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VETTA Sponsored LUNA Team's Georgia Gould and Katerina Nash Go 1-2 at New Jersey Mercer Cup

Nov 24, 2008
LUNA Chix have just been goin' nuts recently with all their wins.  This is the most recent update from Alison Dunlap

Nov 20, 2008  Colorado Springs, CO   The weather has continued to be unbelievably warm.  It has regularly been in the high 60's and low 70's for the past two weeks.  Didn't think I'd be working on my tan lines in the middle of November.  Vail ski area opens tomorrow and I'm wondering what they'll be skiing on. 
The cross season is in full swing, with dozens of races around the country each weekend.  The LUNA Team converged on West Windsor, NJ for round three and four of the United States Grand Prix cyclocross series.  
After two days of racing/running at the mud infested Mercer Cup, Georgia Gould came away with two hard earned victories.  Teammate Katerina Nash, fresh off a successful European campaign, rode to a close second both days.  Georgia now leads the series by 13 points over Katerina, with Rachel Lloyd (California Giant Berry) in 3rd. 

Day 1 of the New Jersey Mercer Cup was nothing short of a muddy mess.  Heavy rain the day and night before turned the course into a quagmire of muck.  Racing on a course like this is extremely challenging because nothing goes the way you want it to.  The lines are always different, your bike is constantly getting packed with mud, the shifting doesn't work, and then you have to run.  Most cyclists aren't good runners.  I call it biker palsy.  You can train for running in cross, but nothing prepares you for long runs in deep mud. 
It is a miserable lung scorching, leg searing, eye watering experience, always at your max heart rate.  And people pay to do this kind of racing?? 
The race went as expected for Team LUNA with Georgia and Katerina going 1-2.  "After a somewhat warm and dry first half of the 'cross season, I was looking forward to the possibility of some slippery, muddy conditions," said Georgia. "I didn't know what I was in for!  When we arrived at the venue on Day 1, the course was already thick, churned up mud from tape to tape.  After watching several of the amateur categories, it was clear that the race was going to involve running.  A lot of running.  'It won't be too bad' I thought, 'I've been running quite a bit.'  Again, I didn't know what I was in for. The race started and I got the hole shot, with Katerina right behind me.  45 seconds into the race, we were off our bikes running through thick mud.  We separated ourselves pretty quickly from the rest of the field, but when we came through the start/finish after lap one, we saw that we only had 2 laps to go! That's how SLOW the course was.  We fought back and forth, but in the end I was able to find a lucky line up one of the last climbs and managed to take the win by a couple seconds."
NJ Team on podium day 1
"We don't take it easy on each other because we both want to win," said Katerina. "We were battling against one another out there and that is what really makes us better. We are very competitive and that does really well for us on the team. We both have a good lead over third place in the USGP and there are three races left so hopefully after tomorrow we will increase that lead and then just battle it out to see which one of us is going to get it."
Day 2 of the Mercer Cup was almost identical to the first.  More mud, more crashes, more chaos.  Georgia and Katerina rode away from the field early on and battled back and forth until the end, where Georgia pulled away from Katerina for her second win of the weekend.  "The course involved a lot of running today but all in all it was very similar to yesterday," said Katerina.  "I don't train for running at all, so on days like today it would definitely have helped. Georgia and I started a little further back, and it wasn't until the longer section over by the pits that we finally moved up. We worked together and took turns for most of it."
"I had a slight advantage on the longer running sections, and I was able to open a small gap on the last lap," said Georgia.  "Both days the racing was tough.  We pushed each other hard, and the conditions definitely took their toll on us.  Thanks to Waldek and Dusty for all the hard work in the pits. Katerina and I were both changing bikes 2 times every lap, and there was a line at the bike wash, so they had to run over and dunk the bikes in the lake to clean them off!  I definitely owe them a few espressos!"
Katerina was likely feeling the effects of two hard races in Europe and a long trip back to the US, all combining to make the legs feel a little slow.  "After two weekends of racing in Europe I had one more weekend of USGP's on the east coast," said Katerina.  "Thanks to Georgia's mom, Susan, I was able to stay on the east coast instead of making the long trip back to California.  It is amazing how athletes can be resourceful when traveling around the world in order to save money.  Even more amazing is the support we get from our families and random friends.  People always take care of us and so a big thanks goes to Susan and Bo for letting me stay at their beautiful house near Baltimore.  The rest of the team arrived later in the week and we were off to New Jersey."
Congrats to everyone for a surviving a challenging weekend! Enjoy your time at home and we'll see you in Portland.

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