The defending USGP champions Katerina Nash (Luna Chix) and Ryan Trebon (KONA) took the win and the Series Leader’s jerseys at Day One of the USGP Derby City Cup in Louisville, Kentucky. Nash rode away from the Elite Women’s field in the first lap and kept on increasing her gap to solo to victory with her teammate Georgia Gould (Luna) taking second. Amy Dombroski (Richard Sachs/RGM Watches) overcame a crash in the first lap to take third.
The Elite Men’s race came down to a 2-up sprint finale as Trebon chased down an attacking Jamey Driscoll (Cannondale-Cyclocrossworld.com) to catch him in the final straightaway to the finish to take the win. The two men were part of the four-rider lead group that dwindled down to three with two laps to go. The other member of that trio, Tim Johnson (Cannondale-Cyclocrossworld.com) took third.
More photos in Gallery.
Trebon just had more in the tank. The KONA boys went hard from the start with US Cross Champ Trebon and his teammate Barry Wicks hitting the barriers at the front of the field. Right behind them, leading the charge were Canadian Cross Champ Geoff Kabush (Rocky Mountain-Maxxis), and the Cannondale-Cyclocrossworld.com trio of Driscoll, Johnson and Jeremy Powers, Chris Jones (Champion Systems) and Jesse Anthony (Jamis). Attacks flew until a group of five was off the front on the second lap: Trebon, Driscoll, Johnson, Powers and Anthony.
But soon, it was obvious that Powers was in difficulty as he was dropping back behind the lead group until he finally fell out with six laps to go. Behind the lead group, Jones and Kabush got together and worked hard to try and chase down the lead group. Powers would eventually pull out of the race.
“It happened pretty quickly, I remember being top 5 or 7 and then second lap, I had moved up to top 3 or 4, I wasn’t checking back too much.” said Driscoll about the separation at the front. “I actually heard, it’s kind of nice the announcing sometimes – a double edged sword – but one time I did hear that there was group of five and I looked back on the section where you could see a good ways and it was ‘wow we have a big gap, I don’t know how that happened so fast’, and that was that. ”
For the next three laps, the four men stayed together with Trebon spending the majority of the team at the front.
“Those guys were racing in the back, sitting on, we really rode like four laps so slow, there were sections where I was a mile an hour through a couple of turns, if those guys are not going to ride fast, I’m not going to ride fast because they’re not going to come through and at least keep the pace going, Jesse, Tim and Jamey aren’t, we can go slow, I don’t mind, then we slowed it really down and some people started to attack, it got harder.” said Trebon.
“Ryan was at the front most of the race, he was riding really strong. I’m not going to stop him from riding in the front, at that point I was just happy to sit on his wheel.” said Johnson.
“A couple of times those guys attacked and Jesse attacked, and I was like fine, have at it. I sat up in this little 180 section, I came to a stop and they got ten seconds and there were like ‘come on’ and ‘well shit man, I’m not going to ride at the front the whole day’. ” added Trebon.
With two laps to go, the hostilities flared up again and Anthony was dropped. And then there were three, or two against one.
“That’s always kind of the plan, if one of us can go to put Ryan under pressure that we will. ” said Johnson about the two against one. “I really wasn’t able to go because I was kind of on my limit most of the time.”
With one lap to go, Driscoll made multiple attacks until one stuck he had a gap to Trebon. For a while, Johnson stuck close, bidding his time until he could counterattack.
“I remember being oxygened deprived nearly the entire race, you probably saw me out there getting gapped off at most corners and stuff, I just didn’t have the snap in my legs and somehow made myself suffer just enough to stay in the group, there was a little bit more motivation towards the end because I knew the suffering was going to be over soon enough, and then I attacked, hoping to either stay away or set up my teammate Tim for the win, we knew Ryan was going to chase.” said Driscoll.
But Trebon waited and waited until he pounced and gapped Johnson.
“I just waited until the last lap and then Jamey went, he went pretty hard and I didn’t want to bring him back with a half lap to go, I wanted to bring him back closer to the finish, that way not to give a chance to Tim to counter it and I just waited it, waited it, waited it and then I really started punching it through the sand and pit area and bring it back fast. I caught him right when he hit the pavement, we hit the pavement together which is about as perfect as I could have timed it but totally by accident.” said Trebon.
