Johnson wins his third Elite National Championship. © Cyclocross Magazine

Johnson wins his third Elite National Championship. © Cyclocross Magazine

Be sure to keep checking our complete coverage of the 2009 Cyclocross National Championships Center as we continue to update the page with more updates, tech pieces photos, and videos.

by Christopher Bagg

Unlike the women’s race, up to ten riders appeared to have a chance at taking the men’s Elite National Championship today in Bend. The front line boasted last year’s (and 2006) champion Ryan Trebon (Kona/FSA), who has logged an up-and-down season this year with victories at the 2009 Mercer Cup Day One and the USGP title, set against disappointing weekends such as the one seven days ago in Portland; recently brilliant Jeremy Powers (Cannondale/; 14th UCI ranked Jonathan Page (Planet Bike); Jamey Driscoll (Cannondale/, beginning to live up to his billing as the third executioner on Cannondale/; Todd Wells (Specalized), looking as strong as he did in 2005 when he last captured the National Title; dark horse (and supremely confident) Chris Jones (Champion Systems); and the always resourceful Tim Johnson (Cannondale/ Dan Timmerman (Richard Sachs – RGM Watches – Radix), winner of the VERGE/NECCS, Oregon hero Barry Wicks (Kona/FSA) and MTB Olympian Adam Craig (Giant) posed outside threats to sneak onto the top step of the podium.

The surge for the first turn easily put the other races of the weekend in perspective as all of the above mentioned riders stood out of their saddles, charging for the top of the hill beyond the start/finish. The pace of the elite field would dip under six minutes per lap on some laps, exposing just how far above the mortals the elites stand. Jeremy Powers took the holeshot, with Jonathan Page, Ryan Trebon and Tim Johnson close behind. The race strung out into single file quickly, and the back of the pack already realizing their second-class status not sixty seconds deep. One of the most aggressive, courageous rides of the day arrived courtesy of Team S&M rider Sean Babcock, who began the race behind 150 racers and eventually made his way far forward.

Powers and Driscoll were in place in case Johnson faltered. © Cyclocross Magazine

Powers and Driscoll were in place in case Johnson faltered. © Cyclocross Magazine

Powers, Johnson, Trebon and Page, however, traversed the backside of the course almost before poor Babcock cleared the first pit. That foursome stayed together for the first lap, when Page exchanged a bike, adding to Powers’ lead and creating a small gap to the leaders that Page never saw come back to him. As the Planet Bike rider entered the pits, fans feared the worst. Had he gone down? Did he flat?

But Page said his equipment worked beautifully and took responsibility. “I didn’t have a mechanical, it was all my fault,” Page said. “I just wanted different tire pressure. I wasn’t happy with the pressure I had and I wasn’t closing, so I switched again to hopefully get a bike that could go faster.”

Up front, Powers, riding brilliantly with Johnson, began putting a small gap into Trebon when the cooling afternoon brought an end to his title hopes. The grassy infield, deceptively slick all day, took down the Cannondale/ rider just as he seemed to draw away from this teammate and Trebon. Johnson, ever the scrappy opportunist, did his duty as the second teammate in the break and took over leader’s duties. “I was feeling great,” a dejected Powers said later. “I was trying to race my own race and just messed up. I’m so disappointed. This is going to take a few days to shake off.” Trebon and then Page went right by and hung just off Johnson’s wheel, about three seconds back.

The crowd, energized by the familiar thrum of the Last Syncopated Drumming Regiment (a Portland ‘cross fixture), thickened along the barriers almost five deep; imagine cloudy skies and cigarette smoke and you would have thought this was Belgium, not Oregon. They urged Trebon on and the Kona/FSA rider appeared to be biding his time, waiting for a moment to pounce. As the race’s announcer pointed out at the close of one lap, Trebon was “breathing through his nose.” Trebon made the ride look effortless, as he always does, flowing through lines behind the punchy, aggressive Johnson.

