RLX-Polo Sport) and Travis Brown (Trek-Volkswagen), and Canadian Geoff Kabush, who all moved up into podium contention.
No one had the guns to hang with Green, though. After closing the second lap with a 30-second lead on Hesjedal, the world champ was never really threatened, as he cruised to his second consecutive 2002 NORBA win.
“Ryder and I went out really fast and I just kept it steady all day,” said Green, who finished the 27-mile race in 2:25:40.
The emerging Horgan-Kobelski came across next, at 0:52, matching his career-best NORBA cross-country finish. The result gives the Boulder, Colorado resident the upper hand in the chase for the U.S. national championship, which goes to the top American at the end of the five-race series.
“That’s definitely in my mind more and more,” he said. “I’m getting more confident and feel like I belong at the front.”
Kabush, Brown and Haro-Lee Dungarees rider Seamus McGrath completed the podium. The top-5 finish was especially big for Brown, who was racing just an 1.5 hours from his Trek team’s headquarters in Waterloo.
“They’re all important but there was a little more motivation for this one,” said Brown, who was an Olympian in 2000, but failed to reach the podium at a NORBA race in 2001.
Racing at Alpine Valley continues Saturday with the short track at 3 p.m. central time, followed by the mountain cross at 6. The downhill finishes things off on Sunday.
Check back to VeloNews.com all weekend for reports, results and photos. Race Notes
— Mongoose rider Marc Gullickson had one of the stranger days on his way to a 14th-place finish. After hanging in the top 10 during the opening stages of the race, the ‘cross specialist broke his seat post and rode several laps without a saddle. But when a spectator pointed out Gully’s broken saddle near the course, the racer dismounted and reattached what was left of his seat post.
“There wasn’t much left so I had to run my seat a lot lower than normal, but it was still better than nothing,” he said.
— Reigning national cross-country champion Kirk Molday (SunRace-Santa Cruz) had another tough day, dropping out of the race midway through. Afterward Molday’s team manager said the racer had been battling the flu and had felt “awful for a couple days.” It was the second-straight DNF for Molday, who also failed to cross the line at Big Bear.
— Racing could have been much tougher were it not for the cooperation of Mother Nature. Outside a brief shower between the men’s and women’s races, the weather was good for most of the day. That wasn’t the case afterward though, as a raging downpour dropped an inch of rain on the venue just after the finish of the men’s race. Fortunately, the awards ceremony took place inside the massive Trek hospitality tent, allowing most people to stay at least partially dry.
