Tuckerman, Pennington win Crusade #3

Oct 16, 2011 by

Alice Pennington won her first Cross Crusade race of the season Sunday at PIR. ©Pat Malach

PORTLAND, Oregon – Aaron Tuckerman (Corsa Concepts) took his second consecutive Crusade Sunday at race #3 under a shadow of controversy after tangling with Molly Cameron (MetaFilter/Portland Bicycle Studio) at the front of the men’s A slugfest and then soloing in for the win. Alice Pennington (Upper Echelon Fitness) returned from the national scene to power away from the women’s A field for her first win of the 2011 Cross Crusade series.

Aaron Tuckerman crossed the line first, but Molly Cameron filed a protest after the two tangled at the front of the lead group. ©Pat Malach

A rare clear afternoon during a month of record rainfall in Portland set the tone for a blistering day of racing on the flat, hard and fast Heron Lakes course at Portland International Raceway. Exactly 1,475 registered ‘crossers and hundreds of kids mixed it up with geese, golfers and race cars for a full day of competition on the pavement, gravel, grass and off-camber slopes of this traditional Cross Crusade course that has been in use since 2002. Race director Brad Ross said it was the first dry day he could remember on the course.

After a quick men’s A race start that saw multiple attacks from the top riders, Tuckerman and Cameron found themselves in a five-rider group that included Tuckerman’s teammate Shannon Skerritt, Donald Reeb (cyclocrossracing.com) and week #1 winner Sean Babcock (Kona).

About three quarters of the way through the 60-minute race, Tuckerman and Cameron, who finished first and second last week in Rainier, chose separate lines to pass a lapped rider from the women’s field and then came together when they emerged on the other side. Tuckerman got the better of the meeting as Cameron hit the deck hard, slowing the rest of the group behind.

“We came around a lapped rider,” Tuckerman said of the contact with Cameron. “Molly went high and I went low; it was off-camber. So I put an effort right in, and when we came back there was only one line, I guess, and I happened to be in front. And whoever’s the wheel in front tends to hold it up.”

Cameron’s account of the events obviously differed, but Tuckerman didn’t stick around to hash it out. Seizing the opportunity, the current series leader turned on the watts over the hard-packed course and started building a gap, hoping to add maximum points to his overall lead with another win.

“I don’t really know what happened behind,” Tuckerman said. “All I know is I had a gap so I pushed.”

Babcock was first to remount and pick up the chase. Sticking about 15 second behind Tuckerman. Reeb grabbed the third spot another five seconds back. Skerritt picked up the fourth spot, trailing over half a minute behind the leader while a disheveled and dirtied Cameron slipped to the fifth spot, about 1:15 behind.

The leaders finished in that order but they were mixed in with other lapped traffic, and while Tuckerman sailed across the line for the second week in a row posting a one-armed salute with his index finger pointed skyward, Cameron crossed the line and immediately stopped at the start/finish to lodge a protest.

“Tuckerman just took me out,” Cameron said later while waiting to hear the judge’s decision. “The lapped rider was kind of inconsequential. We were just racing, and I was taking the safe line around someone, and then I heard these shifting gears and the next thing I know I’m on the ground.”

Cameron said Tuckerman’s attack wasn’t safe and caused the former road pro to cut off the Portland ‘cross veteran’s line.

“Any other rider wouldn’t have passed there,” Cameron said. “Shannon (Skerritt) wouldn’t. Reeb wouldn’t. Any of the other fast guys. There’s no need to do sketchy stuff like that. I was holding my line and Tuckerman drove into me. I know how to race my bike and bump elbows. But that was just uncalled for. It wasn’t on purpose. He wasn’t trying to take me out. But it was just unnecessary. In the process of moving up he just rode into me. There was no reason to be so aggressive. There are plenty of straightaways on this course to attack and get a gap. Just chill out. The only reason he won that race is because he put me on the ground and everyone else was behind me and had to slow down.”

But Tuckerman said that he felt he had proved the week before in Rainier, where he beat Cameron by 50 seconds on another fast climber’s course, that he didn’t need to do anything sketchy to win. Skerritt was behind the two leaders when they collided, and while admitting a team bias, he backed up Tuckerman’s version of events.

“Aaron got pinched a little bit for as low as he was by one of the course maker stakes and had to creep up just a little bit more than he may have wanted to,” Skerritt said. “Aaron wasn’t as far forward as I think he had timed, and he made contact with Molly. His hip hit Molly’s elbow, and the hip wins that one every time.

