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By Pat Malach
Another unseasonably dry Oregon afternoon greeted about 500 competitors at the Kruger’s Crossing Cyclocross Classic, the closing race of Portland’s local ‘cross scene before the Crank Brothers U.S. Gran Prix comes to town Dec. 6 and 7 for its finale.
Held on Sauvie’s Island, an agricultural area and migratory bird sanctuary about 20 minutes from downtown Portland, the course sent riders careening along rutted farm roads, through berry fields, pastures, a barn, over a pile of pumpkins and past a dead rat. And, of course, we shouldn’t forget the beer garden and bonfire.
River City Bicycles’ Emily VanMeter made the women’s race a battle for second place as she burst from the starting line to gain a dominant lead that the rest of the field struggled in vain to close. VanMeter’s teammate and Cross Crusade series winner Wendy Williams finished in second, nearly a minute behind. Tina Brubaker (Vanilla Bicycles/Stumptown) rounded out the top three two minutes later.
In the Elite Men’s race, Shannon Skerritt (Vanilla) set a blistering pace for the hole shot and then settled in with a handful of leaders that eventually pulled away from the rest of the field. With the group’s lead looking insurmountable, Eric Sheagley (Veloce/Felt) charged away from the rest for several laps and built a lead of about 15 seconds on Skerritt, Cross Crusade series winner Jason Sager (Sagersports.com) and Ian Brown of River City Bicycles.
Skerritt countered Sheagley’s move and passed the Veloce rider with about four laps to go. Building a lead of as much as twenty seconds, Skerritt seemed to be pulling away from Sager, Brown and Sheagley, who dangled behind the top three after his solo effort.
Sager and Brown combined their efforts to whittle away at Skerritt’s lead before Sager shed his chase companion and set out alone to reel-in the leader. With just a bit more than lap to go Sager caught Skerritt. The two riders stayed together until Sager launched a final burst for the line, leaving Skerritt to finish second a handful of seconds behind. In the battle for third, Sheagley caught and passed Brown, nipping the River City rider at the finish for a podium spot.
1. Jason Sager Sagersports.com Portland
2. Shannon Skerritt Vanilla Portland
3. Eric Sheagley Veloce/felt Portland
4. Ian Brown River Portland
5. Davy Yeater River Portland
6. Patrick Wilder Cyclepath Portland
7. Scotty Carlile Therapeutic Bend
8. Ryan Weaver River Portland
9. Scott Bradway Team Portland
10. Jeff Bannink Hup Portland
11. Kelly Ryan River Portland
12. Matthew Wills Veloshop Portland
13. Tim Butler City River
14. Ben Dodge Sugar Portland
15. Adrian Olmstead 9
16. Seth Patla River Hillsboro
17. David Diviney Racing Cyclepath
18. Slate Olson Hup Portland
19. Matt Fox Sunnyside Bend
20. Matt Mahoney Lovers Gentle
21. Ira Ryan Ira Portland
22. Chris Bagg Bikeridge.com Portland
23. Max Milverstedt United HUP
24. Ruben Markstrom 32 Portland
. Ryan Mcfarling 4
. James Ceccorulli Portland Aloha
1. Emily Vanmeter River Portland
2. Wendy Williams River Portland
3. Tina Brubaker Vanilla Portland
4. Colleen Flaherty Veloce/felt Portland
5. Megan Schubel 33 Portland
6. Audrey Brown Team Portland
7. Dawn Riddle 14:42:08.20 5
8. Sunny Gilbert Pacific Corvallis