BRISBANE, CA—NorCal’s finest stood at the start line of Saturday night’s BASP #3, helmets over their hearts, as Rock Lobster’s Chief Executive Bad Ass Paul Sadoff belted out the National Anthem on his electric guitar. The crowd cheered as the song’s final G reverberated through the fall air, and their enthusiasm intensified as the starting whistle sent racers sprinting into the November night.
Diesel generators and flood lights brought night racing to the shores of the San Francisco Bay as the vacant lot between the Sierra Point office park, and the Brisbane Marina, transformed into an illuminated maze of tape, barbeque grills, and raucous spectators.
Fueled by the Sadoff Spangled Banner, the evening became the Rock Lobster show, as the squad took command of the twisty dusty track in both the elite races. Ellen Sherrill (Bicycle Blue Book- Rock Lobster) soloed to victory in the women’s event, while Scott Chapin (Bicycle Blue Book-Rock Lobster), and his meticulously groomed facial hair, rode away from the field aboard a sea foam green single speed.
Carpe Diem, Carpe Moustassium!
After wallowing in uncharacteristic mid pack results in September, Chapin decided in October it was time to turn his season around. The Rock Lobster rider adopted a healthier lifestyle of “Mikes Pasta and lots of Teresa’s Salsa.” He vowed to remain on his unsullied path until he, “beat those feakazoids,” referring to the dominant Jacques-Maynes duo of Andy and Ben.
Trading the Grizzly Adams look for a Tom Selleck mustache, Chapin saddled his single speed directly next to Ben Jacques-Maynes (Jamis CX) on the Sierra Point start line. From the whistle, Chapin attacked as Ben Jacques-Maynes (Jamis CX), Walton Brush (MASH SF), Justin Abbot (Big Swingin’ Cycles) and Brian Finnerty (Cal Giant-Specialized) formed a chase group.
Chapin explained his strategy, “I thought to myself, ‘All right, let’s see how fast these guys are going to go.’ So I went.”
The group did not pursue immediately as second place finisher Abbot pointed out. “We let him [Chapin] go thinking, ‘Yea whatever, go crush off the front,’ not thinking he could hold that pace.”
Yet hold the pace he did—Chapin and his single speed were absolutely pinned the entire race. He rode the pavement with the cadence of a sewing machine, hopped the steep run up, and slashed through the dusty corners to extend his lead with each lap.
Halfway through the race, Chapin’s gap had grown to 25 seconds. Jacques-Maynes, Brush and Abbot swapped moves, but remained unable to catch the leader. After launching an attack in the final third of the race Jacques-Mayne’s drive train crunched to a halt–a tangle of chain, derailleur and carbon dropped him from the chase group. While Jacques-Maynes addressed his mechanical, Abbot put down a serious effort to clear himself of the Jamis rider. Abbot explained, “I was kinda hoping for a good last lap battle with Ben. It would be cool to challenge him since he’s so dominant most of the time. Still the result was great. This is the best finish I’ve ever had at the BASP.”
Chapin’s gap widened by the end of the race and he cruised down the final straightaway, arms hoisted high, celebrating his first victory of 2013.
Abbot maintained his pace to take second place, while Brush also put in a strong ride for third. Jacques-Maynes solved his mechanical problems to salvage fourth on the evening.
Alex Work (Bicycle Bluebook-Rock Lobster) snapped a handle bar off his bike then grabbed the pit single speed and powered through the field in the final laps to round out the podium in fifth position.
After the awards ceremony, Sadoff extended a congratulatory handshake as Chapin wore a grin not even his bushy mustache could hide. The beaming victor exclaimed, “I did it Paul, I took their money!”
He continued, “I haven’t won a race in a while, so this felt awesome…I probably could’ve gone a little bit faster too.”
Despite his own bad luck, Jacques-Maynes smiled and offered nothing but praise for Chapin’s ride. “Scott was definitely the fastest guy out there,” Jacques Maynes, said. “The strongest racer won tonight.”
Sherrill Breaks Away in Brisbane
Mary Ellen Ash (Bicycle Blue Book-Rock Lobster) snagged the hole shot in the women’s race and stretched the field as she powered through the first half of the course.
Ellen Sherrill, meanwhile, found herself in the last row, staring at the back of the women’s field. When the whistle blew Sherrill too sprinted along the pavement, passing about half the women’s field in the process.
Once into the dirt, Sherrill picked off riders landing in a long train of riders chasing down Ash. Sherrill revealed team tactics came into play, as she hoped Ash’s move would enable fellow Lobsters to overcome their back row starting positions. “I jumped on the train that was chasing Mary Ellen,” Sherrill explained ”That definitely pulled me up towards the front of the race.”
By the end of the first lap, Sherrill moved through the field and joined Karen Brems (Team Rambuski Law) at the front of the race. The crowd hooted with delight, anticipating a clash of the NorCal cross titans.
As they headed into the second lap, Sherrill moved to the front and took a pull on the pavement. After winding through the mud pit, Sherrill reached the back stretches of road still in the lead. With Brems on her wheel Sherrill realized she was about to fall victim to the notorious Brems’ “Hammer Drop” at any moment. She then decided it was her time to attack so she “gassed it” to avoid a move from Brems.
Heading into the first set of barriers Sherrill heard Brems stumble and decided that was the time to make her move. The Rock Lobster rider opened up a gap on Brems which she would hold for the remainder of the race. “It wasn’t important to extend the gap [which sat around 20 seconds],’ explained Sherril, “I just knew I had to hold it once I got it. Establishing the initial gap was the hard part.”
Speaking after the race, Sherrill commented on winning against Brems. “It’s gotta happen at least once or twice a year,” explained Sherrill, “I get frustrated after she beats me ‘x’ amount of times and then I get surly. And a surly Ellen is a fast Ellen. It felt great to win the night race…it’s kinda a big one here in Nor Cal.”
Brems still glowed on the podium and afterward, and noted her consistency helps her throughout the season. “I’m trying to stay healthy and fit as World’s is my main focus again this year,” Brems explained. “It’ll be nice to go over to Switzerland and see what the European [Masters] scene is like.”
Helene Drumm (Divine Electric Nor Cal) powered her mountain bike to a third place finish at Sierra Point, while Katie Jay Melena (Bicycle Blue Book-Rock Lobster) finished fourth. Caroline Dezendorf (Cycles Fanatic) nabbed the final podium spot in fifth position.
Men’s Top 5
- Scott Chapin (Bicycle Blue Book-Rock Lobster)
- Justin Abbot (Big Swingin’ Cycles)
- Walton Brush (MASH SF)
- Ben Jacques-Maynes (Jamis Cyclocross Team)
- Alex Work (Bicycle Blue Book-Rock Lobster)
Women’s Top 5
- Ellen Sherrill (Bicycle Blue Book-Rock Lobster)
- Karen Brems (Team Rambuski Law)
- Helene Drumm (Divine Electric NorCal)
- Katie Jay Melena (Bicycle Blue Book-Rock Lobster)
- Caroline Dezendorf (Cycles Fanatic)
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