Hansen, Akeroyd beat conditions for BB#2 wins
HENRY HAGG LAKE — On a day of record rainfall that washed across the Hagg Lake loop in sheets and waves, last week’s Banana Belt podium placers battled again — or worked together — but came up with slightly different outcomes. Despite Oregon Cup status, the heavy rain dropped participation by nearly 100 riders for the second race of the series, but the elements made for an intense and focused day of racing.
In the women’s Cat 1/2/3 event, Sorella Forte set the bar again with last week’s first- and third-place riders Leia Tyrrell and Jen Akeroyd forcing a hard pace that discouraged attacks or doomed them to be short-lived in the miserable conditions. Wearing her 2010 OBRA Road Race Champions jersey, Tyrrell rode the front of the group and generally tried to protect Akeroyd throughout the four laps. When the group approached the finale mostly intact, Tyrrell dropped the hammer and pulled Akeroyd within striking distance of the line, where her Sorella Forte teammate jumped ahead for the win. Tyrrell hung on for second, with Cat 3 Sarah Fletcher (Therapeutic Associates) taking third.
The men’s Cat 1/2 race boiled down to a gunfight between last week’s top two riders. A group of six initial escapees sneaked off early into the 66-mile effort, including Hansen and Kneuven. The lead group whittled itself down to five when Josh Liberles (HP Chiro/Alpine Mortgage Planning) flatted about halfway through the six-lap effort, but the five remaining riders worked together well enough to build a lead that hovered around two minutes. Kneuven pared three more riders from the break when he dug deep for an extended effort near the end of the fifth lap as the leaders hit the first climb past the dam at the south end of the lake.
“It was just the two of us from there,” Hansen said.
Rounding the Lake for the final lap, Kneuven put in several more attacks as the the two riders staged a rematch of last week’s finish. But this time it was Hansen who got the edge in the final kilometers, countering one last Kneuven attack over the rolling ascents that follow the major climb on the finish-line side of the dam.
“He really tried to punch it over one of those, but I stepped in,” Hansen said. “He was pretty much blown at the point, and I knew I had to go now because he was hurting. I knew I had to drill it.”
Hansen built a comfortable advantage by the finish line, with a disappointed Kneuven rolling in 18 seconds later for second. Brendon Gallant brought the diminished field home almost two minutes later.
A long solo breakaway took the men’s Masters 1/2/3 race again, but this time it was Westend Bicycles’ Scott Browning who spent the day off the front, building a six-and-a-half minute lead by the end of the 44 mile race. A long solo breakaway won the Cat 3 race as well, with a Therapeutic Associates rider finishing more than five minutes ahead of the field. Beaverton Bicycle Club’s Grant McElroy topped the Juniors after riding away from the group with a teammate on the last lap.
Banana Belt #2
March 13, 2011
Cat 1/2 Men
1. Jake Hansen (Word-RCB)
2. Taylor Kneuven
3. Johna Leonard (Rapha)
Cat 1/2/3 Women
1. Jen Akeroyd (Sorella Forte)
2. Leia Tyrrell (Sorella Forte)
3. Sarah Fletcher (Therapeutic Associates)