Nash is all alone © Janet Hill

Nash is all alone © Janet Hill

by Josh Liberles

PORTLAND, ORE. – Katerina Nash and the rest of the Luna squad schooled the field on the second day of the USGP Stanley Portland Cup. Nash, Georgia Gould and Amy Dombroski would hit the front of the race early on lap one, and by the end of that lap the trio had dropped all chasers. By the third lap, Nash had carved herself a 10-second lead over Gould, and she’d gradually add to it as the race progressed to claim back-to-back wins in Portland.

A second day of sunny, clear skies made it feel more like Colorado than Portland, and the course continued to dry out and speed up. There were still stretches of mud to be found, but most of the terrain ranged from dry to tacky and grippy – which meant speed was the name of the game.

Local Portlander Sue Butler (Hudz-Subaru) stormed off the front of the field to lead onto the dirt, with Dombroski, Gould and Nash nipping at her heels. Shortly thereafter Nash created a 10 second gap to Gould, with Dombroski another 10 seconds back. A group containing Meredith Miller (Cal Giant-Specialized), Wendy Simms (Ridley-FSA), Butler and yesterday’s revelation Linnea Koons (Embrocation Cycling Journal) gave chase, with another cluster of riders composed of Katy Sherwin (Hudz-Subaru), Mo Bruno Roy (Bob’s Red Mill), Kaitie Antonneau ( and Pepper Harlton (Juventus) a little farther back.

Nash leads Dteammate Dombroski © Dave Roth

Nash leads Dteammate Dombroski © Dave Roth

The Luna trio would come together again, but Nash’s pace was relentless, first claiming Dombroski, then Gould. The Czech national champ would eventually build a 20 second gap, driving the pace all the way to the line.

“I hit it pretty hard from the beginning today and got to the front right as you come into the pits, rode my race, and really tried to focus on the corners and pushing it super-hard on the straightaways,” said Nash. “I knew already going into the race that Georgia had the overall for the series, that’s always a big focus for the team.”

When asked if she was able to sit in at all when the three teammates rode together, she responded, “I was going for it today, it’s the second day of racing, so there’s nothing to be saving for, I just wanted to have a hard, hard ride. Georgia was always super-close, so it kept me going.”

Gould’s second place would cap off her impressive USGP season, and she’d claim her second overall series title to add to her 2010 MTB National Championship. Sunday’s Cyclocross Nationals will be Gould’s last race of the season, and she’s looking to add that elusive stars n’ stripes jersey to her closet.

Wendy Simms rallied after a mishap early on © Janet Hill

Wendy Simms rallied after a mishap early on © Janet Hill

Dombroski would cede almost a minute to Gould, but would hang onto her podium spot. The diminutive Vermonter was much more upbeat after today’s performance that Saturday’s ride, where she felt that nothing went right. “Yesterday I can’t think of much that went well. I did have a good start yesterday, which I’ve been struggling with the whole year, so I tried to take that into today and build upon it.”

At the very start of Saturday’s race, a rider ran into Dombroski and opened her rear skewer in the process. After stopping to fix that and trying to chase back, she “got t-boned in the whoop-dee-doos and flew off my bike. The the final straw was a devil took me out. A guy dressed as a devil was in the course, that put me over the edge.”

Dombroski took confidence out of her redemptive Sunday ride, and she feels well-prepared for Nationals. “I was happy to have a race to back up where I think my fitness should be. ”

Miller digs deep to stay on Gould's wheel early on © Dave Roth

Miller digs deep to stay on Gould's wheel early on © Dave Roth

Miller would separate herself to ride solo for much of the race and claim fourth. Although the position was only one spot better than the previous day’s, the rides were worlds apart and, similar to Dombroski, she felt a lot more positive about her Sunday outing. “[Today] I had a much better start off the line, and also didn’t get caught up in the course tape in the beginning,” said Miller. “I don’t know who broke the tape yesterday, and whoever was in front of me just barely dodged it, so I didn’t see it until the last second – it was blowing straight across the course at wheel height. It got caught up in every bit of my bike – front to back. It happened over on the side, a few hundred meters after coming through the pit the first time. So, I had to ride all the way back to the second pit. I’ve been plagued by Saturdays for some reason this season, and I have to come back fighting on Sunday. So I was glad that it was a clean race, smooth and fast. I still need to get better through the tight stuff to keep up with Katerina and Georgia, but I’m much happier today than yesterday. ”

The tightest battle would be for fifth place, with Simms able to hold off the fast-closing Hudz-Subaru duo of Sherwin and Butler. 18 year-old Antonneau just edged Bruno Roy for eighth, with Ashley James (Team Kenda) rounding out the top 10.

