Powers gets his first win in Portland. © Joe Sales

Powers gets his first win in Portland. © Joe Sales

Portland, OR – Although it wasn’t expected, the Portland stop of the USGP may have been the perfect warm-up for the USA Cycling Cyclocross National Championships in Bend, Oregon next week. With most of the country’s top talent converging on Oregon and cold, fast racing on tap for Day 2, Portland served up an eye, nose and mouth-watering taste of the racing in store for next weekend.

Blustery overnight winds made race tents disappear, literally, and blew scaffolding and trees down onto the course. But the winds, freezing temperatures and the absence of fog dried-out corners that were greasy just 24 hours prior and dramatically increased the average speeds. Mud tires were left behind for file treads today and packs formed as riders sought shelter from the winds.

View a lap-long course preview here.

Kaiser and Goulet Sail to Victories

In the Junior race, Cody Kaiser (Cal Giant Berry Farms) was in command early, building a large gap over series leader Yannick Eckmann (Clif Bar) and riding solo to another USGP win. Kaiser was hoping yesterday’s third place finisher Chris Wallace (KCCX / Verge / Navigators) would improve by one spot, or that Jeff Bahnson (Van Dessell / Thule) would be fresh from not racing on Saturday and steal some points from Eckmann. However, Eckmann did what he had to do – finish second – and kept his leader’s jersey. Wallace would not finish after crashing, and Bahnson claimed third.

In the Masters race, series leader Ali Goulet (Church of the Big Ring) was out to prove that he’s the man to beat in Bend in the Masters 35+ category. With the USGP title already in the bag, Goulet stayed home in Utah yesterday in an attempt to steal the Elite Men’s title in his local Utah series, but didn’t get the win or have the series leader fall back enough for him to take the honor. So Goulet came into Sunday with more motivation to make up for unmet goals. He took the early holeshot and continued pouring it on. Goulet would stretch out his early gap to nearly at minute at the finish over yesterday’s top duo Eirik Schulz and Andrew Messer.

Nash Overcomes Crash to Win Again

Katerina Nash took the lead - twice, at the Portland USGP. © Joe Sales

Katerina Nash took the lead - twice. © Joe Sales

In the Elite Women’s race, Luna’s Katerina Nash also had the title wrapped up but, with Worlds in her home country, the Czech native was still motivated to get in a hard effort and show our live coverage followers (like Planet Bike’s Katie Compton) that she should be added to the list of favorites when it comes to the race for rainbows in Tabor.

The other prominent non-American, Alison Sydor (Rocky Mountain – Maxxis) again showed that 20 years of mountain bike racing doesn’t hurt your ability to start fast. Just like yesterday, the three-time World Mountain Bike Champion took to the front after local favorite Sue Butler (Monavie-Cannondale) took the holeshot. But no less than a lap into the race, coming out of the woods, Nash emerged in front, with Alison Dunlap and Sydor just behind and rising cyclocross star Meredith Miller (Cal Giant Berry) giving chase. Behind, Kelli Emmett (Giant) Maureen Bruno-Roy (MM Racing p/b Seven Cycles), and Amy Dombroski (Schlamm p/b Clement, Primus Mootry) were trying to bridge.

Nash wasn’t content to ride with the two Alisons and went on the attack despite the strong winds. In an instant, it looked like once again she’d solo for the win. But a slippery root in the woods was enough to send her piling into the ground, letting not only Dunlap, Dombroski and Miller to go by, but also a fading Sydor and Emmett. “In the switchbacks I picked the wrong line and hit a root and had to do a few adjustments to my bike and hop back on and ride… I dropped down maybe to seventh place,” Nash explained. Although announcers had shouted the Luna rider had rolled a tire, her tire was fine but her bike and race position took a beating.

Nash closing on Sydor © Josh Liberles

Nash closing on Sydor © Josh Liberles

Miller wasn’t about to wait around for the fallen Nash and surged to the front in hopes of preserving her lead. She was further fueled by frustration from the day before and wanted to take advantage of the faster conditions that suited the reigning road National Champion.

“I was pissed yesterday at the finish,” Miller revealed. “There’s some technical stuff out here that I might not be the strongest at. I just knew that I needed to be leading through some of the technical sections if I could, so that if I went slow everybody else had to go slow too.”

Despite Nash crashing and losing places, the series leader didn’t panic. “You know, I think after 20 years of some sort of racing, I can manage to stay pretty calm, surprisingly,” she told Cyclocross Magazine. “You know, I fixed my bike, had one lever [cocked way in] I said, ‘ok, that’s gonna be hard to get through the corners,” but I stayed calm. I didn’t have much to lose and I had lots to gain. I already made the mistake that I did, so I just tried to stay focused and ride it the best that I can.”