— Mountain cross qualifying took place Friday evening, with Brian Lopes and Katrina Miller posting the fastest times. The rest of the men’s top five included Nathan Rennie, Cédric Gracia, Chris Kovarik and Nigel Page. Tara Llanes, Tai-Lee Muxlow, Vanessa Quin and Mio Suemasa followed Miller. The top men’s times were in the low 30s, while the women were in the low 40s.
NORBA NCS NO. 2; Alpine Valley, Wisconsin; June 14-16; Cross Country; Women; 1. Alison Dunlap (Luna), 21 miles in 2:17:26; 2. Chrissy Redden (Can), Subaru-Gary Fisher, at 2:40; 3. Mary Grigson (Aus), Subaru-Gary Fisher, at 4:32; 4. Alison Sydor (Can), Trek-Volkswagen, at 5:41; 5. Jimena Florit (Arg), RLX-Polo Sport, at 6:39; 6. Mary McConneloug, Seven Cycles, at 7:28; 7. Susan Haywood, Trek-Volkswagen, at 8:20; 8. Kerry Barnholt, SoBe-Cannondale, at 8:49; 9. Kiara Bisaro (Can), Gears Racing, at 9:35; 10. Shonny Vanlandingham, SoBe-Cannondale, at 10:55; 11. Trish Sinclair (Can), Gears Racing, at 11:36; 12. Kelli Emmett, Luna, at 11:59; 13. Willow Koerber, Cane Creek, at 13:01; 14. Nambu Hiroko (Jpn), Trek-Volkswagen, at 13:39; 15. Gretchen Reeves, Rocky Mountain, at 15:35; 16. Shari Kain, RLX-Polo Sport, at 15:41; 17. Gina Hall, Luna, at 16:22; 18. Melissa Thomas, Ritchey-Roots, at 16:49; 19. Katerina Hanusova (Czk), Luna, at 17:45; 20. Susy Pryde (NZ), Velo Bella, at 18:24; 21. MARKS, DARA, USA, TITUS, at 0:19:21.18;
22. WHITMORE-CARDENAS, JAMIE, USA, K2/MICHELI, at 0:19:30.61;
23. BRESNICK, SARA, USA, RAGE-HARRP, at 0:19:40.03;
24. MATAMOROS ZUNGIGA, KAREN, CRC, at 0:19:43.32;
25. MATLOCK, LISA, USA, FORD NO BO, at 0:20:08.37;
26. BUSCHING, NANCY, USA, SOBE/CANNO, at 0:21:15.41;
27. WHISENHANT, SHELLY, USA, VELO BELLA, at 0:22:27.79;
28. MASSON, KAREN, USA, SOBE CANNO, at 0:23:46.70;
29. MASON, LANIE, USA, CANE CREEK, at 0:24:03.15;
30. VARDAROS, CHRISTINE, ROCKSHOX, at 0:24:44.02;
31. MALENKOVICH, KYIA, USA, DOGFISH, at 0:27:25.38;
32. EMMERMAN, JULIE, USA, RITCHEY RO, at 0:28:58.48;
33. WINTER, ERIN, USA, CHOCO-ANDE, at 0:29:20.18;
34. ORGELDINGER, JOAN, USA, REDHOOK, at 0:29:41.37;
35. TESCHER, SARAH, USA, 3D & EASTO, at 0:30:05.81;
36. MURPHY, LINDA, TREK/JBL, at 0:30:26.16;
37. TODD, JENNIFER, USA, ELLSWORTH, at 0:30:36.93;
38. PENNINGTON, ALICE, USA, CLIF BAR, at 0:31:54.88;
39. ROCHA, PETRA, TREK/VW, at 0:34:05.78;
40. MANTZ, KRISTY, USA, TRADEWINDS, at 0:34:36.53;
41. HAUSBECK, SHARI, USA, FORD NO BO, at 0:38:08.56;
42. CARROLL, ELLEN, USA, TEAM PEGGY, at 0:39:44.33;
43. HUNTER-DILLINGER, USA, NATURAL RE, at 0:40:39.91;
44. GARZA, NIKKI, USA, SOUL CRAFT, at 0:42:21.81;
45. MASSEY, RACHEL, USA, FORD-NO, at 0:44:34.87;
46. WARNER, SALLY, USA, BIOGEN, at 0:45:10.79;
47. PECK, LISA, USA, BIOGEN, at 0:45:13.31;
48. GILMORE, LESLIE, USA, SOULCRAFT, at 0:51:59.18;
49. LYNCH, KATE, USA, GURUS, at 0:54:00.83;
50. FILIPPONE, SUZANNE, USA, TREK NEW E, at 1:03:18.95;
51. MCGEE, ROBIN, USA, GURUS, at 1:13:04.02;
