by Josh Liberles

While we may be almost exactly a half-year away from the last – and next – Cyclocross National Championship in Bend, Oregon, many of the top American ’cross racers find themselves in that same town vying for stars-n-stripes jerseys yet again. Bend is playing host to the Road Nationals for the second consecutive year, with Junior, U23 and Elite racers competing for titles in the road race, criterium and time trial disciplines all this week. Although all three events have long been part of the Road Championships for Junior racers, this year marks the first time in recent history that the criterium title has been on the line for the Elite racers rather than at the separate Downer’s Grove race in Illinois.

After the first three days of racing, there were many quality cyclocrossers showing off their road form. In yesterday’s time trial, 2009 US ’cross champ Gage Hecht (International Christian Cycling) took the win in the Juniors 10-12 division, six seconds ahead of the road race and criterium victor, Grant McElroy (Beaverton Bicycle Club). McElroy and Hecht continue their back-and-forth battle – McElroy took the silver medal at ‘Cross Nats in Bend last year.

Speaking of rivalries, Coryn Rivera (Peanut Butter & Co.) continues to go head to head with Kaitlin Antonneau (Team Kenda) in the Junior Women races, with Rivera adding to her rows of jerseys with a win in the time trial. Antonneau finished in fifth, two minutes back. Logan Owen (Lake Washington Velo) took second in the time trial for Junior 15-16 Men with Zack Gould (Clif Bar Development) in 45th, while Sarah Huang (Nova Cycle Sports Foundation) claimed fifth in the road race, seventh in the criterium and eleventh in the time trial for a strong all-around showing in the Junior 15-16 Women category.

Mina Anderberg (Flatiron Flyers Junior Cycling) couldn’t add another jersey to her 2009 cyclocross title, but had perhaps the strongest showing thus far with three podium performances in the Junior Women 10-12 races: second in the road race and criterium and third in the time trial.

US Cyclocross silver medalist Meredith Miller (Team Tibco) slotted into eighth position in the Elite Women’s race with a time of 51:00.80 and will look to defend her road title on Sunday. Reigning U23 road and criterium champ Alex Howes (VMG-Felt) was eleventh, with his teammate, US U23 cyclocross champ Danny Summerhill, just behind in 12th in the time trial, but it was their former teammate and Clif Bar Development Team cyclocross rider Andrew Barker (Team 5280 Magazine) edging both of them out to crack the top-ten in eighth position, with an impressive time of 46:09.10. Euro Cross Camp participant Joseph Schmalz (Mercy Cycling Team) took 22nd, with Gavin Mannion (Trek-Livestrong) just a few seconds behind in 24th.

Richard Feldman (Durance-Colnago), former Masters world time trial and cyclocross champ, started two minutes behind this humble Cyclocross Magazine writer and came screaming past to take fifth place with a time of 45:39.20 – less than two seconds away from third place.

See the full results for all USA Cycling Road National Championships here.

I’m sure I missed some prominent ’crossers in this recap (after all, I’m still seeing stars after my time trial effort). Please, point them out in the comments below. We’ll run another wrap-up of your favorite cyclocrossers racing on the road after the National Championships wrap up on Sunday.

Coryn Rivera