Riding to the pits, Nash’s win looked to be in jeopardy, but she grabbed another bike and a double-shot of motivation and began a three-lap chase.

With just two laps to go, Miller had a ten second gap over a chase group of current and future teammates of Dunlap, Dombroski and Nash, but Nash wasn’t done taking back places and set off in pursuit of Miller. “I definitely had to pass at least six people… I just kept picking people up,” recalled Nash. Every time I’d get to a group, I’d take a couple of minutes to try to rest up, use some tactics, drafting, then just go for it. I didn’t have much time, the race was so over so quickly, to get all the way to Meredith [Miller].”

With just one to go, Nash made contact and the two rode together through the motocross track. But, coming out of the berms, Nash made one last surge to regain the lead she had three laps earlier. With each turn and climb, she poured it on and stretched out the gap, entering the final pavement stretch with a gap big enough to avoid a sprint. Behind, Miller continued her rise to cyclocross stardom with an impressive second, with Dombroski in third. Giant’s Kelli Emmett finished in fourth, with Dunlap in fifth.

After enjoying the warm and dry, dusty racing in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park just the weekend prior, Nash had to transition to Saturday’s mud and Sunday’s cold. “I was missing out on Portland’s typically challenging weather and technical aspects, but today worked out well and it’s easier to clean off.” But regardless of weather, Nash showed she’ll be a force to be reckoned with at the World Championships in Tabor.

Third place Dombroski was pleased with her weekend of racing. “I feel like I made a really big step up this season,” she gushed. “Halfway through I had a little bit of stress with the whole team change and everything, but I’m really happy with what I did and with everyone that stepped up and helped me out. It just shows what a supporting community cyclocross has behind it. I’m happy there and looking forward to Nationals.”

Powers Finally Conquers Portland

Jeremy Powers and teammate Tim Johnson rode aggressively on the fast course. © Joe Sales

Jeremy Powers and teammate Tim Johnson rode aggressively on the fast course. © Joe Sales

In the men’s race, Ryan Trebon (Kona / FSA) had a large enough points lead that a top-ten finish would keep him in the leader’s jersey. With the title the primary goal, would Trebon lay it all out in attempt for the win? He admitted to using up all his energy early in Saturday’s race, and coming off the pavement in the chaotic start today, Trebon was outside the top ten as Troy Wells (Clif Bar) and Jeremy Powers (Cannondale – CyclocrossWorld) entered the first corner side by side.

Soon it was clear that Cannondale – CyclocrossWorld had a different game plan on the faster, drier course. With Powers up front and Troy Wells fading back, older brother Todd Wells (Specialized) took his brother’s place and did his best to avoid tactical, negative racing with a strong surge to string out the pack. Entering the barriers for the first time, three of the top six riders were from Cannondale – CyclocrossWorld, with Geoff Kabush (Rocky Mountain – Maxxis) and Chris Jones (Champion Systems) hoping to make the cut. The series leader Trebon came through back in ninth.

Following Troy Wells in a chase group was a growing espoir battle, with Danny Summerhill (Felt – Holowesko Partners – Garmin), Cal Giant’s Chance Noble, U23 Series Leader David Hackworthy (Bianchi-Grand Performance) and Jerome Townsend ( looking to give a good showing in hopes of making the Worlds team. Summerhill would prove to be the class of the group for the second straight day and went on to finish ninth.

Troy Wells in the lead at the barriers. © Joe Sales

Troy Wells in the lead at the barriers. © Joe Sales

Soon Wells’ accelerations at the front made a final selection with only Powers and Johnson able to stay on the Day 1 winner’s wheel. Wells kept pushing the pace, Powers looked comfortable, while Johnson would be gapped slightly and work to regain contact. Meanwhile, Trebon was picking off riders, and would get within 15 seconds of the leading trio as they started to look around.

Sensing the Kona / FSA rider’s presence, the leading trio traded attacks, one after another, with Wells and Powers taking the majority of accelerations. Entering the last lap, would Wells be able to yet again seize control and take it to the line? Powers proved to be a quick learner and, with Wells at the front, Powers was just waiting for a chance to pass before the technical section in the woods.

“I went wide setting up for one of the corners, and [Powers] went inside.” Wells said, describing the race winning move. “It was a great move, I couldn’t get back around him and that was pretty much it.”

