• Berries for All at CCCX

    by  • September 14, 2013 • cx, norcal scene, race coverage

    CCCX Cyclocross, Fort Ord
    14-15 September 2013

    Berries for All
    Keith DeFiebre and CCCX opened its seventeenth ‘cross season with a double-header weekend. One course, two days, reverse directions. Both days saw California Giant/Specialized take wins in the Elite races. DeFiebre also finished in the payout positions on Saturday’s Masters 45+ race, his first in some time after putting in a couple of grueling road race seasons.

    Colorado-disaster refugee Meredith Miller won the Women’s races on Saturday and Sunday. Miller’s team mate Elle Anderson was second, also on both days, whilst Karen Brems (Team Rambuski Law) did the repeat for the third step of the podium.

    Yannick Eckmann fought a marvelous battle with Andy Jacques-Maynes (ibis/Buy-cell.com), as well as team mates Cody Kaiser and Tobin Ortenblad, to cross the line first in Men’s race on Saturday. Eckmann also won on Sunday, this time after overcoming a Jacques-Maynes early lead.

    Miller Wins Races One and Two

    Miller Wins Races One and Two

    “But We Still have to Race”
    The Saturday race for Elite Women was a small field of six with Miller, Anderson, and Brems the clear favourites. The race also saw the return of Trina Baumsteiger (Team Rambuski Law) after a long layoff for injury.

    Miller, Brems, and Anderson took the early lead with Miller at the front. After a couple of laps the Cal Giant pair dropped Brems and controlled the gap from there.

    Anderson put in a late push for the win and held the lead for a couple of laps. Unfortunately Anderson crashed leaving Miller in charge of the race. “I was right on her wheel and she slid out in a turn,” described Miller after Saturday’s race. “I just barely made it around. It was ‘Oh, my team mate just crashed. Oh, but, we still have to race against each other.'”

    “It’s good training and this is my first ‘cross race of the year,” continued Miller. “After what I had been through in Boulder with the flooding, I wasn’t necessarily expecting to feel that great today. I also wanted to get something out of it so I kept my head down and kept going as fast as I could.

    “I wanted to test my legs and test the equipment as well. There were a lot of things at play today that I really just wanted to put under pressure and give it a good test.”

    Miller acknowledged she and Anderson did not have plans for the race. “It’s a ‘cross race and you go out as hard as you can,” said Miller. “We’ll see as we get to some bigger races if we talk more strategy. She [Anderson] was sitting on my wheel for the first few laps and I kept wanting to say go around me if you can. Eventually she did.”

    “I figured my advantange was on the climbs so each time I was leading I went up as hard as I could. That was when Elle and I dropped Karen [Brems]. The hills for me are usually pretty good.”

    Early in the Season is for Crashing
    The field was bigger for Sunday’s Elite Women’s race and Anderson got away in the first lap. There was a look of determination in her face.

    “I was feeling better today, especially from the start. I took the opportunity to cut a corner and get a little break. Then I had a good lead for about two laps.

    “Meredith [Miller] had a great ride today. She slowly reeled me in. We rode together for two [more] laps then she attacked on the climb and had a great finish to her race.”

    “I liked yesterday’s course better. Today, going in the reverse direction was fun as well but for some reason yesterday seemed to flow a bit better.”

    Anderson is excited for her new team and flexible work schedule. She has high aims this season with a high finish at Nats as a goal. “[Yesterday] was the first race of the season for me,” continued Anderson, “so for the pros and cons, I got a little tumble out of the way early in the season.

    “It was a bummer to crash; I was a little scraped up and I dropped a chain. It took me a little while to get back running again but that’s what these races are for; to iron out these details and get my racing legs back underneath me. I’ve had a really great time this weekend and brushed off the cobwebs.”

    Eckmann Battles Hard for his Wins

    Eckmann Battles Hard for his Wins

    Red Berries-in-a-Row
    The Saturday Elite Men’s race started off at a ferocious pace with Eckmann, Kaiser, and Ortenblad. Jacques-Maynes sat in behind as the four quickly pulled away from Scott Chapin (Bicycle Bluebook/HRS Rock Lobster) in fifth.

    It was a marvel to see the red train at speed with some symmetry in the racer’s kit; Eckmann with his blue-trimmed National Champions jersey and Jacques-Maynes in the ibis/Buy-cell.com blue and red created perfect bookends to the berry-clad Kaiser and Ortenblad.

