Sheppard, Williams Rule Rainier Cross Crusade #2

Pin It
Sheppard and McGrath were neck and neck almost the entire race © Dave Roth

Sheppard and McGrath were neck and neck almost the entire race © Dave Roth

by Josh Liberles

Although the race location is actually pronounced “Ray-neer,” anything in Oregon with a name that can be read as a derivative of “rainy” is ominous, particularly on the heels of yesterday’s muddy slog through Heiser Farms. Last year’s Rainier race was a dry, fast edition with the course’s vertical gain the decisive feature – so anything was possible.

Sure enough, it was a wet start to the day, but the skies cleared, the course began to dry, and the sun even came out to warm things up for the afternoon starts. Wendy Williams was able to repeat last year’s win on this same course and, as Elite men’s race winner Chris Sheppard (Rocky Mountain Bicycles) said after his race, “This is what cyclocross is all about – mud and a suntan!”

Wendy Williams takes the outside line © Dave Roth

Wendy Williams takes the outside line © Dave Roth

Williams Wends Her Way to the Win

The total attendance for the day was over 1,000 strong, but one notable absence was local favorite Sue Butler (Hudz-Subaru), who was busy battling for podium positions in the UCI3 races in Cincinnati, Ohio. The region’s other strongwomen were quick to pick up the slack and take to the front, with Alice Pennington (Team S&M) and former Masters national champion Wendy Williams (River City) the primary animators.

Pennington leapt out to an early lead up the course’s initial long, paved climb, but Williams would take over the front soon thereafter and never relinquished it over the one-hour race. Pennington held on for second, with Serena Bishop (Sunnyside Sports) rounding out the podium.

With Butler missing this Crusade and planning on hitting some World Cups in November, Williams and Pennington look to be the odds-on favorites to once again battle for the overall Cross Crusade series.

Shannon Skerritt all alone in third © Dave Roth

Shannon Skerritt had the early lead © Dave Roth

Sheppard Fends Off McGrath’s Charge

Shannon Skerritt (Corsa Concepts) stormed off the line to grab the holeshot but, as he later reported, he didn’t have the punch to match the ensuing acceleration from Sheppard and Cyclocross Magazine columnist Adam McGrath (Feedback-Van Dessel). “I didn’t warm up enough – I got the holeshot, made it to the dirt first at the top of the course, chose a crappy line, and a whole train of guys went by,” said Skerritt. “I kept it close until the first really muddy climb, and Sheppard and McGrath obviously had warmed up properly and went flying past.”

McGrath pulls out all the stops © Dave Roth

McGrath pulls out all the stops © Dave Roth

Sheppard and McGrath then drilled the muddy terrain through the woods of the course’s back section to shed the rest of the field and make it a two-man race. Although horsepower undoubtedly was a factor, it was handling skills that gave the duo their buffer. “For the first two laps, we hit every line on all the climbs and descents, we were hitting everything so that gave us a pretty good gap,” said Sheppard. “The course really became thick – it went from Adam’s [local Northwest natural] peanut butter to Skippy, the stuff with hydrogenated oil. It was good, and you were able to berm out some of the corners, you could start sliding. Maybe that’s the gift of Dugast – this is my first time on Rhinos, and they’re an amazing tire. That’s not even a sponsor plug, I paid full retail for them.”

The two riders would stay locked together until the final lap, where Sheppard would get a 10-second advantage that he’d hold and slightly extend on his way to the line. “Technical courses like this are good for me,” said McGrath, “I can’t just throw down 8,000 watts on flat stretches.”

Molly Cameron grits her teeth © Dave Roth

Molly Cameron grits her teeth © Dave Roth

Skerritt rode his own pace in no-man’s land to claim third, a minute ahead of Molly Cameron (Portland Bicycle Studio). Michael Gallagher (, the winner of the Heiser Farms race on Saturday, felt that previous effort in his legs and started slowly, picking riders off every lap, to eventually claim fifth.