52. BOUCHIER, AURORA, RPM/YETI, at 1:18:06.52;
— LONG, MAGEN, USA, SPECILAIZE, DNF;
— KENNY, TIFFANY, USA, EDDYS,DNF;
— KREISLE, BARBARA, USA, TITUS/MICH, DNF;
— MUSICH-BAKER, NINA, USA, HIGHLANDS, DNF;
— BLACK, MELANIE, USA, SUN & SKI, DNF;
— WALBERG, CATHERINE, USA, DNF;
— DAVISON, LEA, US, TEAM DEVO, DNF;
— FLYNN, KIMBERLY, USA, TEAM PEGGY, DNF;
— LAFFEY, TONYA, USA, MTBCHICK, DNF;
Men; 1. Roland Green (Can), Trek-Volkswagen, 27 miles in 2:25:40; 2. Jeremy Horgan-Kobelski, RLX-Polo Sport, at 0:52; 3. Geoff Kabush (Can), Kona, at 3:44; 4. Travis Brown, Trek-Volkswagen, at 3:50; 5. Seamus McGrath (Can), Haro-Lee Dungarees, at 4:26; 6. Paul Rowney (Aus), Yeti-Pearl Izumi, at 6:56; 7. Peter Wedge (Can), Kona, at 7:29; 8. Adam Craig, Balance Bar-Devo, at 8:02; 9. Carl Decker, Deschutes, at 8:45; 10. Tinker Juarez, Volvo-Cannondale, at 9:58; 11. Henry Raabe (CR), Café Costa Rica-Pizza Hut, at 10:09; 12. Deiber Esquivel (CR), Café de Costa Rica-Pizza Hut, at 10:26; 13. Mathieu Toulouse (Can), Gears Racing, at 10:46; 14. Marc Gullickson, Mongoose-Hyundai, at 11:01; 15. Chris Eatough (GB), Trek-Volkswagen, at 11:12; 16. Andreas Hestler (Can), Rocky Mountain, at 11:36; 17. Chris Sheppard (Can), Haro-Lee Dungarees, at 11:44; 18. Jimi Mortenson, Tokyo-Joes, at 12:03; 19. Ricky Federau (Can), Gears Racing, at 13:44; 20. Jeff Hall, Salsa Cycles, at 14:10; 21. BISHOP, JEREMIAH, USA, TREK/VW, at 0:14:24.38;
22. WIENS, DAVE, USA, RLX POLO S, at 0:14:37.42;
23. WICKS, BARRY, USA, CLIF BAR D, at 0:14:41.92;
24. SWENSON, CARL, RLX POLO S, at 0:14:51.70;
25. MAZZAWY, SALEM, USA, at 0:15:48.85;
26. SWANSON, DOUG, TREK/VW MI, at 0:15:49.22;
27. HINE, JULIAN, CAN, GEARSRACIN, at 0:16:15.73;
28. HESJEDAL, RYDER, CAN, SUBARU-GAR, at 0:16:18.50;
29. DELACOUR, AUS, YETI RPM, at 0:16:24.94;
30. WAITE, NICK, USA, BALANCE BA, at 0:16:38.20;
31. STORM, CHARLIE, USA, CYCLING SP, at 0:16:50.30;
32. WELLS, TODD, USA, MONGOOSE/H, at 0:17:28.02;
33. WEST, MIKE, USA, TREK, at 0:17:56.61;
34. SHIRLEY, NEIL, USA, RUSS DENNY, at 0:18:18.60;
35. PACOCHA, MATT, USA, RITCHEY RO, at 0:18:42.64;
36. JOHANSEN, ASLAK, OSLO, at 0:18:43.10;
37. PRECHTL, DEREK, USA, BELLS BEER, at 0:19:25.49;
38. MATTER, BRIAN, USA, HAYES BRAK, at 0:19:25.89;
39. GILLESPIE, BART, USA, BIOGEN, at 0:19:55.95;
40. MAPEL, FRANK, USA, SPECILIZED, at 0:20:06.39;
41. ALLIER, THOMAS, at 0:20:10.82;
42. MACINNIS, JOHN, USA, SOBE/CANNO, at 0:20:50.47;
43. VAN TOEVER, JAMES, CAN, HIGHLANDS, at 0:21:07.32;
44. MCCORMACK, MARK, MA, USA, SATURN, at 0:21:16.21;
45. GUPTILL, ANDY, USA, COXSACKIE, at 0:21:23.76;
46. HENRY, JAY , SPECIALIZE, at 0:21:36.91;
47. SHRIVER, MATT, USA, 3D RACING, at 0:21:52.64;
48. PERRY, BRYSON, USA, GURU’S, at 0:22:29.56;
49. OBYE, ALAN, USA, TEAM BALAN, at 0:23:50.96;
50. SAGER, JASON, USA, TEAM DIABE, at 0:24:01.85;
51. IRVING, DAVE, , , ATLANTA CY, at 0:24:07.83;
