Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Plaxton and Pendrel Score Wins at 2012 Mellow Johnny’s Classic

Canadian riders Max Plaxton (Specialized) and Catharine Pendrel (Luna ) kicked-off their season with victories at the 2012 Subaru of Georgetown Mellow Johnny’s Classic. Under blue skies and mild temperatures the women’s race got underway with Georgia Gould (Luna) leading a group of five during the first of four laps.

As the lap unfolded, Gould accelerated and created a gap with her teammate and World Champion Catharine Pendrel and Judy Freeman (Crank Bros Racing Club) in tow. Shortly after Gould suffered what she termed an “off the course moment” and found herself chasing the pair. As the race unfolded Katie Compton (Giant-Rabobank Off Road) and Pua Mata (Sho-Air) were able to pass Gould. On the final lap Mata, an endurance race specialist, was able to overtake Compton who’d only spent a week training on an MTB coming off her cyclocross racing season in which she finished ranked 1st in the world. The ride of the day went to Freeman, racing her first season with her new team, and it was her highest PRO XCT finish ever.

In the men’s race 73 racers lined up for five laps of the rocky, twisty course. Like the women a strong group at the front pushed the pace led by Canadian rider Geoff Kabush (Scott-3 Rox) and fellow Canadian and 2-time MJC winner, Max Plaxton (Specialized). The pair were also joined by Plaxton’s teammate Todd Wells and By the beginning of the 2nd lap the trio had opened a gap over 4th place rider Derek Zandstra (Scott-3 Rox).

As the laps ticked down Kabush continued to push the pace and opened a small gap to Wells, but as he has in past editions, Plaxton patiently waited and then put in a hard effort to gap Kabush. At the start of the final lap, Plaxton held just a 15-second gap but was able to extend his lead and cross the line with 3 fingers in the air signifying his perfect 3-for-3 record at the MJC. Behind him Geoff Kabush was able to best Todd Wells, with Zandstra in 4th, and Subaru-Trek rider Sam Schultz nudged Jeremiah Bishop (Cannondale) at the line to round out the top 5.

During the day amateur racers were also treated to racing before the pro’s went off and also got to relax in the vendor expo area checking out the latest in Subaru vehicles from Subaru of Georgetown and eating BBQ from Rudy’s BBQ and Country Store. Amateur racing also continued Sunday with visiting pro’s able to join the Texas pro riders in a longer loop of Saturday’s pro race.

Several of Saturdays participants chose to stay over and use the chance to get an early season tune-up including Sam Schultz (Trek-Subaru), who won the men’s event, while Kelli Emmett (Giant Factory Off Road) bested Heather Irmiger (Subaru-Trek). Emmett who had suffered an untimely mechanical during Saturday’s Pro only event, commented it was nice to have fresh legs and rebound after the disappointing Saturday.

1. Max Plaxton (CAN/Specialized Racing)
2. Geoff Kabush (CAN/Scott-3Rox Racing)
3. Todd Wells (Durango, Colo./Specialized Racing)
4. Derek Zandstra (CAN./Scott-3Rox Racing)
5. Sam Schultz (Missoula, Mont./Subaru-Trek)

1. Catherine Pendrel (CAN/Team LUNA Chix)
2. Judy Freeman (Littleton, Colo./Crankbrothers Race Club)
3. Monique Mata (Westminister, Calif./Sho-air-Specialized)
4. Katie Compton (Colorado Springs, Colo./Giant-Rabobank)
5. Georgia Gould (Fort Collins, Colo./Luna Pro Team)

Full results from all pro and amateur categories can be found HERE.