Sunday, October 4, 2009

Trebon and Williams conquer Crusade opener

Riding his singlespeed, Ryan Trebon led a trio of Kona riders onto the podium of the Men's A race at Alpenrose Sunday during the Cross Crusade opener. Wendy Williams (Hudz-Subaru) battled Alice Pennington (Veloforma) throughout the Women's A race and moved ahead on the last lap to cruise in for the win.

More than 1,400 riders flooded the fields of Alpenrose Dairy in southwest Portland for the opening salvo of the 2009 Cross Crusade. Despite rain earlier in the week, blue skies and pleasant temperatures on race day kept the course from showing any signs of mud.

The course featured a starting pavement loop through the wild west town, long stretches of fast-but-bumpy grass pastures with some slightly off-camber turns, a steep-but-short run up, a winding loop in and out of the velodrome onto more grass, and then a treacherous cement staircase with a single switchback.

Trebon and Wicks played hookie from the North American Cyclcross Trophy circuit this weekend in Gloucester, Mass., to race a little closer to home. Trebon warmed up for the Men’s A race by taking out the field in the Singlespeed event. Then he rode the same singlespeed bike to a win in the Men’s A race in front of Kona teammates Wicks and Erik Tonkin.

“I didn’t want to fly across the country,” Trebon said of his decision to skip Gloucester and stay close to home for the Cross Crusade opener at the dairy, giving the team mechanic a break as well. “This is a great race. It’s hard. I like it better than the USGP races we do at PIR.”

Team S&M’s Sean Babcock, Vanilla’s Shannon Skerritt and Portland Bicycle Studio’s Molly Cameron joined the Kona trio at the front of the men’s field in the early running. But when Wicks and Trebon decided to drop the hammer in the closing laps of the 60-minute race, the pair quickly built a 15-20 second gap over the rest.

Babcock and Tonkin formed a chase behind. Skerritt, a Masters national champ in 2005, said he tried to hang with Kona’s dynamic duo early but lost touch when Trebon put the hammer down after the steep cement staircase.

The battle for third was left for Tonkin and Babcock, who rides for a club sponsored by Tonkin’s Sellwood Bicycle Repair shop. In the finale, the pair exited the last set of barriers together and turned a 180 onto the velodrome apron for the sprint to the finish about half a lap away. Babcock got stuck behind traffic and was forced to go onto the track’s banking while Tonkin took the shorter route on the apron. The popular Portland ‘cross world cup veteran held off the charging young rider and got third. Babcock settled for fourth. Skerritt was fifth. Cameron experienced technical difficulties but hung on for sixth.


Current Masters 40-44 champion Wendy Williams (Hudz-Subaru) and Veloforma’s Alice Pennington made it a two-rider battle royale at the front of the 60-minute Women’s A race.

Distancing themselves from the rest of the field early in the race, the pair punched and counter-punched throughout the race. Although nothing stuck, the constant back and forth drove the pace and gave the pair a sizeable lead over the rest of the field.

“It was a lot of back and forth,” Williams said of her daylong dual with Pennington. “Things went well until I crashed.”

Williams took a fall exiting the velodrome as the men’s field was entering through the same gate, but the Hudz-Subaru rider managed to fight her way back to Pennington, who came into the Cross Crusade opener having won three races in a row.

With time winding down, Williams poured on extra coal in the closing laps and opened a gap on her Veloforma rival, finishing comfortably ahead of Pennington for the win and the early series lead. Team S&M’s Rhonda Mazza won the battle for third ahead of Megan Faris (River City Bicycles) and Emily Van Meter (Hudz-Subaru).

The complete Cycling Action photo gallery for this race is now posted online HERE.

Cross Crusade #1
Alpenrose Dairy
Oct. 4

Men A
1. Ryan Trebon (Kona)
2. Barry Wicks (Kona)
3. Erik Tonkin (Kona)
4. Sean Babcock (Team S&M)
5. Shannon Skerritt (Vanilla Bicycles)

Women A
1. Wendy Williams (Hudz-Subaru)
2. Alice Pennington (Veloforma)
3. Rhonda Mazza (Team S&M)
4. Megan Faris (River City Bicycles)
5. Emily Van Meter (Hudz-Subaru)