BASP Trippel Stick • 24 November 2013
Rachel Lloyd (DFL) took her third Women’s A win at the Candlestick Point venue, against top NorCal competition, in a statement of intent for January’s National Championships. Clearly now “out-of-retirement”, Lloyd was first to reach the first major obstacle on course, the flyover bridge. From there the former World Cup racer stretched away from Team Rambuski Law team mates Karen Brems and Caro Gomez-Villafañe.
A tight Men’s A race saw a competitive lead group contest the outcome to the very end. In a two-up sprint for the win, Tobin Ortenblad (California Giant/Specialized) took the spoils by the length of a bike over Andy Jacques-Maynes (ibis/Buy-cell.com). All this after Ortenblad and Scott Chapin (Bicycle Bluebook/HRS/Rock Lobster) tangled on the final lap. Jacques-Maynes and Ortenblad have been great rivals and as a pair have dominated many Northern California cyclocross races in recent years, with this win going to the youngster.
The Women’s race saw a strong field. Lining up with Brems, Lloyd, and Gomez-Villafañe were both Drumm sisters, Helene and Kristin, and another of the Rambuski Law riders in Trina Baumsteiger. Also on the start line were Janie Dalton (Missing Link/3rd Rail), who is having a good season, and Evelyn Stevens (Specialized lululemon) reprising her 2007 race at Golden Gate Park.
Lloyd described her race saying “I think I’m getting stronger because I have been training. So those big flats are good for people who are strong and I felt like I could go hard on them. This is a great course and really fun. It seemed easier to pass the other categories and the lapped riders.
“I was trying to go as hard as I could. I’m in training so its important for me to go as hard as I can at these races. I’m actually going to compete at some of the West coast UCI races.”
Lloyd also confirmed she was preparing for Nationals and, amongst the other female racers from the region, will become a great ambassador for NorCal Women’s cyclocross. “They’re strong,” continued Lloyd, “Carolina [Gomez-Villafañe] has been doing a couple of UCI races and getting top tens. It’s encouraging. They’re young and they have years ahead of them. It’s awesome. I wish I could race with Elle [Anderson]. We’re teammates but I’ve never raced against her – I know she will blow me out of the water and serve me a piece of humble pie.”
No humility necessary for Lloyd as immediately after her interview she gave guidance and encouragement to another of NorCal’s young Women ‘cross racers, Maddie Ortenblad.
Second place in the race went to Gomez-Villafañe ahead of teammate Brems. The pair have represented the Rambuski Law team well this season and have battled each other throughout. It was Helene Drumm (Divine Electric) grabbing fourth place. Katie Jay Melena (Bicycle Bluebook/HRS/Rock Lobster), fresh of her maiden win in the women’s top category, raced to a solid fifth place to back up her success at the Santa Rosa Cup CX.
There was another top-notch field for the Men’s A race. Master’s racer Brian Finnerty (California Giant/Specialized), Saturday’s Santa Rosa Cup CX winner, was back for more 60-minute discipline. Mitch Trux (Sterling Sports), Keith Hillier (Team Rambuski Law), and Kurt Wolgang were also up for a second day of ‘cross racing. MashSF had a strong contingent on-hand lining up Walton Brush, Rainier Schaeffer, Chas Christiansen, and Derrek Yarra.
With the long, flowing 1.8-mile course, the field quickly settled into small groups. There was initially a lead group of ten covered by 11 seconds. After four laps, Jacques-Maynes and Ortenblad were protagonists in lead train with Finnerty, Brush, and Chapin, making for an impressive bunch. Unfortunately, Brush had a mechanical failure early and was first to drop off the group. Then a gap formed between Chapin and the others, threatening to leave the Rock Lobster out of the running for the win.
Although the rains earlier in the week kept down the dust, the course was only soft in a few places and Candlestick point was as always very bumpy. The pace set by Finnerty, Ortenblad, and Jacques-Maynes was imposing. But so was Chapin’s push to get right back on the wheel of the leaders. Early in the season, Chapin described his goal was to peak later in the season. Following a win a the Sierra Point Night Race, Chapin bridging back to the front three was a the Rock Lobster making good his word.
The lead group of four riders kept up a stellar pace and exchanged leaders. As the hour wore down, there was no clear and obvious winner. Andy Jacques-Maynes was a favourite for some at the finish line but U23 Ortenblad has been cutting his teeth this season racing with the big boys. Even as the leaders took the bell, it was difficult to rule out Chapin and Finnerty as anything could happen on a the long, final lap.
And it did. Ortenblad suffered the least of his tangle with Chapin and managed to quickly catch back on. Jacques-Maynes was putting in a massive effort leading the way back to the winning line. Ortenblad and Jacques-Maynes, with Finnerty losing touch, rounded the final corner for a sprint finish. Ortenblad overcame his effort earlier in the lap, to get back up to the front, and found himself well lined up for a straight line to the arch. Both riders were out of the saddle, heads down and contesting hard but Ortenblad squeezed his bike to the line first.
Finnerty took third 10 seconds behind the sprint pair whilst Chapin crossed in fourth a further 11 seconds in arrears. As the latter laps fell away, Justin Robinson (California Giant/Specialized) passed several riders to take a fifth place finish.
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