Tim Johnson (Cannondale-Cyclocrossworld.com) fought off the bitter cold and a powerful start from Canadian Geoff Kabush (Scott-3Rox Racing) Saturday in Bend to win the Deschutes Brewery Cup, the final UCI C1 race on USA Cycling's Pro Cyclo-cross Calendar.
With temperatures at race time hovering near zero Fahrenheit and the familiar venue in Bend's Old Mill District covered in about six inches of fine powdery snow, riders needed a combination of skills, fitness and just-plain grit to push through an hour of racing as the sun began to set over Central Oregon.
The frozen, slippery conditions suited Johnson, who won a national title in Bend in 2009 under similar conditions.
“I enjoy the technical part,” Johnson said. “It's always a test. You have to go as fast as you can without going too fast, so it's a finesse thing and you kind of find these lines. But like everyone else out there – I'm sure – I crashed a couple of times and I scared myself a couple of times.”
Kabush struck first with a powerful first lap that only Yannick Eckmann (California Giant-Specialized) could follow. Johnson trailed just a little ways behind about halfway through the opening lap, with Ben Berden (Raleigh-Clement) right behind him. Other pre-race favorites, including Bend resident Ryan Trebon (Cannondale-Cyclocrossworld.com), Pro CX Calendar leader Jeremy Powers (Rapha-Focus) and Raleigh-Clement's Jamey Driscoll, were bunched up in traffic and still fighting their way to the front.
As Eckmann started to fade off Kabush's pace at the front, Johnson was clawing his way back to the leaders, first catching Eckmann and then dropping the Cal Giant rider. He caught Kabush a lap later and surged ahead of him as they passed though the start/finish about a third of the way through the race.
“Geoff was riding so fast at the beginning of the race that it was really tough to get him,” Johnson said. “And then once we were riding together, I was just trying desperately to get around him. He was flying.”
Once past Kabush, Johnson pressed the pace for the first third of the next lap and established what would eventually be his winning gap. Kabush chased Johnson by himself throughout the remainder of the race but could only get within 20 seconds of the winner by the finish.
Behind the two leaders, Eckmann continued to fade and dropped to sixth as Driscoll and Trebon poured it on. Powers, with his entire face covered with a mask, started to warm up and was also slowly moving forward. The series leader had just enough juice to get past Trebon by end of the race, finishing fourth behind Driscoll, 1:40 off Johnson's pace. Trebon settled for fifth, another 14 seconds back.
After the race, Johnson praised the spectators who braved the cold to come out and watch the race, and he noted that the riders weren't the only people at the venue looking for clever ways to beat the cold.
“I saw some groups of people who would go to their car and then come back out, then go to the car and come back out every time I was coming around,” he said. “It was awesome, awesome riding out there. So much fun.”
Cyclo-cross continues Sunday in Bend with the final race of the 2013 Cross Crusade series.
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Tim Johnson (USA) Cannondale p/b Cyclocrossworld.com||1:01:57|
|2||Geoff Kabush (Can) Scott-3Rox Racing||0:00:20|
|3||James Driscoll (USA) Raleigh-Clement||0:00:31|
|4||Jeremy Powers (USA) Rapha-Focus||0:00:40|
|5||Ryan Trebon (USA) Cannondale-Cyclocrossworld.com||0:00:54|
|6||Yannick Eckmann (USA) California Giant-Specialized||0:01:15|
|7||Allen Krughoff (USA) Raleigh Clement||0:01:27|
|8||Ben Berden (Bel) Raleigh-Clement||0:02:13|
|9||Danny Summerhill (USA) K-Edge/Felt Bicycles||0:02:27|
|10||Troy Wells (USA) Team Clif Bar||0:02:36|
|11||Tristan Schouten (USA) Optum-Kelly Benefit Strategies||0:02:38|
|12||Cody Kaiser (USA) California Giant-Specialized||0:03:00|
|13||Carl Decker (USA) Giant Bicycle||0:03:02|
|14||Aaron Schooler (Can) Team H&R Block||0:03:07|
|15||Benjamin Sonntag (Ger) Team Clif Bar||0:03:11|
|16||Logan Owen (USA) California Giant-Specialized||0:03:27|
|17||Jeremy Durrin (USA) Optum-Kelly Benefit Strategies||0:03:35|
|18||Kevin Bradford-Parish (USA) Set Coaching-Specialized||0:03:37|
|19||Michael Van Den Ham (Can) Cycle-Smart|
|20||Mitchell Hoke (USA) Optum-Kelly Benefit Strategies||0:04:25|
|21||Spencer Paxson (USA) Kona||0:04:43|
|22||Kevin Noiles (Can) Bicycle Blue Books-HRS||0:05:19|
|23||Scott Chapin (USA) Bicycle Blue Book-HRS||0:05:28|
|24||Mike Wilk (USA) 3D Racing||0:05:32|
|25||Joachim Parbo (USA) Challenge Tires||0:05:48|
|26||Sean Babcock (USA) Team S&M||0:07:06|
|27||Tobin Ortenblad (USA) California Giant-Specialized||0:08:59|
|28||Shawn Mitchell (USA) Joyride-Cycles.com|
|29||Kolben Preble (USA) Clif Bar Development Cross Team|
|30||Barry Wicks (USA) Kona|
|31||Josh Johnson (USA) Giant Bicycle|
|32||Andre Sutton (Can) Hardcore Bikes|
|33||Josh Kelley (USA) Bailey Bikes Spy|
|34||Wodtli (USA) Speedvagen Racing Machines|
|35||Patrick Means (USA) Team S&M|
|36||Andrew Juiliano (USA) Bicycle Blue Book/hrs/rock Lobs|
|37||Chris Bagg (USA) Athletes Lounge Cycling Team|
|38||Nick Schaffner (USA) Marc Pro-Strava|
|39||Brad Winn (USA) Team S&M|
|40||Kris Sneddon (Can) Kona|
|41||Kailin Waterman (USA) Bicycle Blue Book-HRS|
|42||Kaler Marshall (USA) Allegro Cyclery|
|43||Derek Yarra (USA) Mash SF|
|DNF||Zach McDonald (USA) Rapha-Focus|
|DNF||Ryan Knapp (USA) Pony Shop Cyclocross|
|DNS||Christopher Jones (USA) UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling|
|DNS||Scott Gray (USA) Team Oregon|
|DNS||Colin Dunlap (USA) Hutches Bend|
Growing up in Missoula, Montana, Pat competed in his first bike race in 1985 at Flathead Lake before studying English and journalism at the University of Oregon. He has covered North American cycling extensively since 2009, as well as racing and teams in Europe and South America. Pat currently lives in the US outside of Portland, Oregon.
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