Updated 21 December 2011
Race reports from the Sacramento Cyclocross Series and the Santa Rosa Cup
Sacramento Cyclocross Series
This past Saturday, the Sacramento Cyclocross Series ran its final event for 2011 at Laguna Del Sol. Course designer Asa Salas took advantage of the available changes in elevation but the course was mostly flat. There were long stretches of grass and paved road, some off-camber sections, and frosty conditions early in the morning. The cloudless skies brought warmer weather later in the day but also meant that, apart from some windy days, adverse weather conditions have failed to appear for this SacCX season.
The Category A Men’s race saw a strong field with all of this season’s previous race winners on the starting line. Also lining up, two notable newcomers to this year’s series, were Chris Jones (Rapha-Focus) and Don Myrah (Ibis/Buy-Cell.com). As he had done in his previous two races, Cody Kaiser (California Giant Berry Farms) gained an early lead mid-way through the first lap. By the end of that lap, however, Jones had caught up to Kaiser; the pair exchanged positions several times over the next seven laps, all the while pulling away from the rest of of field.
Then on lap 8, Jones dropped Kaiser and proceeded to build his lead to 33 seconds by the time he crossed the finish line in first. Jones said he wanted to “follow [Kaiser] around for awhile and see how it shook down during the first half of the race.” Jones continued, “Once we got [within] 20 minutes to go I decided I really need to stick the gas and see if [Kaiser] could stay or not. He stayed for a little bit, like half a lap or so, and then I just kept on the gas until the finish.” About the venue and sightings at the clothing-optional resort, Jones said, “The first time was a real big surprise back there by the pool. I didn’t realize that the race was being held at a nudist colony. That’s awesome.”
Kaiser finished the race in second place. Tongue-in-cheek, Kaiser said he was dropped by Jones because of a distracting, bright, white yoo-hoo out on the course. Finishing in third place was Don Myrah. Mitch Trux (City Cycle of San Francisco) secured a fourth place finish ahead of Gannon Myall (Cal Giant/Specialized) in fifth. Keith Hillier (Marc Pro-Strava) had already secured the overall win in this best-six-of-eight series.
In the Women’s Category A race earlier in the day, Ellen Sherrill (Bike Station Aptos) took off at a fast pace right from the start. She built enough of a lead in the first lap to allow her to control her pace. Sherrill said, “I figured I could probably gap them by motoring out from go, then check on how much space I had throughout the race and pace myself as needed.” Sherrill went on to say, “I discovered the course to thread the driveway between the cafe, pool and spa in the central part of the nudist resort. I think it was during my fourth lap, the air a touch more tepid, that I was first confronted with full frontal nudity strolling toward me. I put my head down and tried to maintain focus – on RACING. I think it’s great that Sac CX continues to use this venue, it’s really unique and offbeat, which is thoroughly cyclocross at heart in that I believe our collective ‘cross culture to embrace the non-mundane.”
Marja-Liisa Magnuson came in second on the day but first place for the overall series. The third step of the podium went to Amanda Siegle (Metromint Cycling) and with it second place in the overall standings.
Santa Rosa Cup CX
Last Sunday’s course at Spring Lake Regional Park was fast and at times treacherous. With plenty of elevation changes, long stretches of graded or paved track were punctuated by some rocky sections and a slippery, muddy downhill. Throughout the day, several racers suffered flats particularly on the rocky track leading away from the neutral tent…competitors on long runs with their bikes were a frequent scene.
The eight-racer field for Women’s Category A was dominated by the end of the first lap by the trio of Mary McConneloug (Kenda-Seven-No Tubes), Sarah Bamberger (Team Rat Ballz), and Ellen Sherrill (Bike Station Aptos). Racing for a second day, Sherrill tried to drop Bamberger and McConneloug on the next two laps but was unable to build a significant gap. The group of three stayed together. On the penultimate lap, Bamberger attacked up the last hill of the course but she also was unable to drop either of her close competitors. Bamberger did lead up that same hill on the final lap and led the three into a sprint finish. “I actually have a pretty good sprint for being built like a climber,” said Bamberger, “I had enough of a gap coming into the very last 150m [that] it would take a huge effort for one of them to come around me.” Bamberger reported adrenalin took over as she fended off Sherrill and McConneloug for the win, McConneloug second, and Sherrill third. With wins in both events of the series, Bamberger took the cup.
In the Category A Men’s race, a fast lead group formed with the likes of Krishna Dole (Shiela Moon), Michael Broderick (Kenda-Seven-No Tubes), Glenn Fannt (NorCal Bicycle Sport), and Michael Hosey (Marin Bikes). During the first lap, Jakub Magnusek (Cycles Fanatic) had suffered a flat but was unable to change his wheel set. The U-23 Czech National impressed many with a third place at the NCNCA District Championships and so was notably absent from the lead group. Good fortune for Magnusek, though, as Cycles Fanatic teammate Phil Roberts caught the stricken racer and they exchanged bikes in the lower pits. [Ed: italicised phrase added to correct omission in report]
From a deep deficit, Magnusek first set about catching the leaders and with more impressive racing did bridge up. Even then, having just caught the leaders, the fast pace made it appear Magnusek was struggling to stay on. Magnusek said, “When I was up there I was going faster than I thought I’d be able to. On the last lap it was really close and I still wasn’t sure [of the win].” Turning into the final straight, Magnusek felt the racer next to him was unable to punch it and “then I knew I [had] this.” Magnusek crossed the finish line emphatically punching the air. Dole came home second, with Broderick crossing the line third, Hosey in fourth, and Fannt fifth. Dole’s two second-place finish earned him the cup for the 2011 series.
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