Williams, Babcock Battle to Muddy Victories in Hillsboro Cross Crusade – UPDATED: Photo Gallery, Report, Full Results

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Wendy Williams enjoying the sun above, mud below © Dave Roth

Wendy Williams enjoying the sun above, mud below © Dave Roth

by Josh Liberles and Laura Winberry

Hillsboro, Oregon – Wendy Williams and Sean Babcock both survived tough battles in the mud today at the Washington County fairgrounds in Hillsboro, Oregon, for the penultimate round of the Cross Crusade Series.

With an approaching evening’s sky reflecting in Hillsboro’s mud- and puddle-streaked course, Brigette Brown (River City Cycles), with a solid hole shot, was first to make waves through the mucks of pooled water. Alice Pennington (Team S&M) – back from last weekend’s Boulder Cup and ramping up for next weekend’s double-header in Fort Collins –  and Wendy Williams (River City Cycles) diced it up while gaining on and eventually surpassing Brown, who ultimately ended up third.

“When Brigette took the hole shot, there were quite a few people in front of me,” said Williams. “I was getting some mud spray in my eyes, I think Alice had the same thing happen. We finally got around people, and then it was Alice and I trading back and forth for a while, but closing the gap on Brigette.”

Alice Pennington on the gas, with a gap © Dave Roth

Alice Pennington on the gas, with a gap © Dave Roth

It would become a battle between long time Crusade rivals Williams and Pennington. The duo caught and passed Brown, who quipped, “I only stayed with them a little while; they’ve both got a lot of muscle on me.” When asked about the course, Brown replied, “It was great, lots of muddy slippery corners and lots of deeper sections that started to wear you down towards the end of the race. I started to feel a little slower towards the end, getting tired, but the mud and the off-camber were a lot of fun.”

The back-and-forth battle hit a speed bump when a crash by Pennington, who was attempting to ride the tricky, superslick, off-camber section, would give Williams enough separation to hold on for a tight win. “She got a gap on the off-camber section where I fell over. I was trying to ride it, then got off my bike and just tripped,” said Pennington. “She got a gap of about 10 seconds right there.

“When the top guys came around me, I tried to sit on their wheels and pick up some speed to reel her in. I came close, probably brought it back to eight seconds, but didn’t have it to close it all the way,” continued Pennington. “She opened it up again, then I started closing by the finish. I was riding as hard as I could trying to play catch up.” Less than half a minute back from Williams, Pennington exerted herself through the finish line, picking up a hard-earned second.

Shannon Skerritt plows to an early lead, McGrath leads the chase © Dave Roth

Shannon Skerritt plows to an early lead, McGrath leads the chase © Dave Roth

Babcock Holds Off Skerritt, Brown in Elite Men’s Race

Chris Sheppard, who has three wins and one second place in this year’s Cross Crusade series, was busy winning himself the Canadian national title, but Sean Babcock returned to Oregon from a block of UCI races of his own. Early on in the men’s race, a group including Adam McGrath (Feedback-VanDessel), Damian Schmitt (Sunnyside Sports), Ian Brown (River City Bicycles) and last week’s double race winner Shannon Skerritt (Corsa Concepts) battled back and forth early. Sean Babcock, who for some reason didn’t get a call-up, fought his way through traffic to reach the leaders.

“We were moving around a lot, people were just trading for first place – Adam, Shannon, Sean, Damian,” said Brown. “I held back and waited for people to bobble and just stayed consistent.”

Skerritt then became the aggressor and went on the attack, separating himself from the rest midway through the race. But the Corsa Concept rider became tangled with lapped traffic from another field and careened off course with three laps to go; by the time he was back up and moving, Babcock and Brown had passed and gapped him. “Shannon had broken away from us and he was looking pretty strong on the flats,” said Babcock. “At that point, I was watching to see how he’d do out there, then we came around a turn and he was tangled in the tape.”

Sean Babcock makes his own line © Dave Roth

Sean Babcock makes his own line © Dave Roth

Skerritt was able to reel in and pass Brown with one lap to go, but Babcock was able to hang on and eke out a tight win. “Ian and I were in the front again,” said Babcock. “Eventually I attacked Ian and got a little gap with a couple of laps left, and I just tried to stay away from Shannon and make it to the finish.”

“I had a decent little gap until I got bumped off course overtaking some lapped riders. I could’ve waited for a better moment, but they bumped into me and shot me off course. It was a bad spot to have to pass,” said Skerritt. “I had about five seconds before that, and by the time I got back going, [Babcock and Brown] had maybe 10 seconds on me. I didn’t want to panic, I had a couple of laps to try to bring them back, but on the power sections I’m usually good at, I couldn’t put it in a big enough gear because of the mud. [The gears were] just sputtering around.

Sawdust lined the floor of a barn the course passed through © Dave Roth

Sawdust lined the floor of a barn the course passed through © Dave Roth

“I brought back Ian with one to go and was trying to chase Sean, got within five or six seconds, but ran out of time – but that’s racing,” said Skerritt. “If I did the math right, I think I needed second place today to win the overall, even if Sheppard wins next week. So that’s a nice consolation prize. But I’ll keep racing to win.”

