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Streb and Kovarik Smash the "Gash"
Deer Valley, UT: July 30, 2000

• Preview
• Cross-Country
• Short Track Cross-Country & Dual Slalom
• Downhill

The third stop of the NORBA National Championship Series came to an end on Sunday as the downhill racers blurred the birches of the Wasatch Mountains. The course dropped 1200 vertical feet in just a mile-and-a-half, including a five-foot rock drop called "The Gash." Most of the spectators ate the fee and rode the lift to the top of course, where they circled the stunt so closely you had to elbow your way in for a closer look.

As the riders approached the ledge, some hesitated, others accelerated. The smoother the landing, the louder the cheer. Those who ate big got the loudest roar as they crunched against the tree that narrowed the landing. The course was so dry and dusty, trees and spectators were caked. I thought my arms were tan; a sneeze lifted the layer of grit.

Marla Streb was undeniably huge. She let the front brake be and bombed the course to win by 13 seconds. She did lose her footing a few times, but quickly reclipped. She's designed a new set of pedals, but for now, they're top secret and the patent is on the way. On top of the podium, Streb slowly loosened the cork of the champagne to avoid wasting any bubbles and kindly poured her fellow medalists mouthfuls of drink.

Tara Llanes took second in today's mad dash for the finish. Some consider her a dual slalom specialist, but she's been appearing on the downhill podium quite a bit lately.

Each rider left their own rut; the rocks that littered the course moved with every run, slightly changing the singletrack with the passing of every racer.

Cheri Elliott chose her runs on the fly and took third for the women. "I just rode really relaxed and took it easy. That's the key to this type of course. There were so many rocks, the course is a mystery every time you ride it. It was a mental and physical course...demanding on the body from head to toe."

A bit weary from the altitude and extreme heat, Chris Kovarik (AUS, Intense) took fourth in the dual slalom and won the the downhill, beating the pack by 10 seconds. He however, wasn't so kind with the champagne. He was more than happy to douse the podium and surrounding spectators.

John Kirkcaldie (NZL, Rocky Mountain) noncholantly took second. "I was going too fast in the tree section. I was bouncing around on the bike, but I never lost contact with it. I'm confident on this type of terrain and had the bike set up for the course."

The second Kiwi to podium was Nathan Rankin (NZL, Foes Azonic). He fell just a quarter second short of Kirkcaldie for third. However, the racing wasn't over.

Shortly after the downhill, the team mechanics rolled to the start for their own race. Some took it seriously and darted off the start, others sported streamers and plastic wheels while Missy Giove was cruising the start area on a mini-motorcycle. The music was just as funky as the race and the weekend ended in style.

Lucas Kane, poaching Park City's pools for

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