LUNA Sea Otter '07

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  • 04-18-2007
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    LUNA Sea Otter '07
    LUNA Team News: Sea Otter ’07
    Gould, Nash, Streb Win at Sea Otter
    Two LUNA Chix on Every Podium
    Georgia Admits She’s a Euro Virgin
    Carolyn Eats Thai Food For The First Time

    Monterey, California: The 2007 Sea Otter Classic was a stellar weekend for the LUNA Pro Team as Georgia Gould, Katerina Nash and Marla Streb won the cross-country, time trial and single speed races respectively. The LUNA Chix occupied at least two podium spots in every pro cross-country event. The Sea Otter is no longer a stage race. (Had this been the case, Georgia would have been the winner on time, Katerina the winner if scored on points.)

    Gould’s cross-country win held special significance because the 2007 Sea Otter was a UCI* C1 event, a designation awarded to the world’s most prominent races. Accordingly, these events carry maximum points towards a racer’s world ranking. Conveniently, our very own Georgia Gould was already occupying the #1 spot before this weekend and this win extended her lead further. This is sweet because it’s the first time in recent history that an American has been ranked as the world’s top cross-country racer.
    *Union Cycliste Internationale—the governing body of international cycling

    It Rained
    What would the Sea Otter be without a deluge of biblical proportions? Grothar, the God of the Weather (also called Grothar Weathergod, the Grey King, Rainlord, Cloudmaster, King of the Skies or Father of the Skies) did not disappoint, unleashing a downpour on Saturday prior to the pro shorttrack races. Fortunately his fury was limited to one day only…the rest of the time is was just cold and windy. After getting swamped in the expo area one industry icon exclaimed, “I was searching around for a big-ass ark. Really, I thought we were gonna be washed over the edge of the world…”

    Carolyn Ash Gallaway
    In other news LUNA’s guest racer, Carolyn Ash Gallaway, continued in the tradition of our previous guest racers—each of whom has finished on the podium at Sea Otter—by placing third in the expert 50+ cross-country race. Equipment fanatics will be happy to know she raced her new Shimano XTR equipped, Orbea Alma (a carbon-fiber hardtail). More on Carolyn later…

    Georgia Gould, or GG, has been on fire all season and the Sea Otter was no exception. Gould, along with teammate Nash, had podium finishes in every race they entered; GG was second in the time trial, fifth in the short-track and first in the cross-country. Interestingly, the Sea Otter short-track was Georgia’s first defeat this season and it did not sit well with her. One Gould insider speculated that this defeat motivated her to Sunday’s decimation of the pro women’s cross-country field. Chris Mathis, LUNA’s chief mechanic, observed GG’s intensity during the cross-country race and noted, “Georgia looked possessed. The first time through the feed she looked so determined…you could see it in her eyes…they were crazy eyes, you know…like Bride of Chucky crazy.”

    Queried about the cross-country race and her weekend in general, Gould sort of said, “It was good. I didn’t really know how far ahead I was (in the cross-country). The most I ever heard was a minute. It was pretty surprising when I saw that I was a couple of minutes ahead at the end (her margin of victory was 4min,14sec!). It gives me confidence going into the first world cup of the season next weekend. I’m super excited about going to Europe… I’ve never raced, or really even been there …well, I mean I went to Europe when I was like 12 but that doesn’t count. I consider myself a Euro virgin.”

    Also “on form” Katerina’s weekend included a spirited win in the time-trial, a hectic second place in the short track, and finally, a third place in the crosscountry race.

    When asked to comment about the weekend the three-time Olympian said, “I was first, second and third in consecutive races. I’ve never placed on each step of the podium in order like that so it’s pretty cool— a good weekend. I felt ok in the time-trial but it was over so fast, like I just started and all of a sudden I’m at the finish. In short track I got a bad start and on top of that had bad legs for the first couple laps. By the time I started feeling good Katie (Compton—the U.S. Cyclo-Cross Champion) was so far gone I just couldn’t catch her…but it was fun to be out there in the mud with all the people cheering. Gary (Clif Bar owner Gary Erickson) was on the hill cheering and every time I came by I thought to myself, ‘Oh, there’s Gary. I hope I’m doing well enough’…” She continued, “The cross-country was fun and I had good legs, but more than anything I was inspired by GG who took off like a champ. I hope to do the same next week.”

    Marla dusted off the winter’s cobwebs, tossed baby Nico to hubby Mark, and got down to business last weekend, winning the single-speed race on her one-of-a-kind Alma. She also placed fourth in the Super D. Although its significance may be lost on most people, the most exciting thing about Marla’s weekend was executing what she termed, “the perfect turn…my best of the year for sure, and maybe my best ever…after the rain the traction was like Velcro…am I allowed to say that without paying a royalty to VelcroŽ Industries B.V.(?)… well, just in case I’ll call it hook and loop…so the traction was like hook and loop during the singlespeed race and I made the perfect two wheel drift. It was cool. Like riding on VelcroŽ...shoot, said it again! As far as the races go, I won the single-speed race and passed guys on gear bikes the entire time without one person passing me. It was fun…and I used a 34 / 16 in case anyone really needs to know. The Super D went well. I got fourth in a sprint…shoot, they should make those finish on the downhill instead of the flats…”

    Carolyn Ash Gallaway
    LUNA’s guest rider at the 2007 Sea Otter Classic was Carolyn Ash Gallaway of Ann Arbor MI. Carolyn placed the winning bid in the Breast Cancer Fund’s eBay auction for a LUNA Pro Team membership at the Sea Otter Classic. This auction is held annually in October during Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Through her donation, Carolyn made a valuable contribution to the Breast Cancer Fund and scored an all expense paid trip to Monterey, CA, to compete at the Sea Otter Classic alongside the LUNA Pro Team. She received a full complement of LUNA Pro Team gear including a Fox, Shimano XTR and Mavic equipped Orbea bicycle, Pro Team uniforms, shoes, helmet and other team gear. And if that’s not enough, Gallaway roomed with and was coached by former world champion and multiple Sea Otter winner Alison Dunlap. (Consequently, Gallaway was forced to eat Thai food every night with Alison.)

