This weekend, North American cyclocross racers converged on Louisville, Kentucky to fill perhaps the biggest, deepest field yet this season. Weather was cooperative and as we mentioned in our weekend preview, a number of riders have been heating up lately. The depth of the field meant that racing was aggressive from the gun. Let’s take a look at what went down:
Day 1 –
After Ben Berden took the holeshot and won another $250 prize courtesy of Avid Brakes, Ryan Trebon took over to do what he does best: go hard at the front and ride everybody off his wheel by the virtue of steady, diesel power. He was followed by Jeremy Powers and Chris Jones, both of Rapha-Focus, but after Jones bobbled a tricky ride-up that would be decisive for a number of riders throughout the weekend, and a fast-bridging Ben Berden flatted away, Trebon and Powers were left to duke it out for the bulk of the race. Behind, a high-powered chase group coalesced, featuring Tim Johnson, Geoff Kabush, Danny Summerhill, Jamey Driscoll, Troy Wels, and Chris Jones.
The lead duo entered the final laps having exchanged the lead a number of times, and for a while, it looked like Trebon was going to emerge victorious, having stretched out a lead of a couple bike lengths over Powers. Powers, though, had the final word, regaining the lead, hitting the ride-up first, and entering the pavement just ahead of Trebon. Trebon, full of spirit, misshifted, and Powers took the win. Meanwhile, Tim Johnson and Geoff Kabush both pulled out leads over the chase group and were riding home the last of a tough time trial.
A few noteworthy items – Trebon and Powers are clearly head and shoulders above the rest of the field. Though Cyclingdirt’s commentary and Twitter both lit up with support for Tim Johnson’s inspired chase of Trebon and Powers, he never really came close.
Danny Summerhill was the “best of the rest,” beating others in the strong chase group for fifth place. He was also one of the few riders bunnyhopping the barriers. East Coast Hero Justin Lindine had an okay race, riding in 15th. It was good, but not great. Tristan Schouten, meanwhile, rode to a 10th place. Adequate but not on par with his capability. On Twitter, he expressed surprise at a 3rd row start – but he should know how the UCI points game is played by now.
Day 2 –
The news from the starting line was that during his pre-ride, Ryan Trebon crashed heavily and injured his knee. Though he entered the race, he was in obvious pain – cameras caught him going over the stairs, limping heavily. His discomfort was hard to watch considering his incredible performance the day before.
From early in the race, Geoff Kabush assumed Trebon’s role, hitting the front and keeping the pace high in an attempt to blow the race apart. But Kabush lacked Trebon’s power; Powers, Johnson, Todd Wells, and Ben Berden clung to him, with Wells looking the best. Wells looked eager to make up for his race the day before, when he had flatted out of the chase group and gone backwards fast.
In time the race came down to Wells and Powers: though strong, Kabush wasn’t able to keep the pace, and Johnson faded away, dropping back several places. Powers hit the pavement well ahead of Todd Wells and sat up to salute the crowd, but Wells wasn’t done talking – he was still sprinting behind, forcing Powers to sprint again before saluting. Wells never gave up, and charged Powers all the way to the line as Powers sprinted, saluted, and sprinted and saluted again.
Several notable results: Ben Berden outsprinted Chris Jones for 4th; Jones’s 5th place was a fine result. Trebon, despite his injury, scavenged a 10th place finish, behind Tristan Scouten, who scored his second top ten of the weekend. Lindine rode in for 12th place – again not an outstanding result, but this time, ahead of a number of impressive riders including Yannick Eckman, Danny Summerhill, and Zach hMcDonald.
Keep your eyes peeled for this week’s North American Cyclocross Power Rankings for some individual analyses of the continent’s top riders.