Carter, Moseley Post Victories in Dedication|
Monday, May 19, 2003
BIG BEAR LAKE, CA. (May 18, 2003) Today's Downhill competition was dedicated to fallen Professional Japanese competitor, Haruko Fujinaka, who died as a result of her injuries sustained in a crash while practicing on the downhill course on Saturday. The 33-year-old from Kyoto, Japan was transported to a local hospital yesterday after her crash, where she was pronounced dead at 11:51am PST. This was the first such reported fatality in the 25 year history of NORBA racing at Snow Summit Mountain Resort. Prior to the start of today's competition, a moment of silence was observed in Fujinaka's memory.
The action itself in today's downhill race exhibited all the passion and determination characteristic of the sport as the field was full of top- notch talent all seeking victory in the season opener. The tactics today were simple: be the fastest one down the mountain. In the riders' way, however, was a challenging course that included more features that made for a smoother and faster course than past years.
On the men's side, Eric Carter (Temecula, CA, Mongoose, Hyundai) was looking to double up on his successful day yesterday which saw him win the Mountain Cross event, but standing in his way were Mick Hannah (San Diego, CA, Haro Lee Dungarees) who snatched the number one seed in qualifying, and perennial favorite, Steve Peat (Great Britian, Roayl Orange). The top seeded riders had an added element of difficulty as the course conditions deteriorated throughout the day due the amount of wear and tear on the course, but that didn't seem to bother Carter as he blitzed down the mountain in a time of 3 minutes, 22.77 seconds, to best Peat by a slim .14 second margin. Chris Kovarik (Australia, Intense Cycles) was good enough for third, just another .2 second off the pace.
When asked about his winning run, Carter responded that it was "Spot on." Adding that: " I made a good adjustment in my technique in response to the way the course was blown out. I guess a lot of guys are talking about that. I just eyed it up. I looked far ahead for the blown out corners."
Peat suffered an earlier injury that may have affected him. " I hurt my wrist this morning", he explained, "so I couldn't really punch it like I wanted to. I came off in the last practice run, and at first I didn't think I'd be able to race the final. I put a 6-6-1 (wrist brace) on it, which gave it the needed support, but I couldn't bend my wrist much, which made it a bit awkward every time I got out of the saddle."
The women's event saw the return of a familiar face as Missy Giove (Pasadena, CA, Foes) was on hand and posed a threat to the top qualifiers, Marla Streb (Las Sosas, CA, LunaChix), Tracy Moseley (Great Britain, Kona Clark), and Tai-Lee Muxlow (Australia, Tioga Orange) who made it through qualifying in the top three spots respectively.
Moseley proved the strongest as she posted a winning time of 3:46:14 edging out Muxlow by a mere .6 second. Rounding out the top three was Fionn Griffiths (Great Britain, Foes). Giove made the podium in the fourth spot. Perhaps repetition was the key as Moseley noted, "I did about ten runs over the weekend to prepare, this is definitely the way to start the year."
During the women's podium presentation, as the weekend came to a close, another moment of silence was observed to once again pay honor and respect to Fujinaka.
The NORBA NCMBS makes its next stop at Snowshoe Resort in West Virginia, June 12-15. Be sure to log on to www.usacycling.org to follow the action.