Saturday, December 26, 2009
CX Nationals Day 4 the end
Can you say, 'INTENSE'
Hottie and I enjoyed just a bit of a lay in Sunday morning. When I went outside I was able to see the place in the daylight for the first time since arriving Wednesday night. We weren’t interested in seeing the collegiate races, so our objective was the women’s elite race at 11:15. We took our time and loaded the war wagon for the return trip, and left the condo for good.
We arrived in time to see Zach McDonald battling for the win in the collegiate race. It was perhaps the best race of the long weekend with the lead changing multiple times each lap and Zach sprinting from behind in the final straight to take the win by a bike length. The swag came out and Hottie and I collected our fair share. We staked out our spots for the elite women.
Katie Compton rode with precision and power. The day was sunny and the ice that I had battled for three races was replaced by mud and grass. Katie rode like she was on a rail and she is so smooth, it was like watching a clinic. The other riders were gunning for second place and the morning was exciting.
The men’s race was set to be a showdown with six men who each believed they would win the day. Tim Johnson and Ryan Trebon both had multiple National CX titles and had been standouts all season long. Jeremy Powers had recently beaten them both in Portland and was in peak form. Todd Wells likewise was coming on strong in a late season surge. Jonathan Page had returned from Europe where he had recently collected a top ten finish and he was planning on earning his first star and stripes jersey. Olympian Adam Craig and Jamie Driscol had both been hot of late and so the front of the starting grid was the who’s who of American Cyclocross in 2009.
At the gun Jeremy Powers took off like a bat out of hell and pushed the first lap. Trebon and Johnson were about four seconds back and Wells, Page and Driscol about four more back. On the second lap J-Pow went down hard on Satan’s off camber (perhaps falling into the divot made my Evo’s big ass when he fell fifteen hours earlier). He was slow to get up and had to straighten his bars and when he remounted he had dropped to seventh or so.
Johnson pounced on Trebon to take the lead and looked like he was putting in a surge with all he had. Five seconds back Page and Wells were trading jabs and trying to catch the leading duo. Johnson grimaced as he wrestled his bike around the corners not letting up for a second. Trebon looked relaxed and appeared to be waiting to attack. At this point my money was on Ryan. I figured Johnson couldn’t keep up the intensity and Trebon would power away.
Lap after lap, Tim Johnson grimaced and gained a second or two while Ryan Trebon waited for an opportunity to unleash his power. As the laps wore on, the relentless effort of Tim Johnson added ever so slightly to the tiny gap until he had twenty seconds.
At the finish Johnson threw up his arms in victory. Trebon arrived moments later to rousing cheers for the local hero. After congratulating Johnson, Trebon’s first words were that he had ridden too conservatively. Page and Wells dueled to the line and J-Pow claimed fifth and the final podium spot.
We collected the propane heater from a grateful Andrew, let him download Hottie’s photos and we set off for home. We arrived late and I had to submit a report for work that went electronically just before midnight. I unloaded the wagon and left my packed bags downstairs.
I had exchanged some Pearl Izumi Thermal legwarmers I bought in Bend for a smaller size because they fell down so quick I was shocked. At home I tried on the smaller size (a large for those playing along at home) and they fell down before I left the room. Pearl, you make some great stuff, these legwarmers aren’t among them…
Hottie’s back was on fire and we were both staggeringly tired. Although our bags were not unpacked and there was bike work that still needed to be done we called our Nationals weekend done.