Todd Wells (Specialized) rode like a man on a mission in the elite men's short track US championship race on Sunday afternoon in Sun Valley, Idaho. After his flat tire yesterday cost him a chance to defend his 2011 cross country title, Wells set a blistering pace from the start and never looked back until he won the race.
"I was disappointed yesterday after the flat tire. [Sam] Schultz and I had been going back and forth and to not have a chance to race for it at the end sucked," said Wells. "I knew I had good form after last weekend and yesterday, and warming up today I felt like I had good legs."
It was Wells' third short track national title.
"This short track does not have much passing and is very dusty, so just going out front is a good tactic," said Wells. "Last year, I also had good form and led the whole race until the finish, and I wasn't going to do that this year. Once I saw I had a gap, I gave it everything to hold it."
As Wells was establishing his gap, one of the race favorites Ryan Trebon (Cannondale) dropped his chain. Others had to come around him as they tried to chase Wells. Trebon, who lost many places, saw his chances of a podium evaporate.
"I'm a little bummed. My wheel washed out in a turn, and I dabbed and it caused me to backpedal a little and the chain fell off," said Trebon. "I was trying to put it back on and everybody went by me. My chain was wrapped around the crank arm, and I had to untwist it and put it back on. We were out there already and warmed up, so I figured I'd just keep going anyway."
Behind Trebon, Adam Craig (Rabobank), Jeremy Horgan-Kobelski (Subaru-Trek) and Jeremiah Bishop (Cannondale) emerged as the major contenders to fight for second place. Several other riders hung on for a bit, but they could not handle the pace through the final laps.
"I pulled the whole second-to-last lap," said Horgan-Kobelski. "For me, there is no difference between second and fourth, and so I went all out just in case something happened to Todd. I never sat in. I went into the last lap pretty gassed.
Craig said, "Once Todd had that gap - this was a good course to ride away with a gap - you can ride steady by yourself. It was great riding with Jeremy, but we couldn't catch Todd."
JHK added, "That was hard. They [short tracks] are never easy. When Trebon dropped his chain and it splintered the front group, it was every man for himself after that. Todd was obviously the strongest guy today. We weren't closing on him and we were working hard. Adam and I took hard pulls and were chasing as hard as we could."
Bishop made a solo mid-race bid to bridge up to Wells, but waited too long and decided to sit up and wait for the Craig and JHK. As the others in the chase group dropped off, the trio of Bishop, Craig and Horgan-Kobelski were setting up for a three-up contest.
"I regret not chasing Wells sooner," said Bishop. "I waited one lap too long. The problem was the gap was too big at that point. When you're riding by yourself in no man's land, it's hard to gauge the effort. I looked back and saw Adam and Jeremy were working together to chase me, so I knew I had to sit up and wait for them in order to get them."
Horgan-Kobelski led most of the penultimate lap as he tried to help set up for Craig. Craig attacked a little sooner than Bishop was expecting - on the climb with about half a lap to go. Then Bishop counter-attacked Craig and held him off to take second place.
"I thought I was feeling decent," said Craig. "It would have been nice to punch Jeremiah's ticket for second place, but that's the way it goes. I was riding a dually so my card was on the rough pedalling section in the back. Jeremy set me up because we have a mutual desire to not get beat by Jeremiah, but then he did. Jeremiah stuck on my wheel when I made my move and he came around me with two straights to go. I could have chopped him, but I didn't."
Bishop said, "I did what I needed to do. Once they caught me, I knew I needed to sit on and vie for second. I knew I had to play a late card and I did. Adam jumped first, and I thought he had the same idea as me. I followed him until the last straight away and uncorked a big attack. I had some in reserve, but I wish I had gone sooner. I know where I should have been, and I should have been covering the move [by Wells] right away. It was a good race - you can't do it perfect every time."
Craig finished up in third ahead of JHK in fourth.
First-year elite rider Stephen Ettinger (BMC) put in a solid ride to finish in fifth for the final spot on the podium.
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Todd Wells (Specialized Racing)||0:29:46|
|2||Jeremiah Bishop (Cannondale Factory Racing)||0:00:16|
|3||Adam Craig (Rabobank/Giant Offroad Team)||0:00:21|
|4||Jeremy Horgan-Kobelski (Subaru/Trek)||0:00:27|
|5||Stephen Ettinger (Wenatchee Valley Velo)||0:00:34|
|7||Sam Schultz (Subaru-Trek)||0:00:38|
|8||Mitchell Hoke (Team Clif Bar)||0:00:47|
|9||Russell Finsterwald (Front Rangers Junior Cycling)||0:00:59|
|10||Spencer Paxson (Kona Bicycles)||0:01:02|
|12||Howard Grotts (Fort Lewis College)||0:01:10|
|13||Macky Franklin (Orbea-Tuff Shed)||0:01:16|
|14||Skyler Trujillo (Niner Stans Ergon)||0:01:23|
|15||Cody Kaiser (California Giant Berry Farms)||0:01:37|
|16||Zachary Valdez (Whole Athlete-Specialized)||0:01:41|
|17||Carl Decker (Giant Factory)||0:01:46|
|19||Michael Broderick (Kenda-Seven-NoTubes)||0:01:51|
|20||Colton Andersen (Durango Devo)||0:01:52|
|21||Colin Cares (Kenda/Felt)|
|22||Alexander Grant (Cannondale Factory Racing)||0:02:03|
|23||Robert Marion (American Classic Pro Team)||0:02:10|
|25||Tad Elliott (Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory)||0:02:20|
|26||Braden Kappius (Team Clif Bar)||0:02:30|
|27||Samuel Morrison (The Gear Movement/Epic Pro)||0:02:33|
|29||Cole Oberman (Guys Racing Club)||0:02:44|
|31||Kerry Werner (USA u23 BMC development team)||0:03:33|
|-3laps||Tyler Gauthier (Culvers Racing p/b Meyer Family)|
|-3laps||Travis Glysson (AZ Devo)|
|-3laps||Greg Krieger (Eriksen Cycles)|
|-3laps||Payson Mcelveen (USA U23)|
|-4laps||Davis Bentley (Above Category Racing)|
|-4laps||Drew Edsall (Kenda / Felt)|
|-4laps||Lewis Gaffney (Team F.I.Taos)|
|-4laps||David Harrison (Wild Rockies Racing Team)|
|-4laps||Tanner Hurst (Carpe Diem Racing)|
|-4laps||Peter Ostroski (Wild Things/Rocky Mountain)|
|-4laps||Rich Weis (Trek/Subaru)|
|-4laps||Travis Woodruff (Trek Bicycle Store Boulder)|
|-4laps||Brent Gorman (Volkswagen Boise)|
|-5laps||Darren Lightfield (Wild Rockies Inc)|
|-5laps||Jorge Munoz (Dominion - Falcon Bank)|
|DNS||Thomas Sampson (Team Alpine Clinic RCN)|
|DNS||Matthew Freeman (Team Redlands)|
|DNS||Colin Osborn (Honey Stinger)|
|DNF||Bryan Fawley (Obrea USA)|