The Cross Country
Paterson Trains Hard to Win
SCOTT Triathlete Lesley Paterson won the US Pro XCT #2 at Bonelli Park in San Dimas, California over the weekend. You read that right, a triathlete won a mountain bike race.
In truth, Paterson is no stranger to racing on the dirt, having twice won the XTERRA World Championship, but taking the start of a cross country amongst multiple World Cup and Olympic veterans might seem a bit of a mismatch.
Paterson originally entered the race as a good way to get in some extra training. When jokingly asked if she intended to go for a run to follow up her bike effort, Lesley answered, “I actually ran this morning before I came here and I’ve got a triathlon race in the morning back in Coronado, the Super Seal Olympic distance triathlon, so I’ve got to get on my triathlon bike…so I’m a busy girl.”
Going into the race with no expectations other than a good workout, Paterson enjoyed a relaxed approach to the day. Claiming to be a slow starter, she was unbothered by her back row starting position and used it instead to focus on her scheduled training effort. “It was a great training race for me,” Paterson explained. “I had my first big race of the season two weeks ago in the Philippines, and that was an XTERRA race and I did really well there and so I had a block of training and I’ve got a bunch more races coming up.”
Just because Bonelli was not one of her focus races for the season does not mean she that she chose to go easy. Quite the contrary, she bridged up to the leading trio before the completion of lap two and promptly pulled through. “When I went got to the front I just went hard and I thought, I’m not going to win a sprint so I’ll just go as hard as I can and see what happens,” she noted simply.
What happened was that she put some of the best cross country mountain bike specialists in North America under pressure, enough pressure that one by one they dropped off her relentless pace. With Emily Batty left holding onto the ‘Scottish Rocket’, however, it seemed the race might come down to a duel in spite of Lesley’s ‘all in’ tactic. When Emily missed a shift though, Paterson got just the chance she needed to erase Batty’s chance for a win. “I just drove it for five to ten minutes to make sure she couldn’t get back, and then just kept opening the gap in the last lap,” Lesley recounted. All that remained was to cross the line with hands raised for a victory salute.
“I was blown away when Lesley decided to enter the race, and even more shocked when she won,” said Adrian Montgomery. “By shocked I don’t mean surprised, Lesley is a top athlete and has great form, but I didn’t know she had the mustard for the shorter distance. I’m excited to see what she can do at the Endurance events this year.”
Fellow SCOTT athlete and Crankbrothers Race Club 11 rider Chloe Woodruff also had a good day at Bonelli. In spite of missing the early move, Chloe stayed on task throughout the race, and eventually worked her way up to a fourth place podium position. This was Woodruff’s first competition using the new XX1 drivetrain, she left her 30t front chainring at home and had to put in some massive efforts on the climb. Lesson learned, having gears in your travel case is back in style like 80’s BMX.
Crankbrothers Race Club 11 rider Judy Freeman put in a great effort at the race, eventually finishing 7th. That made three SCOTT Contessa’s in the top ten, all aboard the Contessa Scale 900 RC.
The Short Track
Chloe strikes early, Judy rounds out the Podium
Woodruff started strong by tacking the first lap prime and never looked back. The group would string out on the climb and then come back together on the pavement over the .7 mi circuit. Some Team tactics came into play for Crankbrothers Race Club 11 as Judy drove the pace in the final lap while Chloe delivered the finishing move. Great to have two Contessa’s on the podium for the short track.
The Super D
Woodruff and Freeman go 1-2
The final event of the Triple Crown was the Super D, a test of what’s left in the tank for the racers and who’s got the skills to pay the bills. Both Chloe and Judy showed up with their “A-game” as they placed first and second consecutively, and Woodruff earned the Triple Crown.