Nash beat her teammate Gould for the USGP Portland Cup Day 1 Win. © Joe Sales

Nash beat her teammate Gould for the USGP Portland Cup Day 1 Win. © Joe Sales

by Josh Liberles

Teammates Katerina Nash and Georgia Gould (Luna) distanced the rest of the Elite women’s field in dominating fashion at the Portland International Raceway today, but neither could drop the other in the 40-minute affair. Nash would take the lead shortly before the final corner and hold off Gould by a couple of bike lengths. Sue Butler (Hudz-Subaru) rounded out the podium after a strong start and consistent ride in her first big race after battling with illness the past several weeks. Just behind was Linnea Koons (Embrocation Cycling), a New Zealand native and Pro mountain biker who races in the competitive New England cyclocross scene. Koons’ impressive performance would earn her the SRAM Most Aggressive Rider honors as well as an oversized novelty check.

Powers, Trebon and Jones were the main factors © Dave Roth

Powers, Trebon and Jones were the main factors © Dave Roth

Jeremy Powers (Cannondale-CyclocrossWorld.com) won the Elite men’s race by a large margin – about 30 seconds – but the result was anything but a foregone conclusion until he entered the final lap. After battling with rival Ryan Trebon (Kona) and Chris Jones (Rapha-Focus) for the first several laps, Trebon and Powers took turns attacking one another until the duo separated themselves from Jones and the rest of the competition. Going into the final lap, Powers bunny hopped the double barriers, as he had all race long, and Trebon dismounted behind. Not long after Trebon remounted and got back on the gas, his derailleur snapped. Rather than running the long distance to the pits and fall way back in the pack, Trebon pulled off the course in disgust then and there.

Jones would recover after falling as far back as fifth, snagging the second step on the podium, just ahead of Tim Johnson (Cannondale-CyclocrossWorld.com), who rode himself back into the race after an uncharacteristically slow start.

Nash towed Gould around for much of the race. © Janet Hill

Katerina Nash towed Georgia Gould. 2010 USGP Portland Cup Day 1. © Janet Hill

Georgia Gould led Sue Butler off of the long paved start stretch and onto the dirt, followed closely by Katerina Nash, Wendy Simms (Ridley) and the rest of the field, which strung out into a long line but stayed together for much of the first lap. Gusty winds blew a plastic barrel onto the course, causing an early disruption. “There was a sweeping right-hander off the pavement and a trash barrel comes rolling onto the course, and I just missed it,” said Gould. “I heard behind me a series of crashes – that was sketchy! Then the course tape got caught in Meredith Miller’s (Cal Giant-Specialized) bike.”

Although Miller didn’t crash, she did lose significant ground and had a 30-foot length of course tape flapping behind her for the rest of the lap. Miller would fade back and never regain the front of the course, although she would battle valiantly to come all the way back to fifth.

“Georgia was in the front, I went around her for a little bit, then she passed me on the back straightaway,” said Butler. “Wendy [Simms], on the first lap, she ran the boggy stuff and got in front of me, but then she fell about a half-lap in.”

Over the next two laps Nash and Gould would separate themselves from the rest, exchanging attacks and time off of the front. Gould, too, would have a run-in with course tape. “Katerina’s an excellent technical rider, fast in the corners, and I had a mechanical problem – I got a piece of course tape stuck in my cassette. That was when the gap opened up, and Katerina’s not stupid – she capitalized on that and put in a good hard effort, and made it extremely difficult for me to close that down,” said Gould. “I was pretty tired once I got there, then that last lap we were taking turns, trying to make it stick, and it came down to that last corner.

“I attacked coming out of the BMX track, and then led for the next couple of corners, then she came around me just before the barriers. It came down to both of us going as hard as we could out of the final corner, and she was faster than me.”

The barriers immediately preceded a right turn onto the finishing pavement – then it was a 200 meter drag race to the finish. After remounting, Nash quickly hit the gas and provided a slight cushion which she would hold to the line. Although the race didn’t traverse the mud slide that has become synonymous with the USGP finale, conditions seemed to suit Nash just fine. “Usually I enjoy the really muddy conditions, which was not the case today, but it’s still a challenging course.”

“There are a couple of those boggy sections where if you just get in a different line, it’d be much faster, but the lines would keep changing. It dried out even from this morning,” said Gould. When asked about how much of the course was rideable, she added, “I think I rode everything … at different times! Some sections got better, but some got worse. The grass right before the ‘whoops’ section, we ended up running for a couple of laps, just because it kept getting deeper, but coming out of the BMX track got way more rideable.”

