Watching the USA cyclocross scene this year has been fascinating, with both Jeremy Powers (Rapha-Focus) and Ryan Trebon (LTS/Felt) moving on to new teams and each racing with increased motivation and winning races.
Powers is not only showing more focused energy but more confidence in the technical sections which he explained as “just me working on the new bike.”
“I’ve been doing a lot of riding on my cross bike, off road and it’s been helping me a lot. I’ve been making time to do it and it’s something I haven’t done in years past and it’s certainly working. I just feel like I’m not super nervous to do things.” Powers told podiuminsight.
Powers and Trebon split the first two races of the Cincinnati3 Cyclocross Festival. But one difference however is that Powers had still not won a C1 race this year.
Walking the talk. Coming into the third and final race of the weekend, the C1 at Harbin Park, Powers stated his intentions very clearly. “I definitely want to win tomorrow. All guns blazing.” he said after finishing third to Trebon in Saturday’s race.
Using his fast start kick, Powers took the holeshot to take over the front of the race with the field lined up behind but then his teammate Zach McDonald, who also had a great start, took over the pacemaking and then started to pull away from the shattered field. A few seconds behind were Powers and Trebon together followed by a small chase group further back.
According to Powers, that move was not planned. “He hasn’t been able to do that all year so definitely it was surprising to me when he came by. When we were pre-riding, he came by me and I was like ‘did he cut the course, how did he come up’.” smiled Powers.
“He’s been riding better and better and he’s definitely one of the guys that I think is the future of this country. So it’s just working with him this year, slowly teaching him all the small things like shaving your legs is important.” Powers added with a laugh.
Then the one became three at the front until Powers attacked and got a gap. A 10-seconds gap to a chasing Trebon that Powers held for most of the race.
“I looked at Ryan and I could tell where I was marking him on the course and then I could tell if he’d get a little bit.” said Powers who wanted to make to keep enough gas in the tank for the final laps.
“I don’t know what he was thinking, I don’t know if he was marking, kind of waiting late, I don’t know tactically what he was thinking.” Powers said of Trebon’s chase. “So I just held at ten seconds and anytime he’d brought that back I extended again, I just wanted to make sure that I had enough for the last two laps. I knew I could do that as hard as I could.”
It worked out for Powers. “We’ve been playing a lot of games this year so I wanted to be ahead of the curve, when I say I want to win, I want to try to win, that was the goal for today, I said I wanted to win today, when I say that I want to be able to do it.”
Getting points. Finally, Powers claimed his first C1 race of the season.
“I am really happy to be able to win a C1 but I’m happy to be able to win here because obviously I’ve been successful in Ohio. These races have been important to me from the get go, I’m happy to be able to win here, I’m happy to be able to win in the middle of the season, I’m happy to be able to win when I say I want to win.”
C1 races not only offer more money but more UCI points. Those all important points that are used to stage riders at cross races.
“I need these points for next year and for the World Cups and I need all this stuff. It’s all part of the deal towards Louisville next year because this does makes a difference with the World Cups coming up which are going to help me to get to the front line of Worlds next year.” he explained.
The goal for Powers is to be on the front row of the 2013 Cyclocross World Championships in Louisville, KY. But the problem for North American racers is that World Cups offer up more points and all the World Cups are located in Europe. So is it really possible for Powers to be in the front row at Worlds without racing a lot of World Cups? “No, that’s the problem. It affects three guys, me, Tim (Johnson) and Ryan.” Powers replied.
And to make it more difficult for non-European based riders is the fact that the UCI went back to a 12-month rolling calendar to accumulate UCI points. The new methodology was part of the updated rules released this summer, yet Powers missed the change and scheduled his season to get the most points possible early on, with an eye on being on the front row of the two first World Cups this year – as he told us earlier this season.
If the old way of counting points had been used, Powers would have been there, lined up next to Sven Nys, Bart Wellens and all the others. (podiuminsight also missed the updated rules when they came out this summer).
“I messed up.” Powers acknowledged. “I put so much emphasis on the beginning of the year and that I would be high in the points and then I could rest and come back while those guys were catching up and then it turns out that they changed the way the points were scored so, I kind of screwed myself a little bit.”
Powers started on the second row in the two World Cups and finished tenth in the first one and fifteenth in the second.
After his first trip to Europe, Powers took a weekend off and re-tooled his schedule. “That’s why I took Boulder off.” he said. “I needed the break and I came back good for his weekend.”
His next race is the Exergy Gran Prix of Cyclocross Derby City Cup coming up this weekend.
“I’m going to go to Louisville and then I’m going to take a little bit of a break. A bunch of little breaks now.” he said.
Then he will go back to Europe for the Koksijde World Cup in Belgium, the same course where the 2012 World Championships will be held. Also on the schedule is finale of the USGP in Bend, Oregon and of course, the USA National Championships in January.