“I honestly don’t remember too much,” replied Driscoll when asked about his final attacks. “there was not much blood in my brain at that point, I don’t even remember noticing that Timmy was gapped off. I going ballistics trying to hold off Ryan because I knew it was pretty slow until the pavement and that was when he got me and jumped me pretty good, I didn’t have much left to fight for the sprint. ”
“Jamey attacked halfway through the last lap and I was hoping he was going to be able to stay but Ryan played because he waited. If he had gone after Jamey right away then I was going to hit him so the he waited and turned the chase into the sprint so by the time he caught Jamey right on the pavement, Jamey was smoked and I was smoked and Ryan just got that extra five feet.” said Johnson.
Trebon and Driscoll hit the pavement together in a final sprint to the line.
“No,” answered Trebon when asked if he was confident he could take Driscoll in a sprint, “but at least it would have given me a chance to go for the win instead of chasing down two people in the last lap.”
“You know, over in Europe last year, Ryan and I had a fair amount of town lines to go through, so I guess if you can consider that any kind of litmus test, we were fairly even.” replied Driscoll when asked the same question. He then added, “It wasn’t down to the sprint, it was more who had more gas left. I was surprised at how hard I was going but I think he had more in the tank that I did today.”
One thing that all the riders agreed on was the hard course with its gooey grass.
“I think everybody was hurting,” said Trebon. “it’s a really hard course. It was kind of windy, a couple of sections you’re just going into the headwind, it was just really soft ground, it just sucks your tire in, makes it really hard to pedal.”
“It was very slow,” explained Driscoll. “its hard to describe unless you’re out there. You’re going really slow like you’re in mud but it’s not slippery, kind of really spongy, sort of demoralizing to go through, it’s grass, it looks like a normal fast course but it was not.”
“Two sections,” replied Johnson to a fan when asked to name the difficult section on the course. “these two long straightaways were the most painful because it was kind of gooey, and really really slow. We were stanging up and giving it as much as we could but didn’t have that sensation of speed because when you have that sensation, the pain dulls down, and you’re like ‘this is actually pretty cool’, you feel like you’re doing something but you just felt like you were continuously playing catch up so it’s demoralizing so that was the worst part.” He then added that the most fun part was when “you come off the cement into the slight right, reammy muddy before the hard, hard left into the trees in the backside, because that you could kill on the sidewalk, get a bunch speed and slop into the mud.”
Erik Tonkin (KONA), who started on the back row, move up halfway through the field on the first lap, rolled his tubular tire, got back up, ran the bike to the pit, and raced all the way back to 16, (phew) was awarded the SRAM Most Aggressive Rider prize. “You can’t place well if you don’t finish.” said Tonkin.
The battle continues tomorrow with Day 2 of the USGP Derby City Cup.
Trebon is ready for it. “I feel better now, I rode three and half hours Thursday and my legs feel really good. I finally feel.. my ass doesn’t hurt from crashing on it, I’m not sick and so it’s those little things that add up and these guys race really fast so you have to be at one hundred percent to win and luckily I’m starting to get back to normal.”
And so is Johnson. “Ryan had a great race, congratulations to him, it’s going to be game on tomorrow, we’re going to do everything we can to get that jersey off his back. I think tomorrow is going to be different because I usually feel better on the second day and I’m hoping to feel better.”
The Nash show. The Elite Women’s race started with a lead group started to separate itself from the field with Canadian Cross Champion Alison Sydor (Rocky Mountain/Maxxis) at the front the fist time over the barriers with the Luna Chix trio of Nash, Gould and Alison Dunlap and Sue Butler (Mona Vie/Cannondale) right behind her. But soon, Nash came to front and just started to pull away solo.
“The first section of the first lap, I stayed one somebody’s wheel but felt I was cornering a little bit better and at one point, I just got up front and didn’t really look back. Focused on my own choosing good lines and riding well and the gap kept growing.” explained Nash who kept track on the gap on the sections where the course folded over itself. “I checked in and then I saw that the gap was getting better and better, that’s always comforting, it just helps to maybe relax and ride smoother. ”
But even before that, Dombroski who was sitting in fourth wheel, went down – face first – in the mud.