    On her experience, “This has been singularly the highlight of my entire life (whoa!). I feel like I was Cinderella for four days and now I’m gonna go home and turn into a pumpkin…ha! Everyone was so courteous and friendly that it was easy to forget they are pros. I was very impressed at the intensity and teamwork of the LUNA team, especially when it was time to get down to business. I hope to take this momentum and energy back to Michigan and spread the news about the Breast Cancer Fund…on second thought I think I’ll just retire and ride my bike…just kidding of course” She continued, “Alison was a wonderful host. We developed quite a good friendship and I look forward to learning a lot more from her. In closing I want to thank the LUNA Chix for making me feel welcome and part of the team. It’s like I have a whole new family and I look forward to seeing them again.”

    (Hey Carolyn, These sentiments were echoed by everyone on the team and hope to see you again soon...Dm)

    Alison Dunlap spent the weekend coaching Carolyn, conducting mountain bike clinics for the Northern California High School Mountain Bike League and generally shining like a star. Here’s what she had to say, “I’ve been coaching Carolyn since November so I knew her really well, but being roommates was a great opportunity to become friends. It was wonderful to see her having such a great time after so much tragedy in her life (see attached article from the Monterey Herald with her story). This is one of the first weekends where she was able to laugh and smile and have a good time.” She continues, “This promotion offering women the opportunity to become a member of the LUNA Chix for Sea Otter is such a unique program and a dream come true for the three women who have joined us so far. Whoever came up with the idea is brilliant.”

    Still suffering the lingering affects of her annual early season illness (no doubt caused by an ill-digested empanada ingested during her recent trip to Argentina for the Pan Am Championships) Shonny mustered a sixth place in the short-track race after. The time trial and cross-country yielded, well, not much from the LUNA star.

    “I picked up this stomach bug and it’s been tough to kick. My short track was pretty good considering I got a bad start, then I dropped a chain and before I knew it I was back in about 30th place on the third lap. I bet on time I may have posted the fastest lap of the race so I’m happy. It’s tough to be off your game but it makes you appreciate the wins that much more. What about Georgia though? She punched some tickets in the cross-country didn’t she! Very impressive.”

    LUNA’s newest addition, teenager Chloe Forsman, performed well in all events. Her weekend was and highlighted by a great showing in the shorttrack where she trashed a bunch of established mountain bike stars.

    When asked for stories from the weekend she replied, “Stories? Like any stories?…Katerina is a fabulous cook. I was lucky to share the room with her even though she snored so loudly that she woke herself up.” On the three-hour cross-country race she noted, “The second lap of the xc was really hard. I was cramping and had back problems, well, everything hurt. I’ve ever done a race this long before and it was tough.” About the short track and being on the LUNA Pro Team, “I had a good start in the short track which was important since the course funneled into a bottleneck that had most people off their bikes. After that I held on and tried to help Katerina and Georgia…just like Waldek told me. As far as being on the LUNA Pro Team, wow, it’s far more than I expected…I feel a little spoiled because we are so well taken care of and everything runs really smoothly.”

    Waldek had nothing but praise for LUNA’s youngest member stating, “Chloe ride great. I mean she never race in such long race and she was solid all weekend. I’m really glad she’s on the team because she for sure going to be one of the stars in the future.”

    Special thanks go out to LUNA’s superstar mechanics Chris and Zeph who had the team paddock and bikes dialed in and working flawlessly.

    Other things that happened…
    Georgia’s name decal got moved from the top tube to the seat-stay of her race bike. The cross-country race was the first time this season that Gould raced with the sticker in its new position and it proved to be a fortuitous decision on the part of LUNA’s mechanics. Chris Mathis was cautious, “We just weren’t sure how this would affect handling so we figured we would try it on one bike to see how it goes. Georgia proved that the new placement works. We’ll go ahead and move the name decals on all other team bikes now
    that it’s won a race.”

    As always, LUNA Team Director Paul McKenzie took a bunch of great pictures. Go here to see them —

    The LUNA Pro Team hosted fellow Orbea races from Europe including Pro short-track winner Jean Christophe Peraud from France. (although we are skeptical of his Frenchness as he was not seen wearing beret.)

    Dave never sat still, yet found time to dominate the ping pong table at Fox. He soundly defeated Waldek, but only just scraped by Paul in a tie-breaker.

    Gary Erickson drove his Bio Diesel mobile home to the Sea Otter Classic and set up alongside the LUNA Team trailer. Gary had respectable finishes in the road and circuit races and was generally on the scene all weekend, his mobile home serving as our defacto VIP lounge.

    The LUNA Team tow vehicle and support truck made the trip to and from Sea Otter fueled by Bio Diesel.

    Georgia got swamped by autograph seekers after Chris moved her name sticker to a more prominent position.

    Georgia, Katerina and Shonny head to Europe for the first world cup race of 2007 in Houffalize, Beljium, home of Les Nutons, the legendary trolls of the Ardennes region.


    Dave "Mac" McLaughlin