Craig rides the "unrideable" line. © Cyclocross Magazine

Craig rides the “unrideable” line. © Cyclocross Magazine

BEND, OREGON – Home of Nationals in 2009 and 2010, home of the Halloween weekend Cross Crusade, home of the USGP, and perhaps most important, home of the Deschutes Brewery, Bend is the destination for bike racers. As Danny Summerhill told us, “It’s one of my favorite places for riding, hands down.” So it was no surprise to see a huge turnout for the USGP this weekend, though notably absent from the start were series’ leaders Katie Compton and Jeremy Powers. Compton elected to spend the week racing in Europe, and Powers, recently back from racing Roubaix, elected to take a weekend off the bike.

Elite Women
While OBRA had full control of the morning’s races, it was USAC and the UCI who took control for the main races of the day. Temperatures dropped suddenly in Bend as the afternoon waned, and the women took to the start at 2:15, led out by the Luna riders, Katerina Nash and Georgia Gould. While the two quickly took charge of the race, establishing a blistering pace, Nicole Duke (Alchemy) showed that Bend is in fact a course suited for her, and despite her team and health issues during the season, she managed to attach herself to the two Luna women, though couldn’t quite snag their wheels. Behind her was a group of three, featuring Crystal Anthony (CyclocrossWorld), Elle Anderson (Ladies First Racing) and Caroline Mani (Raleigh-Clement). With one sub-eight minute lap under their belts, the women were strung out over the greasy course.

The women hit turn number 1 en masse. © Cyclocross Magazine

The women hit turn number 1 en masse. © Cyclocross Magazine

A lap later, the Luna riders were still ahead of the pack by ten seconds, and Mani had bridged to Duke, passing her and developing a small gap. Behind them, a larger chase group was coming together, including Cannondale-CyclocrossWorld’s Kaitie Antonneau, Anthony, and Anderson. Within another half lap, the gap to the top two had widened, and Mani opened a large gap on Duke, who was caught by a bridging Antonneau. Behind them, Anthony gave chase along with Anderson, Mical Dyck (Stan’s NoTubes) and a freshly recovered Meredith Miller (Cal Giant), who had a forced two month break after a broken hand at Providence took her out.

At 22 minutes with three laps to go and riders spread across the course, it seemed that for all of the racers, it would be a long day on course. Nash appeared to be trying to gap her teammate, but Gould valiantly chased as the race wound down. Mani’s gap became more and more pronounced, though Duke and Antonneau kept their chasers at bay as well. While the top three remained the same, Duke dropped back, falling into the growing chase group of A. Miller, M. Miller, Krasniak and Dyck, while Antonneau powered away.

Nash grew her gap and took the win in a dominant fashion, her first USGP victory of the season, followed by Gould. Mani slotted in handily for third, with Antonneau in fourth and Amanda Miller (Optum), Anderson, Dyck and Stetson-Lee, fifth through seventh, respectively.

Post-race, we caught up with Nash, she told us, “It was good. I like the course, I like the new features. It was a kind of a busy course, it kept you going.”

When we talked to Gould, she was proud of her fast and dominant start, saying: “I haven’t had a front row start this year yet! It was no dicking around — it’s a race, I wanted to win!”

Talking about racing with teammate Nash, Gould said, “It’s nice to sit behind someone, and after a couple of laps, I could see that we were messing around and Mani was catching up a little bit, so I went to the front and started drilling it a little bit. I maybe should have saved a little bit because after that, Katerina went. So maybe that was a little ill-timed. But I rode well. When I wasn’t messing up, I was riding well.”

“My focus is always to win the race,” Nash also explained, and added that her decision to break from Gould happened, “As the laps started to go, I saw there were two of us and wanted to get a little gap.” The Czech champion will finish racing in the US tomorrow, then return to Europe for Christmas week, but be back in the US for training and racing in January in preparation for Worlds.

Elite Men
A relaxed Danny Summerhill took the hileshot, followed by Rapha-Focus’s Zach McDonald and Cannondale-CyclocrossWorld’s Tim Johnson. It wasn’t long before Johnson’s teammate Ryan Trebon seized control of the race, though Summerhill remained close on his wheel as they hit the first ride/run-up. A bobble by Johnson saw him and McDonald falls mere seconds behind, and the rest of the field became jammed as racers alternatively rode and stalled at the top of the greasy hill.

A lap and a half in saw the group still together, albeit strung out, with Summerhill in the lead and Trebon and Johnson directly on his wheel, followed by a determined Yannick Eckman (Cal-Giant) and McDonald. Adam Craig’s (Rabobank) ability to ride virtually any line allowed him to make up time on his competitors, as he passed three riders on a hill taking a line that was “impossible to ride,” according to spectators even after they watched the gregarious Craig make the pass.

