Chris Sheppard won the Elite men's race with a dominant ride. ©Pat Malach

Chris Sheppard won the Elite men's race with a dominant ride. ©Pat Malach

by Pat Malach

Bend, Oregon – Bend residents Chris Sheppard (Rocky Mountain Bicycles/Shimano) and Serena Bishop Gordon played to their hometown crowds Saturday at Cross Crusade #5, taking the Elite men’s and women’s wins on the same course used for the 2009 and 2010 USA Cycling National Championships.

But unlike those national championship events, which were held in mid-December’s wet, cold conditions, Bend’s dry October weather turned the course into a hard-packed dust bowl that quickly coated riders and their machines with a fine layer of powdery grit.

Bend local Carl Decker rode to a strong second-place finish. ©Pat Malach

Bend local Carl Decker rode to a strong second-place finish. ©Pat Malach

Sheppard came out of the gates fast and with something to prove after last week’s relegation from first to third for improper number placement. But it took the Canadian National Champion about a lap to take the lead back from Corsa Concepts riders Shannon Skerritt and Aaron Tuckerman, the current series leader.

“Tuckerman put in some pretty good efforts,” Sheppard said. “But then he overshot a corner, so I took it and just hit every corner of that lap. I was really stoked for my legs today. I put in a really hard week since last Sunday to get ready for Canadian Nationals.”

Sheppard added to his lead in the early laps and then held his advantage as the chase behind began to sort itself out. Bend’s Carl Decker (Giant) rode his way into the second chase spot, followed by Tuckerman, then Adam Craig (Rabobank/Giant) and Donald Reeb ( The top five held their order throughout the 60-minute race, which shared the course with the A women and Men’s Masters 35+ A groups.

The leaders covered nine laps of the course in just over an hour, with Sheppard finishing 30 seconds ahead of Decker, followed by Tuckerman, Craig and Reeb. The men’s race will definitely see a different winner on Sunday, with Sheppard sitting out the day as he continues to prepare for Canadian nats.

Gordon Sails To Win Saturday

In the women’s A race, Bishop Gordon jumped to an early lead to win the hole shot and never looked back, powering to her second Crusade win of the season and adding to her lead in the overall series, where she has yet to finish outside of the top three.

Serena Bishop Gordon took the win in front of her hometown crowd Saturday. ©Pat Malach

“My goal was to just lead around the first corner,” Bishop Gordon said. “I just felt really good, and it’s great to race at home with my husband here cheering. It’s been a really good season, but this weekend I really wanted to win. Cross is always fun, but when you’re winning with a good advantage, it’s nice to see everything that you’ve been working on pay off.”

With Alice Pennington and Sue Butler racing at the Boulder Cup in Colorado, the chase for the leader was left to Brigette Brown (River City Bicycles/Ridley/NoTubes), Megan Chinburg (Corsa Concepts) and Heather Clark (Bend Memorial Clinic Total Care). But Bishop Gordon wouldn’t be denied the win on this day – even through all the dust.

“It was dusty, but you could see,” she said. “It was fine. Everyone has to race in the same dust and breathe the same stuff in. The course is getting ridden in really well. So as long as you picked the right ridden-in line, you could kind of track your tires and go through it.”

Bishop Gordon piled on the speed through the dust bowl and grassy sections, building a lead of 1:10 over Clark by the finish line. Brown crossed the line next 1:50 behind the winner. Chinburg finished fourth, more than two minutes down.

The Cross Crusade continues Sunday with the annual Halloween costume race on the same course, and Bishop Gordon said she’ll use the same strategy Sunday.

“Except I’m going to be wearing a costume,” she said. “I’d like to win tomorrow. That would put me in a pretty good spot for the series.”