Sheppard’s broken thumb didn’t seem to slow him down on the challenging course as he was able to back up last week’s Alpenrose Crusade win. “I just have to hold my hoods, and I’ll have a custom cast next week. Crashing is not an option right now. Whatever happens, I’m gonna crash on the right side of my body.”

Look for Sheppard, a Canadian who calls Bend home, to continue targeting Cross Crusade events, with a break in early November for Canadian Nationals, where he hopes to give Geoff Kabush a run for the money. “The Cross Crusades are the life and blood – the pulse of cross – on the whole West Coast. It’s great to come out here; it’s a little bit of a circus, you’ve got kids, dogs running around – it’s hard not to come over here and enjoy an hour of pain. For Rocky Mountain Bicycles, the team establishes a presence. Shimano’s a big team supporter too, and they’re also supporting the series.”

Next week the Cross Crusade series moves to the notoriously bumpy Sherwood Equestrian Park. The day prior, microbrewery Ninkasi throws its name behind the Ninkrossi event.

Photo Gallery by Dave Roth:

Full Results:

Elite Women

Pl Num First Name Last Name Team City Age Laps Time
1 928 Wendy Williams River City Bicycles Portland 41 5 59:18.00
2 911 Alice Pennington Team S+M Portland 29 5 01:01:06.00
3 917 Serena Bishop Sunnyside Sports bend 31 5 01:02:23.00
4 903 Brigette Brown River City Bicycles Portland 35 5 01:03:39.00
5 906 Abby Watson Embrocation Cycling Journal Portland 27 5 01:05:49.00
6 923 Tina Brubaker The Vanilla workshop Salem 42 5 01:06:26.00
7 934 Anna Yew Team Whistler 5 01:06:35.00
8 931 Megan Chinburg Veloforma Portland 32 5 01:07:03.00
9 932 Nissy Cobb River City Bicycles 5 01:07:48.00
10 925 Heather Clark Bend Memorial Clinic Total Care Racing Team Bend 32 5 01:08:27.00
11 927 Laura Winberry Elite Endurance Bend 26 5 01:09:23.00
12 910 Colleen Mcclenahan Sorella Forte Portland 45 4 56:22.00
13 929 Jennifer Schweitzer Upper Echelon Fitness Portland 35 4 56:31.00
14 920 Julie Browning Cyclepath Racing Portland 41 4 57:21.00
15 915 Lindsay Jones Team Dirt/Mudslinger Events Eugene 30 4 57:26.00
16 933 Sarah Tingey Bridgetown Velo 4 57:43.00
17 916 Karen Oppenheimer Bend Memorial Clinic Total Care Racing Team Bend 42 4 58:21.00
18 914 Kim Rueter Sorella Forte 4 58:34.00
19 924 Anna Vaughn Hammer Velo portland 34 4 58:51.00
20 930 Christy Love Team S+M Portland 36 4 01:00:20.00
21 912 Sarah Tisdale Sorella Forte Portland 40 4 01:02:21.00
DNF 905 Rachel Bagley Motor Dome Portland 32 2

