Normally in Portland, when the sun shines and the temperature reads over 50 degrees in December, many consider it to be a sign of the apocalypse. But even without a drop of rain for days, the first day of the USGP finals still dirtied riders’ race kits, if only just a little.
Reigning national champion Tim Johnson (Cyclocrossworld.com-Cannondale) and Katarina Nash (Luna) out foxed the competition in two highly tactical races. Teammates Tim Johnson and Jeremy Powers double teamed Ryan Trebon in the Elite men’s race. Nash came home solo, easily defeating Luna teammate Georgia Gould and Rachel Lloyd (California Giant Berry Farms).
The course at Portland International Raceway used one of the longest pavement sections in recent memory with over a quarter mile of straightaway before the dirt. Flowing quickly into the motocross course, racers rolled over berms and jumps into sizable mud puddle followed by a fast and very twisty wooded section.
Almost from the gun, a group of five women opened a gap on the field the steadily grew throughout the race. Portland local Sue Butler (Monaview-Cannondale) lead Lloyd, Gould, Nash and Wendy Simms (Kona) off the tarmac and into the infield lined with hundreds of fans fueled by Belgian waffles from Cyclosportif.
Simms was the first to surge through the puddle trying to separate herself from the elite group. The dangerous duo of Luna riders unintentionally kept the others on their toes with Nash attacking and Gould forcing Lloyd to chase.
“We didn’t have any team tactics going into the race. The series overall is so close between Georgia and me that we raced each other,” said Nash.
After a few laps, Butler began to fade, barely holding Simms’ wheel. Lloyd put in a damaging acceleration that only Nash and Gould could follow. The leaders were consistently posting lap times under 8 minutes. Behind, cyclocross rookie Meredith Miller raced superbly maintaining pace with veterans Maureen Bruno-Roy and Amy Dumbrowski. Miller went home with the SRAM Most Aggressive Rider award.
With one lap remaining, the leading three kept the pace high and nervously watched each other.
“On the last lap we had a strong group so I had to attack as hard as I could,” recalled Nash.
Her powerful punch opened a 20 bike length margin. Gould forced Lloyd to chase then the series leader attacked leaving Lloyd trailing. Nash hit the finish line some 30 seconds ahead of Gould. Lloyd came in a further ten seconds down.
About a minute later, in an impressive display of courage, Butler crawled her way back to Simms, lead into the sprint and held onto fourth with a quick bike throw.
With her second place finish, Gould keeps the series lead by the slimmest of margins over Nash.
“The big goal for me is nationals, then worlds. The series win would be great,” Gould said.
Johnson capitalizes on Trebon trouble
As was the case in women’s race, the elite men immediately broke into small groups. Heading into the first few turns, Trebon led Powers, Johnson, series leader Todd Wells (GT), Jesse Anthony (Jamis) and U23 rider Danny Summerhill (Clif Bar)
Wells had an untimely bobble as Trebon punched the throttle. Powers and Johnson were able chase back on quickly making them the race protagonists. The gap grew significantly; the three had over 15 seconds heading into the second lap.
Powers and Johnson threw everything they had at Trebon trying to shake him. Powers opened a gap briefly with three laps to go but Trebon calmly shut it down. Race announcers were shocked that with just a couple laps remaining, none of the lead riders had taken a bike change.
Behind, Wells was stuck in a chase group with Anthony, Summerhill, Chris Sheppard (Santa Cruz-Giro) and Barry Wicks (Kona). The group never gained much ground on the lead trio but rode together until the finish. Earlier that morning Wicks had his bike stolen off his car. The former Single Speed World Champion rode a strong race into the top 15.
Coming into the final lap at over 20 mph, the leaders remained glued to each others’ wheels. Trebon led through the final barriers then into the chicane tree section. Taking the wide line around a 180 degree turn, Trebon washed out on a root and instantly toppled onto Powers. Johnson took the inside line and hit the gas one final time setting himself up for a solo victory.
As Trebon and Powers remounted, the fans cheered crazily, cowbells drowning out the announcers. Powers cruised across the line half a bike length ahead of a disappointed Trebon.
