Current US Cross National Champion Ryan Trebon of the KONA-FSA team had set two major goals this season, win USGP and claim the Stars & Bars for the second year in a row. The first one was successfully accomplished last weekend and the big race is coming up this Sunday in his hometown of Bend Oregon.
“Hopefully, I feel good. I had really good legs this [past] weekend.” said Trebon when asked if he was ready. “I’ve been training hard, I did what I needed to do, it’s just one day and it’s hard to get everything come together right. This year there seems to be a couple more guys that are riding equaly as fast, you have to take the conditions into account and take the competition into account and then the course. I think it will be a tough race this weekend.”
Last weekend at the USGP finale in Portland, Trebon was fighting a bad stomach. He was still recovering when I talked to him on Tuesday morning. “Not that I feel bad but things don’t feel one hundred percent, I feel a little off, I’m getting better.”
Even with his cross gut, Trebon managed to win the overall at the USGP for the fourth time in the series.
“I wouldn’t say that it was any more important than the other ones, it’s just nice to win.” said Trebon about winning the USGP overall again. “It was an interesting year, I think pretty much everyone had one off weekend at least. It was nice that not one person was dominating all the time, we had ups and downs all year.”
Tough competition. One rider that stood out in the heated races in Portland, arguably the best cross racing this year, was Todd Wells (Specialized) who won the first day and finished second on Sunday.
“I think Todd out of everyone had the best fitness. He seemed to the strongest. Saturday when we were going hard we had gapped Jeremy a couple of times, Todd was able to stay with me but he just couldn’t pull through.” said Trebon.
But Wells is not the only one, as the Cannondale-Cyclocrossworld.com duo of Jeremy Powers and Tim Johnson and Jonathan Page (Planet Bike) are also riders to watch.
“Jeremy is riding really strong as well. Tim had a really good block of racing there where he was racing really fast and didn’t do anything wrong, that just doesn’t hold forever, so I think that was his problem last week, he was just a little flat. He’s just coming off a big peak, he was doing really well and it’s hard to keep it going but I think Todd definitely has probably the best chances this week out of everyone of winning.”
Conditions. Powerful Trebon agrees that the course itself is not geared towards his strengths. “The course is geared towards a more technical type of rider, I’m pretty good technically but I’ve won more races by brute force.”
Trebon had not checked out the course when we talked. “I’m not really concerned about seeing it before hand because it’s really cold, and the conditions are different than it’s going to be on Sunday when we race. It’s going to warm up this week, the conditions are going to change, it changes every day, the number of people riding. “
It’s freezing in Bend right now with snow on the ground and predicted highs of 26º F today. It should warm by the weekend to the mid 30s, with a chance of freezing rain on Saturday.
“You can still ride and if you can’t ride outside you can still ride inside, it doesn’t that appealing but you have to do what you have to do. But it’s only for one week, and then I leave for California for a couple of weeks before I go to Europe. It’s going to get warmer during the week so when it’s 30º you can ride outside but when it’s 8º like this morning it’s hard to get outside. It’s not worth the rist of going out there.” said Trebon as the roads are covered in hard snow pack.
So, given the competition and the conditions, how confident is Trebon about his chances on Sunday? “I’m fairly confident, if I have a good day and everything goes right. But just based on the conditions, it definitely just takes it down a bit, I know that I have to be a little bit more gingerly when I pedal as opposed to turning the crank arms off, but it will be okay. Give it a go, if I don’t win then I can always try again next year. “
And what does the tall 6′ 6” rider think of his year? “Honestly I would give myself a C based on this year.”
“Honestly winning the USGP makes it a successful season. I haven’t been as good as I have in years past and I think it’s a combination of small little things getting in the way, crashes, getting sick and then other guys riding really fast. It’s harder to always stay on top especially when people are stepping up their game. I’m still doing well, I think I had a good year, we’ll see. If I go down to California, get some good training and then head over to Europe and finish it off on a stronger note that I have before then I’ll be happy with it.”