Sunday, November 1, 2009

Wicks doubles in Astoria, Butler wins women's race

ASTORIA – Sue Butler (Monavie/Cannondale) suited up for the costume race at Cross Crusade #6 Sunday in Astoria and rode to her first series win of the season, while “Cougar Bait” Barry Wicks (Kona) doubled up after taking Saturday’s opener in the Halloween weekend of racing.

Mud from Saturday’s intermittent rain got tacky when Sunday turned into an unseasonably warm, clear day on Oregon’s northern coast.

Butler, who has been trying to recover from a cold before she heads to the World Cup race in Nomay, France and then straight back to the states for the upcoming USGP races in New Jersey, told her coach she wasn’t going to race this weekend.

“The coach doesn’t know,” said Butler, who worked the pits for husband Tim at Saturday’s races. “I got a text this morning saying, ‘How you feeling?’”

Butler’s result Sunday gave her the answer after she gained an advantage on the first lap, built a comfortable lead, and then held it to the finish.

“I felt pretty good out there,” Butler said. “I was able to keep it under control. It’s not like chasing Katie Compton around, but there’s still so much competition around here you just never know. I kept seeing the nun coming up behind me.”

The “nun” was series leader Wendy Williams (Hudz-Subaru), who won the first three races before absences and mishaps interrupted her streak. Williams pushed the pace and kept it upright on the slippery, technical course, but she was never able to reel back Butler’s initial advantage.

“The costume was hot,” said Williams, whose outfit may not have been well suited to the unseasonably warm, clear day on the coast. “It was a hard course. The corners and around the barns were really hard. And I was slow on the descents. So I’d just work really hard on the uphills to maintain my position.”

Cross Crusade veteran Rhonda Mazza (Team S&M) and last weekend’s winner Emily Van Meter (Hudz-Subaru) both missed the first day of racing but stormed to third and fourth, respectively, on Sunday. Gentle Lovers’ Alalia Berry rounded out the top five. Saturday’s winner Alice Pennington (Veloforma) had a rough day in triathlon garb, dropping to 10th.

After collecting the win, Butler seemed pretty pleased with her decision to join in.

“It’s kind of fun to be back on Halloween and just feel the scene again and get the crowd support,” she said. “It’s good to be home in front of the home crowd. Even if I didn’t feel good I probably would have raced just to race.”

"Couger Bait" Wicks makes it two in a row

Wicks’ break from the NACT schedule paid off with two wins on his former home turf. On Saturday he stomped away from the soon-to-be-strung-out field during the first lap, but on Sunday the Kona rider took a little more time to lay claim to the race.

“A lot of these guys are going for the series overall, so I don’t want to be too big an influence on that,” said Wicks, who put in several hours of training on the coast before his race started at 3 p.m. “I let them kind of sort things out before I decided to really start riding. Plus, I hadn’t pre-ridden, so I had no idea where we were going for the first lap.”

Wicks and Sean Babcock (Team S&M) opened up a gap on the first lap with Saturday’s runner-up Molly Cameron (Portland Bicycle Studio) and Eric Sheagley (Veloce/Felt). Sheagley came off the lead pace first, followed by Cameron, who dropped a chain and crashed on an uphill section. Babcock crashed next, falling hard as he was descending through a muddy corner on a section of pavement.

That’s when Shannon Skerritt found himself in second place chasing after Wicks, who was riding smooth and steady in the lead.

“I was hoping I could catch Barry,” Skerritt said. “But he was doing just enough to stay away. He’s smart.”

Skerritt was smart, too, riding hard but cautiously on the slippery course.

“You couldn’t go too hot into some of the corners,” he said. “That’s how I got second; from other people making mistakes and I was making fewer. I’m not the fittest guy out there, but I can handle my bike alright and I’m conservative sometimes in the corners.”

Skerritt’s biggest obstacle turned out to be a barrier crossing where an out-of-line spectator sprayed him in the face with beer because he wasn’t wearing a costume.

“It got a little mean-spirited out there,” he said. “It was a little too much, getting’ the beer sprayed in my eyes. I couldn’t really see at one point.”

Wicks, the professional, prepared himself with a costume.

“I heard they were shooting people with paintball guns if they didn’t have costumes on,” Wicks said. “So I made sure to get one.”

Wicks paced himself to a comfortable win over Skerritt, who held onto second in front of Sheagley in third. Babcock finished fourth, with Kevin Hulick (Gentle Lovers) in fifth. Cameron crossed the line in sixth.

“These Cross Crusade races are probably the most excitement and the coolest races I do all year,” Wicks said. “I race all the big series and everything else, but nothing can compare to the Portland scene. There’s such a culture of it and everything else.”

For more photos check out HERE.

Cross Crusade #6
Astoria, Oregon
Sunday, Nov. 1

Senior Men A
1. Wicks, Barry (Kona)
2. Skerritt, Shannon (Vanilla Workshop)
3. Sheagley, Eric (Veloce/Felt)
4. Babcock, Sean (Team S&M)
5. Hulick, Kevin (Vanilla Workshop)
6. Cameron, Molly (Portland Bicycle Studio)
7. Thompson, Ben (DeSalvo Custom Cycles)
8. Gallagher, Michael (C3 Athletes)
9. Luelling, Brett (Capitol Subaru Cycling)
10. Nichols, Brett (BODE Cycling)
Senior Women A
1. Butler, Sue (Monavie/Cannondale)
2. Williams, Wendy (Hudz-Subaru)
3. Mazza, Rhonda (Team S&M)
4. Van Meter, Emily (Hudz-Subaru)
5. Alalia, Berry (Gentle Lovers)
6. Faris, Megan (River City Bicycles)
7. Bishop, Serena (Sunnyside Sports)
8. Vega, Veronica (Sunnyside Sports)
9. Jenkins, Abby (Super Reflex Concept)
10. Pennington, Alice (Veloforma)