Sue Butler leads Linnea Koons into the barriers © Josh Liberles

Sue Butler leads Linnea Koons into the barriers © Josh Liberles

Although the gap behind the Luna leaders grew, Butler would hang tough in third. 18 year-old Kaitie Antonneau (Cannondale-Cyclocrossworld.com) did her best to claw her way up to Butler, but would fade in the final laps. Linnea Koons put in a stellar performance, at one point rejoining Butler before settling for fourth. “She gapped me on the backside where it gets sloppy and we had to get off our bikes, and she’s so strong I couldn’t quite close it. And the last couple of laps, I knew Meredith was coming – and I hate having to look over my shoulder while I’m racing.”

Miller would pass Antonneau to claim fifth, but was visibly disappointed in her day when she crossed the line.

When asked about tomorrow’s battle and whether there were any team tactics at play for the USGP series, Nash said, “It’s always full gas, Georgia’s a badass, she already has the series, she’s got a huge lead.”

Trebon runs while Powers hops © Dave Roth

Trebon runs while Powers hops © Dave Roth

Another Powers-Trebon Slugfest Ends with a Snap

Adam McGrath (Thule-Van Dessel) summed up the course conditions and race dynamics well: “We’re supposed to be the best in the nation,and it seemed like everyone was just everywhere. We were definitely going hard to go nowhere…. That was plenty hard.”

U23 series leader Luke Keough (Champion System-Keough Cyclocross) stormed off the front of the men’s race, with fast-starter Jeremy Powers hot on his heels. Keough would fade, finishing off of the U23 podium but keeping his overall lead, while Powers would remain in the mix at the front for the remainder.

Ryan Trebon quickly worked his way up to the front, and Chris Jones would soon join him there. A chasing group formed with Danny Summerhill (Garmin), Jesse Anthony (Cal Giant-Specialized),  Todd Wells (Cal Giant-Specialized) and Barry Wicks (Kona), with Tim Johnson (Cannondale-CyclcrossWorld.com), Chris Sheppard (Rocky Mountain Bicycles), Zach McDonald (Rapha-Focus) and Geoff Kabush (Maxxis) not far behind.

With Johnson barely holding a top-ten position, the other riders worked to keep him out of contention. Wells went to the front of the chase group for much of the second lap to extend the advantage and isolate Johnson, and Jones did the same at the front of the race.

Wells leads a chase group, Johnson struggles to latch on © Josh Liberles

Wells leads a chase group, Johnson struggles to latch on © Josh Liberles

“I saw Tim was off the back a bit, so I thought I’d get to the front and stretch it out, eliminate as many guys as I could right off the bat,” said Jones. “I wasn’t really trying to get a gap – I was just trying to keep my own pace; if other people could keep up, they could keep up.”

Nevertheless, a gap was the result, and Jones found himself with a slight lead on the best ’crossers in the nation for a lap. But Trebon and Powers were just getting started.

“Once they caught me, Jeremy attacked and Ryan crashed, and I ran into him – creating a gap that I couldn’t come back from,” said Jones. “I was trying to pace myself and recover. Once Tim and Jesse came up to me, it gave me a break in the wind and helped me to recover. The three of us went back and forth.”

Powers was among several riders who elected to bunny hop the full-size 40cm planks every lap, a decision he actually felt was less risky in addition to being faster. “It was definitely an advantage, I felt safer doing it,” said Powers. “There was a lot of grease on the ground – I didn’t feel uncomfortable at all and it didn’t feel dangerous.”

Powers, Trebon, Jones © Josh Liberles

Powers, Trebon, Jones © Josh Liberles

Johnson would recover from what he described as “bad legs” to work his way back onto the podium. “I stepped on the gas and there wasn’t a whole lot there. Sometimes you have a half-lap or lap like that and you can come back from it, but that was probably a solid half an hour where I was really questioning whether I could keep going,” said Johnson. “I was in no man’s land, having a brutal day, and everyone else looked like they were flying and not even pedaling that hard,” said Johnson. “If the race had been 30 minutes long, I would have been 10th place, so I’m glad that it was an hour and I could come back in the second half and actually make a race out of it.”

With three laps to go, Johnson’s legs started to come around, and the reigning national champ rocketed past several riders. “All of the sudden I felt like I had a little more gas. It was a really hard course, there’s no hiding. A lot of the sections just sucked your momentum away, and I just didn’t really have anything to come back with. When you have bad legs, you hope for a course that has some rhythm and some drafting, but when you’re in a race like this with bad legs, there’s nothing you can do.”

