Sacramento Cyclocross Series, Lagoon Valley Park
23 September 2012
The Sacramento Cyclocross Series opened its 2012 season at Lagoon Valley Park in Vacaville. On hand were announcers Big Rick Cunningham and William Dunkum III. The day was dusty and warm as temperatures reached into the 90s.
The course itself was 1.4 miles and had two technical sections connected by long, fast straights. One big hill and its following downhill represented the significant challenge for racers along with a couple of traverses of dry creeks.
Winners for the Elite races on the day was the marital unit of Emily Kachorek and Peter Knudsen, both racing for TBB.CX.
The race for Women A got underway in the cooler temperatures of the morning. Even then the large hill was starting to become more slippery after the first race of the day began to tear up the surface. Kachorek led the small field up the hill for the first lap and expanded her lead from there. Focusing on road racing, Kachorek had been away from cyclocross for a couple of years but said “I was involved with SacCX two or three years ago when it was going. I thought that this year it would be good to get some off season ‘cross racing in. I am excited to be back out here.”
“I hadn’t raced my cyclocross bike in about two years,” continued Kachorek, “so I was going to take it easy and see how I rolled. [I] just followed out Hollie [McGovern] because she led it out from the beginning. I could tell that I had a little bit more strength going up that first hill and I was just going to ride my own pace. If I opened up a gap [I would] just keep riding my own race and that’s what I did.” Kachorek did ride the big hill every lap but commented, “The last time I was struggling. The climb just takes it out of you. It’s a pure strength climb [as] I can talk when I get to the top. It’s just all muscles, like doing squats.”
The margin of victory for Kachorek was well over 90 seconds but behind her Hollie McGovern (Real Wheels/Cycleution) and Caroline Dezendorf (West Coast Womens Cycling) were locked in a race-long head-to-head battle. Approaching the plank barriers on the final lap, McGovern had a slight tangle with a course pole and looked in jeopardy of losing a position. In the end, McGovern was able to pull away to secure the second step of the podium ahead of Dezendorf in third.
Rounding out the Women’s A field, Vicky Sama (Adventures Edge) took fourth place and gained some reward for driving some 300 miles to race. Stace Cooper, in TBB.CX kit, took fifth place whilst Theresa Zaro (Stover Seed) finished in sixth.
Knudsen’s race for Men A saw some strong competition. To name a few of the top racers, on the start line were Max Jenkins (Folsom Bike), Adam Switters (Team Mike’s Bikes), and World Masters Champion Don Myrah (ibis/Buy-cell.com).
First up the hill with the early lead was Brandon Dillard but he unfortunately fell victim to a flat. Racing for Sterling Sports Group, but wearing his Herbalife kit as a thank you to his Leadville 100 sponsors, Mitch Trux was the next to lead up the big hill. Trux would contest positions with Jenkins and Knudsen throughout the race and took second place at the end.
“[This] was my first race of the season,” said Trux, “I’m looking forward to a long season so for me it was a chance to get out and stretch my legs. [Knudsen] got around me with four to go. He just crept up on me. When he passed me I took a second to see if I could follow but he rolled away from me today. Hopefully, I can do the same to him later in the season. I’m looking forward to racing with him; he’s a friendly rival.”
“It was a fun race, good course.” said Knudsen, “[It] kept me interested the whole time [with] lots of off-camber stuff, lots of loose stuff. Max [Jenkins] and I had a battled for ever. We were trading back and forth for most of the race and then Mitch [Trux] came back to me. [Quickly] after that, I managed to get a little gap on him [Trux] and it seemed like it held after that.” Knudsen’s margin of victory came down to just 12 seconds.
The big hill “was nasty,” commented Knudsen, “It was like a mountain bike race. I was on my lowest gear every time and trying to sit and spin up it. It’s a fun feature; it’s something we don’t usually have in ‘cross races to have a climb that’s that long and that steep.”
Rounding out the top five finishers, Jenkins took third place in the race. Behind him, Myrah finished in fourth with Ricardo Moran (Metromint Cycling) finishing in fifth place.
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