The Subaru Trek Mountain Bike Team continued to show its early season strength at Sea Otter Classic in Monterey, California, April 20-21, 2012.



This event is a biking enthusiast's paradise with 10,000 participants competing in various biking disciplines and bringing 30,000 spectators to the stunning Laguna Seca Recreation Area.


The first event for the team was the short track race. The small loop requires a fast pace as riders set out for 20 minutes and three laps.


The women were up first. Emily Batty and Heather Irmiger started on the front line based on their Union Cycliste Interationale (UCI) standings and went out with the front of the group. As the race progressed, Irmiger showed her strength as she moved up in the field for a fourth-place finish. Batty finished her solid ride in 10th.


Next up were Jeremy Horgan-Kobelski (JHK), Sam Schultz, and Russell Finsterwald. Schultz and JHK also started on the front line, while Finsterwald started behind in the pack.


Out in the front of the group were Schultz and JHK, with Finsterwald a few riders back. Schultz charged to lead the pack and held that lead until the last turn of the race, where being just off his line put him into second. Jeremy finished on his heels in fourth and Russell in seventh, making this Finsterwald’s best elite finish.


The next day the stage was set for the 20-mile cross-country loop. Starting at the Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca track, the field then headed out into the mountains. A high heat index and an open course set the scene for a hot and brutal battle.


The men’s race was the first pro race to take the course, and, at the first descent, Schultz was leading, with both teammates closely behind. Just before the final climb, Schultz was in a four-way battle for second, finishing in fourth.


Also bringing home strong finishes for the team were JHK in seventh and Finsterwald in 14th, Finsterwald turning in the top U-23 (under 23) finish.


Next up were the ladies. Batty came down the first descent stuck to the back tire of the leader and Irmiger was in the group of front-runners. Unable to maintain the leader’s pace, they both fell back a bit. As Batty came to the final climb, she was battling for third place. Making an outside move on her competitor, Batty was able to ride home in third. Irmiger finished in 16th place, ensuring the entire team finished in the top 20 all weekend.


Read more on Sea Otter Classic.


The team heads to Europe for the next two World Cup events before the Olympic Teams are announced.


Gold at Pan American
As the only Subaru Trek representative at the Pan American Continental Championships in Puebla, Mexico, Russell Finsterwald had the biggest finish in his career. The 20-year-old brought home the Gold Medal for the United States, one of three gold won by USA at the event.
Read Finsterwald’s reaction to the race here.





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