Johnson would pass Jones, and was holding onto third about 30 seconds behind Powers and Trebon before he crashed, allowing Jones to come back. Trebon’s snapped derailleur with just over a lap remaining meant that Powers had clear sailing to the win.

Jones and Johnson battling for second © Josh Liberles

Jones and Johnson battling for second © Josh Liberles

Jones would use his power to distance Johnson and secure his best-ever USGP result with a second place. “It was a slog on the motocross course, that was hard. As long as it’s straight, I’m OK – when it gets technical and turny, it’s not so good,” said Jones. “But if it’s a slow slog that requires a lot of power, that’s good for me. That’s how I got rid of Tim actually at the end, through those sections.”

Powers took over the USGP leader’s jersey from his teammate Johnson, but the two teammates are locked in a tie going into the final race. “We’ve both been very consistent this year, so we’re fighting it out until the last race,” said Powers.

“Thanks to Ryan, Jeremy and I are tied for the lead again, so tomorrow will be the showdown,” said Johnson.

Jesse Anthony had a stellar, consistent ride to claim fourth in front of his teammate Todd Wells. McDonald took sixth after a slow start, taking the U23 win in the process. “I was mostly just trying to pop Danny [Summerhill], since that’s the race I’m riding. I had my usual slow start, but I’m getting better at them. But I started pulling people back and riding consistently, trying not to let people’s frivolous attacks bother me,” said McDonald. “I was hanging somewhere between 15 or 20, which is a typical start for me in races like this, then just tried to find a group I was comfortable riding in and work my way up from there.”

Looking ahead to Nationals in Bend, both Jones and Powers expressed uncertainty in the course conditions – it’s been snowing off and on for several days – but confidence in their fitness, which was proven today. “Both of those guys – Tim and Jeremy – are the favorites for sure going in, they’ve been dominant all year,” said Jones. “Tim had a bad day and he was third!”

Laura Winberry contributed to this report.

Elite Women’s Photo Gallery:

Elite Men’s Photo Gallery:

Photo Gallery by Dave Roth:

Full Results:

Elite Women

1NASH KaterinaLuna Pro TeamCZE0:42:07
2GOULD GeorgiaLuna Pro TeamUSA0:42:080:01
3BUTLER SusanHudz SubaruUSA0:43:571:49
4KOONS LinneaEmbrocation Cycling JournalUSA0:44:162:09
5MILLER MeredithCalifornia Giant/SpecializedUSA0:44:422:34
6ANTONNEAU KaitlinCannondale/Cyclocrossworld.ComUSA0:44:472:40
7CURTIS KatyBow Cycle/CyclemeistersCAN0:45:012:53
8SHERWIN KatherineHudz-Vista SubaruUSA0:45:103:03
9SIMMS WendyRidley – FsaCAN0:45:133:05
10CAREY AmandaKenda/FeltUSA0:45:313:24
11HARLTON PepperJuventus Cycling ClubCAN0:45:373:29
12HASKELL DevonBh UsaUSA0:45:393:32
13PENNINGTON AliceS&MUSA0:45:413:34
14HOWE BarbaraIbis And The Danger TwinsUSA0:45:453:37
15STETSON-LEE TealCalifornia Giant/SpecializedUSA0:45:523:45
16DOMBROSKI AmyLuna Pro TeamUSA0:46:124:04
17BRUNO ROY MaureenMm Racing P/B Seven CyclesUSA0:46:144:07
18WILLIAMS WendyRiver City BicyclesUSA0:47:004:53
19JAMES AshleyTeam KendaUSA0:47:165:08
20RIVERA CorynPeanut Butter & Co.Twenty12USA0:47:285:20
21BISHOP SerenaSunnyside SportsUSA0:47:365:29
22SONE LindaPlanet BikeUSA0:48:065:59
23BLATT RebeccaSilverbull CentralwheelUSA0:48:396:32
24THURSTON EmilyMissing Link/ 3Rd RailUSA0:48:576:50
25BAUMSTEIGER KatrinaTeam Rambuski LawUSA0:49:066:59
26GIBSON ShannonVelobella- EllsworthUSA0:49:287:20
27JONES KellyNorth Shore Sports MedicineCAN0:49:307:23
28WATSON AbbyEmbrocation Cycling JournalUSA0:49:557:47
29CHINBURG MeganVeloformaUSA0:50:037:55
30GUYNUP JoeleIsland Racing Club/Everti/ShimanoUSA0:50:03 s.t.
31COOGAN CoreyTeam Plan C Pb StevensUSA0:50:158:08
32CASH CarrieTeam Vera Bradley FoundationUSA0:50:258:18
33BRUBAKER TinaThe Vanilla Workshop/Speedvagen Rac USA0:50:288:21
34WINBERRY LauraElite Endurance/Cascade CouriersUSA0:50:378:30
35STOICK BrigetteRiver City BicyclesUSA0:50:488:40
36OPPENHEIMER KarenYard Sale CyclocrossUSA0:51:389:31
37BLAY BeccaMafia RacingUSA0:51:399:32
38SCOTT ReneeSunnyside SportsUSA0:51:449:36
39CROMWELL TiffanyLotto Ladies TeamAUS0:51:44 s.t.
40CURRY LisaGas/IntrinsikUSA@1Lap
41PADILLA AnnetteCelo PacificUSA@4Lap
DNFDINGMAN AnnaGas/Intrinsik Cycling TeamUSADNF
DNFLOPEZ-OTERO BrennaBend Memorial Clinic Total Care Race T USADNF
DNSELLIOTT MeganBlack Mountain BicyclesUSADNS
DNSGAERTNER JenniRiverstone CdaUSADNS
DNSPROBERT ChristinaThe TeamUSADNS
DNSDOWD PatriciaTeam DelphineUSADNS
DNSCOBB AnissaRiver City BicyclesUSADNS