With a three-bike-lengths lead, Powers took to the final climbs and turns and hit the pavement first. Just like Wells did yesterday, Powers kept the lead to the finish line and got revenge from yesterday. Wells finished his strong weekend with a second place, with Johnson in third.

“Right as we came through start/finish, I hit it, put my head down, didn’t look back,” said Powers. “Todd came over me, probably ¾ of the way through the lap, and then we went through the twisty-curvies and I just kind of got on the inside of him, made sure for that really hard right-hander that I was in front. He had to get off his bike because I hit it pretty slow – he had been hitting it really fast, I hit it a little bit slower,” Powers continued. “I got a little bit of a gap and that was it. I rode it and he ended up running it. We were battling for it, I got it. I came onto the road first and that was enough.”

“On that last bit, we got into that super-tight U-turn,” described Johnson. “Jeremy got in first and got a couple of bike lengths. Todd got off the bike, I got off, Jeremy stayed on the bike – and that’s where he got the gap.”

Giant’s Adam Craig was on a late tear, and passed fellow Bend resident Trebon for fourth. Will Craig be on form for a hometown surprise in Bend? The late-race pass didn’t matter to Trebon, though. With a fifth-place finish, well ahead of series second placed rider Jamey Driscoll, Trebon had the jersey for the second time in three years.

Teamwork played a factor. “Tim and I were definitely playing off of each other… we were looking at each other, and we can definitely tell what’s going on in one another’s heads,” Powers explained to Cyclocross Magazine. “It was a team race today I was really lucky to have Tim, I owe him a lot today. Early on we just wanted to make sure Ryan didn’t come back. So, we’re not just gonna sit there and hang out and let other people back on, so, if we can have Todd isolated like that, that was the number one priority. So, I rode tempo on the front to make sure of that.”

Johnson agreed, saying, “We were just trying to play off of each other as much as we could, just trying to wear him out physically and trying to make sure if we had any chance,  we’d make him make a mistake. But he was riding so well out there, I don’t think he made a mistake all day.”

Todd Wells on the attack. © Andrew Yee

Todd Wells on the attack. © Andrew Yee

Wells remained upbeat about his effort and his ability to match up against the two Cannondale – CyclocrossWorld riders. “They just kept hitting me and I was able to respond each time, so I was happy about that,” said Wells. “Then with one lap to go, Powers got in front of me before the finish, the same way I got in front of him yesterday, and once you get a couple of bike lengths with a tailwind in the start/finish straight, how you come onto the pavement is how you finish.”

Wells is optimistic about his chances at Nationals. “You know, for me, the slipperier and more technical the course, the better. So if it were to snow in Bend, for me that’d be great,” said Wells. “Today there was a lot of drafting and the teamwork came into play a little bit. For me, the more slick and treacherous the conditions, the less teammates come into play and it’s just more of a skill and fitness thing.”

The win marked Powers’ first victory in Portland after many disappointments and a few near-misses. “I’ve never won in Portland, ever, so I’m definitely psyched about it!” he exclaimed. “I lost a national championship here, I’ve lost a USGP here… just about every race that means anything to me, I’ve lost at this course. Finally feels good to kick it in the face a little bit!”

With only Planet Bike’s Jonathan Page missing from the field of national championship favorites (and finishing a superb eighth at the Igorre World Cup), fast racing, and a lot of post-race shivering by racers and fans, the appetizer has been served for the next four days of racing in Bend. Are you ready?

Be sure to follow all our live coverage of the racing right here, brought to you by Edge Composites and Raleigh.

Full results below photos.

Photo Gallery by Joe Sales:

Photo Gallery by Josh Liberles and Andrew Yee

Full Results:

