The familiar course at Deschutes Brewery provided plenty of challenges. © Pat Malach

The familiar course at Deschutes Brewery provided plenty of challenges. © Pat Malach

by Pat Malach

Oregonian Chris Jones (The Athletic) canceled his trip to the Cincy3 cyclocross festival this weekend and instead rode to his third win of the 2014 Cross Crusade series Saturday in Bend, while Serena Bishop (All Access Racing) capitalized on her hometown race to take her first win of the 2014 series.

After four races in and around the Portland area, a dry but windy and chilly Central Oregon Saturday welcomed the Cross Crusade to Bend for the traditional two-race Halloween weekend. Although the Deschutes Brewery venue has been used as part of the former U.S. Gran Prix of Cyclocross series and for the national championships in 2009 and 2010, a new hotel on the site and construction on the brewery grounds left a smaller footprint to work with than in years past. But organizers put together a fast track that also tested riders’ technical skills.

Chris Jones scored his third win of the 2014 Cross Crusade. © Pat Malach

Chris Jones scored his third win of the 2014 Cross Crusade. © Pat Malach

“I think this is the best Deschutes course I’ve ridden in awhile,” Jones said. “They mixed it up. We ran a lot of things backwards, and it got really tacky and fast. So it was fun.”

Jones, who won races #1 and #3, was supposed to compete at the Cincy3 cyclocross festival this weekend in Ohio, but a bout with sickness he picked up the week before in St. Louis convinced him to stick closer to home in Bend.

Riders cruise through the fallen leaves in Bend. © Pat Malach

Riders cruise through the fallen leaves in Bend. © Pat Malach

“I wasn’t sure how I would feel, but I felt pretty good,” he said, adding that the atmosphere at the Crusade races helped draw him back to Oregon. “Why not come to these races. There are like 1,200 people here, and the fans are crazy. So, yeah, it was an easy decision to come home once I got sick.”

The rest of the men’s elite field paid for Jones’ decision when he separated himself from the pack on the second lap and sailed in for his third win by 22 seconds over Carl Decker, the Giant Factory Racing rider who has finished second four times and continues to lead the series. Bend resident Barry Wicks (Kona) was on hand for Saturday’s race, but he crashed in a corner after a quick start and did not finish.

Series leader Carl Decker was second again. © Pat Malach

Series leader Carl Decker was second again. © Pat Malach

Decker had to battle Portland’s Josh Kelley (Chris King-Cielo Factory Team) for the runner-up spot, but the Giant rider eventually pulled away and finished five seconds ahead of Kelley. Ben Thompson (Thump Coffee) and Brennan Wodtli (Speedvagen) rounded out the top five.

For defending Crusade overall champion Serena Bishop, racing at home proved to be the key ingredient in nailing down her first win of the 2014 series. The All Access Racing rider burst ahead of Megan Chinburg (River City Bicycles) and Laura Winberry (Speedvagen) on the second lap and never let go of the lead.

Serena Bishop took her first win of the Cross Crusade at home in Bend.

Serena Bishop took her first win of the Cross Crusade at home in Bend. © Pat Malach

“Racing at home is the best,” Bishop said. “I like this course a lot. It’s just really interesting. The first couple (series) races were all about power and drafting. But this was fun, every bit of it. It’s awesome to be home, and it’s awesome to feel good and get on my bike.”

Bishop felt good enough to put 37 seconds into Chinburg, who eventually won the battle for second. Winberry slipped to fourth behind Upper echelon Fitness rider Clara Honsinger, who grabbed her first Crusade podium. Alexandra Burton (Portland Bicycle Studio) closed out the top five.

Elite Men
1. Chris Jones (The Athletic) 1:08:55:16
2. Carl Decker (Giant Factory racing) 1:08:55:38
3. Josh Kelley (Chris King-Cielo Factory Team) 1:08:55:43
4. Ben Thompson (Thump Coffee) 1:08:56:14
5. Brennan Wodtli (Speedvagen) 1:08:56:57
6. Molly Cameron (Portland Bicycle Studio) 1:08:57:20
7. Adam Bucklin (Thump Coffee) 1:08:57:42
8. Christian Buesch (Corvallis Cyclery) 1:08:58:07
9. James Ceccorulli (bicycleattorney.com) 1:08:58:14
10. Shannon Skerritt (Trek) 1:08:58:20

Elite Women
1. Serena Bishop (All Access Racing) 1:08:59:59
2. Megan Chinburg (River City Bicycles) 1:09:00:36
3. Clara Honsinger (Upper Echelon Fitness) 1:09:00:52
4. Laura Winberry (Speedvagen) 1:09:01:25
5. Alexandra Burton (Portland Bicycle Studio) 1:09:02:32
6. Kristen Minarik (bicycleattorney.com) 1:08:55:43 -1
7. Megan Faris (River City Bicycles) 1:08:56:36 -1
8. Tina Brubaker (Speedvagen) 1:08:56:53 -1
9. Laura Trace (Upper Echelon Fitness) 1:08:57:08 -1
10. Amy Rice (Lazy Tarantulas) 1:08:57:13 -1