Aaron Tuckerman hoists his bike at the finish line after wining Cross Crusade #7 Sunday. ©Pat Malach

Aaron Tuckerman hoists his bike after wining Cross Crusade #7 Sunday. ©Pat Malach

by Pat Malach

Barton, Oregon – French mountain bike pro Julie Krasniak (Rapha/Focus) got a rough introduction to the Cross Crusades Sunday at Barton Park but recovered quickly and left the Elite women’s field behind to take race #7 of the eight-race series.

In the Elite men’s event, series leader Aaron Tuckerman (Corsa Concepts), who was almost unable to speak after a week of sickness, took the lead after one lap and drilled it to the line for the win ahead of series runner-up Donald Reeb ( and last Sunday’s race#6 winner Carl Decker (Giant).

The course at the Clackamas County maintenance yard next to Barton Park is a notoriously rocky road that turns into a slidefest when there’s mud. Rain in the preceding days buoyed hopes that the 2011 Crusade would finally see a truly muddy day of racing, but Sunday opened up to a beautiful fall Oregon blue-sky day. That left hard-packed Barton fast and faster.

Skerritt, Reeb, Cameron and Decker chase Tuckerman. ©Pat Malach

Skerritt, Reeb, Cameron and Decker chase Tuckerman. ©Pat Malach

Tuckerman and Reeb grabbed the early advantage in the men’s race before Reeb dropped back to a chasing group of Decker, Molly Cameron (MetaFiler/Portland Bicycle Studio) and Shannon Skerritt (Corsa Concepts). With Tuckerman dangling dangerously close to his pursuers, Reeb sat in on the Decker-powered chase until he was able to launch another attack with about two to go, pulling away from the others again and setting off after the series leader. From there, the series’ top two riders dueled to the finish line, where Reeb drew within five seconds of Tuckerman but lacked that last little bit to close down the gap. Tuckerman tried to ride the final hill before the finish and broke his chain in the process, forcing him to run his bike across the line for his fourth win the and securing the series overall along the way.

“I’ve got the series,” Tuckerman said. “I did some math yesterday, and all I had to do was just get points in one of the next two races. So I win definitely. It’s only my second try, so I’m pretty happy with that.”

The former road pro from New Zealand, who took up cyclocross just last year, said he had been sick all week long and wasn’t sure how his body would react once the race started.

“It’s a bit of surprise,” he said. “I had two days off work this week. I think I rode about two hours this week on two different days. I’ve just been sick. But it went ok.”

Decker won the race behind for the final podium spot, with Cameron grabbing fourth and Skerritt crossing the line fifth.

With four wins so far in a series that counts the best six out of eight races, Tuckerman appears to have built an insurmountable lead. Reeb’s second-place finish pushes him a little farther ahead of Cameron, Skerritt and Decker in the fight for the remaining podium spots.

Krasniak Crashes Pennington’s Party

Krasniak proved to be a ringer in the Elite women’s race. The French national, who signed with Rapha/Focus for cyclocross earlier this year and who finished fifth ahead of Portland’s Sue Butler (River City Bicycles/Ridley) and Alice Pennington (Upper Echelon Fitness) last weekend at the Boulder Cup in Colorado, was forced to start at the back of the field because call-ups are established on series points.

Julie Krasniak took the women's win with a powerful ride. ©Pat Malach

Julie Krasniak took the women's win with a powerful ride. ©Pat Malach

“I tried to get to the front,” she said. “But they said ‘no, no.’”

Although Krasniak was left in the back for the start, her presence in the field had the others talking.

“I only heard about her being here a couple of minutes before the race,” Pennington said. “So I thought, ‘Uh oh, this will mix it up a bit.’”

Things got mixed up quickly as Pennington and Bishop Gordon shot off the front and started dueling each other over the super-fast course that required constant pedaling and offered little recovery. Back in the bunch, Krasniak was working her way through traffic but was taken down by a rider who clipped her side and knocked off her chain.

“On the back, in a corner, a girl caught the cable,” Krasniak said, pointing to her rear derailleur. “And I had to stop to fix it. It was like it didn’t want to work, but finally I fixed it.”

With the mechanical in hand and the bike ready to race, Krasniak once again powered her way toward the front of the field, catching small groups, resting and then sailing past, using her mountain bike skills to navigate through traffic from her own field and from the men’s races that were on the course at the same time. She made contact with Pennington and Bishop Gordon about halfway through the 60-minute race and then pushed past, taking Pennington with her.

Alice Pennington couldn't hang with Krasniak. ©Pat Malach

Alice Pennington couldn't hang with Krasniak. ©Pat Malach

“I was glad she caught up,” Pennington said. “I sat on her wheel, and that was the only way I could get away from Serena. I tried to stay with her as long as I could. But she had a little more than I did on the straightaways.”

Krasniak hammered through the rest of the race, piling up a 27-second lead over second-placed Pennington by the finish. Bishop Gordon clung to third, coming in exactly one minute after Pennington. Heather Clark (Bend Memorial Clinic Total Care) and Beth Orton (Team S&M Les Femmes) rounded out the top five.

The winner said her last-minute appearance at the race came down to finding a fun place to train for her national and international schedule.

“I wanted a cool race this weekend because I have a big race every weekend,” she said. “And sometimes I need this.”