“We raced around well, attacking, covering. Then on the last lap I screwed up and wasn’t paying attention well enough,” Trebon said. Powers philosophically responded: “that’s racing.” Johnson and Powers went into the race with tactics in mind but when the opportunity presented itself, Johnson had to act.
“Going into the last lap the plan was to get Jeremy onto the finishing straight in position for the sprint. I had to take advantage of the situation when Ryan crashed,” said Johnson. With his win, Johnson takes over the USGP series lead from Todd Wells.
Danny Summerhill won the SRAM Most Aggressive Rider award for his strong 7th place finish. Mitchell Peterson maintained his lead in the U23 overall heading into the last day.
With a chance for rain overnight and into Sunday morning, day two of the series finals could play out differently.
U23 Men’s Top 3
1. Danny Summerhill
2. Nicholas Wayhall
3. Bjorn Selander
1. Timothy Johnson (USA) Cyclocrossworld Cannondale in 1:04:42
2. Jeremy Powers (USA) Cyclocrossworld Cannondale in 1:04:44
3. Ryan Trebon (USA) Kona in 1:04:44
4. Jesse Anthony (USA) Team Jamis Bikes in 1:05:39
5. Todd Wells (USA) Team Gt in 1:05:43
6. Chris Sheppard (CAN) Santa Cruz/giro/easton/ in 1:05:47
7. Daniel Summerhill (USA) Team Cliff Bar in 1:06:31
8. Andy Jacques-maynes (USA) Specialize/kmc in 1:06:44
9. Matt Shriver (USA) Uci Ct: The Jittery Joes Pro Cycling Team in 1:07:07
10. Nicholas Weighall (USA) Rad Racing/hagens Berman in 1:07:21
11. Dan Timmerman (USA) Reynolds/swan Cycles in 1:07:25
12. Christopher Jones (USA) Sonic/louis Garneau/ Jittery Joes in 1:07:25
13. Barry Wicks (USA) Kona in 1:07:47
14. Erik Tonkin (USA) Kona in 1:07:47
15. Molly Cameron (USA) Vanilla Bicycles! in 1:08:30
16. Joachim Parbo (DEN) Ccv Leopard Cycles in 1:08:57
17. Carl Decker (USA) Gisnt in 1:09:11
18. Bjorn Selander (USA) Ridley Factory Team in 1:09:29
19. Justin Robinson (USA) California Giant Berry Farms/specialized in 1:09:39
20. Spencer Paxson (USA) Team S&m/kona in 1:10:02
21. Troy Wells (USA) Team Clif Bar in 1:10:02
22. Mitchell Peterson (USA) Monaviecannondale.com in 1:10:02
23. Nathan Bannerman (USA) Bicycle Centres – Collision 1 in 1:10:02
24. Chance Noble (USA) California Giant in 1:10:47
25. Solomon Woras (USA) Vanilla in 1:10:53
26. Kevin Bradford-parish (USA) Redline Bikes in 1:11:00
27. Dave Hackworthy (USA) Ridley Factory Team in 1:11:02
28. Adam Mcgrath (USA) Vandessel in 1:11:08
29. Steve Fisher (USA) Rad Racing Nw in 1:11:37
30. Mark Blackwelder (USA) in 1:11:37
31. Russell Stevenson (USA) Redline Bikes in 1:11:37
32. Eric Thompson (USA) Lees Mcrae College in 1:11:41
33. Evan Plews (USA) Capitol Subaru Cycling/scottusa in 1:11:44
34. Braden Kappius (USA) Clif Bar Development Cross Team in 1:12:00
35. Jeremy Ferguson (USA) California Giant Berry Farms/specialized in 1:12:00
36. Gian Dalle Angelini (USA) Team Redline in 1:12:21
37. Ben Popper (USA) Hrs / Rock Lobster in 1:12:25
38. Sean Babcock (USA) Team S&m in 1:12:38