“I think we had a bit of a gap so I was really happy and pleased with my start and after that I happened, I don’t know how many people passed me.” said Dombroski. “Simon Burney and myself had a clinic on Thursday and a lot of people were asking me what to do with the mud and what to do with the sand, and I was like ‘oh just let your front wheel have a mind of its own’. I think I left my front wheel go a little bit too much and went face first into the mud.”
Then it was a question of not panicking and getting back on … eventually.
“I tried to jump back on, didn’t have enough speed because I was too bogged down in my gearing so I had to get back off and back on again, and then through the barriers I got tangled up with another girl, it was a rough kind of first half lap there.” laughed Dombroski. “But you know, you just have to keep the power on the pedal and keep plugging away.”
Back to the front, Nash had pulled away after one lap and Gould was now riding solo behind her with a goal of keeping second place on the podium.
“Katerina was riding super strong, she didn’t really attack so much as just ride away. I didn’t want to chase her down and try to go with her and drag other people up there. There was no way I could go with her anyway, I just tried to ride strong and keep the gap as small as I could. She was super strong today, I’m really happy for her, ” said Gould who added, “and hopefully she’ll win Worlds.”
As Nash and Gould pulled away, Dombroski started to recover and US Road Champion Meredith Miller (CalGiant) was chasing hard while Sydor and Butler faded.
“Amy crashed, went down in the big mud pit on the first lap so she had to chase back on and as she was chasing, I was chasing, Sue and Alison and all those girls.” said Miller.
Lap after lap both Miller and Dombroski were moving forwards, picking riders off one by one.
“With picking people off, you can sit on them and recover. I was trying to catch people right as we were going onto the flat pavement section because that’s a great recovery section right there. And then yeah after sitting on a little bit, put in power because I don’t want to go slowly past them and have them sit on me. ” said Dombroski.
“Amy caught me and we ended up catching Alison, the three of us were together for a short period of time, Amy just took us and then it was Alison and I just fighting it off. I don’t remember at what point, I also caught Alison Sydor and she stayed with me for a little bit, I think it was in the straightaway sections, in the grassy, slow sections that I was able to open up a little bit more of a gap on her and eventually caught Dunlap. ” said Miller who finished fifth.
Nash kept riding solid at the front, and chose not to change bikes during the 40-minute race.
“It’s funny, two laps before the finish, I was like ‘man even if I don’t need to I should practice changing my bike’ but at that point I was like ‘oh I’ll just finish it on this one’, so I kind of forgot about the options of changing bikes because we hardly ever do it in the US. Certainly the last five races that I’ve done has been as dry as it gets. At least, my ORBEA is clean now so my mechanic should be happy” she finished with a laugh.
For her strong efforts on the day Dombroski was also named the SRAM Most Aggressive Rider.
More photos in Gallery.
Top Ten Men
1. Ryan Trebon – KONA
2. Jamey Driscoll – Cannondale/CyclocrossWorld.com
3. Tim Johnson – Cannondale / CyclocrossWorld.com
4. Jesse Anthony – Team Jamis Bikes
5. Geoff Kabush – Team Maxxis – Rocky Mountain
6. Christopher Jones – Team Champion System
7. Davide Frattini – Team FUJI
8. Nicholas Weighall – California Giant Berry Farms/ Specialized
9. Barry Wicks – KONA
10. Brian Matter – Team Geargrinder
Top Ten Women
1. Katerina Nash – LUNA
2. Georgia Gould – LUNA
3. Amy Domboski – Richard Sachs – RGM Watches- Radix
4. Alison Dunlap – LUNA
5. Meredith Miller – California Giant Berry Farms / Specialized
6. Alison Sydor – Maxxis – Rocky Mountain
7. Kristin Wentworth – Planet Bike
8. Sue Butler – Monavie/Cannondale
9. Kari Studley – Velo Bela
10. Kaitlin Antonneau – Planet Bike
Complete results here