by Pat Malach
Hillsboro, Oregon – Controversy hovered over the Elite men’s race for the second week in a row Sunday at Cross Crusade #4 in Hillsboro after Canadian national champion Chris Sheppard (Rocky Mountain Bicycles/Shimano) crossed the line a minute ahead of Aaron Tuckerman (Corsa Concepts) and Molly Cameron (MetaFiler/Portland Bicycle Studio) but was eventually relegated to third for improper number placement, ceding Tuckerman his third-straight series win.
In the Elite women’s race, Alice Pennington (Upper Echelon Fitness) soloed to her second consecutive win with another dominant performance. Bend riders Serena Bishop Gordon (Silverado Gallery/Sunnyside) and Heather Clark (Bend Memorial Clinic Total Care) finished second and third, respectively.
The course at the Washington County Fair Complex about 20 miles West of Portland was pancake flat and dry as toast after several days without any significant precipitation. But what the course lacked in elevation or slime, it made up for with pounding straightaways interrupted by twisting 180 degree turns.
Sheppard returned to the 2011 Crusades after finishing third during race #1 at Alpenrose Dairy, where both he and Ryan Trebon (LTS/Felt) crashed hard while leading the race. Since then he notched two sixth-place finishes at the USGP weekend in Fort Collins, Colorado.
Sheppard quickly assumed his customary spot at the front of the elite men’s race with the other usual suspects, including Tuckerman, Cameron, Donald Reeb (Cyclocrossracing.com), Shannon Skerritt (Corsa Concepts) and Steve Carwile (evanplews.com). Notables missing from the race this week were Trebon and week #1 winner Sean Babcock (Kona). Picking up the slack, however, mountain bike pro Carl Decker (Giant) made the trip from Bend to attend his first Crusade race since 2007.
About halfway through the 60-minute event the lead group had been whittled down to just Sheppard, Cameron, Reeb and Tuckerman, followed by Skerritt and Decker. That’s when Sheppard attacked on a short climb through a sand pile on the course, gaining a gap over Cameron and Tuckerman and then pouring on more power.
“I just started to feel good on the bike and then took the corners a lot faster than I was the first few laps,” Sheppard said. “It was really fast and rough.”
With Sheppard obviously riding well and looking good for the win, Cameron and Tuckerman formed the first chase group after a mechanical slowed Reeb, who chased next with Decker, followed by Skerritt.
It was the third time in as many weeks that Cameron and Tuckerman found themselves vying against each other at or near the lead of the race, with Tuckerman getting the advantage in both the previous bouts.
But the battle the pair thought they were fighting for pride and second place turned out to decide the day’s winner much later after Sheppard’s relegation. Thinking they were in a duel for second, the pair hung together for the second half of the race before Tuckerman grabbed a tiny gap near the end of the last lap as they passed through a corral just before the finish line.
“It was kind of a crap shoot through there every lap,” Tuckerman said. “There was kind of a line, but there were rocks all around. It was loose and bumpy. It was a crap shoot there just trying to hold a line.”
Tuckerman cruised in about a minute behind Sheppard and three seconds ahead of Cameron. Decker just nipped Reeb at the line for fourth.
But about half an hour after the race, officials posted the results, including a relegation for Sheppard to fifth (which was later changed to third). Officials informed Sheppard of their decision, saying he had been asked before the race to move his number into the correct place on his kit, but he had not complied. Sheppard was obviously unhappy with the OBRA officials’ decision.
“If they want to decide races by number placement, that’s fine,” he said. “There’s not much to say. Rules are rules. Yeah, I should have had my number on right, but the fact that that dictates; all of the sudden it’s five places? That’s ridiculous.”
Tuckerman’s win by default extends his series total to 98 points. Cameron is second overall with 66, followed by Skerritt and Reeb with 58 each. Babcock is fifth with 46. The best six of eight series races count toward the overall.
Pennington Pounces For Win Number Two
The Elite women’s race was decided with quite a bit less drama again this week thanks to another dominant performance from Pennington, who won in similar fashion the week before.
Pennington was content to ride on or near the front in the early laps along with Bishop Gordon, Clark, Megan Chinburg (Corsa Concepts), Beth Orton (Team S&M Les Femmes), Brigette Brown (River City Bicycles) and Tina Brubaker (Vanilla Bicycles). She found herself briefly in trouble early in lap two when a rider from the men’s Masters 35+ field that started in front of the women crashed in front of her on the sand pile.
“Serena got like seven seconds on me and I had to chase her down,” Pennington said. “She was definitely putting down some power. I didn’t want to try to go too early because there’s a lot of wide-open stuff, and 60 minutes is a long time to be out there.”
Pennington reeled in Bishop Gordon and then looked for the right moment to pounce for the win.
“I just kind of waited until I had like a five-second gap and decided to go for it at that point after the second lap,” Pennington said. “Then I just tried to stay smooth and not crash in the corners.”
It proved to be a winning strategy for Pennington, who with Sunday’s win trails Bishop Gordon by six points in the overall series competition. Bishop Gordon finished 51 seconds down for second. Clark came in 22 second later for third. Chinburg crossed the line 1:32 behind the winner for fourth. Orton was fifth, 1:51 behind the leader.
Bishop Gordon’s ride allowed her to hang onto the overall lead with 78 points. Pennington is next with 72, followed by Brown with 53, Brubaker with 52 and Brooke McDermid (bicycleattorney.com) with 47.
