Page on the heels of Powers before flatting. © Cyclocross Magazine

Page on the heels of Powers before flatting. © Cyclocross Magazine

Although the words “untimely flat” are tossed around often, in Page’s case, it was absolutely true. Coming right out from the pit area on his spare bike, Page hit a rock and pinch flatted his tubular, obviously far away from the next time he could reenter the pits. He put in a solid ride on a flat tire, keeping Powers in sight, but it was all the daylight the defending National Champion needed. With Page nursing a flat tubular and cornering slowly, Powers was able to make small gains around every corner and distance himself.

After Page got his pit bike, fans couldn’t help but wonder if he had time to catch back up, or whether a surging Zach McDonald would close the gap.

When we asked Page whether or not the early flat affected his race, he told us that the flat was his race. After changing bikes once again, Page wanted to get back to the front as soon as possible. “I didn’t pace myself,” he admitted. “I tried closing almost directly and save as much as I could on his wheel, but I could never get close enough. Then we just rode around at the same speed.”

As the laps counted down, Powers was slowly pulling away, and it looked like a race for second. Page fought hard to hold off McDonald, who was able to keep his distance from group that included Timmerman, Summerhill, Driscoll, Hyde, Werner and Trebon. To his credit, McDonald was not only suffering at a high level to maintain his position, but he was also taking aggressive lines to keep himself within striking distance of Page. This unfortunately also led to a few bobbles throughout the course, including a minor crash right before the Bonk Breaker run-up.