Elite Men:
Rank Name Nat. Age* Result Pts Pts
1 Jeremy POWERS USA 27 1:01:18 30 30
2 Todd WELLS USA 35 1:01:18 20 20
3 Timothy JOHNSON USA 33 1:01:18 15 15
4 Adam CRAIG USA 29 1:02:30 12 12
5 Ryan TREBON USA 29 1:02:42 10 10
6 Geoff KABUSH CAN 33 1:03:12 8 8
7 James DRISCOLL USA 24 1:03:33 6 6
8 Christopher JONES USA 31 1:03:53 4 4
9 Daniel SUMMERHILL USA 21 1:04:11 2 2
10 Troy WELLS USA 26 1:04:11 1 1
11 Justin ROBINSON USA 35 1:04:11
12 Barry WICKS USA 29 1:04:46
13 Chris SHEPPARD CAN 37 1:04:53
14 Jerome TOWNSEND USA 21 1:05:01
15 Chance NOBLE USA 22 1:05:01
16 Carl DECKER USA 35 1:05:01
17 David HACKWORTH USA 21 1:05:43
18 Eric TONKIN USA 36 1:05:48
19 Adam MCGRATH USA 23 1:06:36
20 Brady KAPPIUS USA 23 1:07:02
21 Steve FISHER USA 20 1:07:04
22 Ryan KNAPP USA 26 1:07:05
23 Kevin BRADFORD-PARISH USA 28 1:07:06
24 Troy HEITHECKER USA 34 1:07:27
25 Eric EMSKY USA 19 1:07:35
26 Molly CAMERON USA 34 1:07:40
27 Shannon SKERITT USA 39 1:08:01
28 Benjamin THOMPSON USA 34 1:08:06
29 John FLACK USA 41 1:08:28
30 Kevin HULICK USA 37
31 Nathan BANNERMAN USA 22
32 Jeremy FERGUSON USA 20
33 Donald REEB USA 36
34 Ben POPPER USA 28
35 Sean BABCOCK USA 27
36 Spencer PAXSON USA 26
37 Travis WOODRUFF USA 27
38 Kris HOLDEN USA 34
39 Joshua BERRY USA 20
40 Zachary EDWARDS USA 21
41 Brett LUELLING USA 29
42 Carson MILLER USA 21
43 Michael HEMME USA 31
44 John BEHRENS USA 39
46 Mitchell PETERSON USA 23
47 Craig FOWLER USA 38
48 Evan PLEWS USA 34
49 Benjamin KUBAS USA 34
50 Ryan WEAVER USA 33
51 Adam MILLS USA 31
52 William ROSS USA 21
53 Katriel STATMAN USA 24
54 Landon ERICKSSON USA 36
55 Christopher RAG USA USA 37
56 Kyle MURPHY USA 19
57 Matthew FOX USA 32

Elite Women:

Rank Name Nat. Age* Result Pts Pts
1 Katerina NASH CZE 33 39:03 20 20
2 Meredith MILLER USA 37 39:14 15 15
3 Amy DOMBROSKI USA 23 39:30 12 12
4 Kelli EMMETT USA 33 39:49 10 10
5 Alison DUNLAP USA 41 40:11 8 8
6 Alison SYDOR CAN 44 40:15 5 5
7 Susan BUTLER USA 39 40:31 4 4
8 Maureen BRUNO ROY USA 35 40:34 3 3
9 Linda SONE USA 38 41:10 2 2
10 Coryn RIVERA USA 18 41:37 1 1
11 Alice PENNINGTON USA 29 41:41
12 Kaitlin ANTONNEAU USA 18 42:10
13 Deidre WINFIELD USA 34 42:22
14 Barbara HOWE USA 34 42:41
15 Kari STUDLEY USA 30 42:46
16 Sarah MAILE USA 32 43:15
17 Kristin WENTWORTH USA 31 43:17
18 Elizabeth FRYE USA 41 43:21
19 Megan FARIS USA 31 43:31
20 Devon HASKELL USA 29 43:38
21 Lisa CURRY USA 29 43:38
22 Ann KNAPP USA 42 43:42
23 Joele GUYNUP USA 25 43:51
24 Serena BISHOP USA 31 44:14
25 Shannon GIBSON USA 44 44:25
26 Abby JENKINS USA 26 44:35
27 Megan ELLIOTT USA 28 44:41
28 Katrina BAUMSTEIGER USA 45 44:43
29 Shannon HOLDEN USA 34 44:57
30 Tina BRUBAKER USA 42 45:21
31 Marian JAMISON USA 27 45:36
32 Corey COOGAN USA 33 45:41
33 Patricia DOWD USA 38 45:41
34 Jadine RILEY GBR 36 46:48

Junior Men:
Rank Name Nat. Age* Result Pts Pts
1 Cody KAISER USA 18 37:30 10 10
2 Yannick ECKMANN USA 17 38:50 6 6
3 Jeffrey BAHNSON USA 17 38:58 4 4
4 Robin ECKMANN USA 18 39:00 2 2
5 Skyler TRUJILLO USA 18 40:26 1 1
6 Matthew SPINKS USA 17 41:18
7 J.D. FETTE USA 17 41:36
8 Bjorn FOX USA 17 42:04
9 Nick BELL USA 18 42:22
10 Cole CUTRIGHT USA 18 42:34
11 Kolben PREBLE USA 17 42:58
12 Kosta PSALTIS USA 18 43:08
13 Cole SPRAGUE USA 17