Last year’s collegiate national champ Teal Stetson-Lee (Cal Giant-Specialized) had perhaps the most eventful day. An early crash in the motocross section sent her all the way to the back of the field, and she’d endure two more crashes, including getting tangled with a fence and launching over the bars, en route to her 17th place.

While the Americans will make the short drive to Bend for the US National Championships, Nash will be flying to the Czech Republic Wednesday for her bid to repeat as Czech national champ. She then plans to hit two more World Cups as her final lead-up to the World Championships in St. Wendel, Germany.

Stay tuned for more photos!

Photo Gallery by Janet Hill:

Photo Gallery by Dave Roth:

Elite Women’s Results:

1 Katerina Nash (Cze) Luna Pro Team 0:40:32
2 Georgia Gould (USA) Luna Pro Team 0:00:19
3 Amy Dombroski (USA) Luna Pro Team 0:01:12
4 Meredith Miller (USA) California Giant-Specialized 0:01:39
5 Wendy Simms (Can) Ridley – FSA 0:02:16
6 Katherine Sherwin (USA) Hudz-Subaru 0:02:24
7 Susan Butler (USA) Hudz Subaru 0:02:28
8 Kaitlin Antonneau (USA) Cannondale/Cyclocrossworld.Com 0:02:31
9 Maureen Bruno Roy (USA) Mm Racing P/B Seven Cycles 0:02:33
10 Ashley James (USA) Team Kenda 0:02:40
11 Linnea Koons (USA) Embrocation Cycling Journal 0:02:43
12 Pepper Harlton (Can) Juventus Cycling Club 0:03:00
13 Katy Curtis (Can) Bow Cycle/Cyclemeisters 0:03:02
14 Barbara Howe (USA) Ibis And The Danger Twins
15 Amanda Carey (USA) Kenda/Felt 0:03:17
16 Devon Haskell (USA) Bh Usa 0:03:32
17 Teal Stetson-Lee (USA) California Giant/Specialized 0:03:56
18 Alice Pennington (USA) S&M 0:04:05
19 Coryn Rivera (USA) Peanut Butter & Co.Twenty12 0:04:29
20 Kari Studley (USA) Velo Bella 0:04:51
21 Rebecca Blatt (USA) Silverbull Centralwheel 0:05:03
22 Wendy Williams (USA) River City Bicycles 0:05:13
23 Linda Sone (USA) Planet Bike 0:05:25
24 Lisa Curry (USA) Gas/Intrinsik 0:05:44
25 Katrina Baumsteiger (USA) Team Rambuski Law 0:05:51
26 Serena Bishop (USA) Sunnyside Sports
27 Abby Watson (USA) Embrocation Cycling Journal 0:06:12
28 Anna Dingman (USA) Gas/Intrinsik Cycling Team 0:06:22
29 Shannon Gibson (USA) Velobella- Ellsworth 0:06:41
30 Corey Coogan (USA) Team Plan C Pb Stevens 0:06:56
31 Laura Winberry (USA) Elite Endurance/Cascade Couriers 0:07:10
32 Emily Thurston (USA) Missing Link/ 3Rd Rail 0:07:18
33 Becca Blay (USA) Mafia Racing 0:07:30
34 Annie Usher (USA) Bridgetown Velo
35 Carrie Cash (USA) Team Vera Bradley Foundation 0:08:16
36 -1 lap Megan Chinburg (USA) Veloforma
37 -1 lap Brigette Stoick (USA) River City Bicycles
38 -1 lap Megan Elliott (USA) Black Mountain Bicycles
39 -1 lap Tina Brubaker (USA) The Vanilla Workshop/Speedvagen
DNF Joele Guynup (USA) Island Racing Club/Everti/Shimano
DNF Tiffany Cromwell (Aus) Lotto Ladies Team