Summerhill leads in a tricky technical section. © Cyclocross Magazine

Summerhill leads in a tricky technical section. © Cyclocross Magazine

A lap later, the top four remained Summerhill, Johnson and Trebon, with Craig, Ben Berden (Raleigh-Clement) and Jamey Driscoll (Cannondale-CyclocrossWorld) chasing. The race was far from over at only 20 minutes in, and the field was strung out but groups were separated by mere seconds.

A lap later saw the same groups with McDonald closing hard on the three chasers. Behind him, Krughoff (Raleigh-Clement), Justin Lindine (Redline) and Geoff Kabush (Scott) struggled to catch on to the main chase group.

Halfway in, Summerhill had a crash immediately before the pavement, and Trebon attacked while Johnson and Eckmann chased. Summerhill was caught by Driscoll, and settled into a position ahead of Craig.

Trebon and Johnson began working together in earnest to drop the U23 rider, while Summerhill worked furiously to catch back on, towing his group along with him.

With 20 minutes to go, Johnson and Trebon established their gap as Eckmann dropped back, leaving crowds to wonder which Cannondale-CyclocrossWorld racer would take the top podium step. Summerhill was leading the chase and successfully closing the gap to Eckmann, while Todd Wells, who’d started in the fourth row, slowly made his way into the top ten, riding smoothly through the crowd and closing on the group of Krughoff, Lindine and Kabush.

Trebon and Johnson hit the last lap together, and Craig made his attack in the chase group, shooting 200 feet off of the group and powering hard.  He gapped them by seconds, with Summerhill and McDonald on his heels.

Trebon took the sprint, followed by Johnson. Craig snagged third, followed by Summerhill and McDonald.

“It became really clear that we’d be going for the win … I tried to get Ryan to make a mistake in the woods, but he was riding really well,” Johnson later said. “We were shuffling around and I couldn’t figure out where I was riding better than him.”

And Trebon agreed, knowing that the separation from the pack (“Everyone can go hard for 20 minutes!”) was only half of the battle for the win. “With three or four to go I was trying to get a little bit of separation but Tim is really tough — he’s hard to get rid of during a race!”

But Trebon was thrilled to win in his hometown, saying, “We get the most rambunctious and rowdy crowds here all season. It was a great race today.”

Perhaps most surprising was Craig’s third place podium — most surprising to Craig himself, who explained, “With all due respect, I’m in a tough spot. I kind of thought that my fitness would fall off eventually so I wouldn’t have to worry about going to Worlds. But I thought if I got on the podium here, I’d keep it rolling.”

As for tomorrow’s race, Craig merely said, “I hope there will be some more sweet jumps.”

Elite Women’s Results:

1NASH KaterinaLuna Pro TeamCZE46:176
2GOULD GeorgiaLuna Pro TeamUSA46:306
3MANI CarolineRaleigh ClementFRA47:196
4ANTONNEAU KaitlinExergy Twenty 12USA47:526
5MILLER AmandaOptum p/b Kelly Benefit StrategUSA47:566
6ANDERSON ElleLadiesFirst RacingUSA48:046
7DYCK MicalStan's NoTubesCAN48:066
8STETSON-LEE TealLuna Pro TeamUSA48:066
9MILLER Meredithcalifornia Giant Berry FarmsUSA48:146
10DUKE NicoleAlchemyUSA48:186
11KRASNIAK Julierapha-FOCUSFRA48:306
12HARLTON PepperJuventus Cycling ClubCAN48:326
13CAREY AmandaVolkswagen BoiseUSA48:336
15WILCOXSON JadeOptum p/b Kelly Benefit StrategUSA48:456
16SIMMS WendyKONACAN48:526
17GORDON SerenaSilverado p/b Sunnyside SportsUSA49:516
18MCFADDEN CourtenayPeterson Racing p/b SpokesowomeUSA49:596
19SMITH AndreaLadiesFirst RacingUSA50:066
20BLATT RebeccaVan DesselUSA50:126
21PENNINGTON AliceKonaUSA50:166
22GAERTNER JenniMotofish RacingUSA51:046
23MCLAUGHLIN JayneZuster CyclingGBR51:436
24CUTLER p/b Blue CUSA51:486
25ORTON Beth AnnTeam S&MUSA51:526
26DONG EvelynWhite Pine TouringUSA52:306
27BRUBAKER TinaSpeedvagen Racing MachinesUSA52:586
28GUYNUP JoeleCondo GroupUSA53:086
29MELENA Katie JBicycle Bluebook/HRS/Rock LobstUSA54:016
30KONCZ NatalieZuster CyclingUSA54:086
31GIBSON ShannonStan's NoTubes Elite CyclocrossUSA@2Lap4
32KOENIG ShantelredbikeCAN@2Lap4
33REPULSKI JanaBroken Spoke CyclingUSA@2Lap4
34BURTON AlexandraUpper Echelon FitnessUSA@2Lap4
35FLETCHER SaraWest Coast Women's Cycling p/bUSA@2Lap4
DNFSHERRILL EllenBicycle Bluebook/HRS/Rock LobstUSA

Elite Men’s Results:

11TREBON RyanCannondale/ClementUSA1:01:21
22JOHNSON TimothyVolkswagen/peopleforbikes/CannoUSA1:01:22
39CRAIG AdamGiant Rabobank TeamUSA1:02:15
47SUMMERHILL DanielUCI CT: Chipotle Development TeUSA1:02:19
55MCDONALD ZachRapha-FOCUSUSA1:02:22
614ECKMANN YannickCalifornia Giant/SpecializedGER1:02:22
73DRISCOLL JamesUCI CT: Jamis/Sutter HomeUSA1:02:23
84BERDEN BenRaleigh ClementBEL1:02:37
929WELLS ToddSpecialized Factory RacingUSA1:02:57
108LINDINE JustinRedlineUSA1:02:57
1215SCHOUTEN TristanOptum p/b Kelly Benefit StrategUSA1:03:22
1310KABUSH GeoffScott-3Rox RacingCAN1:04:02
1412MATTER BrianRACC pb GGUSA1:04:16
1528PAXSON SpencerKona Factory TeamUSA1:04:19
1626CANDELARIO AlexanderOptum p/b Kelly Benefit StrategUSA1:04:26
1733BABCOCK SeanKonaUSA1:04:26
1816KAISER CodyCalifornia Giant Berry Farms/SpUSA1:04:58
1919HOKE MitchellTeam Clif BarUSA1:05:14
2024WICKS BarryKonaUSA1:05:15
2117WELLS TroyTeam CLIF BARUSA1:05:15
2227SHRIVER MattUSA1:05:18
2325JACKSON ChrisCastex Racing p/b FeltUSA1:05:28
2437WELLS JakeNoTubes Elite CyclocrossUSA1:05:30
2534NOILES Kevincyclocrossracing.comCAN1:05:37
2621SCHOOLER AaronNORCO BICYCLES - SRI ImportingCAN1:05:41
2723ORTENBLAD Tobincalifornia Giant Berry FarmsUSA1:05:42
2813RICHEY p/b RidleyCAN1:05:46
2935WODTLI BrennanUSA1:05:53
3053GODBY ZaneClif Bar junior developmentUSA1:06:11
3136KAPPIUS BradenClif Bar Development Cross TeamUSA1:06:18
3220SHERER MikeOptum p/b Kelly Benefit StrategUSA1:06:22
3322MCCONNELL MarkSynergy RacingCAN1:06:28
3441TONKIN ErikKona/Team S&MUSA1:06:36
3531BRADFORD-PARISH KevinCyclocrossracing.comUSA1:06:48
3638THOMPSON EricPlan C p/b Challenge TiresUSA1:06:51
3730VAN DEN HAM MichaelCycle-SmartCAN1:06:53
3865DALLE ANGELINI GiancarloDon Walker CyclesUSA1:06:54
3962SNEDDON KrisKonaCAN1:07:46
4049MEANS PatrickTeam S&MUSA-2 LAPS
4151BRANDT ChrisHoney Stinger/BontragerUSA-2 LAPS
4270BRADFORD AaronBicycle Bluebook/HRS/Rock LobstUSA-2 LAPS
4347LACAVA PaulGiant BicyclesUSA-2 LAPS
4466SCHMITT DamianSilverado Gallery/Sunnyside SpoUSA-2 LAPS
4552KELLEY JoshBailey Bikes SPYUSA-2 LAPS
4663GROVE PhilHammer NutritionUSA-2 LAPS
4732SONNTAG BenjaminGER-2 LAPS
4960WORK AlexBicycle Bluebook/HRS/Rock LobstUSA-2 LAPS
5039CROSS Brandoncole sportUSA-2 LAPS
5172SELANDER BjornPlan C p/b Challenge TiresUSA-2 LAPS
5269CHAPIN ScottBicycle Bluebook/HRS/Rock LobstUSA-3 LAPS
5358FOX BjornClif Bar Development Cross TeamUSA-3 LAPS
5457PREBLE KolbyCLIF BAR Development CyclocrossUSA-3 LAPS
5564WILLIAMS JamesAdventures EdgeUSA-4 LAPS
5661HAMILTON ErikTokyo Joes/Whole FoodsUSA-4 LAPS
5750LEADER SeanCycleWorksUSA-4 LAPS
5840BROWN NathanSuperfly CyclesUSA-5 LAPS
5956GORMAN BrentVolkswagen BoiseUSA-5 LAPS
6054REEB p/b BlueUSA-5 LAPS
6268JOHNSON KendalCalifornia PolytechnicUSA-5 LAPS
6359MACKENZIE DrewCondo Group/Shimano/MarinCAN-5 LAPS
DNF11MILNE ShawnCyclocrossWorld.ComUSA
DNF44ADAMSON ShaunVelocity Cycling ClubCAN
DNF67SHEPPARD ChrisRocky Mountain BicyclesCAN