Elite Men’s Results:

PlFirst NameLast NameTeam
3AaronTuckermanCorsa Concepts Cycling Team
7MichaelGallagherCorsa Concepts Cycling Team
8DamianSchmittSilverado Gallery/Sunnyside
10KevinHulickGentle Lovers
11RossBrodyBuy Local Cycling
12MattRussellBend Memorial Clinic Total Care Racing Team
13SethPatlaGates Belt-Drive / River City Bicycles
14EricSheagleyVeloce Racing
18MattFoxSilverado Gallery/Sunnyside
19ScottGrayTeam Oregon presented by Laurelwood Brewing
20RyanWeaverGates Belt-Drive / River City Bicycles
22JamesWilliamsSunnyside Sports
23LelandGilmoreRiver City Bicycles
24MatthewWillsEmbrocation Cycling
25AndrewBooneTeam Oregon presented by Laurelwood Brewing
26AlexCrissGates Belt-Drive / River City Bicycles
27ScottBradwayTeam S+M
28TimJoslinCyclepath Racing
32JoshuaLiberlesCorsa Concepts Cycling Team
36KevinAndrewsRebound/Tireless Velo
37GabrielLinnTrusty Switchblade
38MattMahoneyGentle Lovers
39JeffBallantinePortland Velo
40NatJohnsonGreen Submarine Records
44ChipSloanGrŸndelbrŸisers/Stewie Bicycles
45RyanMillerPacific Power Blue Sky
46ChadSwansonTeam S+M
47JonathanMyersTeam S+M
48SteveO'NeillCyclepath Racing
49KennethReedGreen Submarine Records
50StephenBedfordTeam Oregon presented by Laurelwood Brewing
51JustinDeMallieFilth and Fury
52DavidMessenheimerGreen Submarine Records
53ToddDyePacific Power Blue Sky
54BrianSchultzGrŸndelbrŸisers/Stewie Bicycles
55MikeKathTherapeutic Associates Cycling/Sagebrush Cycles
56RossBowdenHPChiro/Alpine Mortgage Planning
58LarryEhmkeGrŸndelbrŸisers/Stewie Bicycles
59BrianGerowCorsa Concepts Cycling Team
60alexwentzTeam Oregon presented by Laurelwood Brewing
61RyanKingIRA Ryan Cycles
63RyanGarnerTensegrity PT Cycling
65MattClinePortobello Bicycle Racing
DNFPatrickJacksonBuy Local Cycling
DNFShannonSkerrittCorsa Concepts Cycling Team
DNFCaryMillerGentle Lovers
DNFBrigBrandtSilverado Gallery/Sunnyside
DNFMollyCameronMetaFilter - Portland Bicycle Studio
DNFjohnwalrodGates Belt-Drive / River City Bicycles
DNFMichaelBennoVeloce Racing
DNFIraRyanIRA Ryan Cycles

Elite Women’s Results:

PlFirst NameLast NameTeam
1SerenaBishop GordonSilverado Gallery/Sunnyside
2HeatherClarkBend Memorial Clinic Total Care Racing Team
4MeganChinburgCorsa Concepts Cycling Team
5TinaBrubakerGentle Lovers
6Beth AnnOrtonTeam S+M
7BrennaLopez-OteroBend Memorial Clinic Total Care Racing Team
9TaylorShekellTeam Beer
10ErinPlaymanTeam S+M
11KimMathesonTeam S+M
12SusanGrandjeanShowers Pass
13RachelBagleyIRA Ryan Cycles
14AlexandraBurtonUpper Echelon Fitness Women's Cycling
15JadeKoideTeam Beer
18LanaMacNaughtonUpper Echelon Fitness
20MeaganMastenUpper Echelon Fitness Women's Cycling
23AmyCampbellRiver City Bicycles
24AudreyBrownTeam S+M
25hannahmooreGreen Submarine Records
27nissyCobbTempo Cycling and Pilates Studio
28HilaryBillingtonHalf Fast Velo
29AbraMcNairShowers Pass
31MarylynnKingIronclad Performance Wear
33ErinGoodallHammer Velo
34StephanieChaseUpper Echelon Fitness Women's Cycling

Photo Gallery – Pat Malach