Reports from CCCX and the Sacramento Cyclocross Series
California-cyclocross weather was in full effect this weekend…from CCCX on the central coast to SacCX at Grass Valley (and Hellyer reporting the same at Candlestick Point.) Blue skies and afternoon temperatures in the eighties made for fast, dry, and dusty conditions, somewhat characteristic of the early cyclocross season in Northern California.
CCCX, Toro Park
CCCX on Saturday ran at Toro Park on the back course…elongated with fast, downhill single track punctuated by the steep uphill road section. Each lap! In the Elite Women’s race, a tight group early quickly gave way to Devon Gorry (Team Rambuski Law), teammate Courtney Van Dimple, and Ann Fitzsimmons (Family Cycling Centre) as the lead group. Fitzsimmons fell and Van Dimple tangled with the stricken racer…leaving Fitzsimmons to a pair of over-sized racing shoes and a replacement bike to stay in the race. Van Dimple came out the better and, with magnanimous teamwork by Gorry, went on to win the race.
As with the previous week’s CCCX at Manzanita Park, the Elite Men had a string of racers up front over the early laps. Attrition began with six remaining as racers dropped off. Aaron Bradford (HRS/Bay 101 Rocklobster), Andy Jacques-Maynes (CalGiant/Specialized), Jeremiah Root (Steven’s Bicycles Racing), and Tobin Ortenblad (CalGiant/Specialized) assumed the lead group. Ortenblad then fell to a flat. Bradford and Root dropped Jacques-Maynes at three to go. With only one-hour of cycling over the prior two weeks, albeit a win at last week’s CCCX race, the CalGiant racer reported he was suffering somewhat.
Root looked clearly in second place to Bradford although he remained in close contact. A last dose of excitement ensued at the finish as Bradford rode slowly around another racer finishing in the single-speed category. Root, not giving up, pounced upon an opportunity and pressed for a win. Bradford responded quickly to Root’s late charge and lunge at the finish line. The Rocklobster racer just managed to cross the tape ahead. Andy Jacques-Maynes’ third place interrupts his four wins from four CCCX races but he retains the series lead.
Sacramento Cyclocross Series, Condon Park
Notable racers were on hand for the Sacramento Cyclocross Series in Grass Valley. National Masters Champions Linda and John Elgart as well as U23 2011 World Championship competitor Cody Kaiser took to the field. The Condon Park course had two distinct areas. A wooded area had compacted trails with technical turns, drops, and short, steep lines that this year’s dry condition allowed most to ride up. The “pond section” started with a fast downhill out of the wooded section followed by wide turns before the plank barriers. Conditions were fast for this year’s dry event.
The contest for second place in the Men’s race occurred between Steven Springhorn (Team Revolutions), Matt Obregon (Team Bicycles Plus/Sierra Nevada), and Robert Braun (Alta Alpina Cycling). Braun was fifth at the top of the first lap but gradually made up ground to take second place. Springhorn was unable to hold a significant early lead and came home in the third spot; he now assumes the series lead. Previous race winner Obregon secured fourth with Bruno Pitton (Davis Wheelworks) in fifth.
The Women’s A field had only two racers…Marja-Liisa Magnuson (Kinetic Cycles) won with a huge margin but showed her mettle against some good Womens A35+ talent. “[The race] was hard,” said Magnuson, “I raced as hard as I could without throwing up.” Stace Cooper (The Bicycle Business) was second and now assumes the series lead.
Lauren Liden (Michael David Winery Cycling Team/Delta Velo) battled with series leader Joan Gregg (ProTek Abruzzo), in the Womens A35+ race, each exchanging positions throughout the race. Liden said she took a surprising win, “First [Gregg] passed me on the back stretch then I managed to pass her right before we hit the barriers [for the last time]. I thought she would catch me [so] I just pedalled like crazy.” About her race, Liden said, “It was awesome. This is a really fun course, really technical, and I had a great time.” Gregg came home in second place and Linda Elgart (Webcor/Alto Velo) was third.
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