The season panned out quite well for Katerina Nash, thank you, considering that in the earlier part of this year the former Czech national champion and her Luna Team figured she wouldn’t ride her mountain bike in anger for much of the 2009 campaign.
Back in February, when Nash’s Truckee, California home was blanketed in snow, a bum knee and other issues had the Luna rider contemplating pulling off the travel-intensive World Cup and national racing circuits. But a retooling of her ’09 race calendar had Nash racing her mountain bike — and on podiums.
“I decided not to go and do the hectic races like the last few years,” Nash said about setting up her non-World Cup, Pro-XCT-oriented calendar with Luna. “It really worked out for me the way the season went. I was racing locally in Northern California in front of a lot of people who buy Clif Bars.”
Nash wasn’t just racing events around NorCal, she was winning all-around events. She won the cross-country and downhill races at the Downieville Classic, a short drive from Truckee, to take the combined “All Mountain World Championship” crown.
But before Downieville, Nash went off the beaten track — for a World Cup-racing pro, anyway — and won the two-women category in the BC Bike Race with Luna teammate Catharine Pendrel. The pair beat the formidable duo of Alison Sydor and Lea Davison.
The off-roader even smoked a few road races as well, taking a podium spot at the Tour de Nez stage race and a third at the Nevada City Classic.
As for the rest of the mountain bike season, most pros would say the year went better than great. Nash’s results — in no particular order — included a third-place finish at the World Cup stop in Mont Ste Anne as well as a top-ten at Bromont, another third at Bump and Grind, a first in short track at Mount Snow plus a handful of top-ten finishes at other domestic races.
But Nash was just warming up. The approach to the first half of the season had a longer view that will likely impact the last half of the season. Fall means cyclocross, with the CX World Championships set for the Czech Republic in January 2010. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out where Nash wants her season to peak.
“I kind of planned [the season] that way,” she said. “You can’t do the full international season and then be competitive in the cyclocross season.”
Come spring 2010, however, Nash said her sights will be fully set on the World Cup. With the final World Cup race set for Aug. 28-29 at Windham Mountain, New York and the mountain bike World Championships the following weekend at Mont Ste Anne, Nash said she will be invested early on in the season.
To do well at Worlds, Nash will need a good starting position, which means racing often and finishing high to get a beneficial seed.
“The position in mountain biking is crucial. I’ll have to do a little more international racing” in 2010, she said. “But Mont Ste Anne is definitely one of my favorite places to compete. It’s a classic. I don’t want to miss it.”