Jeremy Powers followed the script written for him by previous champions on Sunday, taking off like a shot and leaving everyone else in his wake to win the elite men’s title at the USA Cycling Cyclocross National Championships.
The Rapha-Focus rider rocketed away at the gun with Ryan Trebon (Cannondale-Cyclocrossworld.com) for company, but not even the big man could hang with him on the windswept circuit at Valmont Bike Park in Boulder.
“I didn’t plan it, I just went on instinct, and it paid off today,” said Powers.
Powers took a few seconds’ advantage on the third lap and added a few ticks with each circuit of the course.
Behind, Tim Johnson (Cannondale-Cyclocrossworld.com) moved from a top-10 position early on into third, while Raleigh-Clement teammates Allen Krughoff and Jamey Driscoll dueled with defending national champ Jonathan Page (Fuji-Spy).
With two laps remaining Powers had 25 seconds on Trebon, who in turn had on 45 seconds on Johnson. The Raleigh teammates, meanwhile, had finally shed Page.
By the bell lap Powers had a half-minute on Trebon, while Johnson followed in third at 1:20.
And that would be the podium — Powers collected his second national title with plenty of time to spare and a big grin on his face, while Trebon and Johnson filled out the lesser steps.
“I wanted to win so bad,” said Powers. “This was a big goal of mine. I came out to Boulder, Colorado, and trained here a lot. This is one of those days I’ll always remember. It was awesome.”
Trebon was philosophical about his runner-up finish, saying he made a couple of mistakes and “spent the whole rest of the race chasing.”
“I rode good,” he added. “Just good enough for second.”
Johnson, too, had troubles — his were with a pedal — but he said it didn’t cost him the race.
“I didn’t lose the race by that, but it definitely started off on the wrong foot,” he said. “Having a perfect start and a perfect race is something you really wish for, but it didn’t happen today.”