CCCX Fort Ord
8 September 2012
Elle Anderson (Ladies First Racing) formally introduced herself to Northern California cyclocross today by winning Elite Women at Central Coast Cyclocross. Fresh off her second place at Giro di San Francisco, Anderson quickly caught the attention of many, as she had done on the road for Touchstone Climbing. An East Coast cyclocross racer beforehand, Anderson’s only previous West Coast cyclocross experience was a fifth place finish at BASP Coyote Point last December.
The first local cyclocross event of this season was its typical dry and dusty affair. The Elite Women’s field featured some excellent racers, among them Karen Brems (Team Rambuski Law) and Ellen Sherrill (Bicycle Blue Book/HRS/Rocklobster). “I was excited to get on the start line and see who was there,” remarked Anderson, “I was excited for a great race.”
As the race got underway, Brems had an early lead coming down from the first hill followed by Emily Thurston (Team Rambuski Law) and then Sherrill. “For most of the first lap I was sitting fourth wheel,” continued Anderson, “Emily Thurston lead us out of the start and then Karen [Brems] took over the lead. [I was sitting] fourth wheel seeing how everyone was looking for the first lap. On the pavement section at the end of lap one, where you go out and back, I put in an attack, pulled ahead, and that stuck.”
Anderson stole away from the rest of the racers, consolidating a significant lead over a NorCal favourite in Brems. From the second lap onwards, Sherrill was a close third to Brems but eventually lost touch. The final results put Anderson in first, followed by Brems and then Sherrill. Josie Jacques-Maynes (California Giant/Specialized) came home in fourth place just ahead of Thurston.
Anderson’s appraisal of West Coast cyclocross was positive: “I really like it. I like the dirt, the dust, and the sandy sections. Coming [down] from San Francisco, this heat is just nice down here. It was a challenging course [in] different ways than New England but this had that sandy, slippery aspect and it was a lot of fun.”
One knows from the outset, upon seeing Andy Jacques-Maynes (California Giant/Specialized) on a CCCX-start line, that a big challenge lays ahead. “I won all but one of the Central Coast races that I went to last year,” said Jacques-Maynes, “It’s nice to kick it off just right but, honestly, it’s the first ‘cross race of the year and I am just demolished. It hurts so bad.”
Much like Anderson’s race for Elite Women, Jacques-Maynes was back behind the Elite Men leaders coming down the hill on the first lap. From there, the proceedings became an exhibition of the quality in his cyclocross. On the second circuit, Jacques-Maynes had his lead with Scott Chapin (Bicycle Blue Book/HRS/Rocklobster) putting in excellent hard work to chase down and stay in touch with the Cal Giant racer. Jacques-Maynes then cranked-out his race for a season-opening win.
“The sandy conditions here in Fort Ord are like real ‘cross because the sand gets sketchy,” continued Jacques-Maynes, “You have to pick your line just right. It’s not just like a brainless course and your handling has to be super-on-it. Scotty Chapin’s pretty damn fast. I was running scared from him the whole time. I kept looking back [expecting] he’s going to be right there and I’m going to have to go [harder]. On the first lap, everyone nails it off the gun and [I thought] I am not going to put myself in the red zone so I took it a little easier. Once everybody was a little gassed than I twisted a little bit to try to make a difference.”
About the first race of the season, Jacques-Maynes commented that “It hurts like hell. I am stoked to do it, I’ve been looking forward to it but it’s always a big punch in the face, the first race of the year. [Today was] no exception. I was really happy to see one lap to go.”
Scott Chapin secured a deserved second place. One second separated Keith Hillier (Team Rambuski Law) in third and Rand Miller (Sterling Sports Group) in fourth. Miller and Hillier had battled throughout the race with each other and eventual fifth place finisher Justin Abbott (Devil Mountain Cyclery). The rivalry between Miller and Hillier stems from last season and appears set to continue.
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