Sheppard, Palanuk win Spring Thaw
ASHLAND — Chris Sheppard and Shawna Palanuk made their trips from Central Oregon across the mountains to Ashland pay off with wins at the Spring Thaw XC, the sixth stop of the 2011 Oregon XC Series.
The Central Oregon winners had to thread they way through fields packed with California and Pacific Northwest riders who had come to Ashland for the Spring Thaw Mountain Bike Festival that concludes today with the downhill event.
Sheppard made his first appearance at an Oregon XC Series race this year. The Canadian Cyclocross National Champion covered the climbing course in 1:37:43, a minute and a half faster than runner-up Aaron Bradford. Scott Chapin was third more than five minutes behind Sheppard.
Oregon XC Series leader Justin Finn missed the Spring Thaw, along with runner-up Sean Babcock, but Saturday’s results shouldn’t change that overall contest.
In the women’s race, Cat 1 Shawna Palanuk set the fastest time of the day, beating Pro winner Serena Bishop Gordon by nearly four and a half minutes. Pia Oravetz was third, finishing another minute behind Bishop Gordon.
The race marks Bishop Gordon’s first win of the series in the Pro women’s contest. Alice Pennington and Sue Butler, winners of all the races so far this year, missed this race.
Spring Thaw XC
1. Chris Sheppard, 1:37:43.00
2. Aaron Bradford, 1:39:13.00
3. Scott Chapin, 1:42:45.00
4. Nathan Riddle, 1:43:34.00
5. Mark Weir, 1:44:15.00
1. Shawna Palanuk 2:12:57.00 *Cat 1 winner
2. Serena Bishop Gordon (Silverado Gallery/Sunnyside) 2:17:32.00
3. Pia Oravetz, 2:18:27.00
4. Mejia Fernanda 2:19:47.00 *Cat 1 second
5. Melissa Norland 2:19:48.00 *Cat 1 third
Complete OBRA results are HERE.