Story by Tonya Bray, Photos by Pua Mata and others.
When USA Cycling issued the first press release announcing the UCI Mountain Bike Marathon World Championship team, Pua Mata was not on the list. The winner of the 2011 Whiskey Off Road was the first candidate in many minds for a nomination. The Whiskey Off Road, contested 1 May 2011 in Prescott, Arizona, was not an official qualifier for the Worlds team, but with the likes of Catharine Pendrel (Luna Chix) and Kelli Emmett (Giant) showing up for the cash, any result would be worthy. Pua took the win in Prescott in the last minutes of the race, besting Canadian National Champion Pendrel, earning $4,000, and cementing her name as the best Marathon Mountain Bike Racer in North America.