With a win each under their belt, a heated throwdown was expected from Ryan Trebon (Kona/FSA) and Jeremy Powers (Cannondale prepared by Cyclocrossworld.com) and boy did they deliver. Two laps into the race, it was mano y mano, Trebon’s power vs Powers’ technical skills – and a little extra in his choice of tires. After consulting with Cyclocrossworld.com head honcho Stu Thorne and his teammate Tim Johnson, Powers decided to go with a Dugast Rhino in the front and Typhoon in the back.
The gamble paid off for Powers who came away with back-to-back wins. “It’s just good for the both of us again because we can really beat up on each other and raise our games. Empty the tank, go back, lick our wounds.”
And it was a no holds barred battle out there, and afterwards the rivals waited together for the podium, laughing and talking to fans.
The pair went at it, hitting on each other’s weak spots and playing up their own strengths. They took turns at the front trying to ditch the other until a passthrough the sandpit with less than three laps to go. The central feature of the Harbin course is the sandpit which the riders pass through twice each lap, the first time on an tough uphill from the finish line and then, going downhill a few minutes later.
Halfway through the race, the pair made their way to the right-hand turn to the pit on the downhill section. Powers, at the front, took the inside line and Trebon put in a huge acceleration to try and pass him on the outside. But Powers was able to match his speed forcing Trebon to put a foot down when he hit the sand and that was enough for Powers to get a small gap. Then he ‘just’ had to hold it.
Trebon did claw his way back up to his rival a few times but Powers hit him again and with two to go, the gap stuck. Feeling the heat, with temperatures hitting low 90s, Powers kept on pushing the pace, giving a final look to see where Trebon was before celebrating his consecutive wins.
Once again the race started off fast with Powers getting the holeshot with the field lined up behind him. But Trebon came to the front and was the first through the sandpit, it was on! The casualty of the duel was the rest of the field when a separation was made in the first lap. Trebon, Powers, Geoff Kabush (Maxxis-Rocky Mountain) and Chris Jones (Rapha-Focus) were off the front. Behind a chase group with Troy Wells (Clif Bar), Jake Wells (Hudz-Subaru), Brian Matter (GearGrinder), Tristan Schouten (cyclocrossracing.com/Blue/Rolf Prima) and Barry Wicks (Kona/FSA).
The attacks continued which caused Kabush and Jones to drop back together. But not for long, as Jones came around Kabush who dropped further back after the crahs. After a slow start to the cross season, Jones concentrated on being smooth yet still ride strong to claim third on the day.
Jeremy Powers (Cannondale p/b Cyclocrossworld.com). “I think that one thing that really happened today is that I gambled with my tires choice. I used Rhino in the front and Typhoon in the back. I called Tim and Stu and I said ‘Stu what do you think about a Rhino today?’ and he said ‘Just run it at this pressure’. I thought okay and I’ll try it. I went out, I rode it and I was pretty happy with the set up, I just used that for the pre-rides and said well it’s going to be a gamble, because it’s going to be Ryan’s power versus my technical skills. So I gapped him in certain sections and he brought me back. I was planning o getting 5 seconds every time through the chicanes down before you come onto the start/finish. I knew that if I got five seconds there every lap through the course of 5, 6, 7 laps that would be a lot of time. It would be hard for him, even as strong as he is right now to make that up. It was important that I did that, like I said I gambled I came out on top and I’m pretty happy. It doesn’t happen like that every time but today it did.”
About the final laps. “I was taking water on and I was going slower through the pit and he was able to get back on but I knew that I needed to continue to cool myself. I wasn’t afraid to give up those seconds because I wanted to be cool, it’s a trade-off, again it’s a gamble. Well do I let him catch back on, is he bluffing me not going super hard in that section and then is he going to light me up? Again, I just gambled on it and looked at the way he was riding and tried to keep my gap. Through the sand section and I knew that he wasn’t coming back to me and I was able to get to the sand first, I felt confident that I was going to get a good shot at it.”
Ryan Trebon (Kona/FSA). “It was hot out there. It’s hard race, that drag to the finish line and then you have to re-accelerate through the sandpit. It was a good race because Powers is a little faster through some of the sections and I was bringing him back in other areas so we kind of stayed together. I was sliding around a lot, I probably had 1 or 2 psi too low in the back and I was letting it hang around and drifting everywhere. It was a good race. Super hot out there again.”
About the final laps. “He kind of had a gap and I couldn’t bring it back. I’d put really hard digs into getting ten feet from his wheel. Then we’d get to a section and he had a little bit momentum and he got away. I was spending all this energy, I was really pushing it in the last two laps trying to get back up to him. I couldn’t quite slid fast enough through some of these turns.”
Chris Jones (Rapha-Focus). “It started kind of typical for the weekend. I got a horrible start and then came back, crashed the first lap and then slowly came back from there. [Crashed] over there by the funhouse. There’s a left-hand uphill little 180 with roots, and then I slipped out on the roots, typical roadie thing to do.”
About his race. “It was the four of us, Kabush and I were there. Kabush got gapped and I was on the limit and got around him. It was flashback of last year when Kabush and I were together all the time. Then I got a gap on Kabush and he crashed I guess. I had a few seconds on him and then I heard something happened. I rode from there, time-trialed. I gapped him on the backside on these false flats and then he crashed somewhere down on the lower side before the barriers, somewhere of the off-camber turns. I couldn’t see, I could just hear. I don’t know if he crashed, if he broke his bike. Jeremy and Ryan were gone, they are on a different level right now, those guys are so strong. It was just trying to hold off Kabush at the point.”
Was today’s course more suited to your skills? “More so than the first day, that was ridiculous. (laughs) Yesterday and today were both good courses for me. I’m kind of coming on slow and hopefully we keep going up from here.”
How satisfied is he with his weekend? “Pretty satisfied. We added this weekend after Madison. The team is new, everything is new all the equipment is new, riders are new and we had some rough stuff going on at Madison so we added this weekend to make up points with today as a goal, and it worked out. The podium in a C1 is pretty good, we’ll take it especially against those two, they’re world-class riders.”
1. Jeremy Powers (Cannondale p/b Cyclocrossworld.com)
2. Ryan Trebon (Kona/FSA)
3. Chris Jones (Rapha-Focus)
4. Geoff Kabush (Maxxis-Rocky Mountain)
5. Brian Matter (GearGrinder)
6. Barry Wicks (Kona/FSA)
7. Tristan Schouten (cyclocrossracing.com/Blue/Rolf Prima)
8. Jake Wells (Hudz-Subaru)
9. Troy Wells (Clif Bar)
10. Mike Sherer (Verizon U25 Team p/b Abd)