Sunday, March 3, 2013

Trek Factory Racing and Australian Sweep at Pro XCT Opener

Australian duo and new Trek Factory Racing signees Dan McConnell and Rebecca Henderson bested an elite field to kick-off the 2013 Pro XCT season at the Subaru of Georgetown Mellow Johnny's Classic. Held for the second straight year at Flat Creek Crossing Ranch near Dripping Springs, Texas racers were greeted with  perfect weather and a large contingent of enthusiastic fans.

1-2-3 Trek Factory 

For the Elite Women Rebecca Henderson (Trek Factory Racing) led teammates Annie Last and Emily Batty during the 1 mile start loop and never relinquished her lead. As lap 1 progressed, teammates Henderson and Last opened a small gap over Batty and Chloe Woodruff (Crank Brothers Race Club).

While laps ticked down Henderson and Last were in control and it was the battle between Emily Batty and Chloe Woodruff, for third and fourth place, that engaged the crowd. Both riders traded positions for 3 laps before Batty was able to open a gap she held to the finish line. "We rode together for most of the race, she was so fast on the flats and she got away on the last lap, I was just cramping a little and couldn't go with her," said Woodruff.  "I missed a pedal at the start and was swallowed up a little at the start, Chloe and I ended up riding together after I moved up and it settled a little bit," commented Batty."

Rounding out the top 5 was an impressive ride by Denton, Texas, based racer Christina Goke-Smith (Colonel's Sho-Air-Giant). "The crowd here was so awesome, all the way around the course everyone was so great," commented Gokey-Smith.

"The trail was dry and dusty, it was very much like riding at home in Australia," said Henderson during her finish line interview. "I'd spent a time in Austin earlier this year preparing for cross worlds so I felt comfortable with the terrain," said Last. Unfortunately, the dry, slippery conditions claimed a strong riding Pua Mata (Sho-Air-Cannondale) on lap 1 who suffered a leg fracture in the accident.

Teammates Annie Last, Emily Batty, and Rebecca Henderson
On the podium, Henderson said her goal was a top 5 finish and she was thrilled to win her first race in the United States. Adding that it was good to come out of her season in Australia and know her form was good enough to win while still feeling liked she had more fitness to add for her upcoming World Cup and race calender. 


Fast Five Drive Elite Men

Leading the the field of 62 riders out was newly signed Trek Factory rider Dan McConnell (Australia). Behind was a freight train of North American strongmen that followed including Jeremiah Bishop (Sho-Air-Cannondale), teammates Geoff Kabush and Derek Zandstra (Scott-3 Rox), along with Sam Schultz and Russell Finsterwald (Trek Factory Racing) and Todd Wells (Specialized).

As lap 1 of the 5-lap race progressed McConnell, Bishop, Wells, Zandstra, and Kabush established a very small gap over Finsterwald, Schultz, and hard chasing Cameron Jette (Scott-3 Rox). The five riders continued a strong steady pace led by Jeremiah Bishop. "I probably went a little too hard the at the start and paid for it a little the first 3 laps," said McConnell.

Mid-way through lap 4, race radio reports came back with McConnell and Bishop leading over Zandstra and Wells. Kabush had suffered an untimely flat in a dry creek bed and then was unable to get repaired due to C02 malfunction. Behind the front four, Cameron Jette managed to stay steady and take advantage of a mechanical and flat tire by teammates Schultz and Finsterwald to move into fifth.

During lap 5 Bishop and McConnell traded the lead. "I took a new line through the last dry creek bed on the left side that surprised Dan a little and gave me a small gap, but he was able to catch back on before the finish," said Bishop. As the duo approached the line McConnell was able to outkick Bishop.

"I felt better the last 2 laps, my legs sort of came back around from the early effort, I was leading most of the last lap but he made a move in the last 1k in the creek bed and I could barely hold his wheel," commented McConnell.

Wells was able to escape from Zandstra who slid out trying to stretch his leg, but Zandstra was able to re-mount quickly and finish ahead of teammate Jette who rounded out the top 5.
Elite Men Call Up at 2013 Mellow Johnny's Classic

Men's Pro/Elite

1. Daniel McConnell, Trek Factory Racing, 1:30:24
2. Jeremiah Bishop, Sho-Air-Cannondale, 1:30:26
3. Todd Wells, Specialized Racing, 1:30:57
4. Derek Zandstra, Scott-3 Rox Racing, 1:31:11
5. Cameron Jette, 01:34:06

Women's Pro Elite

1. Rebecca Henderson, Trek Factory Racing, 1:26:41
2. Annie Last, Trek Factory Racing, 1:27:02
3. Emily Batty, Trek Factory Racing, 1:28:36
4. Chloe Woodruff, Crankbrothers Race Club, 1:29:03
5. Christina Gokey-Smith, Colonel’s Sho-Air-Giant, 1:29:41