52. JENKINS, CHARLES, USA, GIANT WEST, at 0:24:49.46;
53. JANELLE, MICHAEL, USA, TOKYO JOES, at 0:25:14.33;
54. YANIK, JAMEY, GIANT BICY, at 0:25:32.90;
55. MITCHELL, SHAWN, USA, SOBE/CANNO, at 0:25:49.58;
56. MOESCHLER, JASON, USA, GIANT BICY, at 0:26:13.55;
57. PETERSON, CODY, USA, LOST RIVER, at 0:26:18.90;
58. PIRTLE, ERIC, USA, DOGFISH/GA, at 0:26:46.46;
59. BRODERICK, MICHAEL, USA, SEVEN CYCL, at 0:27:32.56;
60. SUZUKI, RAITA, MATSUMOTO, BRIDGESTON, at 0:28:44.86;
61. BUCKLIN, ADAM, USA, HARPOON, at 0:29:29.02;
62. MELIS, CHAD, USA, PCW CYCLIN, at 0:30:11.36;
63. PHILIPS, NATHAN, USA, TEAM DIABE, at 0:31:37.25;
64. TILES, RUSS, USA, CHALCHALCH, at 0:31:59.87;
65. BUSCHING, PHILIP, USA, SOBE/CANNO, at 0:32:21.47;
66. DWIGHT, BRANDON, USA, RITCHEY RO, at 0:33:26.73;
67. KEIM, ERIC, USA, JAMIS, at 0:33:42.04;
68. RICHARDS, JAY, USA, MAPLAG/BOO, at 0:34:00.62;
69. BARRY, TROY, USA, GURU’S/SRA, at 0:34:06.03;
70. CUESTA NAVARRETE, MEX, DIRESA-MIC, at 0:35:59.83;
71. JACQUES-MAYNES, ANDY, USA, SOLANO AVE, at 0:36:15.27;
72. GILLESPIE, DANIEL, USA, TEAM BILLY, at 0:36:45.59;
73. SCHOUTEN, TRISTAN, USA, PCW CYCLIN, at 0:37:11.09;
74. ASTELL, BRIAN, USA, INDEPENDEN, at 0:38:38.76;
75. LINDSLEY, ARIEL, USA, SUBARU/GAR, at 0:39:07.87;
76. LAIHO, BRIAN, USA, DEAN BICYC, at 0:39:37.60;
77. ATWOOD, ERIC, USA, RITCHY ROO, at 0:39:42.96;
78. JONES, JASON, USA, ATLANTA CY, at 0:40:49.46;
79. POWERS, JEREMY, USA, BALANCEBAR, at 0:41:41.62;
80. EDWARDS, RYAN, USA, DEVO/BALAN, at 0:42:48.58;
81. BEZECNY, JOSH, USA, FOX/DRAGON, at 0:44:11.08;
82. GRAVELY, WARREN, USA, DEAN BICYC, at 0:45:34.47;
83. VERTICAN, GARNET, USA, ODI /SOUTH, at 0:46:19.38;
83. HOLMES, BILLY, USA, IFBIKES.CO, at 0:46:19.38;
— WEHNER, WALT, DNF;
— BONILLA BONILLA, JOSE ADRIAN, CRI, CAF… DE CO, DNF;
— STOCKWELL, LUKE, AUS, JITTERY JO, DNF;
— JONES, ERIC, USA, SOBE/CANNO, DNF;
— BOWMAN, DAN, USA, WSC/SUBURB, DNF;
— KELLER, SCOTT, USA, NAU/LOOSE, DNF;
— MOODY, BEN, USA, HARPOON /, DNF;
— REEVES, SKYLER, USA, SPECIALIZE, DNF;
— TREBON, RYAN, USA, HIGHLAND C, DNF;
— STOLTE, BILL, USA, OBCR/GIANT, DNF;
— TILFORD, STEVE, USA, SHIMANO/MO, DNF;
— CARD, JONATHAN, USA, CANE CREEK, DNF;
— M, BLACK, WILL, USA, NEW BELGIU, DNF;
— LEUCHS, KASHI, NZL VOLVO CANN, DNF;
— MOLDAY, KIRK, USA, SUNRACE SA, DNF;
— FERGUSON, WALKER, USA, SUBARU – G, DNF;
— MUSSELMAN, LUCAS, SOBE/HEADS, DNF;
— SHOBERG, TODD, USA, , DNF
Women’s Cross-Country Points Standings; (after 2 of 5 races); 1. Dunlap, 386 points; 2. Florit, 356; 3. Grigson, 348; 4. Redden, 306; 5. Vanlandingham, 296; 6. McConneloug, 290; 7. Haywood, 288; 8. Pryde, 268; 9. Koerber, 258; 10. Sinclair, 252
Men’s Cross-Country Points Standings; (after 2 of 5 races); 1. Green, 400 points; 2. Horgan-Kobelski, 342; 3. Kabush, 338; 4. Brown, 304; 5. McGrath, 280; 6. Hesjedal, 270; 7. Wedge, 260; 8. Esquivel, 258; 9. Decker, 256; 10. Rowney, 256