Oregon's mountain bike scene got a taste of summer Sunday as beautiful, sunny skies and temperatures climbing into the 70s greeted racers at Horning's Hustle, the second stop of the Oregon XC Series.
For the first time in three editions of the event, the course was mostly dry, which meant fast lap times and short races. Each five mile lap consisted of four smaller "loops" that converged at the central part of the venue. This made for great spectating but some confusion as the PRO field began lapping the other categories almost immediately on the second lap.
Fourteen PRO riders took the line for a truncated opening lap, and after the first section of singletrack, Sean Babcock (S&M), Brig Brandt (Rebound), and James Williams (Cannondale) were leading the race with Evan Plews (Capitol Subaru Cycling) and Carl Decker (Giant) some seconds behind. Brandt was the first to fall off the pace, then Babcock. Plews steadily closed the gap with Decker following.
By the halfway point in the lap, Plews had caught and passed Williams and began to open a gap. That's when things got a little crazy. Plews missed a turn and took Williams off course with him. Decker and Babcock caught up during the confusion and the foursome began the second lap together.
Both Williams and Plews were riding singlespeeds, but Plews began to have chain a problem dropping his chain during the second lap and lost more than a minute on the leaders. Meanwhile Babcock seemed to be at his limit and was also losing time. Plews kept his chain problems at bay throughout most of the third lap and was able to again overtake Babcock and hold onto third position for the remainder of the race.
At the front, Williams seemed to be suffering while Decker rode away for the eventual victory.
Ben Thompson (Cannondale) overtook Brandt for fifth place while Brett Luelling (Capitol Subaru Cycling) rounded out the top seven. Plews leads Williams in overall points as the series heads to Mt. Hood for Bear Springs Trap April 25-26.
Check out Oregon Velo for photos.
PRO Men Results
1. Carl Decker (Giant)
2. James Williams (Cannondale)
3. Evan Plews (Capitol Subaru Cycling/ScottUSA)
4. Sean Babcock (S&M)
5. Ben Thompson (Cannondale)
6. Brig Brandt (Rebound)
7. Brett Luelling (Capitol Subaru Cycling)
Pro/Cat 1 Women
1. Alice Pennington
2. Shannon Holden
3. Megan Murray
4. Veronica Vega
5. Lea Julson
6. Sarah Sturdy
7. Susan Grandjean
8. Pamela Archer
9. Anissa Cobb