“It was legit,” he continued. “From the outside perspective it may have looked kind of ill-willed or malicious. Molly likes to describe her racing style as unapologetic European racing, well that was pretty unapologetic. Although Aaron did apologize afterward. I don’t think he intended to be that close. No one wants to take anybody out. And Molly went down pretty hard. And I almost did, too. But I think Aaron had every right to hold his line and not brake.”

After discussing the incident with most of the riders present in the lead group, OBRA official Teri Camp ruled against Cameron’s protest, leaving Tuckerman with the win but issuing him a warning for dangerous riding.

Tuckerman now leads the series with 72 overall points. Babcock and Cameron each have 46 points, followed by Skerritt with 45 and Reeb with 44. The best six of eight races count toward the overall series competition.

Pennington Powers to Elite Women’s Win

The women’s race was a much simpler affair by contrast. Upper Echelon Fitness rider Alice Pennington, who finished second behind Sue Butler (River City Bicycles/Ridley) during week #1 but missed last weekend’s Crusade, cruised with her competitors for half a lap before laying down the serious power and opening a sizable advantage to which she added steadily throughout the race.

“It was just like a road race,” Pennington said of her effort. “Because I didn’t have much of a warm up, for the first five or six minutes I just sat in the draft of the people who went off the line quick. So I used that as a warm up and then just put down the roadie power into the headwind.”

That seemed to be enough as Pennington quickly gained an advantage of around 10 seconds that she held for several laps on a chase group that formed behind. Pennington’s lead eventually expanded as the race wore on and the chase began to splinter.

In the race for the remaining podium spots and series points, Brooke McDermid (bicycleattorney.com), third last weekend behind Serena Bishop Gordon (Silverado Gallery/Sunnyside) and Tina Brubaker (Vanilla Bicycles), climbed one rung of the podium into the second-place spot, relegating Bishop Gordon to third, followed by Heather Clark (Bend Memorial Clinic Total Care) and Megan Chinburg (Corsa Concepts).

By the finish of the 60-minute women’s race, Pennington had built a 1:19 lead over McDermid, 1:41 over Bishop Gordon, 1:50 over Clark, and 2:26 over Chinburg.

The win moves Pennington into third overall with 46 series points. Bishop Gordon maintains the lead that she won in Rainier with 58 overall points. McDermid climbs to second with 47 points. Brubaker and Brigette Brown (River City Bicycles) are tied for fourth with 40 points.

The Cross Crusade heads west next week and picks up the battle at the Washington County Fair Complex in Hillsboro.

Check out the PHOTO GALLERY for this race.

Cross Crusade #3 PIR, Heron Lakes
Oct. 16

Men A
1. Aaron Tuckerman (Corsa Concepts) 8
2. Sean Babcock (Kona) 8
3. Donald Reeb (Cyclocrossracing.com) 8
4. Shannon Skerritt (Corsa Concepts) 8
5. Molly Cameron (MetaFilter-Portland Bicycle Studio) 8
6. Damian Schmitt (Silverado Gallery/Sunnyside) 8
7. Leland Gilmore (River City Bicycles) 8
8. Ross Brody (Buy Local Cycling) 8
9. Ben Thompson (Rocky Mountain Bicycles) 8
10. Steve Carwile (Evanplews.com) 8

Women A
1. Alice Pennington (Upper Echelon Fitness) 7
2. Brooke McDermid (bicycleattorney.com) 7
3. Serena Bishop Gordon (Silverado Gallery/Sunnyside) 7
4. Heather Clark (Bend Memorial Clininc Total Care) 7
5. Megan Chinburg (Corsa Concepts) 7
6. Brigette Brown (River City Bicycles/Ridley/NoTubes) 7
7. Beth Orton (Team S&M Les Femmes) 7
8. Tina Brubaker (Vanilla Bicycles) 7
9. Anna Christiansen (Ironclad Performance Wear) 7
10. Erin Playman (Team S&M Les Femmes) 7

Junior Men
1. Cameron Beard (Bend Endurance Academy) 47:33.00
2. Adam Artner 48:07.00
3. Max Toeldte (BYRDS) 48:07.00
4. Sam Rosenberg (Hutch’s-Eugene) 48:16.00
5. Ethan Reynolds (BYRDS) 48:20.00

Junior Women
1. Sharon Hart (Camas Bike and Sport) 46:35.00
2. Susannah Hart (Camas Bike and Sport) 47:37.00
3. Taylor Tyynismaa 48:56.00
4. Emma Koenig 49:03.00
5. Kali Woodard 49:58.00

Complete OBRA results are HERE.

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