Pennington, who has grabbed a top-10 finish at the USGP in Fort Collins this season as well as at StarCrossed and the Rapha GP in Seattle, will head to the Boulder Cup in Colorado next weekend in search of more UCI points.
The Crusades head east next weekend to Central Oregon for the Halloween Saturday and Sunday double header in Bend. Racing will take place at the Old Mill District course that was used for the nationals in 2009 and 2010.
Early birds can head to Bend Friday for the Day of the Dead Cyclocross Super D. This will be the first-ever Super D with cyclocross and mountain bike categories. The fastest person on a ‘cross bike will be crowned the “Cyclocross Super D Champion of the Universe” as part of the Day of the Dead CycloCross Festival and Cross Crusades Weekend, which also includes the Oregon Handmade Bicycle Show and the downtown Cross Culture Art + Bike Love exhibits.
Your regularly scheduled Cross Crusade races pick things up Saturday morning. Deschutes Brewing is hosting a party Saturday night in the company warehouse that sits next to the course, but the highlight of the evening will be the return of the Clydesdale Championship of the Universe race for men over 200 pounds and women topping 160. Sunday wraps things up with the official Crusade costume race for everyone else.
FULL RESULTS Cross Crusade #4, Hillsboro
Hillsboro Cross Crusade Elite Men 2011
|1||Aaron||Tuckerman||Corsa Concepts Cycling Team||9||01:05:18.00|
|2||Molly||Cameron||MetaFilter - Portland Bicycle Studio||9||01:05:22.00|
|6||Shannon||Skerritt||Corsa Concepts Cycling Team||9||01:05:53.00|
|7||leland||gilmore||River City Bicycles||9||01:07:04.00|
|8||Seth||Patla||Gates Belt-Drive / River City Bicycles||9||01:07:04.00|
|10||Michael||Gallagher||Corsa Concepts Cycling Team||9||01:07:11.00|
|14||Matt||Russell||Bend Memorial Clinic Total Care Racing Team||9||01:08:00.00|
|15||Ryan||Weaver||Gates Belt-Drive / River City Bicycles||9||01:08:12.00|
|16||Kolben||Preble||Hammer Nutrition/CMG Racing Team||9||01:08:13.00|
|17||Patrick||Jackson||Buy Local Cycling||9||01:08:17.00|
|18||Scott||Gray||Team Oregon presented by Laurelwood Brewing||9||01:08:24.00|
|21||Alex||Criss||Gates Belt-Drive / River City Bicycles||9||01:08:43.00|
|22||Ross||Brody||Buy Local Cycling||9||01:08:49.00|
|27||Joshua||Liberles||Corsa Concepts Cycling Team||9||01:09:13.00|
|34||Spencer||Bushnell||Therapeutic Associates Cycling/Sagebrush Cycles||9||01:09:50.00|
|35||Ryan||Miller||Pacific Power Blue Sky||9||01:09:52.00|
|36||Nat||Johnson||Green Submarine Records||9||01:10:03.00|
|37||Brett||Luelling||Portland Bicycle Studio||9||01:10:15.00|
|44||Ryan||King||IRA Ryan Cycles||9||01:11:30.00|
|45||David||Messenheimer||Green Submarine Records||9||01:11:34.00|
|46||Kenneth||Reed||Green Submarine Records||9||01:11:39.00|
|47||Ryan||Garner||Tensegrity PT Cycling||9||01:11:40.00|
|50||Mike||Kath||Therapeutic Associates Cycling/Sagebrush Cycles||9||01:12:18.00|
|51||matt||hall||IRA Ryan Cycles||8||01:04:21.00|
|53||Cole||Sprague||Bend Memorial Clinic Total Care Racing Team||8||01:04:40.00|
|54||Russell||Cree||Upper Echelon Fitness||8||01:04:46.00|
|57||Brian||Gerow||Corsa Concepts Cycling Team||8||01:05:06.00|
|60||Jim||Anderson||Team Oregon presented by Laurelwood Brewing||8||01:07:32.00|
|63||alex||wentz||Team Oregon presented by Laurelwood Brewing||8||01:10:18.00|
|DNF||Walton||Brush||West End Bikes/Specialized||7|
Hillsboro Cross Crusade Elite Women 2011
|1||Alice||Pennington||Upper Echelon Fitness||8||01:07:35.00|
|2||Serena||Bishop Gordon||Silverado Gallery/Sunnyside||8||01:08:24.00|
|3||Heather||Clark||Bend Memorial Clinic Total Care Racing Team||8||01:08:46.00|
|4||Megan||Chinburg||Corsa Concepts Cycling Team||8||01:09:03.00|
|5||Beth Ann||Orton||Team S+M||8||01:09:24.00|
|9||Alexandra||Burton||Upper Echelon Fitness Women's Cycling||8||01:12:02.00|
|10||Megan||Schubel||Sweetpea Ladies Auxiliary||8||01:12:06.00|
|13||Susan||Peithman||Upper Echelon Fitness||7||01:05:30.00|
|16||Jennifer||Cree||Upper Echelon Fitness||7||01:06:18.00|
|19||hannah||moore||Green Submarine Records||7||01:08:05.00|
Photo Gallery by Pat Malach
Photo Gallery by Nick Fochtman