Gould, Johnson trudge to muddy wins on Day 1 of Mercer Cup

Mud so thick that racers had to pedal downhill set the stage for Day 1 of the U.S. Gran Prix of Cyclocross Mercer Cup, in New Jersey on Saturday. In races of attrition, in which time gaps grew to a minute or more among the top five, Georgia Gould (LUNA) and Tim Johnson (Cyclocrossworld-Cannondale) bested the competition through tough, power-stealing conditions.

By Wendy Booher

Johnson celebrates in style.

Johnson celebrates in style.


Mud so thick that racers had to pedal downhill set the stage for Day 1 of the U.S. Gran Prix of Cyclocross Mercer Cup, in New Jersey on Saturday.

In races of attrition, in which time gaps grew to a minute or more among the top five, Georgia Gould (LUNA) and Tim Johnson (Cyclocrossworld-Cannondale) bested the competition through tough, power-stealing conditions.

Gould again
After collecting the holeshot, Gould along with her LUNA teammate, Katerina Nash, pulled ahead of a trio containing Canadian national champion, Wendy Simms (Kona), Natasha Elliot (EMD Serono-Stevens) and Maureen Bruno Roy (MM Racing, p/b Seven Cycles).

Georgia Gould (Luna) celebrates her victory at the line

Georgia Gould (Luna) celebrates her victory at the line


Nash, coming off of a third-place finish in last weekend’s world cup race in Pijnacker, Netherlands, seized Gould’s lead midway through the first lap but failed to outkick Gould entirely. Muddy runways forced racers to choose between riding and running and, while Nash chose to run, Gould often rode. A 12-second lead by Nash shrunk to eight seconds, then six until the final lap, when an uphill surge by Gould launched her into the lead.

“I tried not to give up but it was really hard,” Gould said. “I saw her ride away but then she was right there. On the last uphill, she chose to run; I rode and I chose the right line. I just had a lucky line on the last lap.”

Throughout the race, riders swapped bikes that were weighted down with sand and mud every half a lap in order to shuck the extra load clinging to tires and drivetrains. The bonus to these pit stops was a smoother riding surface through the pits and riders took wholesale advantage of the opportunity.

The conditions played to the strengths of racers like Bruno Roy, who pulled away from Simms, Elliot and a hard-charging Rachel Lloyd (California Giant Berry Farms).

“It was important to get out in front because there was room for errors, like getting tangled up in the tape and taking bad lines,” Bruno Roy said. “Today was definitely a race of attrition rather than tactics, which is better for me. It was all about keeping the gas on.”

Johnson nails it
Matt White (’s Garage) was first off the pavement into the mud but was quickly shuffled out of the lead by Johnson, Jesse Anthony (Jamis), Todd Wells (GT), Ryan Trebon (Kona) and Jeremy Powers (Cyclocrossworld-Cannondale).

Tim Johnson (Cannondale-Cyclocrossworld) rides away from the chasers.

Tim Johnson (Cannondale-Cyclocrossworld) rides away from the chasers.


Anthony, who suffered a broken wrist in July, marked his return to ‘cross with a podium finish in Gloucester, Mass. back in October and with two second place finishes at the USGP in Louisville, Ky. two weeks later.

On Saturday, Anthony, the current USGP series leader, moved to the front with Johnson where he clung to Johnson’s lead until Johnson broke free of his challenger by the end of the first lap.

Thick mud slowed the race pace but Johnson’s strategy: to run whenever he deemed it faster than riding, paid a five- to seven-second dividend each lap.

“I figured this is one day where if there are a few mistakes each lap, you can make up time,” Johnson said. “It’s okay to get off the bike three times in the same straightaway; if I can get at least five seconds per lap, after four laps that adds up to 20-30 seconds.”

USGP Mercer Men's Podium.

USGP Mercer Men’s Podium.


Johnson stretched his lead to more than 45 seconds at one point while Anthony, Trebon, Wells, and Powers each clawed at second place in Johnson’s wake. First to fade back was Anthony, then Powers, until only Trebon and Wells remained to outpace, out-pedal and outgas each other until Wells moved forward in the final lap. Wells narrowed the gap with the leader to just 30 seconds; Trebon finished in third, 1:08 seconds behind Johnson with Powers in fourth at 1:59.

Racing continues on Sunday at Mercer County Park with the elite women at 1:45 pm and the elite men at 3 p.m. EST.

