Geoff Kabush (Scott-3 Rox Racing) followed his second-place finish Saturday at the UCI C1 Deschutes Brewery Cup in Bend with a win Sunday during the Cross Crusade series finale on the same snow-covered course. Bend's Carl Decker battled Kabush throughout for the day's victory, and his runner-up finish helped secure the second overall Cross Crusade title for the Giant Factory Team rider.
Although the Cross Crusade is sanctioned by the Oregon Bicycle Racing Association and not USA Cycling or the UCI, many of the Elite riders from Saturday's C1 event stuck around for another day of racing. The weather jumped from near zero on Saturday to double digits on Sunday, and the winds that added to the misery the day before also died down.
"It felt almost balmy out here today," joked Kabush, who wore a retro Banesto jersey and pink helmet for the race. "It was my first Cross Crusade, and I've always wanted to do one. It's a fun experience, and it was fun hanging out in Bend. The Cross Crusade guys put on awesome races."
Saturday winner Tim Johnson started the race in an orange reflective vest but stopped in the pits after a lap to get rid of the extra clothing. The distraction didn't help his effort, as he fell out of the top 10 when he sat out a lap later in the race.
"We have all of our bikes and our truck," Johnson said. "Why not race? This is the 'cross that I remember the most. It was fun. A lot of people on the course at the same time. If you pass someone they're happy to let you by. If you mess up then they'll be bummed out, but it's just a blast. With this course being as tight as it was and with all the snow, made for a lot of passing."
As is normally the case at the Cross Crusade, The Elite men shared the course with the Elite women and masters, although participation numbers were down from the 1,200-rider daily average for a typical Cross Crusade event.
Johnson grabbed the lead early on the first lap but soon surrendered his lead to Decker and Kabush. The two mountain bikers battled throughout the afternoon, with Kabush eventually gaining the upper hand as the lap board neared zero. At that point, Decker was left battling traffic to get back on terms with the Canadian national champ.
"We were pretty much the same," Decker said of how he and Kabush were riding. "I should have passed him going into the last lap because it's so hard to get by. And then I got gapped off a little bit. And that's just the way it is in traffic; sometimes the traffic helps you close it, and sometimes it opens it right up. It's a roll of the dice."
Decker was able to catch Kabush before the finishing straight, but the dice came up snake eyes for the Bend rider as Kabush surged ahead for the win at the line.
"It was neat that I caught him again and it came down to a sprint, because I felt like I was riding well yesterday, but I don't have many UCI points and I started in the back," Decker said. "It was frustrating. I had really good legs and was riding well, and I fought my way to 13th or something."
Nevertheless, Decker was happy to collect the prize for the series that is partially sponsored by Giant.
"It's been a good year, and I've been in the right place at the right time," he said. "It's been a good series."
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team|
|1||Geoff Kabush (Scott-3 Rox Racing)|
|2||Carl Decker (Giant Factory Team)|
|3||Troy Wells (Clif Bar)|
|4||Yannick Eckmann (California Giant-Specialized)|
|5||Cody Kaiser (California Giant-Specialized)|
|6||Jamey Driscoll (Raleigh-Clement)|
|7||Spencer Paxson (Kona)|
|8||Koblen Preble (Clif Bar)|
|9||Cameron Beard (Hutch's)|
|10||Mike Wilk (Durango Wheel Club)|
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