Page in the Trees. Photo by Andrew Yee

Page flying through the trees. by Andrew Yee

The 2009 edition of the Rad Racing GP in Lakewood, Washington, came down to a sprint finish between the duo of Jonathan Page (Planet Bike) and Christian Heule (Rendementhypo Cycling Team), with the former outpacing the latter in dominating fashion. Page and Heule emerged from a strong leading group that included the likes of Ryan Trebon (Kona), Barry Wicks (Kona), Jeremy Powers (Cannondale/Cyclocrossworld), Jamey Driscoll (Cannondale/Cyclocrossworld) and Andy Jacques-Maynes (Bissel Pro Cycling). Driscoll chased the majority of the race, and got tantalizingly close to capturing Page and Heule, but could not close them down, finishing in third.

The main storyline coming into day’s activity was the health status of former National Champion Tim Johnson, who crashed in the final lap of Star Crossed, possibly separating his right shoulder. Despite riding early warm-up laps and saying his “shoulder will be fine,” Johnson elected to not start, leaving Powers and Driscoll a man short.

Jeremy Powers got the early holeshot, hitting the barriers at the front, but by the time the men hit the famous 80-meter-long run-up, Trebon hit the front and forced the pace. The tall Kona rider is a strong runner and was intent on dropping his main competition.

Video of the men at the first barrier section:

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Several top riders had mishaps. Jeremy Powers fell victim to an early puncture, and confusion in the pits resulted in him twice leaving with the wrong bike. Powers would lose almost thirty seconds to the slow bike change and would eventually fade to finish 23rd. Jesse Anthony (Jamis) was another victim of early race issues, as he tripped on the first barrier in a double set at full speed. Anthony took a while to remount his bike and would never regain the lead. And early aggressor Trebon, despite his eagerness, was suffering. The Kona rider suffered a hard crash early in the Star Crossed race, and back pain and a world-beating run-up would see him retire as well.

Up front, Page and Heule proved to be the strongest of the leaders, and quickly forced a gap between themselves and the rest of the chasers. Fearing they were missing the boat, Jamey Driscoll and Andy Jacques-Maynes also attacked in an attempt to bridge up to Page and Heule. Driscoll was the stronger of the two, and eventually closed in to within about five seconds of Page and Heule but never did close the gap and ended up finishing third, while Jacques-Maynes held off a charging Chris Jones (Champion System), who had caught the chasing group and attacked through them, taking fourth place.

Page and Heule continued to extend their lead, and within two laps to go, the leading duo was set for a final, two-up grudge match. Page and Huele continued to trade the lead until Huele took the first initiative, attacking with only meters to the final finishing straight. Page was unfazed, however, sticking to Heule’s wheel and setting up his sprint with the tactical advantage. As they hit the final straight, Page launched his sprint. Realizing he was defeated, Huele settled for second place, but maintained his lead in the NACT standings.

Driscoll crossed the line for third, followed shortly by Andy Jacques-Maynes. Chris Jones rounded out the top five. Joachim Parbo (Ccv Leopard Cycles) rebounded from the previous day to finish in sixth place. Seventh place went to Russel Stevenson, followed by Chris Sheppard. Barry Wicks fell out of the leading group early on to finish ninth, while Ryan Iddings outsprinted Tyler Trace to finish off the top ten.

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