Aaron Tuckerman takes his fifth win (and the overall series) of the eight-race Cross Crusade Sunday. ©Pat Malach

Aaron Tuckerman takes his fifth win (and the overall series) of the eight-race Cross Crusade Sunday. ©Pat Malach

by Pat Malach

PORTLAND, OREGON – Aaron Tuckerman (Corsa Concepts) and Serena Bishop Gordon (Silverado Gallery/Sunnyside) capped their 2011 Cross Crusade series overall wins by adding another individual victory during the finalè Sunday on the Infield Paddock course at Portland International Raceway.

More rain during the week raised hopes for the mudfest that’s been missing from this season’s Crusade, but Portland’s precipitation dried up by Sunday and the former USGP and national championships course quickly followed suit. Mud made appearances in the open grass fields and in lows spots throughout the wooded section, and of course, in the infamous motocross section, which got pretty sloppy. It was the one section of the course that just about everyone ran through most of the time. Deep ruts formed in the sloggiest sections of the course, and more powerful riders were able to push through the thick peanut butter muck.

Tuckerman Takes the Win and Overall Title

Shannon Skerritt got the early advantage but was slowed by cramps. ©Pat Malach

Shannon Skerritt got the early advantage but was slowed by cramps. ©Pat Malach

Shannon Skerritt (Corsa Concepts) won the holeshot and took the initial lead in the men’s Category A race after Donald Reeb ( crashed early in the first lap and slowed the rest of the field behind. Skerritt, winner of multiple Cross Crusade overall crowns and a former Masters National Champion, built a 20 second gap by the end of lap one and looked very strong until he started cramping and began to fade. In the chase behind, Skerritt’s teammate Tuckerman was latched onto the wheel of hard-charging Molly Cameron (MetaFilter-Portland Bicycle Studio) as the pair quickly closed on the leader.

With his teammate dropping back quickly, Tuckerman attacked Cameron and was able to gain the gap he would need to take his fifth and final win of the eight-race series, putting an exclamation point on his 2011 Cross Crusade overall win.

“Shannon was away, and I was content to sit behind Molly,” Tuckerman said. “I’m Shannon’s teammate, so I was happy to sit and wait. Then Shannon had some issues and we got close, so I went.”

The fight behind for the final podium spots came down Cameron trying to hold off a recovered Skerritt, who as able to pull back the ground he lost to Cameron and then attack in the closing laps, building a 16 second advantage by the finish. Reeb, second overall coming into the race, put in another consistent performance with a fourth-place finish, 59 seconds behind Tuckerman. Seth Patla (Gates Belt Drive-River City Bicycles) finished fifth, 1:06 off the winning mark.

Tuckerman said the course suited his strengths, and the mud that did show up didn’t present any particular problems for the longtime roadie who only recently picked up cyclocross.

“Certain people would say I’m not a very good technical rider,” he said after the race. “And I beat most of those people today. The rutted sections were good for me because it took a lot of power to get through there. You could just lay down a lot of power, pick a line and stick it.”

With five individual Cross Crusade wins and the 2011 overall crown added to his palmares, Tuckerman showed interest in testing the waters on the national scene if he could make it work.

“It all depends on money,” he said. “I’ll do the USGP in Bend, depending on health. I’ll be starting in the last row because I have no UCI points, so it will be kind of a crap shoot. Maybe I’ll go alright, maybe I don’t. But next year, it’s really all about money; trying to get time off work and then to actually go places. So, we’ll see.”

Bishop Gordon Wins Fifth Race on the Way to the Overall Crown

Bishop Gordon came into the final race of the series with the overall well in hand, having already piled up four wins toward the competition’s best-six-of-eight scoring system. But the opportunity to end the series on a four-race win streak had the Bend rider properly motivated for the day.

Serena Bishop Gordon stamped her authority on the 2011 Crusade with another win. ©Pat Malach

Serena Bishop Gordon stamped her authority on the 2011 Crusade with another win. ©Pat Malach

River City Bicycles’ Brigette Brown laid down the challenge on the first lap with a burst from the gate that gave her the holeshot and a place at the front for the entire first lap. But her lead wouldn’t last long as Bishop Gordon joined Jill Hardiman (Team S&M les Femmes ), Brooke McDermid (, Megan Chinburg (Corsa Concepts), Heather Clark (Bend Memorial Clinic), Susan Grandjean (Showers Pass) in hot Pursuit. Also in the mix was Laura Trace, a 45-year-old rider racing with the Elites for the first time after winning the Masters race. But it was Bishop Gordon and Chinburg who eventually emerged at the front of the chase to catch and pass the leader.

“I got kind of a slow start and chased Brigette around for a lap,” Bishop Gordon said later. “On the second lap I knew I needed to do something, so I put it into gear and put my head down.”

With her mind set on victory, Bishop Gordon accelerated into her familiar place at the front of the women’s Cross Crusade and began weaving her way through slower traffic from the men’s A and Masters field on the course at the same time.

“I felt really good on the back section in the hills where the roots were,” she said. “And the mud was good for me.”

Heather Clark finished second Sunday to secure second overall. ©Pat Malach

Heather Clark finished second Sunday to secure second overall. ©Pat Malach

Just as in the men’s race, the battle of the day came down to the remaining podium spots, with Chinburg charging after Bishop Gordon while Clark caught and passed Brown in pursuit of second. Clark, the series runner-up, whittled away at Chinburg’s lead until she finally made contact in the closing laps. The pair dueled briefly until Clark pulled away and took her third second-place finish of the series, coming in 44 second behind the winner. Chinburg crossed the line another 14 seconds down for third, while Trace pulled off the ride of her life with an impressive fourth place spot nearly two minutes later. Brown crossed the line for fifth.

After the race, Bishop Gordon praised her competition and then set her sights on testing herself at some national-caliber races.

“I’m going to go to JingleCross in Iowa over Thanksgiving,” she said. “Sue Butler and I are going to go out there together. So it will be fun to travel with her and learn a little bit about the whole scene. Then there’s the USGP in Bend. So I’ll get to race at home against a stacked field. I’m also going to go to Nationals in Wisconsin. I’m excited. If you race against faster women, you get faster. So I’m excited to end this series on a good note and get some confidence.”

More than 1,300 riders competed in the last race of the 2011 Cross Crusade series (not counting the A and B Kiddie Cross events). Fourteen-year-old Sam Rosenberg (Hutch’s-Eugene) pulled off the hat trick Sunday, winning the Unicycle, Junior and Category B races.

Results below.

Photo Gallery — Pat Malach /

2011 Cross Crusade 8 Men

PlaceFirst NameLast NameTeamLapsTime
1AaronTuckermanCorsa Concepts Cycling Team857:46.00
2ShannonSkerrittCorsa Concepts Cycling Team858:06.00
3MollyCameronMetaFilter - Portland Bicycle Studio858:22.00
5SethPatlaGates Belt-Drive / River City Bicycles858:52.00
6DamianSchmittSilverado Gallery/Sunnyside 859:50.00
7MichaelGallagherCorsa Concepts Cycling Team801:00:15.00
8MattRussellBend Memorial Clinic Total Care Racing Team801:00:16.00
9BrettLuellingPortland Bicycle Studio801:00:22.00
10EricSheagleyVeloce Racing801:00:32.00
12LelandGilmoreRiver City Bicycles801:00:53.00
13ScottBradwayTeam S+M801:01:17.00
14PatrickMeansTeam S+M801:01:17.00
15CaryMillerGentle Lovers801:01:25.00
18JoelMadroneEmbrocation Cycling801:01:40.00
19SamuelNicolettiGentle Lovers801:01:47.00
20TimJoslinCyclepath Racing801:01:59.00
22alexwentzTeam Oregon presented by Laurelwood Brewing801:02:14.00
23RossBrodyBuy Local Cycling801:02:19.00
24AlexCrissGates Belt-Drive / River City Bicycles801:02:22.00
25RyanWeaverGates Belt-Drive / River City Bicycles801:02:27.00
26PatrickJacksonBuy Local Cycling801:02:30.00
27MattFoxSilverado Gallery/Sunnyside 801:02:35.00
28MatthewWillsEmbrocation Cycling801:02:45.00
29JamesWilliamsSunnyside Sports801:02:53.00
32NatJohnsonGreen Submarine Records801:03:08.00
35JoshuaLiberlesCorsa Concepts Cycling Team801:03:18.00
36JeffBallantinePortland Velo801:03:52.00
37ChipSloanGründelbrüisers/Stewie Bicycles801:04:04.00
38JonathanSmithTeam S+M801:04:32.00
39GabrielLinnTrusty Switchblade801:04:44.00
41bradwinnTeam S+M801:04:59.00
42SpencerBushnellTherapeutic Associates Cycling/Sagebrush Cycles801:05:01.00
46TonyKicGentle Lovers801:05:20.00
47DylanVanWeeldenEmbrocation Cycling801:05:30.00
48DavidMessenheimerGreen Submarine Records801:05:31.00
49BrianGerowCorsa Concepts Cycling Team801:05:34.00
50MattMahoneyGentle Lovers801:05:35.00
53JustinDeMallieFilth and Fury757:48.00
54MattClinePortobello Bicycle Racing757:51.00
55RyanGarnerTensegrity PT Cycling758:01.00
57PeteRubijonoEmbrocation Cycling758:19.00
58AustinCrenshawStaccato Gelato758:20.00
59SteveO'NeillCyclepath Racing758:28.00
60IraRyanIRA Ryan Cycles758:30.00
62RobertCarverIronclad Performance Wear758:49.00
64ZacharyUtzRuckus Test Team759:40.00
65JimAndersonTeam Oregon presented by Laurelwood Brewing701:02:07.00
DNFColeSpragueBend Memorial Clinic Total Care Racing Team6
DNFJeremyGarbellanoLife Cycle Bike Shop4
DNFmatthallIRA Ryan Cycles4
DNFKevinAndrewsRebound/Tireless Velo2
DNFJohnWalrodGates Belt-Drive / River City Bicycles1

2011 Cross Crusade 8 Women, Updated

LapsFirst NameLast NameTeamLaps
1SerenaBishop GordonSilverado Gallery/Sunnyside 7
2HeatherClarkBend Memorial Clinic Total Care Racing Team7
3MeganChinburgCorsa Concepts Cycling Team7
5BrigetteBrownRiver City Bicycles7
7JillHardimanTeam S+M7
8SusanGrandjeanShowers Pass7
9ChristyLoveTeam S+M7
10AbraMcNairShowers Pass7
12AlexandraBurtonUpper Echelon Fitness Women's Cycling6
13ErinPlaymanTeam S+M6
14MeganSchubelSweetpea Ladies Auxiliary6
15KimMathesonTeam S+M6
18Beth AnnOrtonTeam S+M6
20rebeccahbieriEtna Brewing Co./DeSalvo Custom Cycles6
21AmyCampbellRiver City Bicycles6
22MeaganMastenUpper Echelon Fitness6
23JadeKoideTeam Beer6
24JennyPowellIRA Ryan Cycles6
26hannahmooreGreen Submarine Records6
27MarylynnKingIronclad Performance Wear6
29ErinGoodallHammer Velo6
DNFJenniferCreeUpper Echelon Fitness5