Somewhere underneath the carpet of mud that was the USGP’s stop at the Mercer Cup in West Windsor, New Jersey, a bicycle race broke out. Well it would be somewhat presumptuous to call it a bike race, a foot race would be a bit more descriptive. While the rain held off on the day of the race, precipitation the day before left the course muddy, sticky and a major pain for anyone not so comfortable with running.
The elite women took to the course at 1:45 PM and while the race was no longer a collection of mug bogs, but a course covered in tacky, power sucking mud. Immediately, the Luna duo of Katerina Nash, the USGP series leader, and Georgia Gould stormed to the front. Gould set the pace for the majority of the first half of the race, with Nash sitting in behind. The styles of the two riders were distinctly different, with Nash riding much of the muddy seconds and Gould electing to run.
Behind Nash and Gould, a group of four containing Maureen Bruno Roy (MM Racing P/B Seven Cycles), Wendy Simms (Kona) and Natasha Elliot (EMD Serono – Stevens) formed and hoped to bring back the leading two. Bruno Roy was the first to break out of the group, using her superior running skills to put large amounts of daylight between her and her chase group mates. Meanwhile, Rachel Lloyd (Cal Giant Berries/Specialized) had moved away from a second chase group and into the first chase group. Bruno Roy was consistently riding away from fourth place, and it was Rachel Lloyd who made the next move out of the group. She managed to drop the rest of the chasers and move into fourth place.
Ahead, Nash had decided that enough was enough and put the hammer to Gould. While Nash was only able to put about 10 second between herself and her teammate, it looked like it would be enough to hold her off. With one lap to go Gould was not making or losing ground, but those 10 seconds looked like they would see her home. Disaster struck for Nash with about half a lap to go, as the conditions brought her to a standstill and she was forced to the ground. While Gould was only able to get back about five seconds, a new fight had begun for the lead in the race.
On the final uphill section of the race, and with only a few hundred meters left to ride, Gould had almost closed the gap to Nash. Tactics played a huge roll in the finale of the race, as Nash decided it best to run up the final slope. Seeing this, and obviously motivated by seeing first place so close, Gould stayed on her bike to power through the last uphill muddy section. Her decision paid off as she caught Nash about half way up the straight and went right on by, putting a gap of about five seconds into Nash coming into the final turns of the race. With her victory, Gould moved into the USGP leader’s jersey.
Behind, Maureen Bruno Roy had soundly put her chasers to the rear and rolled in for a superb third place finish. She was followed home by Rachel Lloyd. Wendy Simms and Natasha Elliot had been caught previously by Deidre Winfield (Velo Bella – Kona) and the duo of Simms and Winfield had dropped Elliot. Simms then pushed on from Winfield to bring home fifth place ahead of Winfield and then Elliot.
Georgia Gould moves ahead of Nash with the win in the USGP standings, with 133 points ahead of Katerina Nash’s 130 Points. Rachel Lloyd is third with 103 points.
Photo by Michael Franken.
1 Georgia Gould (LUNA)
2 Katerina Nash (LUNA)
3 Maureen Bruno Roy (MM Racing p/b Seven Cycles)
4 Rachel Lloyd (California Giant Berry Farms/Specialized)
5 Wendy Simms (Kona)
6 Deidre Winfield (Velo Bella – Kona)
7 Natasha Elliot (EMD Serono/ Stevens)
8 Amy Dombroski (Velo Bella – Kona)
9 Sue Butler (MonavieCannondale.com)
10 Meredith Miller (California Giant Strawberries/ Specialized)
11 Josie Jacques-Maynes (Specialized/KMC pb Cal Giant)
12 Laura Van Gilder (C3 Sollay)
13 Kathy Sherwin (Velo Bella – Kona)
14 Kristin Wentworth (Planet Bike)
15 Sally Annis (NEBC/Cycle Loft/Devonshire Dental)
16 Anna Milkowski (Velo Bella-Kona)
17 Melanie Swartz
18 Kaitlin Antonneau (Nova Cycle Sport Foundation)
19 Nikki Thiemann (Human Zoom Pabst Blue Ribbon)
20 Arley Kemmerer (Hub Racing)
21 Rebecca Wellons (Ridley Factory Team)
22 Amy Wallace (Richard Sachs)
23 Linnea Koons (International Bicycle/Global)
24 Jennifer Maxwell (Team Kenda Tire)
25 Kristin Gavin (Human Zoom/Pabst Blue Ribbon)
26 Lauri Webber (Secret Henry’s Team)
27 Elizabeth Frye (Boone Velo)
28 Vicki Thomas (Ottawa Cross)
29 Perri Mertens (Embrocation Racing/Cambridge Bicycle)
30 Patty Buerkle (Vanderkitten)
31 Kristine Church (Human Zoom/ Pabst Blue Ribbon)
32 Rebecca Blatt (Team Kenda Tire)
33 Kristy Swope (EPS/CSS/Riptide cycling’A’)
34 Tara Parsons
35 Diane Grim (C3-Sollay.com)
36 Julie Kuliecza (ALAN North America Cycling)
37 Jill Waggett (Guy’s Racing)
38 Heidi Von Teitenberg (C3-Sollay.com)
39 Tammy Ebersole
40 Whitney Kroll (Cane Creek)