Full XC team starts season at Bonelli US Cup
The entire XC team raced the US Cup in Bonelli, California this weekend. It was an auspicious start to the XC team’s campaign, with a win in the Men’s XC by Anton Cooper, and third place finishes in the Women’s XC and Short Track race by Emily Batty.
Emily had strong finishes across the whole weekend, scoring a third in both the cross country and short track events. As her first race of the season, it was a great proving ground to gauge fitness at this early season juncture. In her own words;
"It was nice to finally kick off my pre-season of racing starting with Bonelli US Cup and a pretty deep women's field. The year of the Olympics always takes a bit of a toll on you mentally and physically, and I've positioned my preparation accordingly for the later months this season."
"For the month of April, I'm feeling stronger than ever and even without much proper top end training. My base & foundation is the best it’s been, and with Sea Otter around the corner, I'm looking forward to continuing building my fitness ahead of the World Cup season in May."
"Over the course of the next few weeks, I'll continue to fine tune my body and equipment."
The mens XC race proved to be a tough battle between national champions. Reigning New Zealand national champion Anton Cooper and US national champion Howard Grotts threw down, with Anton eventually distancing Howard on an end of race ascent. The race in Anton’s words;
"I'm super happy with today's performance. I took charge of the race early on and for the first 3 laps of 7 held the front of the race and set a strong tempo. Lap by lap the field whittled down until it was just myself and Howard Grotts left. We traded blows over the remaining four laps but I nearly threw away the chance of victory with less than a kilometre remaining as I slid out on a tight hairpin approaching the second to last climb. I managed to regather and attacked up the final pinch climb to open up a small gap which I held to the line. Stoked to take the win and bag some vital points!"
Sergio Mantecon was looking solid in the race, until the Spaniard suffered a dramatic bee sting and subsequent allergic reaction. Regardless of the serious encounter, Sergio managed to soldier on, finishing in 9th.
The team now heads to training camp, where they will put the finishing touches on their preparation for the World Cup season. Catch the team at the Sea Otter Classic before they depart to the European rounds.