FONTANA, CA – The US National Mountain Bike Race Series kicked off in Southern California this weekend just an hour and a half outside Los Angeles in the industrial belly of Fontana, California. The Spring weather sunny and clear… but windy. The temperatures actually got above eighty degrees by race start time but the wind played a more major race factor blowing sand all over the course and into racer’s teeth. Some of the elite women were even blown off their bikes on the steep sandy climbs.
The wind was blustery enough to give Canadian racer Geoff Kabush a surprising slap in the face while he was trying to chill-lax pre-race outside his custom U-Haul trailer that acts as his team rig for Team Maxxis/Rocky Mountain. The experience left sand all the way from his lawn-chair to his sandals.
Upon getting up close and personal with a gail-forced dust devil he exclaimed, “I’ve been getting that from time to time all morning.” Kabush concluded that the wind might actually groom loose sand from the sketcher portions of the tail, “the corners might get a little more sticky,” he noted. Kabush was looking to win in Fontana for a fifth-consecutive year.
The wind gave it’s biggest due to the women sending their more petite frames scattered across the course. “I got blown off my bike on that one climb,” Willow Koerber (USA) Subaru-Gary reported after finishing third in her Shimano WM80′s.
Lene Byberg (Nor) racing for Specialized won the women’s field handily by over a minute. After the race she had a slight scratch above her left ankle but her Specialized Women’s BG Pro MTB Shoes looked unscathed.
From an overall footwear standpoint at this National level of Elite Pro Racing there were two surprises. One being how many feet Bontrager RLX race shoes were supporting, by far the most dominating shoe in both men’s and women’s Pro fields. Probably because Trek and Gary Fisher continue to be devoted to mountain bike racing in the US and sponsorships go further than just bike frames and jerseys.
There was also a surprising lack of Sidi shoes on Pro feet at this US National. While Sidi is currently the most popular shoemaker sold in the US, they aren’t appearing on Pro feet as much. So much so that you have to hunt to find them.
As the afternoon developed the wind subsided and the Elite Pro Men were called to the line. All the North American stars were in attendance including Jeremy Hogan-Kobelski, Ryan Trebon, Sid Taberlay, Todd Wells, Geoff Kabush, Eric Batty, Carl Decker, Barry Wicks and legendary veteran Tinker Juarez.
Just before staging I spied a sweet looking pair of Specialized S-Works on Todd Wells’ feet. I asked him if they were brand new but he confirmed that they were already three races old. Even though he was about to be called to the starting line he took time to explain how much he was enjoying his light-weight shoes and how easy they were to clean and keep their fresh look.
I asked Todd what size he wore. “I think they’re a 44,” he replied. Funny, I didn’t expect him to not be sure about his shoe size but he knew he was number one when he capped off his day with a big win.
It was a big day for Specialized and their shoes, both enjoying victories in the women’s and men’s elite races.
US Pro XCT #1, Fontana, CA March 27, 2010
|1||Todd Wells (USA) Specialized||1:46:15|
|2||Geoff Kabush (Can) Team Maxxis-Rocky Mountain-Rocky Mountain||0:00:01|
|3||Max Plaxton (Can) Shoair/Specialized||0:00:03|
|4||Sid Taberlay (Aus) Shoair/Specilaized||0:00:29|
|5||Sam Schultz (USA) Subaru-Gary||0:03:15|
|6||Derek Zandstra (Can) 3 Rox Racing||0:04:31|
|7||Barry Wicks (USA) Kona||0:05:04|
|8||Raphael Gagne (Can) Rocky Mountain Factory Team||0:05:29|
|9||Eric Batty (Can) Trek Canada||0:05:48|
|10||Carl Decker (USA) Giant Factory Team||0:06:41|
|11||Jeremiah Bishop (USA) Cannondale Factory Team||0:06:57|
|12||Kris Sneddon (Can) Kona||0:07:10|
|13||Jeremy Horgan-Kobelski (USA) Subaru-Gary||0:07:53|
|14||Rob Squire (USA) U23 National Team||0:08:22|
|15||Peter Glassford (Can)||0:08:29|
|1||Lene Byberg (Nor)||1:38:59|
|2||Pua Sawicki (USA) Okole Stuff.Com||0:01:17|
|3||Willow Koerber (USA) Subaru-Gary||0:02:39|
|4||Kelli Emmett (USA) Giant Factory Team||0:02:48|
|5||Allison Mann (USA) Rock N Road Cyclery||0:02:51|
|6||Georgia Gould (USA) Luna Pro Team||0:03:34|
|7||Heather Irmiger (USA) Subaru-Gary||0:05:56|
|8||Mical Dyck (Can) Trek Canada||0:06:05|
|9||Emily Batty (Can) Trek World Racing||0:07:20|
|10||Amanda Sin (Can) 3 Rox Racing||0:09:19|
|11||Amanda Carey (USA) Kenda/Felt||0:11:47|
|12||Aleksandra Mooradian (Pol)||0:12:52|
|13||Krista Park (USA) Cannondale/Incycle||0:12:58|
|14||Sue Butler (USA)||0:14:17|
|15||Judy Freeman (USA) Kenda/Felt||0:16:10|