After two very fast first laps at the Whitmore Landscaping Super Cross Cup in Long Island NY, it became a battle of 3 vs 1, the three Cannondale-Cyclocrossworld.com riders, Tim Johnson, Jeremy Powers and Jamey Driscoll against lone KONA rider Ryan Trebon.
Trebon hit the gas hard trying to drop his competitors. Then about half-way through the 60 minute race, Trebon bobbled in the woods which was enough for the three teammates to sweep the podium. Johnson took the win followed by Powers and Driscoll. With his win, Johnson clinched the NACT title with one race to go in the series. (More photos in gallery)
“See how the race was going to play out,” said Johnson about his 3 vs 1 strategy, “if Ryan keeps hitting the gas like that, you can only do that so many times. This is a really hard course with all the elevation gain so it’s really pretty tough. So Ryan kept hitting the gas and I’m not going to stop him, as long as I can hold on it’s okay. Ryan was riding really strong, honestly he was our biggest threat for sure, every time he hit the gas, he hurt us a lot.”
Euro-speed, according to Powers. “We were going European speed out there today, that’s the only way I can describe it.”
Swiss Valentin Sherz (Scott-ProCycles-Newwork) got the holeshot but Trebon was the first one at the bottom of the climb. Right behind him were Scherz, Powers, Johnson, Chris Jones (Champion Systems), Carl Dekker (Giant MTB Team), Michael Garrigan (La Bicicletta/Jetpower), Josh Dillon (Richard Sachs-RGM) and Driscoll. It didn’t take long, less that one lap, for those lead riders with the addition of Adam Craig (Giant MTB Team) to separate themselves from the rest of the field.
“It was like front-group Euro-style, we were just going really hard.” said Powers about the start. “I know these races and I just waiting for someone to make a mistake, I think we are all really evenly matched and I knew that there was going to be a point, I was just waiting for it, waiting. And if there is one mistake then you just have to capitalize on that – I say that a lot but it’s the truth. Just being patient and then if no one makes any mistakes then you just let the floodgates go and start attacking as hard as you can.”
Only five riders survived the punishing pace: Trebon, Johnson, Powers, Jones with Driscoll yo-yoing behind them. Then Jones had a bobble and that left four at the front, Trebon vs Johnson, Powers and Driscoll. Trebon once again upped the speed with Driscoll coming undone and then the mistake happened.
“I wanted to ride the two laps really hard at the beginning and then I was with those guys. We went into this uphill, a little off camber left hand turn, my right wheel slid a little bit and it shot me into this thing of hay. It got wrapped into my front wheel and I had to stop and get everything out and that’s when they got away.” explained Trebon.
With that Johnson and Powers got away together with Driscoll chasing behind.
“Tim and I both hit it as hard as we could.” said Powers. “Tim did one really, really, really hard lap and he got 5, 10 and maybe 12 seconds and I had to recover. Sometimes, Ryan comes from behind, he gets added motivation so I wanted to make sure that I’d recovered if that was going to happen.”
Johnson dropped his teammate and kept on going, using the difficult course to his advantage.
“It’s actually a very difficult course and then it gets tight.” said Johnson. “If you’re on the front, you hit it really hard on the hardest part then you have the singletrack to solidify the lead. There are only a couple of open sections.”
For Powers, it was steady as she goes in the final laps. It looked as if Driscoll was closing in but then the gap stopped shrinking. “I stayed steady the last couple of laps, I did lose a little time [to Jamey] but that was when I was recovering, it was good though. Then the last lap I kind of rolled in.”
The chase was on for Trebon. “I tried to chase for two laps but I wasn’t making much ground, those guys were going pretty fast so I was conserving a little bit of energy.”
And to add insult to injury, Trebon stalled on the climb with two laps to go and fell off his bike. After a laugh, he got back on and kept on going.
Johnson took the win 29 seconds ahead of Powers. Driscoll came third followed by Trebon.
Behind the lead four riders, the battle was on between Jones and Craig, roadie vs mountain biker. Craig used his technical skills and Jones his power but surprisingly (or not), Jones was able to drop Craig in the technical section to take fifth spot.
Powers is back to racing after taking last weekend off due to sickness. “It’s really kind of halfway each. Those guys had a really hard race last weekend and then I had a really shitty weekend in bed,” laughed Powers, “so I don’t know what’s better.”
We do it again tomorrow, just a bit earlier as the Elite Men start at 2:30pm. “I’m not here to win the NACT, it’s just some good training. If I had good legs, I’ll try and go for a win.” said Trebon.
Fast, fast, fast. The Elite Women’s race also started off fast as Amy Dombroski (Schlamm presented by Clement & Primus Mootry) and Kelli Emmett (Giant MTB Team) threw figurative punches at each other throughout the race to try and take the lead. With two laps to go, Dombroski put in a move before the climb and was able to power away with just enough of a gap to take the win, her first UCI win of the season. Emmett finished second with Georgia Gould (Luna) in third.
