Sacramento Cyclocross Series, Lembi Park
3 November 2012
The racing at the Sacramento Cyclocross Series today was very competitive as Emily Kachorek (TBB.CX) managed to stay ahead of Emily Thurston (Team Rambuski Law) and Hollie McGovern (Real Wheels/Cycleution) in the Women’s A race. For Men A, Cody Kaiser (California Giant/Specialized) earned his closest victory at the series after fending off strong challenges from Keith Hillier (Team Rambuski Law) and Peter Knudsen (TBB.CX).
Team Revs Cross hosted the day’s event at Lembi Park. Course designers Asa Salas, Frank Shoemaker, et al., took advantage of every embankment and slope to make a challenging course with elevation changes at essentially a flat park. There was an abundance of off-camber sections and two trips through sand. The early morning damp made for somewhat treacherous racing on the off-camber sections. The sun and racing did not fully dry out the course as the day progressed.
The Women’s A race was underway mid-morning. Kachorek, Thurston, and McGovern were the early leaders. In her previous SacCX races, Kachorek built comfortably big leads on her way to wins. This day saw both Thurston and McGovern stay in touch with Kachorek for a good portion of the race.
A mechanical (derailleur) spoiled Thurston’s race and forced a bike change. Nevertheless, the Team Rambuski racer was able to post times only seconds behind Kachorek for many laps of the race and finished in second place, a mere 15 seconds back after closing the gap to first place.
“I went into it and decided I was going to race my own race [and] make the decisions about whether to chase,” said Kachorek, “I never let [Thurston] get a gap so I stayed calm and stayed with her. I think about the second lap I had a few seconds on [Thurston]. I was starting to open up a couple seconds on the punchy climbs and through the grass area. [Thurston] was coming back through the more technical stuff.”
After Thurston’s mechanical mishap, Kachorek continued “I thought about punching a little bit more to make sure I had really opened it up and give myself some leeway. It’s a tough course; it stays on the gas the whole time. There [are] not extended areas to recover. So, I decided it was better to maintain a comfortable pace for myself, punch it through the tarmac section where it was easier for me to open it up, and make sure I didn’t make any mistakes.”
Kachorek did admit to falling foul and flipping over her bars in the sand pit, after a lapped rider became stuck. “I tried to get [back the lost time but] wasn’t able to so I decided to keep a good gap on [Thurston]. I know [Thurston’s] a strong ‘cross rider so I was excited to have some stronger competition to improve my skills.”
Hollie McGovern (Real Wheels/Cycleution) rode a steady race to take third place. Elicia Hildebrand (Team Rambuski Law) was off the pace but secured fourth place with Jen Jordan (Sycomp Racing/Tea, Affinity) coming across the finish line in fifth. After the fourth event, Kachorek sits in second place overall for the series, trailing Stace Copper (TBB.CX) by 36 points.
The race for Men A had strong entries in the field. Peter Knudsen, two-time winner in the series, was joined by Cody Kaiser, Max Jenkins (Folsom Bikes), Mitch Trux (sterling Sports Group), and Matt Obregon (Team Bicycles Plus/Sierra Nevada).
Kaiser did not reach the sand first on the opening lap but did assume the lead as the racers came back for the second traipse through the ever changing sand. Across the next few laps, Kaiser, Keith Hillier, and Knudsen took turns at the front. At one point, Hillier and Kaiser pressed shoulders in a massive challenge to get back to the sand pit in front.
Although Kaiser emerged out of the pit in front, it was a strong statement from both racers about their intentions to race hard.
The lead would change hands again but finally Kaiser grabbed a small lead he would never relinquish. The final 13-second gap from first to second did not fully reflect the competitiveness of the race. Average lap times, for the first four racers, were covered by 3 seconds and was a better indication that Kaiser worked hard for his win.
“More guys are coming out [to SacCX], it’s growing,” commented Kaiser, “It’s good to see more competition, more fun. I was trying to gauge my effort in the early part. Toward the end, about three-to-go, I tried to really ramp it up. That way I can test myself for [other] races and gap those guys a little bit.”
“[I enjoyed] the technical stuff. I was able to hop the barriers today and ride the sand,” continued Kaiser, “I have a good time anytime it’s not straightforward and lots of power. If there [are] more turns the better.”
About the shoulder “brush” with Hillier, Kaiser went on to say, “I wanted to come up the inside and get in front of him coming into the sand pit. Obviously he didn’t want that. We were bumping and going back and forth. It was all good and all fun. It was racing and probably more excitement than we usually see out here.”
Hillier took second place in the race. Knudsen was third just ahead of Jenkins in fourth. Chris Kelly (Evergreen Cycling) managed to grind out a fifth place finish. Knudsen maintains his series lead over two Nevadans in Jude Mayne (Velo Reno) and Robert Braun (Alta alpina Cycling).
Summary of Results
1. Emily Kachorek (TBB.CX)
2. Emily Thurston (Team Rambuski Law)
3. Hollie McGovern (Real Wheels/Cycleution)
4. Elicia Hildebrand (Team Rambuski LAw)
5. Jen Jordan (Sycomp Racing/Team Affinity)
1. Cody Kasier (California Giant/Specialized)
2. Keith Hillier (Team Rambuski Law)
3. Peter Knudsen (TBB.CX)
4. Max Jenkins (Folsom Bikes)
5. Chris Kelly (Evergreen Cycling)
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