Sunday, March 29, 2009
Rathe, Moon Take The Cake In Woodland Bluster
Junior National Team member Jacob Rathe (Hammer/CMG Racing) continued his hot streak by taking the Men's Pro/1/2 race in a two-up sprint at the 68-mile Piece of Cake Road Race Sunday in Woodland, Wash., while the Veloforma juggernaut propelled Miranda Moon over the finish line first in the Women's 1/2/3 event.
The race betrayed its inviting moniker when blustery winds turned the nearly pancake-flat course along the banks of the Columbia River into a battle with the gusts as well as each other.
Junior phenom Jacob Rathe, who leaves for Belgium this week with the USA Cycling Junior National Team, proved himself a tad faster than the men’s field again this week by winning the Piece of Cake. Rathe initiated a break almost immediately after the neutral roll out. Jeff Bannink (Team Type 1) and Shannon Skerritt joined Rathe in the escape, which left a temporarily splintered field behind.
Although he knew he was in good company, Bannink said having just three riders so early in the race was cause for concern.
“I knew with Jacob in the group that his teammates weren’t going to chase,” he said. “I figured a couple more guys would come up because three on the first lap is too few for that long of a race.”
Bannink’s foresight proved correct. Before the field had covered half a lap, two Washington riders, 2005 Collegiate National Champion Nick Clayville (Hagen-Berman) and Phil Elsasser (Fanatic Bike Co.), made their move to join the leaders. Now five strong, the lead group quickly started adding time to the gap, leading a chase group of about 10 riders by more than a minute and the remaining field by nearly four.
With about 2 ½ laps to go, Skerritt had fallen off the leaders’ pace and Elasser had fallen on hard times.
“In the middle of the second lap I flatted my rear tire,” Elasser said. “I got a wheel change and was about to hop back in that chasing group, and then I flatted my front immediately after.”
With the lead group back down to three, the load fell back on Clayville, Rathe and Bannick (pictured above) to make the move work.
“I was like, ‘Oh, only three of us left with 2 ½ to go,’” Bannink said. “But Jacob was super strong, and (Clayville) was just so smooth. I knew with the three of us, if I could just sit in there and roll it steady, we could stay away.”
Bannink’s intuition again proved right. The trio held their lead for the last laps, leaving time for some games before the finish.
Clayville tried several attacks, which peeled Bannink from the group, but Rathe kept clawing his way back.
"Me and Nick just kind of played cat and mouse the last few Ks," Rathe said. "We came around the finishing turn and kind of slowed down. So I jumped early with about 400 meters to go and got small gap on him."
Clayville fought his way back onto Rathe’s wheel where he sat for several meters before launching one last attempt to pass Rathe, whose bike throw won by inches at the line.
"He almost got me," Rathe said. "But..."
Bannink rolled in 30 seconds later to hold onto third. The first chase group crossed the line about 2:15 later led by Aaron Sander (Cyclepath) wheel to wheel with Team Oregon's Joseph King. The field trailed in minutes behind.
The Women Pro/1/2/3 tackled 51 miles on the wind-swept course. Newly upgraded Cat. 3 Lindsay Fox (Team Oregon) wasted little time acclimating to her new competition, escaping with a rider from the powerful Veloforma team and staying away for most of the last lap.
Team Group Health’s Jen Akeroyd said the field caught the two leaders after a series of attacks and counters.
“The last little bit of trying to catch them required jumps,” Akeroyd said. “Me jumping and then the Veloforma riders would jump around me, and I’d get on their wheel and jump again.”
With the group back together nearing the finish. Veloforma had the numbers to launch Miranda Moon past the competition, but not before Fox had another chance to test her legs. The Team Oregon rider attacked with a 5K to go and began the wind up to the finish, but the seasoned Veloforma squad took over from there.
“Elice (Huggins) from Veloforma picked it up from about 3K out,” Akeroyd said of the lead out. ”Then Susan (Peithman) came in around 2K and kept pulling through. Then Miranda took over from about 200 meters, and she just had better legs than me today.”
Akeroyd held on for second.
1. Jacob Rathe (Hammer/CMG Racing Team)
2. Nick Clayville (Hagen Berman)
3. Jeff Bannink (Team Type 1)
1. Miranda Moon (Veloforma)
2. Jen Akeroyd (Team Group Health)
3. Laura McGraw (Veloforma)
1. Karsten Hagen (Z Team)
2. Mark Steger (Nike)
3. Mark Magilner (Half Fast Velo)
Men Cat. 3
1. Zac Kovalcik (Team Beer)
2. Mike Stockton (Team Oregon)
3. Rob Wessel (Team Oregon)
1. Zack George (Beaverton Bicycle Club)
2. Kendal Johnson (Beaverton Bicycle Club)
3. Zach Bowden (Fred Meyer/Lakeside Cycling Team)
Complete photo galleries posted HERE.