By Colin Meagher
There's just one race remaining in the 2010 USGP CX series after Saturday's race in Portland, OR, and things are getting very interesting. Georgia Gould wrapped up the women's overall for the series, despite losing out to teammate Katerina Nash in a final sprint, while Cannondale's Jeremy Powers ripped the leader's jersey off teammate Tim Johnson's back. Day two promises to be a doozy.
Portland 'Cross racing is a thing of beauty. The tracks are always creative, and even on the worst days the crowds are rabid. It may not be on the scale of what we see in Europe, but it's a damn fine time, and having the final two races of the USGP series held here is a great cap to the 2010 season.
Women's Elite race: The Luna riders made the selection near the end of the first lap and essentially rode away from the rest of the field. Working together, series leader Georgia Gould and Katerina Nash put a serious damper onto anyone else’s hope for a top step, and forced the rest of the elites to brawl for third place. That spot was looking like a lock for Meredith Miller until an errant bit of broken course tape wound 'round her bike like a shrink wrapper. Sometimes you have a good race; sometimes you have a bad race. And sometimes, shit just happens. Unfortunately, Miller walked through door number three, allowing Portland's Sue Butler to bring home the bacon, so to speak, and seize third on the day. Miller eventually worked her way up to fifth—good enough to move up to second overall in the series.
The Luna riders came over the final barricades and into the finishing straight with Katerina Nash in the front, Gould a second or two back; and with the finish line in sight, never mind team camaraderie: Nash wanted the win, regardless of who was on her wheel. And take it she did, although Gould's second place earned enough points to seal the series win.
Men's Elite Race: With six races of the series in the bag, and two to go, barring a catastrophic melt down of some kind, only Jeremy Powers or Tim Johnson could win the overall series title. Heading into this race, Johnson had the lead, but bad legs for Johnson meant Powers had a chance to shine, and shine he did, despite Ryan Trebon's best effort—the Kona rider once again fell victim to bad luck. Trebon was dishing it out to Powers, but he was forced to exit stage left after his rear derailleur was sucked into the spokes just before he came through the finish area with two laps to go. With that sort of mechanical, and no title on the line, Trebon opted to exit stage left vs. take a thirtieth place.
Behind him, local talent, Chris Jones, was proving that his second lap attack wasn't just a show for locally based team sponsor (Rapha), and was holding his own in third place against a field that included the likes of Tim Johnson, Geoff Kabush, Canadian National Champ Chris Shepard and Jamie Driscoll. With Trebon out, Jones claimed second, while Johnson managed to find the legs to take third.
With just one race left in the series, and barely any points separating Powers from Johnson, day two promises to be a knock-down drag-out battle, teammates be damned.