Babcock’s love of the sport showed through in his boyish post-race enthusiasm: “It was an awesome, muddy course. It’s the first time I’ve raced in the mud since the early season Seattle races [StarCrossed and Rad Racing GP]. It was all super-muddy and slimy, and we were within five seconds of one another the whole time. It was perfect training for the Portland USGP, too.”

Dave Roth’s Photo Gallery:

Full Results

Elite Women
1    928 Wendy Williams   River City Bicycles
2    911 Alice Pennington   Team S&M
3    950 Brigette Brown   River City Bicycles
4    925 Heather Clark   Bend Memorial Clinic Total Care Racing Team
5    908 Brenna Lopez-Otero   Bend Memorial Clinic Total Care Racing Team
6    931 Megan Chinburg   Veloforma
7    906 Abby Watson   Embrocation Cycling Journal
8    943 Tina Brubaker   Vanilla Workshop
9    927 Laura Winberry   Elite Endurance
10  932 Anissa Cobb   River City Bicycles
11   915 Lindsay Jones   Team Dirt
12   933 Sarah Tingey   Bridgetown Velo
13   910 Colleen McClenahan   Sorrella Forte
14   913 Anona Whitley   Ironclad Performance Wear
15   924 Anna Vaughn   Hammer Velo
16   947 Susan Peithman   Veloforma
17   945 Alexandra Burton
18   916 Karen Oppenheimer   Bend Memorial Clinic Total Care Racing Team

Elite Men
1   15 Sean Babcock    Kona/Team S&M
2   4 Shannon Skerritt    Corsa Concepts
3   52 Ian Brown   River City Bicycles/Tonic Fab
4   14 Damian Schmitt    Sunnyside Sports
5   10 Aaron Tuckerman    Corsa Concepts
6   13 Brett Luelling    Buy Local Cycling
7   28 Donald Reeb    Rocky Mountain Bicycle p/b Shimano
8   65 Eirik Schulz    Specialized River City Bicycles
9   140 Adam McGrath    Feedback/VanDessel
10 166 Chris Snyder    bicycleattorney.com
11  121 Patrick Means    Team S + M
12  46 Patrick Jackson    Buy Local Cycling
13  150 Connor McCutcheon    Bear Valley Bikes
14  111 Ross Brody    Buy Local Cycling
15  8 Benjamin Kubas    Therapeutic Associates Cycling/GENR8
16  39 Steven Hunter    Embrocation Cycling Journal
17  167 Cody Peterson   Rocky Mountain
18  118 Tim Joslin    Cyclepath
19  53 Ryan Weaver    River City Bicycles
20  105 Jeff Curtes    EMBROCATION/Speedvagen Racing
21  120 Brennan Wodtli    Hutch’s
22  2 Kolben Preble    Clif Bar Development Cyclocross Team
23  161 Alex Wentz    Team Oregon
24  126 Doug Wilmes    Portland Bicycle Studio
25  6 Dave Messenheimer    Team Oregon
26  149 Alex Criss    River City Bicycles
27  123 Brad Winn    Primal-First Bank
28  43 Tony Kic    Gentle Lovers
29  106 Nat Johnson    Green Submarine Records
30  26 Matt Wills    Courage Cycles
31  162 Michael Manning    Pilots cycling
32  47 Colin Rowan    Corner Cycle
33  114 Paul LaCava    Giant Bicycles
34  29 Graham Howard    Rocky Mountain Bicycle p/b Shimano
35  1 Seth Patla    River City Bicycles
36  23 Chad Swanson    Team S&M
37  160 Will Ross    Kalari Bros
38  21 Jon Myers    Team S&M
39  139 James Ceccorulli    Team Dirt
40  5 Davy Yeater    River City Bicycles
41  144 Clint Culpepper    Team Beer
42  145 Chip Sloan    Grundelbruisers/Stewie Bicycles
43  137 Nathan Coffey
44  101 William Warburton    Therapeutic Associates Cycling/GENR8
45  138 Brent Mattison    Lazy Tarantulas

With an approaching evening’s sky reflecting in Hillsboro’s mud and puddle streaked course, Brigette Brown (River City Cycles), with a solid hole shot, was first to make waves through the mucks of pooled water. Alice Pennington (Team S&M)—back from last weekend’s Boulder Cup and ramping up for next weekend’s double-header in Fort Collins—and Wendy Williams (River City Cycles) diced it up while gaining on and eventually surpassing Brown, who ultimately ended up third. “Brigette took off, and Alice and I traded back and forth for a while, but closed the gap on Brigette,” said Williams, who was fond of the course.

Pennington, who was not so keen on today’s flat slogfest, lost irretrievable time when she slipped up on the off-camber run/ride section. “Wendy and I took turns leading, but I crashed while running the off-camber section and she got a good twenty seconds on me. She held it the remainder of the race and I just could not get it back.” Less than half a minute back from Williams, Pennington exerted herself through the finish line, picking up a hard-earned second.

 

 

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1 comments
Matthew Lasala
Matthew Lasala

The female rider sandwiched between Wendy and Tina is actually Heather Clark not Brenna...same team, different rider...great pics and story BTW!

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