That aggressiveness, however, began to pay off. The numbers on the lap cards dwindled and Johnson’s advantage grew, albeit by seconds: five seconds, eight seconds, nine. Hoping to see a hometown win, the crowd began to forget about the coalescing race for third place, shaping up around thirty seconds behind Trebon. Powers, distraught with his error, seemed to be taking it out on Jonathan Page.

Page, though, bided his time and watched the emotional Powers begin to take on water. Todd Wells, too, sensed Powers’ weakness and soon the race stood with Johnson off the front, chased by Trebon; Page in third, marked by a gasping Todd Wells; Powers and a tiring Jamey Driscoll behind them.  Adam Craig rode alone in seventh, with a group of Barry Wicks, Dan Timmerman, and Nick Weighall completing the top ten.

Trebon looked content with second. © Cyclocross Magazine

Trebon looked content with second. © Cyclocross Magazine

As the race came down to two laps to go, a grueling nine laps proverbially history, Johnson’s reality coalesced: the race was his to lose. All Trebon could do was to hope for the kind of error that gave Johnson the victory two years ago in Kansas City. Johnson, though, rode cleanly, which he always seems to do with a race on the line, and the Massachusetts native claimed his third national title to go with his two Kansas City wins (2000 and 2007). Trebon finished solidly second, and Jonathan Page held off Todd Wells to take the third step of the podium. Jeremy Powers, deeply disappointed, came in fifth. “I’m flying to Europe on Thursday,” Powers said. “I’ll just start focusing on Worlds and try to forget this disappointment.”

Check back soon for more reporting and photos from the 2009 National Championships.

Elite Men Results:

1. Timothy JOHNSON – Cannondale/
2. Ryan TREBON – Kona-FSA
3. Jonathan PAGE – Planet Bike
4. Todd WELLS – Todd Wells
5. Jeremy POWERS – Cannondale/
6. James DRISCOLL – Cannondale/
7. Adam CRAIG – Giant Factory Racing
8. Dan TIMMERMAN – Richard Sachs – RGM Watches – R
9. Barry WICKS – Kona-FSA
10. Christopher JONES – Team Champion System
11. Carl DECKER –
12. Jake WELLS – Mafiaracing/pabst/felt
13. Troy WELLS – Team Clif Bar
14. Jesse ANTHONY – Jamis
15. Nicholas WEIGHALL – California Giant Berry Farms/s
16. Matt SHRIVER – Rocky Mountain Chocolate Facto
17. Jonathan BAKER – Vitamin Cottage P/b Xp Compani
18. Ryan IDDINGS – Lapierre
19. Brandon DWIGHT – Boulder Cycle Sport
20. William DUGAN – Richard Sachs – Rgm Watches –
21. Adam MYERSON – Cycle-smart
22. Peter WEBBER –
23. Sean BABCOCK – Team S&m
24. Braden KAPPIUS – Clif Bar
25. Adam MCGRATH – Thule/Van Dessel
26. Mark LALONDE – Planet Bike
27. Michael BRODERICK – Kenda-seven-notubes
28. Erik TONKIN –
29. Brett LUELLING – Capitol Subaru Cycling
30. Justin ROBINSON – California Giant Berry Farms/s
31. Davy YEATER – River City Bicycles
32. Matt PACOCHA – Hudz-subaru
33. Josh DILLON – Richard Sachs – Rgm Watches –
@1LAP. James LALONDE – Planet Bike
@1LAP. Joshua BERRY – Smith Optics
@1LAP. Gary DOUVILLE – Platinum Racing Team
@1LAP. Ryan KNAPP –
@1LAP. Aaron BRADFORD – Onsite Ultrasound/enduro
@2LAP. Justin LINDINE – / Joe’s Garage / I
@2LAP. Frank SPITERI – Peninsula Velo/pomodoro
@2LAP. Eric RASMUSSEN – Porcupine/specialized
@2LAP. Scott CHAPIN – Hrs/rocklobster
@2LAP. Shawn MITCHELL – Bode
@2LAP. Barton BOWEN –
@2LAP. John CURRY – Gas/intrinsik Architecture
@2LAP. Ben POPPER – Hrs / Rock Lobster
@2LAP. Scott MCLAUGHLIN – Sram Factory
@2LAP. Michael GALLAGHER – C3 Athletes Serving Athletes
@2LAP. Don MYRAH –
@2LAP. Molly CAMERON – Portland Bicycle Studio
@2LAP. Nathanael WYATT – Carolina Fatz P/b Santa Cruz B
@2LAP. Spencer PAXSON – Team S&m Young Guns
@2LAP. Damian SCHMITT – Sunnyside Sports
@2LAP. Nathaniel WARD – / Joe’s Garage / I
@2LAP. Shadd SMITH – Kccx / Verge
@2LAP. Donald REEB – Santa Cruz/wtb/giro
@2LAP. Anastasio FLORES – Calfornia Giant
@2LAP. Nathan BANNERMAN – Rad Racing Nw
@2LAP. Gabriel KECK – Scott/ritchey
@3LAP. Troy BARRY – Hammer Nutrition
@3LAP. Dave WEAVER – Kelly Benefit Strategies/lsv
@3LAP. Patrick JACKSON – Web Cycle
@3LAP. Mitchell PETERSON – Mona Vie Cannondale
@3LAP. Alex WORK – Hrs Rocklobster
@3LAP. John BAILEY – Bailey Bikes
@3LAP. Reed WYCOFF –
@3LAP. James BIRKENBUEL – Alki Rubicon Racing
@3LAP. Anton PETROV – Bike Religion
@3LAP. Michael BENNO – Veloce Racing
@3LAP. Scott FREDERICK – Inland Construction/back To Di
@3LAP. Tj WOODRUFF – Pioneer Racing
@3LAP. Michael HEMME – Courage
@3LAP. Matt FOX – Sunnyside Sports
@3LAP. Chad CHEENEY – Durango Devo
@3LAP. Craig FOWLER – Ubrdo Team Project
@3LAP. Cody PETERSON – Cole Sport
@3LAP. Josh SNEAD – Hrs/rocklobster
@3LAP. John-christian FLACK – Valley Athletic Club
@3LAP. Geoff HUBER – Team Lost Coast/Marin
@4LAP. Josh WHITMORE – Team Globalbike
@4LAP. Richard HULIT – Recycled Cycles Racing
@4LAP. Jesse RIENTS – Nature Valley/penn Cycle
@4LAP. Darian FOUNDS – Unattached
@4LAP. Jeremy KIMMEL – S. Camel
@4LAP. William BUTCHER – Magnus
@4LAP. Kevin HULICK – Vanilla Workshop – Speedvagon
@4LAP. John BEHRENS – Bailey Bikes
@4LAP. Jason LOWETZ – Team Bearclaw
@4LAP. Luke WINGER – Lees Mcrae College/loon State
@4LAP. David THOMAS –
@4LAP. Robert JAMESON – Vo2 Sports
@4LAP. David MEYER – Freewheel
@4LAP. Jason SIEGLE – Bike Religion
@4LAP. John FREY – Team Squirt Lover
@4LAP. Benjamin KUBAS – Therapeutic Associates
@4LAP. Eric HIGHLANDER – Hrs/rock Lobster
@4LAP. Andrew BOONE –
@4LAP. Eric COLTON – Team Cicle
@4LAP. Ryan O’CONNOR – Carlos Obriens Racing
@4LAP. Weston SCHEMPF – C3-athletes Serving Athletes
@5LAP. David SHEEK – Rock N Road
@5LAP. Daniel LANGLOIS – Embracation Cycling Journal
@5LAP. Kat STATMAN – Pioneer Racing
@5LAP. Lawrence LEONARD –
@5LAP. Lane MILLER – Louisville Cyclery
@6LAP. Brandon GRITTERS – Rock N Road
@6LAP. Jonathan BAXLEY – Scenic City Velo Chattanooga/k
DNF. Shannon SKERRITT – The Vanilla Workshop-speedvage
DNF. Dean POSHARD – Rock Lobster
DNF. Chuck COYLE – Hudz-subaru Cycling Team
DNF. Frederick BOTTGER – Vitamix/sixtufit
DNF. Frank GONZALEZ – Montana Velo

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