BARTON, OREGON – Serena Bishop Gordon (Silverado Gallery-Sunnyside) and Donald Reeb (Cyclocrossracing.com) each grabbed their first wins of the 2012 River City Bicycles Cross Crusade Sunday in Barton Park southeast of Portland.
Round six brought the Crusades to the county maintenance yard in Barton that has become a staple of the 19-year-old series. The course weaved around mountainous gravel piles and stacks of culverts on an often-times rocky path that also featured intermittent mud. Heavy rain in the week leading up to the race added some slop, but the skies remained dry for the full day of racing.
Bishop Gordon got off to a slow start during the super fast opening sprint over hard-packed gravel roads, but the 2011 Elite women’s overall winner soon fought her way to the front of a select lead group that also included Alice Pennington (Kona), Beth Ann Orton (Team S&M), Brooke Snyder (bicycleattorney.com), Brigette Brown (River City Bicycles), Megan Weaver (River City Bicycles), Tina Brubaker (Speedvagen) and Laura Winberry (Speedvagen).
About a quarter of the way into the 60-minute race, Bishop Gordon grabbed the race by the throat and was setting a field detonating pace. Behind her, Pennington led the chase, with Orton and Brubaker following. From that point it was a matter of Bishop Gordon adding to her lead and the gaps growing between the chasers. The defending champ eventually finished 29 seconds ahead of Pennington. Orton and Brubaker hung on for third and fourth, respectively, while Weaver rounded out the top five.
Bishop Gordon’s first win of the 2012 series comes after three second-place results. She has already missed two weeks but plans on being on hand for the remaining races in Hillsboro on Nov. 11 and the finale at Portland International Raceway on Nov. 18. She said she’s going to try and make a run at repeating the series overall win.
“I changed my plans, just because traveling by yourself is really hard,” said Bishop Gordon, who planned a more national program this year and missed Crusade races two and three while racing elsewhere. The series overall is based on the best six results out of the eight races, so Bishop Gordon will be on equal footing with her rivals and has a good chance to repeat if she can put together a good closing run. “I’d like to get the series and I think I’m in a good spot, so we’ll see how the next two races go,” she said.
In the current battle for the overall, Brubaker’s fourth-place finish pushed her back into the overall lead, followed by Bishop Gordon and Brigette Brown. Jade Wilcoxson, who has won three Crusades this year and was leading the series before Barton, missed this week’s race while fulfilling national calendar obligations to her Optum Pro Cycling team. Wilcoxson will likely miss the last two races as well.
Reeb Pounces When Wicks Falls
The men’s race was a bit wilder battle with a larger group hanging together longer before eventually being whittled down to a very select few. By the end of the first lap, 2011 overall winner Aaron Tuckerman (Corsa Concepts) was at the head of a lead group that also included Reeb, Barry Wicks (Kona), Molly Cameron (Portland Bicycle Studio), Erik Tonkin (Kona), Damian Schmitt (Silverado Gallery-Sunnyside), Ben Thompson (Bend Broadband), Shannon Skerritt (Corsa Concepts), Graham Howard (Cyclocrossracing.com) and Josh Kelly.
An attack from Skerritt at the start of lap three broke apart the first lead group as Reeb, Wicks, Cameron and Thompson were able to match the move, but Tonkin and the rest were left out – although the wily veteran rider was able to drop the rest of his group and make his way back to the leaders within a couple of laps. Wicks hit the front next but found his time there short-lived after a mechanical knocked him out of the race during the fifth of eight laps around the gravel yard. That’s when Reeb pounced and surged to the front, gaining a small gap over a hard-charging Cameron, who was determined to win at the site of a disappointing loss in 2010 that cost him the overall title.
But Cameron fell seven seconds short of finding redemption again Sunday, as an exhausted Reeb crossed the line with his head down to take his first-ever Cross Crusade win. Cameron came in a handful of seconds later, followed by Skerrit, Tonkin and Thompson. The result moved Reeb to third overall for the series behind Chris Sheppard (Rocky Mountain Bicycles), who raced in Cincinnati this weekend, and Cameron.
1. Donald Reeb (Cyclocrossracing.com) 59:02
2. Molly Cameron (Portland Bicycle Studio) 59:09
3. Shannon Skerritt (Corsa Concepts) 59:27
4. Erik Tonkin (Kona) 59:54
5. Ben Thompson (Bend Broadband) 59:59
1. Serena Bishop Gordon (Silverado gallery/Sunnyside) 1:01:12
2. Alice Pennington (Kona) 1:01:41
3. Beth Ann Orton (Team S&M) 1:02:26
4. Tina Brubaker (Speedvagen) 1:03:13
5. Megan Weaver (River City Bicycles) 1:03:18