Sagebrush Cyclocross Series
26 October 2013
The affable Katerina Nash (Luna Pro Team) cruised around the Clayton Middle School circuit to win the Women’s A race today. After mounting a good lead part way through the first lap, Nash put on a display of speed and grace that only a fireball hand-up threatened to spoil.
In the Men’s A race, an early battle amongst Nick Schaffner (Marc Pro-Strava), Jude Mayne (Hub Coffee Roasters p/b Tahoe Carson Radiology), and Kurt Gensheimer (ibis/Buy-cell.com) saw the Angry Singlespeeder break away during the fourth lap. Gensheimer then fended off a late charge by Jason Walker (Folsom Bikes/VW/Raley’s) to take the top step.
As a resident of Truckee, Nash has raced at a number of races in the Sacramento and Sagebrush Cyclocross Series, including a win at the snow-ridden District Championships on this very same course in 2010. To the riders credit, everybody today that spoke of her mentioned her immense approachability.
“[I am] just having an opportunity to have a race at home in this beautiful fall weather,” said Nash, “and getting ready for some UCI races next weekend. I wanted to have a good warm up. You can train as hard as you can but never really simulate the same conditions as race day.
“I am psyched that Reno Wheelmen puts on a really good race series and that I could jump into it.”
The Women’s A field was small with Ellen Sherrill (Bicycle Bluebook/HRS/Rock Lobster) and Erica Greif (Reno Wheelmen) the only other competitors. Nash took control early and reached the plank barriers on the backside of the course well ahead. The rest of the race saw Nash face the course’s differing terrain: tarmac, hard-packed dirt, sand-lot dirt, and grass.
The racers saw three sections with off-camber on grass plus a stair run-up and barriers on the side of a berm. By far the most difficult portion of the course, described as brutal by many, was the 200m stretch of ever changing sand. Even this section saw Nash glide over the surface at speed.
The many juniors at the day’s event had another source of learning in watching this international racer.
Waiting for the Bar Service
“It’s a really good course,” continued Nash, “it has a lot of variety. Pretty short lap and you get a little bit of everything.
“I think the sand is always a challenge. I’ve definitely gotten a lot better over the years and I’ve ridden this one several times. I know how to tackle that one but it get’s your heart rate up, that’s for sure.”
Nash’s display was terrific and good preparation for her upcoming races. One potential hiccup occurred when Nash took a whiskey laden hand-up. “There were a couple of super fans out there with some cinnamon whiskey. I couldn’t say no but I waited for the last lap.
“It actually was quite tasty but right after I took it I almost ran into the cement wall. It was a good thing I waited until the last lap.”
Sherrill rode her race but suffered from from gear-related mechanical problems. This left the the Rock Lobster racer wishing she had her single-speed under her. In the end, Sherrill took second with race director Greif earning the final position.
Nash will check her calendar and hopes to race at another Northern California/Nevada race this season.
Power and Tactics
What the Men’s A race lacked in the gliding speed of a Katarina Nash they more than made up for in competition, power, and tactics.
Nick Schaffner lead a group of three in the early laps and the race looked to be a battle to the finish between Schaffner, Jude Mayne, and Kurt Gensheimer. The leaders powered through the laps managing all the barriers in their path with strength and skill.
At the fifth lap, however, the complexion of the race change drastically. For the first time, Gensheimer held the front and, even more so, was building a gap to second.
“Yeah, the first three laps we were on the backside and there were some barriers you could bunny hop,” described Gensheimer. “Right after that there was a sand section. I had pre-ridden the course on my ‘cross bike and the sand section was really slow. On my mountain bike, my singlespeed, it was a lot faster.
“So lap four, Nick [Schaffner] was leading most of the race and I decided to make a move through there to see if I could get a gap. I got an instant 10 second gap through the sand.”
Out of Nowhere
As the race wore on, Gensheimer’s decision to race on wider tyres was paying off. Yet, almost out of nowhere, at least in this reporters eyes, Jason Walker began bearing down on the leader. Rounding the first corner at the beginning of the final lap, Gensheimer was head down, elbows wide, and pushing hard on the pedals.
Walker was likewise pushing hard several bike lengths back but most definitely in the fray.
“I kept at my pace and had a gap for the rest of the race,” continued Gensheimer. “There was one guy who was bridging up to me towards the end. I was starting to get nervous.
“I was confident he wasn’t going to catch me with half lap to go because the last half of the lap is where I am the fastest. If he didn’t catch me [before the sand] he’s not going to catch me the second half.
“I looked back and he was nowhere to be found so I guess he lost his chain. It was unfortunate because he was really putting the pressure on.”
Walker did indeed lose his chain right at the beginning of the sand section. This returned second place to Schaffner and third to Jude Mayne. Walker was able to salvage fifth behind Robert Braun (Alta Alpina Cycling Club).
“Cyclocross Education,” was the “one word” from Walker. “When we got through the first half of the course and I hadn’t caught him I knew I wasn’t going to catch him. He had mountain bike tyres on and there was no way I was going to catch him in the sand.
“He must have been five to 8 seconds faster than everybody through that sand and that was where I was making my ground on everybody else. I dropped my chain right before that. I was just about to start and give it my best effort hoping he would crash or clip out but I didn’t get to do it.”
The Angry Singlespeeder had a few words of praise for the course. “This is a great course. It was technical with a good mix. It’s a great singlespeed course. I was able to ride my singlepseed with no disadvantage whatsoever, which I love. Any time I can ride my singlespeed and not be at a disadvantage I’d rather ride it. I ride better with it.”
1. Katarina Nash (Luna Pro Team)
2. Ellen Sherrill (Bicycle Bluebook/HRS/Rock Lobster)
3. Erica Greif (Reno Wheelmen)
1. Kurt Gensheimer (ibis/Buy-cell.com)
2. Nick Schaffner (Marc Pro-Strava)
3. Jude Mayne (Hub Coffee Roasters p/b Tahoe Carson Radiology)
4. Rober Braun (Alta Alpina Cycling Club)
5. Jason Walker (Folsom/VW/Raley’s)
6. Jake Dore
7. Noah Silverman (Reno Bike Project)
8. Andrew Sizelove (Audi)
9. Paul Tindal (Lange Twins Winery p/b Great Basin Imaging)
10. Robby Liebherr (Velo Reno)
11. Josh Rennie
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