Photo Gallery


1. Tim Johnson Cyclocrossworld/Cannondale
2. Todd Wells Team Gt
3. Ryan Trebon Kona
4. Jeremy Powers Cyclocrossworld/Cannondale
5. Jesse Anthony Team Jamis Bikes
6. Troy Wells Team Clif Bar
7. Nicholas Weighall Rad Racing/hagens Berman
8. Jamey Driscoll Cyclocrossworld/Cannondale
9. Mark Lalonde Planet Bike
10. Barry Wicks Kona
11. Davide Frattini Colavita Sutter Home P/b Cooking Light
12. Matt Shriver Jittery Joe’s Pro Cycling Team
13. Matt White Fiordifrutta Elite Cycling Team
14. Derrick St. John Stevens Cross
15. Christopher Jones
16. Bjorn Selander Ridley Factory Team
17. Justin Spinelli
18. Daniel Summerhill Team Clif Bar
19. Dan Timmerman Reynolds
20. Mitchell Peterson
21. Matthew O’keefe Ccb/volkswagen
22. Brian Matter Gear Grinder
23. Chance Noble California Giant Berry Farms/specialized
24. William Dugan Rgm Watches – Richard Sachs – Boathouse Inc
25. Aaron Schooler Team H & R Block
26. Weston Schempf!
27. Ryan Iddings Lapierre Usa
28. Colin Cares Clif Bar Development Cyclo-Cross Team
29. Josh Dillon Fiordifrutta / Cannondale
30. Nicholas Keough Sonic/ Louis Garneau
31. Justin Robinson California Giant Berry Farms/specialized
32. Braden Kappius Clif Bar Development Cross Team
33. Alex Howes Clif Bar Development Cyclo-Cross Team
34. Adam Myerson Cycle-Smart
35. Mitch Hoke Clif Bar Development Cyclo-Cross Team
36. Adam Mcgrath Van Dessel
37. Giancarlo Dalle Angelini Team Redline
38. Peter Bradshaw Embrocation/igleheart/cambridge/mad Alchemy
39. Greg Wittwer Alan North America Cycling Team
40. Joey Thompson Rocky Mtn Chocolate Factory Cycling
41. Travis Livermon Cannondale / Ccn
42. Andrew Wulfkuhle
43. Steve Fisher Rad Racing / Hagens Berman
44. Matt Kraus Rgm Watches – Richard Sachs – Boathouse Inc
45. Christian Favata Favata’s Tablerock Tours And Bikes
46. Bill Elliston Fuji
47. Rickey Visinski Exodus Road Racing
48. Peter Rubijono Embrocation/cambridge/igleheart/madalchemy
49. Patrick Bradley Rutgers University Cycling Team
50. Jeremy Ferguson Cal Giant/specialized
51. Charles Pendry Inland Construction
52. Andrew Llewellyn Calistoga Racing Team
53. John Burns
54. Guillaume Nelessen Van Dessel Factory Team
55. Benjamin Popper Hrs / Rock Lobster
56. Conor Mullervy Clif Bar Development Cyclo-Cross Team
57. Michael Gallagher
58. Bill Marshall Kccx/verge
59. Adam Szczepanski Wissahickon
60. Nathanael Wyatt Carolina Fatz Pb Santa Cruz Bicycles
61. Kevin Mullervy Clif Bar Development Cyclo-Cross Team
62. Matthew Rotroff Inland Construction
63. Gavriel Epstein Century Road Club
64. Lucas Livermon Inland Construction
65. Philip Riggio Prö

1. Georgia Gould Luna
2. Katerina Nash Luna Women’s Mtb Team
3. Maureen Bruno Roy Mm Racing P/b Seven Cycles
4. Rachel Lloyd California Giant Berry Farms/specialized
5. Wendy Simms Kona
6. Deidre Winfield Velo Bella – Kona
7. Natasha Elliot Emd Serono/ Stevens
8. Amy Dombroski Velo Bella – Kona
9. Sue Butler
10. Meredith Miller California Giant Strawberries/ Specialized
11. Josie Jacques-Maynes Specialized/kmc Pb Cal Giant
12. Laura Van Gilder C3 Sollay
13. Kathy Sherwin Velo Bella – Kona
14. Kristin Wentworth Planet Bike
15. Sally Annis Nebc/cycle Loft/devonshire Dental
16. Anna Milkowski Velo Bella-Kona
17. Melanie Swartz
18. Kaitlin Antonneau Nova Cycle Sport Foundation
19. Nikki Thiemann Human Zoom Pabst Blue Ribbon
20. Arley Kemmerer Hub Racing
21. Rebecca Wellons Ridley Factory Team
22. Amy Wallace Richard Sachs
23. Linnea Koons International Bicycle/global
24. Jennifer Maxwell Team Kenda Tire
25. Kristin Gavin Human Zoom/pabst Blue Ribbon
26. Lauri Webber Secret Henry’s Team
27. Elizabeth Frye Boone Velo
28. Vicki Thomas Ottawa Cross
29. Perri Mertens Embrocation Racing/cambridge Bicycle
30. Patty Buerkle Vanderkitten
31. Kristine Church Human Zoom/ Pabst Blue Ribbon
32. Rebecca Blatt Team Kenda Tire
33. Kristy Swope Eps/css/riptide Cycling’a’
34. Tara Parsons
35. Diane Grim
36. Julie Kuliecza Alan North America Cycling
37. Jill Waggett Guy’s Racing
38. Heidi Von Teitenberg
39. Tammy Ebersole
40. Whitney Kroll Cane Creek