written by Pat Malach
Choice of lines in the final sprint made the difference in the men’s race Sunday during the second day of the Cross Crusade’s opening weekend at Alpenrose Dairy. After battling throughout the race to regain the lead group, Giant’s Carl Decker swung wide out of the last corner and found clear sailing to the finish ahead of Kona’s Spencer Paxson, who took the inside line and ran into lapped traffic that blocked his path to the line.
The women’s finish was not nearly as close after Laura Winberry (Speedvagen) grabbed the holeshot and proceeded to ride everyone off her wheel, eventually soloing in by a wide margin over Megan Chinburg (River City Bicycles), the winner of Saturday’s race.
The men’s race initially looked like it might be a repeat of the series opener on Saturday, when Chris Jones took the win by soloing off the front from the first lap to the finish. But Jones went down while leading Sunday’s opening lap and had to run to the pit for a new bike, effectively putting him out of contention.
Jones’ misfortune left the race wide open, and after some shaking and reshuffling a small group formed off the front that included Paxson, Steve Fisher (Raleigh-HiFi), Lance Haidet (Bear Development Team) and Molly Cameron (Portland Bicycle Studio). Decker was next on the course, trying to chase back to the leaders after a slow start. He eventually made contact to form a lead group of five with about three of eight laps remaining.
The front group started coming apart on the final lap, and Decker attacked when just he, Paxson and Fisher remained in the lead. By the time the leaders got back into the velodrome for the finale, Decker had the lead followed closely by Paxson. Fisher had fallen off the pace.
The win looked like it would come down to the short sprint out of the final turn, but lapped traffic in Paxson’s path prevented the Kona rider from making a last-ditch effort to come around Decker. Fisher came in next for third, followed by Haidet and Cameron.
The women’s race avoided the drama at the finish by sorting out the podium early in the race. Winberry took the holeshot heading into the faux Wild West town at the dairy, and she never relinquished the lead from there.
Chinburg stuck with Winberry for the first couple laps, but the first day’s winner was soon off Winberry’s pace. Behind the first two, Serena Bishop (All Access Racing) settled nicely into third, followed by Marsa Daniel (Sound Velo) in fourth. The race for fifth place turned over several times, with Kristen Minarik (bicycleattorney.com) claiming the spot early but eventually ceding her position to Alexandra Burton (Portland Bicycle Studio), Tina Brubaker (Speedvagen) and Julie Browning (Cyclepath).
The eight-race Cross Crusade continues Sunday, Oct. 19, on the Heron Lakes course at Portland International Raceway. Jones said he would be back to pick up the battle once again, while Winberry and Chinburg will no doubt want to settle their divided results from the first weekend.
Cross Crusade Race #2
1. Carl Decker (Giant)
2. Spencer Paxson (Kona)
3. Steve Fisher (Raleigh-Hifi)
4. Lance Haidet (Bear Development Team)
5. Molly Cameron (Portland Bicycle Studio)
6. Adam McGrath (Raleigh-Hifi)
7. Brennan Wodtli (Speedvagen)
8. Erik Tonkin (Team S&M)
9. James Ceccorulli (bicycleattorney.com)
10. Adam Bucklin (Trek)
1.Laura Winberry (Speedvagen)
2. Megan Chinburg (River City Bicycles)
3. Serena Bishop (All Access Racing)
4. Marsa Daniel (Sound Velo)
5. Alexandra Burton (Portland Bicycle Studio)
6. Tina Brubaker (Speedvagen)
7. Julie Browning (Cyclepath)
8. Kristen Minarik (bicycleattorney.com)
9. Rebeccah Bieri (Early Bird Women’s Racing)
10. Amy Rice (Lazy Tarantulas)