    Eventually, Jacques-Maynes took over the lead and began to set the tempo, as he so often does at CCCX. But the day would not belong to the ibis rider. “I was switching bikes at that time,” described Eckmann. “I was trying out our new bikes and getting race-ready for Vegas. I was just chilling at the back.

    “I was planning on going at one lap to go and just drill it for one whole lap. But, with three laps to go, I opened a gap. [I] decided to go for one lap hard and see if I could maintain [a gap] for the rest of the race. After one of the steep downhills I just went and that was it.”

    “It was [a good course],” continued Eckmann. “It was dusty and warm. I definitely felt it. Breathing-wise I didn’t feel great today. It was tough, for sure. That long section uphill hurt me a lot.”

    Jacques-Maynes Fights Back
    The Sunday race saw five Cal Giant riders in the field. This time, however, Jacques-Maynes set the early pace from the start. Any repeat of Saturday’s Cal-Giant train fell by the wayside quickly as Ortenblad suffered an early flat.

    This left Eckmann and Jacques-Maynes riding away from the rest of the field but again Jacques-Maynes was unable to spoil the Cal Giant party.

    “I followed what my coach told me,” said Eckamnn. “He told me to take it easy at the start and try to go in the second or third lap. Just go hard for a couple of laps and settle into a nice rhythm.

    “Then I was alone so I just kept it nice and steady to the end. I took a point on the course where I could see and I kept opening the gap to him. I was pretty satisfied with that.”

    The race settled there and Eckmann rode home to make it four wins for Cal Giant’s weekend. Andy Jacques-Maynes improved on his third place from Saturday and took the second step of the Sunday podium. Matt Shriver (Trek Cyclocross Collective) also bettered his fifth place on Saturday to cross in third in the second race.

    “Yesterday was darn hard,” admitted Jacques-Maynes after Sunday’s race. “I raced Sea Otter but haven’t done a race since so I’m not really race fit. Yesterday was ‘I’ve gotta remember how to do this thing!’

    “That opened me up and today I was able to start very fast and just skip all the tactical stuff at the start. I led and Yannick rode up to me. He chopped me really, really hard going into a corner at the bottom of the hill. He got a gap there. He’s fast and it was hard to catch up to him. He really just turned it up.

    “I was happy with second so I rode my own pace after that and made sure nobody caught me from behind,” continued Jacques-Maynes. “Today I felt so much better and the course suited me. From the end of the race yesterday to the beginning of the start of the race today I won the recovery battle. Yesterday they all torched me at the start but today I was able to take off. I felt the quick turn-around was to my advantage.”

    Elite Women, Saturday
    1. Meredith Miller (California Giant/Specialized)
    2. Elle Anderson (California Giant/Specialized)
    3. Karen Brems (Team Rambuski Law)
    4. Elicia Hildebrand (Trek Cyclocross Collective)
    5. Katrina Baumsteiger (Team Rambuski Law)
    6. Monica Harris (Fun Sport Bikes Cycling)

    Elite Women, Sunday
    1. Meredith Miller (California Giant/Specialized)
    2. Elle Anderson (California Giant/Specialized)
    3. Karen Brems (Team Rambuski Law)
    4. Carolina Gomez-VillaƱe (Team Rambuski Law)
    5. Elicia Hildebrand (Trek Cyclocross Collective)
    6. Janie Dalton (Missing Link)
    7. Katrina Baumsteiger (Team Rambuski Law)

    Elite Men, Saturday
    1. Yannick Eckmann (California Giant/Specialized)
    2. Tobin Ortenblad (California Giant/Specialized)
    3. Andy Jacques-Maynes (ibis/Buy-cell.com)
    4. Cody Kaiser (California Giant/Specialized)
    5. Matt Shriver (Trek Cyclocross Collective)
    6. Scott Chapin (Bicycle Bluebook/HRS Rock Lobster)
    7. Alex Work (Bicycle Bluebook/HRS Rock Lobster)

    Elite Men, Sunday
    1. Yannick Eckmann (California Giant/Specialized)
    2. Andy Jacques-Maynes (ibis/Buy-cell.com)
    3. Matt Shriver (Trek Cyclocross Collective)
    4. Cody Kaiser (California Giant/Specialized)
    5. Matt Finerty (California Giant/Specialized)
    6. Scott Chapin (Bicycle Bluebook/HRS Rock Lobster)
    7. Benjamin Swedberg (California Giant/Specialized)

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