Sue Butler out in front early ©Dave Roth

Sue Butler out in front early ©Dave Roth

CXM contributor and Elite racer Laura Winberry reports on the women’s race from the Oregon State Championship held in the capital city of Salem. Winberry had a saddle’s-eye view of the action, as she was in the thick of the race.

by Laura Winberry

Waning sun and articulated clouds traded back and forth throughout the afternoon hours of Oregon’s State Cyclocross Championships this past Saturday in Salem. Seventeen hours shy of full, a pocked moon sat confidently above the horizon, watching defiant racers navigate their lives through unforgiving, Play-Doh mud. As usual, the Women’s A race pursued on the heels of the Men’s and began in typical ’cross fashion, with most riders off and running the first hundred feet of grassy peanut butter.

Sue Butler (Hudz-Subaru) mashed gears to remain on two wheels and settle into the lead from the get-go, while Megan Chinburg (Veloforma) and Laura Winberry (Cascade Courriers, Elite Endurance) hoofed it through the first two turns, remounted and hit the pavement. Nissy Cobb (River City Cycles) also off to a good start, was taken out early after another rider cut across and went down directly in front of her. “I had no time to react. The girl just cut across the course out of nowhere and basically t-boned me. I went down hard on my back and hip, which definitely hurt. Things just felt off after that.”

Like stealth bombers, Wendy Williams (River City Bicycles) and Brigette Brown (River City Bicycles) shot silently and almost without notice into second and third, respectively, where they would hover the remainder of the race. A few seconds on pavement stained from dirt and fishtailing rear tires, and a thickly slick straightaway skirted by a magnetic (several racers’ faces with its unmoving, metallic presence) chain link fence led the women into the first power climb, at which point Tina Brubaker (Vanilla Workshop) had maneuvered herself into position. As sun and cloud vied for domain of the heavens above, so would Brubaker and Chinburg fend for fourth until the end, with Brubaker maintaining just enough to finish ahead of a barreling Chinburg.

Today’s race was “a great end to my OBRA season, with an amazing course designed to favor and challenge every type of racer in the field, a group of women I’m proud to say I race with. I could not be happier with the way it played out, and I ‘m so inspired by the efforts and toils of my fellow racers,” commented Chinburg.

At the front of the race, dichotomy and gaps also marked the field. Butler executed a swift, clean performance, with Williams slowly but most certainly eliminating distance between the two.

Butler’s number one priority was to remain “conservative and [keep] the rubber side down,” as she “hop[es] to build on this for USGP and Nationals.” Recovering from a recent illness after traveling to recent World Cup races, “it was a good first race back” and she “felt strong from start to finish.” With her gap on Wendy, Sue felt confident in the fact she could “relax and ride things that were faster to run.”

Local races fill the next couple of weeks on the calendar in Oregon, until it becomes the center of the US cyclocross scene with the USGP weekend at Portland International Raceway, Dec. 4th and 5th, immediately followed by Cyclocross Nationals in Bend.

Photo Gallery:

Women’s Results:

1 Sue Butler Hudz Subaru Cycling Team 7
2 Wendy Williams River City Bicycles 7
3 Brigette Brown River City Bicycles 7
4 Tina Brubaker Vanilla Workshop 7
5 Megan Chinburg Veloforma 7
6 Heather Clark Bend Memorial Clinic Total Care Racing Team 7
7 Abby Watson Embrocation Cycling Journal 7
8 Lindsay Jones Team Dirt/Mudslinger Events 7
9 Laura Winberry Cascade Couriers 7
10 Nissy Cobb River City Bicycles 6
11 Heather Hill 6
DNF Rachel Bagley Motor Dome 4
DNF Anona Whitley Ironclad Performance Wear 2