Stafford Lake Cyclocross
5 November 2012
The big surprise at Stafford Lake Cyclocross – the “Cesspool of Filth” re-emerged yesterday to join to the “Belgium Farm Wall” as obstacles. The long, 2.5-mile course stretched out to a “back forty” that featured a long run-up with an option of stairs, off-camber single track, and a double woop-de-doo through a dry stream bed. The course terrain varied from dirt to graded to fire road with a one wooden bridge to scoot through and plenty of grass.
Racers did have an option to the “Cesspool” with a longer bypass but the shortest route went through the bike and shoe wash. Earlier in the day the only choice was the water crossing but the dry escape was quickly built to allow oblige riders wanting to carry a book of matches.
The Women’s Elite/Pro/A race featured the Drumm sisters, Helene (unattached) and Kristin (Cycles Fanatic Racing), along with Alison Tetrick (Exergy), Rachel Lloyd (dfL), and Colleen Wanty (Dolore Grotta – Big Swingin’ Cycles).
Racing the run-up on the opening lap, Kristin Drumm was first to the top as she avoided most of the melee behind her.
“It was very close in the beginning,” said Helene Drumm, “My sister was leading so I cut in behind her on the first straightaway. I had some technical difficulties on the first stair section. I thought I could take it up on the left side. I rode up as far as I [could] and I was going to jump off when I lost traction. Well I jumped off and I lost traction in my feet. Every step I took it felt like I slid back a foot. I [was] passed by [what seemed like] fifteen riders.”
“I did my best to catch people on that downhill section. On one of the next u-turns with a slight uphill my chain jammed and I actually fell off. [I] had to unjam my chain and then I was way back again. I had to tuck in with the group practically at the back. I made my [way] past the leader, which was my sister, and kept going from there.”
Helene Drumm reached the run up on the next lap with a good lead and managed her way up with smooth aplomb.
“Practice makes perfect,” retorted Helene Drumm, “Not perfect but better.”
Helene Drumm was “technicality free” for the remainder of the race and took the win with an 83-second advantage. Rachel Lloyd (dfL) came home in second place 13 seconds ahead of Michelle Morrill in third. Janie Dalton (Missing Link/3rd Rail) pipped Kristin Drumm at the line for fourth place.
Tobin Ortenblad (California Giant/Specialized) has been putting in some terrific racing in Northern California and elsewhere this season. He stuck with Ben Jacques-Maynes for a good portion of a race at Candlestick Point, has a race win to his credit at CCCX, and secured an Elite third place at Spooky Kross. The young man is definitely building his cyclocross credentials.
In the Men’s Elite/Pro race, Ortenblad sat in on the lead group until late in the race. “I was sitting about second wheel [for] most of the race,” said Ortenblad, “Then with three-to-go, last half of the lap, I decided I should try and attack there because if that didn’t work then I’d be able to recover. But on three-to-go that one stuck. I had a decent gap from there until the finish.”
“I was pushing to stay ahead,” continued Orenblad, “In case…I had to start punching it again on the last lap.”
One of the interesting outcomes of the water hazard was the loosening of velcro straps. The lead group together agreed to slow to re-tighten the straps. “We all [slowed],” reported Ortenbald, “The guys with velcro did have to slow down. I was trying to roll up my socks and use it as an opportunity to relax and let the other guys tighten their shoes.”
Finshing second behind Ortenbald was Kyle Murphy (MashSF), just 5 seconds in arrears. Steven Hyde took the third step of the podium just ahead of Michael Hosey. Rainier Scheafer (MashSF) came home in fifth place.
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