39. Drew Mackenzie (CAN) Straight Up Cycles/argon18 in 1:14:26
40. Kristopher Holden (USA) Vertical Earth/rotor in -1Lp
41. Christopher Parrish (USA) Hagens Berman Cycling in -1Lp
42. Ryan Iddings (USA) Lapierre Usa in -1Lp
43. Scott Carlile (USA) Tai Cycling/hammer Nutrition in -1Lp
44. David Yeater (USA) River City Bicycles in -1Lp
45. Brett Luelling (USA) Capitol Subaru Cycling in -1Lp
46. Joshua Berry (USA) Team Bode in -1Lp
47. Joseph Brenner (USA) Eschelon Elite in -2Lps
48. Ryan Weaver (USA) River City Bikes in -2Lps
49. Craig Fowler (USA) Ubrdo Team Project in -3Lps
50. Zachary Daab (USA) Hup United in -3Lps
51. Benjamin Dodge (USA) Sugarcrm in -3Lps
52. Justin Finn (USA) Spooky Bikes in -4Lps
. Shannon Skerritt (USA) Vanilla Bicycles in DNF
. Andrew Llewellyn (USA) Calistoga Racing Team in DNF
. Mitchell Hoke (USA) Clif Bar Development Cross Team in DNF
. Alex Howes (USA) Clif Bar Development Cross Team in DNS
. Colin Cares (USA) Clif Bar Development Cross Team in DNS
. Kevin Hulick (USA) Vanilla Bicycles in DNS
. John Flack (USA) Valley Athletic Club in DNS
. Conor Mullervy (USA) Clif Bar Development Cross Team in DNS
. Kevin Mullervy (USA) Clif Bar Development Cross Team in DNS
. Benjamin Thompson (USA) Sunnyside-Cannondale in DNS
Women’s results: | ( Men’s results )
1. Katerina Nash (CZE) Luna Women’s Mtb Team in 00:39:41 CA
2. Georgia Gould (USA) Luna in 00:39:45 CO
3. Rachel Lloyd (USA) California Giant Berry Farms in 00:39:52 CA
4. Susan Butler (USA) Monaviecannondale.com in 00:41:02 OR
5. Wendy Simms (CAN) Kona in 00:41:02 BC
6. Amy Dombroski (USA) Webcor/alto Velo in 00:42:03 CO
7. Meredith Miller (USA) California Giant Berry Farms in 00:42:04 CO
8. Maureen Bruno Roy (USA) Mm Racing P/b Seven Cycles in 00:42:04 MA
9. Kelli Emmett (USA) Giant Bicycles in 00:42:40 CO
10. Rhonda Mazza (USA) Team S&m/sellwood Cycle Repair in 00:42:42 OR
11. Wendy Williams (USA) River City Bicycle Team in 00:43:01 OR
12. Barbara Howe (USA) Unattached in 00:43:14 CA
13. Emily Van Meter (USA) River City Bicycle Team in 00:43:15 OR
14. Sarah Kerlin (USA) Velo Bella – Kona in 00:43:57 CA
15. Kristi Berg (USA) Redline Bicycles in 00:44:04 WA
16. Kari Studley (USA) Velo Bella – Kona in 00:44:10 WA
17. Pepper Harlton (CAN) Juventus Cycling Club in 00:45:19 AB
18. Jadine Riley (GBR) Team Group Health in 00:45:54 WA
19. Alice Pennington (USA) Desalvo in 00:46:47 OR
20. Shannon Gibson (USA) Velo Bella – Kona in 00:46:47 TX
21. Joele Guynup (USA) Island Racing Club P/b Robert Cameron Law in 00:47:01 BC
22. Maria Stewart (USA) Velo Bella – Kona in 00:47:16 MN
23. Jennifer Gaertner (USA) Team Bobs-Bicycles.com in 00:47:30 ID
24. Joanna Mensher (USA) Gentle Lovers in 00:48:14 OR
25. Angela Mysliwiec (USA) Avanti/ti Cycles Racing Team in -1Lp WA
26. Marne Smiley (USA) in -1Lp MI
27. Lianna Miller (USA) Spike in -1Lp CO
. Josie Jacques-maynes (USA) California Giant Berry Farms/specialized in DNF CA
. Dawn Anderson (berg) (CAN) Oak Bay Bikes/everti in DNF BC
. Heather Gundersen (USA) Veloshop in DNF OR