By Fred Dreier
As he has done all season, Ryan Trebon wasted little time in laying waste to the elite men’s field at the 2006 cyclo-cross national championship in Providence, Rhode Island, on Saturday.
Along with his Kona teammate Barry Wicks and New Englander Mark McCormack (Clif Bar), the 6-foot-5 Trebon sprinted to the head of the men’s field from the gun. But midway around the first loop through Roger Williams Park, Trebon displayed the power output of his long legs, and sped away in a gear owned by no other man in the 114-strong field had.
After one lap, Trebon’s advantage on his chasers held at 17 seconds. With two laps under his belt, the lead had grown to over 20. Half an hour later, with one lap remaining, Trebon had expanded his lead to a 30-second cushion.
The lanky Kona rider easily rolled across the finish line with his arms raised in victory, relishing every moment of his impressive win. Trebon became the first American man to claim the cyclo-cross and cross-country mountain-bike national titles in the same season, since Steve Tilford snagged the NORBA national title and the USCF cyclo-cross crown in 1983.
Trebon’s winning ’cross effort was reminiscent of his victory in the cross-country race at the 2006 USA Cycling mountain-bike national championships in Sonoma, California. At that event, Trebon attacked early, and then relegated seasoned fat-tire pros such as Jeremy Horgan-Kobelski and Jeremiah Bishop to pack fodder.
Todd Wells (GT) was a member of the chase group who couldn’t bring Trebon back in Sonoma, and was also present in the doomed chase in Providence.
“Trebon was awesome today,” Wells said. “Wicks was the only one really with him on the first, and it’s tough to make up ground on a guy who is that strong. Trebon was gone, but our group was pretty evenly matched.”
Wells was one of the strongmen whose race was hampered by the starting line crash of Colorado state champ Jonathan Baker (Primus Mootry). Also suffering early was New Englander Tim Johnson (Cannondale-Cyclocrossworld.com), who flatted on the first lap and struggled to make the chase group. When the chase group finally organized, it held all of the pre-race favorites to challenge Trebon: Johnson, Wells, Jonathan Page (Cervelo), Jeremy Powers (Jelly Belly) and Wicks (Kona). With Wicks marking moves, the chase surged due to accelerations by Page and Johnson, but failed to gain substantial time on the motoring Trebon.
“It seemed like Trebon immediately got the gap, and we were all a little ways back,” said Page. “And Tim (Johnson) flatted which didn’t help.”
Page and Johnson took turns attacking through the final lap, and the accelerations briefly shed Wicks, who crashed hard in his bid to rejoin. With Trebon standing across the finish line, Page took the four-up sprint for second.
The bridesmaid position marked a return for three-time elite champ Page, who missed the entire season after separating his shoulder in a crash in October.
“I ripped the two major tendons in my shoulder, so they took a pair of pliers and pulled the tendons back up and then drilled eight holes in my bone and put a gutter in there and sewed the tendons through,” said Page, who had been back on the bike for only three weeks prior to nationals. “It’s been very difficult. I put my plane tickets on my credit card to come here. I have no team for 2007. It was a risk coming over here. I’m hoping for a top-five at the world championships.”
Trebon finished second to Page in 2004 in Portland, Oregon, then finished second to Wells in 2005 in Providence. After the event, Trebon admitted that winning the ’cross title felt better than earning the cross-country stars and stripes.
“I’ve wanted this one for longer,” Trebon said.
Jesse Anthony (Clif Bar) took his seventh-career national title by winning the men U23 crown ahead of Morgan Schmidt (Haggesn-Berman LLP) and Bjorn Selander (Alan). Anthony escaped with USGP U-23 series winner Jamey Driscoll on the second lap, then shed the Fiordifrutta rider. Driscoll suffered a massive explosion, and faded to fourth place. The win was sweet redemption for Anthony, who saw his efforts in 2005 derailed by a series of mechanical catastrophes.
“The level of U23s in the country is so high right now, there are a bunch of guys on the starting line capable of winning,” said Anthony. “I had to race smart today. I had to chill out and wait until I could tire those guys out a little bit.”
Coloradan Danny Summerhill walked away with his second-consecutive elite junior national title, despite falling on the first barrier section. Summerhill rode half of the race with Ethan Gilmour of Ludlow, Vermont, before dropping Gilmour for the win.
“I had two night in a row when I didn’t get much sleep,” Summerhill said. “I didn’t feel as fresh as I would have liked to have. But all of a sudden I looked back and I was alone.”
Former BMX racer Luke Keough of Sandwich, Massachusetts scored a runaway win in the junior men 15-16 race.
“I’m the only one in my whole school who rides bikes,” said Kough.
First-year racer Amy Dombroski of Boulder, Colorado easily took the women’s U23 crown. A former downhill skier from Vermont, Dombroski races alongside her brother Dan Dombrowski of CU Cycling.
2006 California Giant Berry Farms USA Cycling National Cyclo-cross Championships
December 16, 2006
1. Ryan Trebon, Kona
2. Jonathan Page, Cervelo
3. Tim Johnson, Cannondale-Cyclocrossworld.com
4. Todd Wells, GT
5. Jeremy Powers, Jelly BellyU23 Men
1. Jesse Anthony, Clif Bar
2. Morgan Schmitt, Hagens-Berman LLC
3. Bjorn Selander, Alan
4. Jamey Driscoll, Fiordifrutta
5. Chance Noble, California Giant-SpecializedElite Junior Men 17-18
1. Danny Summerhill, TIAA-Cref/Clif Bar
2. Ethan Gilmour, K2
3. Taylor Phinney, TIAA-Cref/Clif Bar
4. Nick Bax, Hot Tubes
5. Nicholas Keough, CL NoonanJunior Men 15-16
1. Luke Keough, CL Noonan
2. Jacob Rathe, Beaverton Bicycle club
3. Gavin Manion, CCB-VW
4. Andrew Barker, TIAA-Cref/Clif Bar
5. Eric Emsky, Rad RacingU23 Women
1. Amy Dombrowski, Excel Sports
2. Arielle Filiberti, Hot Tubes
3. Kacey Mandefield, Lees-McRae
4. Jennifer Stebbins, Dartmouth College
5. Tela Crane, Sonic U23Collegiate Women
1. Clara Beard, Lees-McRae
2. Kacey Mandefield, Lees-McRae
3. Monique Hein, Lees-McRae
4. Jennifer Stebbins, Dartmouth
5. Teal Stetson-Lee, Fort Lewis College