Haywood and Bonilla win first Short Track|
Monday, May 19, 2003
BIG BEAR LAKE, CA. (May 18, 2003) Susan Haywood, (Davis, WV, Trek Volkswagen), and Jose Adrian Bonilla (Costa Rica) each took home gold medals in the Short Track Cross Country event at the NORBA National Championship Mountain Bike Series in Big Bear Lake, CA.
Haywood, who placed fifth in Saturdayís Cross Country event, benefited from a brilliant tactical move with two laps to go to seal the victory in the womenís race. Early on, it was Katerina Hanusova (Truckee, CA, RLX Ralph Lauren) who held a steady gap on a group of eight riders, including Haywood, and yesterdayís winner, Alison Dunlap (Colorado Springs, CO, LunaChix). Kim Anderson (Colorado Springs, CO, T-Mobile) led the chase back to Hanusova for much of the way, opening the door for the decisive move. With two laps to go, it would come down to a show of tactics as Haywood closed the gap to Hanusova with Dunlap right on her wheel. Coming into the first turn just past the start-finish, Haywood took a tight line beneath Hanusova on the inside of the corner. Dunlap was left with only one option, to take the outside route around a tiring Hanusova, but by the time she had made it around it was too late. Haywood had powered away and soloíd the final lap for a well earned win.
Afterwards, a thrilled Haywood talked to USA Cycling. "This just feels awesome. Iíve been waiting to win a short track race for a while. Itís a really big deal for me. Itís so cool, itís just the best feeling. In 2001 I was the Short Track National Champion without winning a round of the series. So for me it means a lot to finally get a win. Now I feel I have a chance of winning the series title as well as the national championship."
A humble Haywood couldnít take all the credit however, crediting the machine that carried her to victory. "You know the spots on the course where you are faster than the others. I was riding the Trek Fuel, which I think made me faster at a key spot. The course went from smooth to rough in a short transition, and with rear suspension my back wheel was gripping great on the dirt."
Dunlap, perhaps tired from Saturdayís hard fought victory, seemed happy with the second spot on the podium, "The race went according to plan. Katerina did just what weíd planned sheíd do, and it was all perfectly positioned, but I just didnít have the legs. "Iím not disappointed, I just didnít have enough juice today."
The menís race was fast immediately from the gun, as Roland Green (Victoria, BC, Trek Volkswagen) attacked on the first lap. Still nursing a serious shoulder injury, Green pushed the pace and remained off the front for the first few laps, until Todd Wells (Durango, CO, Mongoose Hyundai) closed the gap on Green for good. Throughout the next few laps, the pace remained extremely high as Wells, Jeremy Horgan-Kobelski (Boulder, CO, RLX Ralph Lauren), and Jeff Hall (Apple Valley, MN, Salsa Cycles) all took turns on the front with hopes of a victory. With five laps to go, a group of six distanced themselves from the rest of the riders and the winning move was formed. Horgan-Kobleski, Wells, Hall, Bonilla, Chris Sheppard (Kamloops, BC, Haro Lee Dungarees), and Carl Swenson (Park City, UT, RLX Ralph Lauren) were all there. Mirroring the womenís race, two laps to go seemed like the right time to make a move as Bonilla attacked hard through the start-finish with Horgan- Kobelski right on his wheel. On the tight turn at the top of the course, Horgan-Kobelski went down, and although he recovered immediately, the damage had been done and Bonilla was on his way to winning his first NORBA NCMBS event after placing second here in Big Bear last year.
An elated Bonilla explained his winning move, "My coach said to make sure I was in the top two in the last couple of laps, so I made sure I was. When I attacked with two to go, all the other guys sort of looked at each other without immediately responding, "I canít believe it, I am so happy"
Horgan-Kobelski, accepted his misfortune on the last lap, " I crashed when attempting to pass at the top of the course, I was passing on the inside on the loose dirt, my front tire washed out and I went down. It was a super-aggressive move, so Iím not really complaining. This is the best Iíve ever felt in a short track race before. Thatís racing"
The NORBA NCMBS makes its next stop at Snowshoe Resort in West Virginia, June 12-15.