Dombroski seems to be getting stronger and stronger as the season comes to a close with the big race, US National Championships looming. “I feel that I timed it well. Obviously Nationals is where everyone wants to be. It’s all about timing and honestly not getting sick is the biggest thing, I think.”
Cat and mouse. Mary McConneloug (Kenda/Seven/NoTubes) had a fast start and grabbed the holeshot with MAC leader Maureen Bruno-Roy (MM Racing/Seven) and Laura Van Gilder (C3 Athletes) right behind her. Dombroski was fourth wheel.
“I was sitting in there and waiting to make my move. I was doing pretty good on that climb so I decided to go there, I got a gap but Kelli is riding so strong and kept closing it.” said Dombroski. “I saw that she was gaining on me so I thought alright, just wait for her to get there, recover a little bit and then try to attack again. So I did that and then she closed it again.”
“The last couple of races I’ve gone too hard and paid dearly so I was very very cautious today in trying to reel Amy back in.” explained Emmett. “I just tried to ride smooth and close the gaps down. I caught her and then I attacked, she attacked, got a little gap again and I shut it down. We were playing back and forth but she was riding really strong today, I was just psyched to be up there and riding well, it’s been a long season.”
And that’s how it went, Dombroski would go and Emmett would reel her in, time and again. Each rider using the course to their advantage.
“That’s where Kelli kept closing in on me,” said Dombroski about the technical singletrack sections, “technically she is just amazing. It’s the power sections where I would pull away, and then she’d shut it right back down on the technical stuff.”
“When I got done with the course, I was ‘this is the best course I’ve ridden all year’. I was really excited, it suited mountain bikers. I knew that and I tried to use it to my advantage as much as possible to try and close down gaps in the woods and that kind of stuff. Used that to help recover too.” said Emmett.
Emmett also put in an attack on the pavement section. “I definitely slowed up because I wanted her to take the lead because obviously when you are attacking, it’s better to come from behind. And she caught me by surprise with her attack, I was trying to get on her wheel as soon as I could and when I felt I had recovered enough I did the same thing.” said Dombroski.
Dombroski made the final successful attack on the climb, the same place she did her first to shatter the field. “That’s probably where people are struggling the most, it’s a long drawn out climb and it’s just a total slog up there.”
Meanwhile behind them, Gould who had a slow start picking off riders as she moved up to third spot, ended up chasing solo for most of the race. “It just took me a little while to start feeling better, I need to kind of get warmed up and then I felt better.”
Gould also used the pavement to her advantage. “I knew that it’s a place where people sit up and I thought at least even if they sit on me I want to catch the next rider.”
Van Gilder outsprinted McConneloug and Natasha Elliot (Louis Garneau) for fourth place. With her sixth place finish, Elliott clinched the NACT title and to take the $1,500 NACT season bonus.
Elliott was sick last weekend and had to abandon both races at the USGP Mercer Cup, a first for her. “One step better and hopefully tomorrow will be a little bit better. I had a couple of little errors in there today, got a little tree stuck in my bike, that’s how I got back to Maureen and those guys, I fell back a little bit.” said Elliott.
Top 10 Elite/U23 Men
1. Timothy Johnson (Cannondale Cyclocrossworld.com) 0:55:21
2. Jeremy Powers (Cannondale Cyclocrossworld.com) 0:55:50
3. James Driscoll (Cannondale Cyclocrossworld.com) 0:56:01
4. Ryan Trebon (Kona-FSA) 0:56:40
5. Christopher Jones (Team Champion Systems) 0:56:58
6. Adam Craig (Giant Factory Racing) 0:57:05
7. Michael Garrigan (La Bicicletta/ Jetpower) 0:57:48
8. Derrick St John (Garneau Club Chaussures Ogilvy) 0:57:48
9. Carl Decker (Giant Factory Racing) 0:58:16
10. Valentin Scherz (Procycles-Scott-Newwork) 0:58:36
Top 10 Elite Women
1. Amy Dombroski (Schlamm p/b Clement&Primus Mootry) 0:35:23
2. Kelli Emmett (Giant Factory Team) 0:35:43
3. Georgia Gould (Luna Chix) 0:36:26
4. Laura Van Gilder (C3 Athletes Serving Athletes) 0:36:33
5. Mary McConneloug (KENDA-Seven-NoTubes) 0:36:36
6. Natasha Elliott (Garneau Club Chaussures Ogilvy) 0:36:36
7. Maureen Bruno Roy (MM Racing p/b Seven Cycles) 0:36:36
8. Andrea Smith (Minuteman Road Club) 0:38:10
9. Sara Bresnick-Zocchi (Pedalpowercoaching.com/ Landrys Bicycles) 0:38:50
10. Anna Barensfeld (Minuteman Road Club) 0:38:50
Full results at CrossResults.com