Weekend Wrap-Up: JHK Wins Short-Track XC
For a long while on Sunday it looked liked the national championships would play out in a virtual carbon copy of last year: Todd Wells would win both the cross-country and short-track XC while Georgia Gould and Katie Compton would dominate each contest.
And it was exactly the same, except for the last lap of the last race of the weekend when Jeremy Horgan-Kobelski out-kicked Wells (Specialized) to win the short-track. By winning the Stars-and-Stripes jersey, Horgan-Kobelski (Subaru-Trek) KO’d Wells’ bid to repeat his 2010 feat of becoming the first man ever to win national titles in cross-country, short-track and cyclo-cross in a single year.
But from the beginning of the race it looked as though Wells was well on his way to a repeat. He jumped to the front and set a vicious pace for the majority of the 20-minute-plus-three-lap race. After things shook out Wells had on his wheel alternately Horgan-Kobelski and Ryan Trebon. A little further back the fight was between Sam Schultz (Subaru-Trek), Jeremiah Bishop (Cannondale Factory Racing) and Stephen Ettinger (BMC).
With 14 national titles in various disciplines to his credit, Horgan-Kobelski said he knew Wells’ pace was taking a toll on the defending short-track champ. So Horgan-Kobelski waited patiently until the last lap to make his move.
“I figured I was in perfect position so I got by Trebon going into that off camber climb then came by Todd in the trees and sprinted as hard as I could,” said Horgan-Kobelski.
Wells held on to second with Trebon rounding out the top-three. Schultz came in fourth and Bishop picked up fifth after a crash on the pavement.
There were no surprises in the women’s short-track as Katie Compton (Rabobank-Giant) decimated the field to defend her 2010 title.
On the first lap it was Judy Freeman (Kenda-Felt) setting the pace followed by Chloe Forsman (BMC). But by the second lap Compton had made her way to the front, established a 30-second gap on pursuers Heather Gould (Subaru-Trek) and Georgia Gould (Luna Pro Team) and never looked back.
“I got a little gap and just stayed on the gas,” said Compton, who took bronze in Saturday’s XC. “I felt good today so I thought I’d just give it a go and push the whole time.”
The race ended up being a fight for silver between Irmiger and Gould. The pair rode together for about four laps feeling out each other and to see who would make the move.
“I decided to go ahead and pass her before the dirt started because I felt like the 29er was rockin it on the loose corners,” Irmiger said. “I felt like I had an advantage there, so I just made sure I got in front on the last lap and I held on to it.”
Before the suffering at the short-track XC on Sunday, many of the top pros took on the Super D. Taking home the Stars-and-Stripes jerseys were Adam Craig (Rabobank-Giant) and Lea Davison (Specialized Factory Racing).
Craig collected his sixth national title in the Super D by posting a time of 19:37, 1.71 seconds faster than silver medalist Carl Decker (Giant Off-Road) and 16 seconds faster than Mike West (Yeti), who earned the bronze medal.
“Super D is the essence of mountain biking,” Craig said. “You have to be fit, but you still get to shred. It’s the most entertaining way from the top to bottom.”
Davison was nine seconds faster than Allison Mann (Murrieta, Calif.) and nearly 21 seconds faster than Kelli Emmett (Colorado Springs, Colo./Giant Bicycles), who earned the silver and bronze medals.