Trebon powered up the second major climb in pursuit of Summerhill, with Page overtaking him on the descent. By the time they hit the pavement, the racers formed a lead group of five, with Summerhill, Page, Trebon, McDonald and Lindine.  Behind, Cannondale p/b CyclocrossWorld teammates Driscoll and Johnson closed the gap on the pavement to join Trebon and make it three teammates in the top eight. Noticeably missing from it all was defending champion Jeremy Powers, who languished in no-man’s land behind them.

Jonathan Page leading a surprisingly fast-starting Justin Lindine on lap 1 in the chase of Summerhill. © Meg McMahon

Jonathan Page leading a surprisingly fast-starting Justin Lindine on lap 1 in the chase of Summerhill. © Meg McMahon

And Then There Was One

Page, having learned from years of being outnumbered, knew he didn’t want to make it a team tactics game and hit the front with a massive acceleration that utterly shattered the leading group. The early season sickness, the sponsor stress, the travel weariness – all faded away as Page began to steadily create a gap between himself and the field. “Yesterday was the first day I felt good since I got back,” he later admitted to Cyclocross Magazine. “And I was a little nervous with it turning cold, but the sun made it OK.”

Coming into the second pit of lap two, Page, with just a few seconds in hand, had a World Cup-worthy bike exchange and surged ahead, with Trebon losing spots with his own exchange behind him.

Jonathan Page made it clear he's not ready to hang up the bike with his National win today © Meg McMahon

Jonathan Page made it clear he’s not ready to hang up the bike with his National win today © Meg McMahon

But Trebon would not be the story of the day, either, as Zach McDonald – proving that his decision to forgo the U23 race was the correct choice – rocketed past Trebon and set after the older racer and opening up a gap of his own. “I guess you could say it was lonely, but it was probably preferable,” said McDonald. “I’d prefer to do that to a group. That’s a course where you lose a lot of time fighting for lines because there’s only one line.”