Elite Men

1POWERS JeremyCannondale/Cyclocrossworld.Com0:59:40
2JONES ChristopherRapha / Focus USA1:00:09
3JOHNSON TimothyCannondale/Cyclocrossworld.Com1:00:18
4ANTHONY JesseCalifornia Giant/Specialized1:00:30
5WELLS ToddSpecialized1:00:38
6MCDONALD ZachRapha / Focus*1:01:02
7DRISCOLL JamesCannondale/Cyclocrossworld.Com1:01:05
8KABUSH GeoffTeam Maxxis / Rocky Mount1:01:13
9WICKS BarryKona1:01:59
10CRAIG AdamGiant1:02:25
11SHEPPARD ChrisRocky Mountain/Shimano/Giro1:02:31
12SUMMERHILL DanielFelt-Holowesko Partners-Garmin*1:02:59
13SCHOUTEN TristanCyclocrossracing.Com/Blue/Rolf Prima1:03:10
14SCHOOLER AaronTeam H&R Block1:03:20
15MATTER BrianGear Grinder1:03:58
16CANDELARIO AlexWorld Bicycle Relief1:04:20
17PACOCHA MattHudz-Subaru1:04:31
18WELLS TroyTeam Clif Bar1:04:57
19FERGUSON JeremyCalifornia Giant/Specialized*1:04:59
20MCGRATH AdamThule/Van Dessel Cyclocross1:05:16
21KRUGHOFF AllenBoulder Cycle Sport1:05:31
22PAXSON SpencerTeam S&M1:05:33
23ROBINSON JustinCalifornia Giant/Specialized1:05:38
24KAISER CodyCalifornia Giant/Specialized*1:06:16
25BABCOCK SeanKona Fsa1:06:26
26TONKIN ErikKona1:06:28
27WEIGHALL NicholasCalifornia Giant/Specialized1:06:37
28SPITERI FrankPeninsula Velo/Pomodoro1:06:38
29HORNER ChristopherTeam Radioshack1:06:44
30DECKER CarlGiant1:06:49
31ALLEN TimFeedback Sports1:07:13
32SNEAD JoshuaBay 101/Rhs/Rock Lobster1:07:43
33KEOUGH LukeChampion System Pb Keough*1:08:09
34KAPPIUS BradyTeam Clif Bar1:08:30
35CHAPIN ScottBay101/Hrs/Rocklobster@3Lap
36KNAPP RyanBikereg.Com@3Lap
37SUTTON AndreHardcore Cycling Club@3Lap
38BROWN IanTonicfab.Com/River City Bicycles@3Lap
39NICHOLS BrettScott Usa@3Lap
40EMSKY EricCyclocrossracing.Com Pb Blue Competi*@3Lap
41COLE BradKccx/Verge P/B Challenge Tires@3Lap
42ROSS WillKaladi Bro’S/Subway*@3Lap
43FISHER SteveRad Racing Nw / Hagens Berman Llp*@3Lap
44BANNERMAN NathanCyclocrossracing.Com Pb Blue Competi@3Lap
45LUELLING BrettBuy Local Cycling@3Lap
46SCHMALZ JosephKccx/Verge Presented By Challenge*@3Lap
47KUBAS BenjaminTai Cycling Team/Genr8/Smith Optics@4Lap
48SYVERTSEN BrueDe La Paz Coffee@4Lap

Stay tuned for Full Results, More Photos!