Elite Men

Pl Num First Name Last Name Team City Age Laps Time
1 124 Chris Sheppard Rocky Mountain Bicycles P/B Shimano Bend 37 6 56:14.00
2 140 Adam McGrath Feedback/VanDessel 6 56:36.00
3 4 Shannon Skerritt Corsa Concepts Portland 39 6 59:15.00
4 131 Molly Cameron Portland Bicycle Studio Portland 34 6 01:00:05.00
5 49 michael gallagher p/t Blue Portland 37 6 01:00:48.00
6 65 Eirik Schulz Specialized River City Bicycles Portland 39 6 01:00:52.00
7 7 Ben Thompson Rocky Mtn Bicycles Bend 34 6 01:00:57.00
8 11 Eric Sheagley Veloce Racing Portland 38 6 01:01:04.00
9 52 Ian Brown river city bicycles/tonic fab Portland 31 6 01:01:13.00
10 13 Brett Luelling Buy Local Cycling Salem 29 6 01:01:33.00
11 39 Steven Hunter Embrocation Cycling Journal Portland 30 6 01:01:55.00
12 38 Scott Bradway Team S&M/Sellwood Cycle Repair Portland 39 6 01:02:04.00
13 42 Michael Benno Veloce Racing Portland 42 6 01:02:44.00
14 14 Damian Schmitt Sunnyside Sports Bend 32 6 01:03:18.00
15 121 Patrick Means Team S+M Bellingham 6 01:03:28.00
16 10 Aaron Tuckerman Corsa Concepts Portland 27 6 01:03:57.00
17 116 Ben Chaddock Rubicon-ORBEA Benefiting the Lance Armstrong Foundation Vancouver 25 6 01:03:59.00
18 123 brad winn Primal-First Bank portland 6 01:04:31.00
19 109 Andrew Bennett Team Redline Eugene 18 6 01:04:33.00
20 111 Ross Brody Buy Local Cycling Salem 31 6 01:04:55.00
21 21 Jonathan Myers Team S+M Portland 43 6 01:05:10.00
22 1 Seth Patla River City Bicycles Hillsboro 33 6 01:05:16.00
23 102 Matt Fox Sunnyside Sports Bend 32 6 01:05:17.00
24 26 Matthew Wills Courage Cycles Portland 30 6
25 53 Ryan Weaver River City Bicycles Portland 33 6 01:05:55.00
26 43 Tony Kic Gentle Lovers portland 32 6 01:06:05.00
27 20 Cary Miller Team S+M Portland 38 6 01:06:20.00
28 6 Dave Messenheimer Team Oregon presented by Laurelwood Brewing Portland 30 6 01:06:30.00
29 61 Anderson Folts Hufnagel Portland 26 6 01:06:33.00
30 32 Mathew Hall Ira ryan Portland 32 6 01:07:11.00
31 117 Spencer Moersfelder River City Bicycles Portland 35 6 01:07:12.00
32 138 Brent Mattison Team Lazy Tarantulas 6 01:07:30.00
33 114 Paul LaCava Giant Bicycles Portland 32 6 01:07:33.00
34 46 Patrick Jackson Buy Local Cycling Bend 31 6 01:10:42.00
35 57 Joshua Liberles Corsa Concepts Portland 37 5 56:21.00
36 2 Kolben Preble Clif Bar Development Cyclocross Team Forest Grove 17 5 56:24.00
37 55 Brendon Gallant Guinness Cycling Team Salem 35 5 56:51.00
38 139 James Ceccorulli Team Dire 5
39 106 Nat Johnson Green Submarine Records Portland 32 5 57:59.00
40 135 Kelly Ryan Portland Bicycle Studio 5 59:10.00
41 100 Luke DeMoe HTFU 5 59:58.00
42 19 Ian Leitheiser Cyclepath Racing Portland 39 5 01:00:02.00
43 137 Nathan Coffey 5 01:00:35.00
44 59 Jonathan Smith Team S+M Portland 36 3 01:01:38.00
DNF 113 Ross Bowden Portland 25 3
DNF 136 Nick Gibson Yakima Bike Vigilantes 2
DNF 63 Trevor O’Neal Gentle Lovers Portland 30 1



Cyclocross Magazine, Issue 22, Print and digital subscriptionsHave you subscribed yet? You're missing out if not. Get all-original content and your cyclocross fix throughout the year with a subscription and Issue 23 back copy, with features on Lars van der Haar, Jonathan Page, Elle Anderson and more!
Tagged as: , , , , , , , , ,

Stay up to date:

Search for a product, review, race or racer:

Visit these cx-loving companies:

Become a CXM Supporter:

Like the content on We're just a tiny two full-time person operation with big aspirations. Help us continue to bring you awesome cx content: Become a CXM supporter today:


What do you do in the off-season?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

Support CXM at no extra cost to you: