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 (Corsa Concepts) won the holeshot and took the initial lead in the men’s Category A race after Donald Reeb (Cyclocrossracing.com) 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.
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 (bicycleattonry.com), 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.”
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.
Photo Gallery — Pat Malach / Oregon.CyclingAction.com
2011 Cross Crusade 8 Men
|Place||First Name||Last Name||Team||Laps||Time|
|1||Aaron||Tuckerman||Corsa Concepts Cycling Team||8||57:46.00|
|2||Shannon||Skerritt||Corsa Concepts Cycling Team||8||58:06.00|
|3||Molly||Cameron||MetaFilter - Portland Bicycle Studio||8||58:22.00|
|5||Seth||Patla||Gates Belt-Drive / River City Bicycles||8||58:52.00|
|7||Michael||Gallagher||Corsa Concepts Cycling Team||8||01:00:15.00|
|8||Matt||Russell||Bend Memorial Clinic Total Care Racing Team||8||01:00:16.00|
|9||Brett||Luelling||Portland Bicycle Studio||8||01:00:22.00|
|12||Leland||Gilmore||River City Bicycles||8||01:00:53.00|
|22||alex||wentz||Team Oregon presented by Laurelwood Brewing||8||01:02:14.00|
|23||Ross||Brody||Buy Local Cycling||8||01:02:19.00|
|24||Alex||Criss||Gates Belt-Drive / River City Bicycles||8||01:02:22.00|
|25||Ryan||Weaver||Gates Belt-Drive / River City Bicycles||8||01:02:27.00|
|26||Patrick||Jackson||Buy Local Cycling||8||01:02:30.00|
|32||Nat||Johnson||Green Submarine Records||8||01:03:08.00|
|35||Joshua||Liberles||Corsa Concepts Cycling Team||8||01:03:18.00|
|42||Spencer||Bushnell||Therapeutic Associates Cycling/Sagebrush Cycles||8||01:05:01.00|
|48||David||Messenheimer||Green Submarine Records||8||01:05:31.00|
|49||Brian||Gerow||Corsa Concepts Cycling Team||8||01:05:34.00|
|53||Justin||DeMallie||Filth and Fury||7||57:48.00|
|54||Matt||Cline||Portobello Bicycle Racing||7||57:51.00|
|55||Ryan||Garner||Tensegrity PT Cycling||7||58:01.00|
|60||Ira||Ryan||IRA Ryan Cycles||7||58:30.00|
|62||Robert||Carver||Ironclad Performance Wear||7||58:49.00|
|64||Zachary||Utz||Ruckus Test Team||7||59:40.00|
|65||Jim||Anderson||Team Oregon presented by Laurelwood Brewing||7||01:02:07.00|
|DNF||Cole||Sprague||Bend Memorial Clinic Total Care Racing Team||6|
|DNF||Jeremy||Garbellano||Life Cycle Bike Shop||4|
|DNF||matt||hall||IRA Ryan Cycles||4|
|DNF||John||Walrod||Gates Belt-Drive / River City Bicycles||1|
2011 Cross Crusade 8 Women, Updated
|Laps||First Name||Last Name||Team||Laps|
|1||Serena||Bishop Gordon||Silverado Gallery/Sunnyside||7|
|2||Heather||Clark||Bend Memorial Clinic Total Care Racing Team||7|
|3||Megan||Chinburg||Corsa Concepts Cycling Team||7|
|5||Brigette||Brown||River City Bicycles||7|
|12||Alexandra||Burton||Upper Echelon Fitness Women's Cycling||6|
|14||Megan||Schubel||Sweetpea Ladies Auxiliary||6|
|18||Beth Ann||Orton||Team S+M||6|
|20||rebeccah||bieri||Etna Brewing Co./DeSalvo Custom Cycles||6|
|21||Amy||Campbell||River City Bicycles||6|
|22||Meagan||Masten||Upper Echelon Fitness||6|
|24||Jenny||Powell||IRA Ryan Cycles||6|
|26||hannah||moore||Green Submarine Records||6|
|27||Marylynn||King||Ironclad Performance Wear||6|
|DNF||Jennifer||Cree||Upper Echelon Fitness||5|