Saturday, November 7, 2009
Wicks and Bishop take top spots at OBRA champs
PHOTO: 2009 OBRA Cyclocross tropies polished and waiting.
SALEM – Nature’s color palette turned stark grey as a legitimate Pacific Northwest soaker rolled into the Willamette Valley just in time to drench the Oregon Bicycle Racing Association’s cyclocross championships Saturday in Salem.
Kona’s Barry Wicks won the men’s A championship, a nice warm-up for Sunday’s Cross Crusade and SSCXWW at Portland International Raceway. Serena Bishop (Sunnyside Sports) rode away with the women’s A championship.
The pancake-flat venue at the Oregon State Fairgrounds made use of the maze of buildings and barns to give riders momentary relief from the downpour that waited outside. A sand trap, a live band and a quick rip across a motocross course were all mercifully under cover.
Wicks racked up his third victory in as many attempts after winning both Cross Crusade races Halloween weekend in Astoria, but this time the cast of characters riding at the front with the former Corvallis resident grew to as many as eight before Wicks left little doubt who the day belonged to.
“It was so windy and stormy, there was one section where it was really hard going so nobody wanted to work hard there,” Wicks said. “So it kind of stayed together. I wanted to have hard day of riding so I didn’t really hold back much. I just went for it.”
Joshua Berry (BODE) tried to stick with Wicks when he went. The Idaho rider quickly slipped off the Kona pro’s pace, falling back into a chase group with Taylor Kneuven, 2008 OBRA champ Kevin Hulick (Vanilla) and Ben Thompson (Desalvo Cycles).
Wicks built a comfortable lead and settled into a manageable pace on the front, while Hulick took control of the chase, finishing second on the day. Kneuven crossed the line in third ahead of Berry and Thompson in fourth and fifth.
WOMEN’S A RACE
With many of Oregon’s top women ‘crossers saving their energy for Sunday’s races in Portland, a select group of riders quickly settled into a battle for the OBRA championship podium spots Saturday in Salem.
Gentle Lovers’ Alalia Berry started off the first lap with Serena Bishop (Sunnyside Sports), Sunny Gilbert (Pacific Power/Blue Sky), Anna Vaughan (Hammer Velo) and Veronica Vega (Sunnyside Sports) nipping at her heels.
Berry and Bishop, two riders consistently fighting for podium spots at Cross Crusade, dropped the rest after several laps, with Gilbert chasing third in front of a well-strung out field.
Bishop outlasted Berry over the remaining laps and took the championship. Berry held onto second while Gilbert powered through the mud for third. Vega and Vaughan battled throughout the race and eventually settled on fourth and fifth, respectively.
OBRA Cyclocross Championships
Saturday, Nov. 7
SENIOR MEN A
1. Barry Wicks (Kona)
2. Kevin Hulick (Vanilla Workshop)
3. Taylor Kneuven ()
4. Joshua Berry (BODE)
5. Ben Thompson (Desalvo Cycles)
SENIOR WOMEN A
1. Serena Bishop (Sunnyside Sports)
2. Alalia Berry (Gentle Lovers)
3. Sunny Gilbert (Pacific Power/Blue Sky)
4. Anna Vaughan (Hammer Velo)
5. Veronica Vega (Sunnyside Sports)