Bend Oregon. As the Elite men charged off the line to a thick crowd of fans, Ryan Trebon (Kona) powered in the lead, taking the hole shot with Adam Myerson and Jeremy Powers on his wheel. As Powers slipped by, Trebon eased up slightly, as he told Cyclocross Magazine that he had a tough time getting his legs going in the first lap. Tim Johnson and Chris Jones rounded out the top five early.
Coming around the front side, Chris Jones took the lead with Powers and Johnson following close behind, and Trebon and Wicks forming a formidable wall. The five had a good-sized gap between them and Todd Wells as they came into the bowl, now with Powers cranking on the sharp end. It looked like the race might be a Cannondale vs. Twin Towers shoot out. Wells, Alex Candelario, Jesse Anthony and Tyler Wren formed a chase group behind.
Then everything changed. Powers attacked hard as they entered the bowl, gapping off the front and quickly gaining seven seconds. On the corner just after the flyover, Trebon crashed. “I hit a course pole that was leaning into the course – it caught my bars and spun me around,” he said. Jones got tangled up with Trebon, and the two had to extricate their bikes before getting rolling again.
Wicks and Johnson dug deep to keep Powers in sight, but it was a hard-charging Wells who, over the next lap, bridged up and entered the mix, ultimately passing the three chasers and catching up to Powers.
As Wells caught Powers, Jones faded further off the front. Wicks showed that he has found his form in time for Nationals as he stayed strong in the top five, and he and Johnson would trade positions for the rest of the race. Driscoll (Cannondale-Cyclocrossworld.com) turned on his engine and began clawing his way up the leader board.
Trebon, after recovering from his crash, showed why he is one of the best in the country and began an incredible chase, putting in a monster display of power to reconnect with the chasers – but only long enough to blow right by them.
Off the front, Powers and Wells went back and forth, trading blow for blow as they screamed around the course a full minute faster than any other group this week. But with four to go, Powers went down on the u-turn right before the flyover; Wells was following so closely that he collided with Powers, and the two tangled for a moment before Wells broke free and rode off, with Powers running behind before stopping to repair a no longer functioning bike.
“I’m as frustrated as I can be,” said Powers. “I got a lot of good things to look back on, and a two-minute stretch I’d rather not look back on.” The episode was eerily similar to Fort Collins, when Wells crashed into a barrier following behind Powers, giving Powers the win. “Yeah, I didn’t intentionally do that [take down Wells in a barrier section],” said Powers, “and I guess what goes around comes around, but Todd’s a great friend of mine and I would never wish anything bad upon him, and I think the same goes my way from him, so, like I said, a lot of good things to look back on, one moment I’d rather not.”
“I was going as hard as I could,” said Trebon. “I couldn’t go any harder. That was all I had in my legs, my hips were cramping. The grass section was just so hard and draining, then you had to run up the stairs, that really made the legs hurt.”
In the end, it was Wells with his hands raised, claiming his third Cyclocross National Elite Championship title. Trebon came in close behind, followed by a train of riders separated by large gaps: Driscoll and Johnson finished the podium, with Wicks just barely missing out.
Place Name City, State Time Bib Team
1 Todd Wells Durango, CO 1:00:49 4 Specialized Factory Racing
2 Ryan Trebon Bend, OR 1:01:14 54 Kona
3 Jeremy Powers Easthampton, MA 1:02:16 2 Cannondale p/b CyclocrossWorld
4 James Driscoll Winooski, VT 1:02:52 3 Cannondale p/b CyclocrossWorld
5 Timothy Johnson Beverly, MA 1:02:52 1 Cannondale p/b CyclocrossWorld
6 Barry Wicks Corvallis, OR 1:03:03 10 Kona
7 Adam Craig Bend, OR 1:03:29 7 Giant/Rabobank
8 Tristan Schouten Plymouth, WI 1:04:06 9 CyclocrossRacing.com / Blue
9 Alexander Candelario Reno, NV 1:04:39 62 World Bicycle Relief
10 Jesse Anthony Beverly, MA 1:05:08 11 California Giant Berry Farms
11 Justin Lindine New Salem, MA 1:05:26 5 Bikereg.Com/Cannondale
12 Spencer Paxson Seattle, WA 1:05:30 61 Team S&M Young Guns
13 Mitchell Hoke (1 – Cat2) Colorado Springs, CO 1:05:51 30
14 Sean Babcock Beaverton, OR 1:06:01 26 Team S&M Young Guns
15 Christopher Jones Auburn, CA 1:06:17 37 Rapha/Focus
16 Erik Tonkin Portland, OR 1:06:22 129 Kona