In the series overall competition, Bishop Gordon added to her lead over Clark, while Pennington’s latest result should move her onto the podium.

Race Notes:
Next week’s season finale heads back to Portland and the Infield Paddock course of PIR, which has been been used for the USGP for the past five years. The Crusade has used three former U.S. nationals courses this year: PIR Heron Lakes in 2003, PIR Infield Paddock course in 2004, and the 2009-2010 course in Bend.

More than 100 juniors came out in the men’s and women’s fields as part of the Oregon High School and Junior Cyclocross Series. Sam Rosenberg (Hutch’s-Eugene) beat Bend Endurance Academy’s Dawson Stallings and Cameron Beard in the 73-rider Junior men’s race. In the 27-rider Junior women’s race, sisters Susannah and Sharon Hart of Camas Bike and Sport took first and second, respectively, followed by Mountain View Cycles’ Taylor Tyynismaa.

Photos – Pat Malach/

2011 Cross Crusade 7 Men Results

PlaceFirst NameLast NameTeamLapsTime
1AaronTuckermanCorsa Concepts Cycling Team857:04.00
4ShannonSkerrittCorsa Concepts Cycling Team857:35.00
5MollyCameronMetaFilter - Portland Bicycle Studio858:03.00
6LelandGilmoreRiver City Bicycles858:29.00
7PatrickMeansTeam S+M858:32.00
9RossBrodyBuy Local Cycling858:35.00
11MattRussellBend Memorial Clinic Total Care Racing Team859:35.00
12KolbenPrebleHammer Nutrition/CMG Racing Team859:36.00
13SethPatlaGates Belt-Drive / River City Bicycles859:37.00
14RyanWeaverGates Belt-Drive / River City Bicycles801:00:07.00
15DamianSchmittSilverado Gallery/Sunnyside 801:00:28.00
16CaryMillerGentle Lovers801:00:46.00
18JoshuaLiberlesCorsa Concepts Cycling Team801:01:02.00
19ScottBradwayTeam S+M801:01:04.00
20AlexCrissGates Belt-Drive / River City Bicycles801:01:09.00
21JamesWilliamsSunnyside Sports801:01:09.00
22TimJoslinCyclepath Racing801:01:16.00
23PatrickJacksonBuy Local Cycling801:01:36.00
26JustinDeMallieFilth and Fury801:02:11.00
27MattMahoneyGentle Lovers801:02:13.00
28JeffBallantinePortland Velo801:02:14.00
29ColeSpragueBend Memorial Clinic Total Care Racing Team801:02:15.00
31SpencerBushnellTherapeutic Associates Cycling/Sagebrush Cycles801:02:32.00
32JonathanSmithTeam S+M801:02:42.00
34JonathanMyersTeam S+M801:02:49.00
35RyanKingIRA Ryan Cycles801:02:52.00
36ChipSloanGründelbrüisers/Stewie Bicycles801:02:56.00
38KevinAndrewsRebound/Tireless Velo801:03:15.00
39JoelMadroneEmbrocation Cycling801:03:26.00
40PeteRubijonoEmbrocation Cycling801:03:30.00
42RyanGarnerTensegrity PT Cycling801:03:45.00
43matthallIRA Ryan Cycles801:03:47.00
45SpencerMoersfelderRiver City Bicycles801:03:53.00
46ClintCulpepperEmbrocation Cycling801:04:40.00
47BrianGerowCorsa Concepts Cycling Team801:05:08.00
48SteveO'NeillCyclepath Racing756:58.00
49GabrielLinnTrusty Switchblade756:59.00
50JohnWalrodGates Belt-Drive / River City Bicycles757:22.00
51MattClinePortobello Bicycle Racing758:15.00
52JimAndersonTeam Oregon presented by Laurelwood Brewing759:15.00
54AustinCrenshawStaccato Gelato701:00:17.00
55IraRyanIRA Ryan Cycles701:00:21.00
DNFMatthewWillsEmbrocation Cycling358:33.00

2011 Cross Crusade 7 Women Results

PlaceFirst NameLast NameTeamLapsTime
2AlicePenningtonUpper Echelon Fitness701:00:19.00
3SerenaBishop GordonSilverado Gallery/Sunnyside 701:01:19.00
4HeatherClarkBend Memorial Clinic Total Care Racing Team701:01:46.00
5Beth AnnOrtonTeam S+M701:01:56.00
7ErinPlaymanTeam S+M701:02:43.00
8TinaBrubakerGentle Lovers701:03:19.00
9MeganChinburgCorsa Concepts Cycling Team701:03:28.00
10AbraMcNairShowers Pass701:03:56.00
11JillHardimanTeam S+M701:04:16.00
14ChristyLoveTeam S+M701:04:44.00
15SusanPeithmanUpper Echelon Fitness701:04:51.00
16KimMathesonTeam S+M701:04:58.00
17SusanGrandjeanShowers Pass701:05:05.00
18AlexandraBurtonUpper Echelon Fitness Women's Cycling701:05:14.00
22RachelBagleyIRA Ryan Cycles657:23.00
23JadeKoideTeam Beer657:28.00
24MeaganMastenUpper Echelon Fitness659:02.00
DNFTaylorShekellTeam Beer4