The weather forecast promised late sun but predictions aren’t always right in Seattle. Case in point? The University of Washington football team pulled off a huge upset of #3 ranked USC earlier in the day, and the skies erupted with rain instead of the promised sun just as women were underway making for slippery, crash-filled racing at Marymoor Velodrome.
Overnight rains didn’t do much to mess up the course, and early races enjoyed a surprisingly tacky grass course. But once the pros made their final tire selections (mostly Challenge Grifos and Dugast Typhoons) the skies opened up.
Many of the top men were eager to test their legs and test their competitors. Last year’s winner, Jeremy Powers (CyclocrossWorld.com / Cannondale), took an early holeshot and extended that to a gap of five seconds, while early favorites Ryan Trebon (Kona) had a slow start and Tim Johnson took a bad first lap spill, suffering a possibly separate shoulder.
Nick Weighall (Cal Giant / Specialized) showed his new team’s colors, moving to the front and stretching the field. Andy Jacques-Maynes, fresh off a full road season for Bissell, sat comfortably in the top five. He told Cyclocross Magazine the speed of road racing really helped. “I was super comfortable, just sitting in the top five and was looking around surprised how it didn’t hurt.”
Jonathan Page (Planet Bike) played it cool initially, observing his fellow racers but went to the front on lap two, showing that he’s back to form after a disastrous late season last year (see Issue 7 for an in-depth story). After nearly a full-lap flyer, he was brought back but would continue to surge each lap at barriers.
Jacques-Maynes would continue to play near the front, but there was a game of musical chairs for the positions around him. Trebon, Page, Powers, Christian Heule (Rendemthypo) and even Troy Wells (Clif Bar) would head to the front as the steady Jacques-Maynes would never stray far from the middle of the pack. Wells’ appearance at the head of the race was a surprise to most, as he had looked to have cracked nearing the two-thirds mark. Wells surged to close the gap, and did not stop when he got to the pack, passing through the leaders and grabbing a gap of a few bike lengths. His time at the front was short lived, however, as the rest of the group picked up the pace, and dropped the young Clif Bar Rider.
The leading group of five continued to play cat and mouse, surging and sitting up, trading leaders and chasers. By the time the leaders entered the last lap, the pace had proved too much for Jacques-Maynes, who faded from the lead group, but held solid for a fifth place finish. The leading four – Trebon, Powers, Page and Heule – remained together for much of the final lap, when Heule put in an attack that found him at the front of the race entering the velodrome for the final time. In a race where position was key, Heule had timed his attack to perfection, as only three tight corners – best taken from the front of the pack – stood between him and victory.
The pack entered the final hairpins led by Heule, then Powers, Trebon and Page. In a last ditch attempt at victory, Page squeezed past Trebon to put him in third place. His attack was too little, too late, as Heule opened up his sprint out of the final turn, and the leaders finished in the order then had left the final turn. Powers sprinted home for second, followed by Page and Trebon. Behind, Jacques-Maynes ended the day in fifth, followed by Wells.
1. Christian Heule (Rendemenhypo Cycling)
2. Jeremy Powers (Cannondale/Cyclocrossworld)
3. Jonathan Page (Planet Bike)
4. Ryan Trebon (Kona)
5. Andy Jacques-Maynes (Bissel Pro Cycling)
6. Troy Wells (Clif Bar)
7. Jesse Anthony (Jamis)
8. Russell Stevenson (Banaroya Research Institute)
9. Aaron Schooler (Team H&R Block – Kona)
10. Trace Tyler (Trek Red Truck)
Promoter’s official brief report
Spectators headed for shelter in the beer garden as the elite men’s field started in the rain at FSA Star Crossed. The field attracted a couple of national champs (Ryan Trebon and Tim Johnsen – USA, Christian Heule – Switzerland) along with UCI podium placer Jonathan Page and last year’s winner Jeremy Powers for the North American Cyclocross Trophy series kick-off, September 19th in Redmond, Washington. The course lay out featured long grassy straight-aways with riders going in and out of the Marymoor velodrome. As the weather turned for the worse, bike handling took precedence over power as the off-camber turns slickened with rain. Tim Johnson (Cannondale) went down on the first lap and soon an elite formed: Page, Trebon, Heule, Troy Wells, and Andy Jacques-Maynes (Bissell) and Jeremy Powers. Crashes and bad corners would whittle the group down but riders kept fighting to get back to the lead group, with Trebon and Page taking turns on the front and attacking. Heule hit the velodrome first, holding off Page and Powers on the finishing straight. Trebon was fourth and Andy Jacques-Maynes rounded out the top five. Heule won the race back in 2007 and was pleased to repeat, despite the condition of the course. The elite coterie will be competing at the second race of the North American Cyclocross Trophy series at the Rad Racing GP on September 20th.