Central Coast Cyclo•Cross
CSUMB – 22 September 2012
CCCX ran at a new venue today on the grounds of CSUMB. The course was mostly flat but sandy, full of iceplant, and very changeable. There was a sandy downward slope that took away an opportunity for racers to rest. It was one of those tough courses that can beat up the cyclocross racer. In the end, though, many riders came off the course with that strong sense of achievement that can go along with toil and competition.
The Elite Women had their closest battle of the season as Ellen Sherrill (Bicycle Bluebook/HRS/RockLobster) and Karen Brems (Team Rambuski Law) fought each other and the course. A late bobble by Brems gave Sherrill a gap but the RockLobster racer was too cautious. Brems caught back and then attacked to take a cagey win on the final lap.
Sherrill held the lead for much of the race as Brems stayed in touch throughout. “She [Sherrill] was strong. I was feeling OK but it wasn’t my best day,” said Brems, “I knew I had to conserve and put it all in one big effort at the end of the race. [Sherrill] was really good in the sand so I figured my best shot was the first part of the course where it was more of a power section on the fire roads.”
On the penultimate lap, Sherrill continued to hold the lead over Brems as, late in the lap, they rode up a sandy stretch pockmarked with iceplant. Coming down the slope, Sherrill’s lead was significantly greater. “I took a wrong line, got caught in the sand, and fell over,” reported Brems, “Then I had to run the whole section. It was a little bit tense but I could see [Sherrill] wasn’t really pulling away.”
“I had to catch her,” Brems continued, “I figured she had been going hard too so she was probably tired and that’s always the best time to attack. I went for it, saw I got a little gap [and] than it was just full gas all the way round. I think my last lap was my cleanest lap.”
Brems had endured a second and a third place finish at the first two races of the season against some tough competition in Meredith Miller (California Giant/Specialized) and Elle Anderson (Ladies First Racing). Including Sherrill in THAT list of strong competitors, Brems commented that “it’s tough out there. It’s a small field but it’s strong. Some of these girls are half my age so I have to keep my ‘A’ game.”
Kelly Bonar finished alone in third place for the Elite Women. Katie Jay Melena (Bicycle Bluebook/HRS/RockLobster) took fourth whilst Monica Harris (Fun Sport Bikes Cycling) was the fifth placed racer.
For Elite Men, Scott Chapin (Bicycle Bluebook/HRS/RockLobster) grabbed an early lead from the hole shot and raced away for there. Chapin powered through the difficult sandy portions of the course and up the small hills to never let up on the competition. Second place was out of sight as Chapin crossed the finish line for the dominant win.
“I had three other Bicycle Bluebook/HRS/RockLobster team mates on the front row with me,” reported Chapin, “[I] got the inside hole shot into the first turn and just twisted the throttle. [I] let it out like I was chasing Andy Jacques-Maynes [as] I had been doing the last couple of weeks.”
Crediting his equipment, Chapin continued, “Thanks to Easton for the EC90 Aero wheels, they just tore it up here in this new course. So much sand [that my] lower back is really hurting but it was good practice. I just went hard where it was the hardest and where I knew that everyone would be suffering hard. It was easier going through the sand pits if you’re hauling ass with super sweet Easton wheels…it’s like a rudder.”
Behind Chapin, Rainier Schaefer (MashSF) crossed the line in second even through he was deep in seventh place midway through the race, including several RockLobster racers ahead. Andrew Juiliano and Alex Work were those RockLobsters and they came home in third and fourth, respectively. Walton Brush (MashSF) rounded out the top five.
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