air video by Dronescape Media Consulting, words by Pat Malach

Chris Jones (The Athletic) took his second win of the 2014 Cross Crusade series Sunday in Portland after Carl Decker (Giant Factory Racing) slid out on pavement in the final corner and had to settle for second. The women had their third winner in as many races after Beth Ann Orton (Team S&M) powered away from the field in the fast, dry conditions.

The run-up slowed things down on an otherwise fast course. © Pat Malach

The run-up slowed things down on an otherwise fast course. © Pat Malach

The Heron Lakes course weaved through a small strip of land sandwiched between Portland International Raceway and the course’s namesake golf course. After a week of solidly wet weather, the sun came out for the Cross Crusade’s third foray of the season, and temperatures reached into the 70s. The wide-open, mostly grass course made for fast racing that favored riders who could put down lots of power.

Decker came into the third race of the eight-race series with an overall lead built off his one-two finish the weekend before at Alpenrose. Jones won the first day at Alpenrose but crashed out of the lead the following day and slipped to fifth in the overall rankings coming into the Heron Lakes race.

Jones wasted little time trying to stake claim to the win on Sunday, escaping the leaders as the cream of the men’s field began to break up on the third of nine laps. He built a lead of as much as 35 seconds over Decker and Molly Cameron (Portland Bicycle Studio), who were working together to try and bring back the solo leader.

Both Jones and Cameron bobbled on the final lap, allowing Decker to solo up to leader in time to contest the final sprint. The Giant rider led into the final corner before the paved finishing straight, but he hit the deck and Jones sailed past to cross the line first for the win.

Chris Jones crests the run-up on the first lap. © Pat Malach

Chris Jones crests the run-up on the first lap. © Pat Malach

“I saw earlier in the race that whoever led onto the pavement generally was going too fast and kind of sliding,” Jones said. “So I let him lead and I thought he would probably slide there. I cut inside, and sure enough he slid out. I was hoping to sprint against him, because we train together all the time. He’s a good training partner, and so I wanted to see in a race what would happen.”

Decker recovered in time to hold onto second, while Cameron crossed the line next for third. Team S&M’s Sean Babcock and Speedvagen’s Brennan Wodtli rounded out the top five.

Decker’s runner-up ride was enough to hold onto the series overall lead. He now leads Jones by 14 points and Cameron by 27. Wodtli is fourth, 30 points down, followed by Steve Fisher and Lance Haidet, both 35 points behind. Only six of the eight series races count toward the final overall standings.

In her first race of the 2014 series, Beth Ann Orton made her intentions known immediately. The Team S&M rider pushed the pace on the first lap and led the top contenders as they crested the run-up for the first time and approached the start/finish. From there, Orton continued to open up a growing margin on her rivals, leaving them to race for second.

Beth Ann Orton took her first win of the 2014 series. © Pat Malach

Beth Ann Orton took her first win of the 2014 series. © Pat Malach

Serena Bishop (All Access Racing) picked up the chase with a solo effort, followed by Julie Krasniak (The Athletic), Laura Winberry (Speedvagen) and most of the top riders. Bishop looked to have a solid lead when she crashed on the slightly off-camber S-turn after the run-up. She got up quickly and went immediately to work trying to get her chain back in line, but the delay killed her momentum and allowed her rivals to catch up.

In the end, it was Winberry who won the battle for the second spot, followed by Krasniak in third, Alexandra Burton (Portland Bicycle Studio) in fourth and Abby Watson (Breadwinner Bicycles) in fifth.

Megan Chinburg (River City Bicycles) led the overall standings heading into the Heron Lakes race after the opening weekend’s double-header at Alpenrose, where she won the first race and finished second to Winberry the following day. But Winberry’s runner-up ride at Heron Lakes, and Chinburg’s disappointing ninth there, caused a swap at the top of the standings.

Winberry now leads the series overall by five points over Chinburg. Bishop is third, 13 points down, followed by Burton at 16 and Brubaker at 26.

The Cross Crusade continues Sunday, Oct. 26, with race four at the Washington County Fairgrounds in Hillsboro.

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Cross Crusade Race #3
Heron Lakes Course
October 19

Elite Men
1. Chris Jones (The Athletic)
2. Carl Decker (Giant)
3. Molly Cameron (Portland Bicycle Studio)
4. Sean Babcock (Team S&M)
5. Brennan Wodtli (Speedvagen)
6. Shannon Skerritt (Trek)
7. Josh Kelley
8. Scott Gray (Team Oregon
9. Seth Patla (River City Bicycles)
10. Leland Gimore (River City Bicycles)

Elite Women
1. Beth Ann Orton (Team S&M)
2. Laura Winberry (Speedvagen)
3. Julie Krasniak (The Athletic)
4. Alexandra Burton (Portland Bicycle Studio)
5. Abby Watson (Breadwinner Cycles)
6. Tina Brubaker (Speedvagen)
7. Serena Bishop (All Access Racing)
8. Alice Pennington (Team S&M)
9. Megan Chinburg (River City Bicycles)
10. Kristin Duyn (Portland Bicycle Studio)


Elite Men
1. Carl Decker (Giant Factory Racing) 66
2. Chris Jones (The Athletic) 52
3. Molly Cameron (Portland Bicycle Studio)
4. Brennan Wodtli (Speevagen)
5. Steve Fisher (Raleigh-HiFi)

Elite Women
1. Laura Winberry (Speedvagen) 61
2. Megan Chinburg (River City Bicycles) 56
3. Serena Bishop (All Access Racing) 48
4. Alexandra Burton (Portland Bicycle Studio) 45
5. Tina Brubaker (Speedvagen) 35