• CXLA NorCal Style

    by  • December 5, 2013 • cx

    Author: Audrey Biehle
    Outside-Riding and thriving in Northern California. I started cycling in 2011 after my first ‘cross race at Lembi Park, in Folsom and never looked back. Currently racing for TBBCX/GHETO and loving every minute of it. My website is outsidecycling.wordpress.com 

    NorCal Represents at UCI CXLA Cross After Dark

    The day after Thanksgiving, the NorCal CX convoy rolled out under an early morning sky, headed for the only UCI race in California. UCI racers Emily Kachorek  (#GHETOMOTO) and Jared Kessler were looking forward to the C2 race to throw down against the best ‘crossers on the west coast. Also racing, in non-UCI fields, were Chris Namba (TBBCX/GHETO), Nick Terzakis (TBBCX/GHETO), Robert Terra, and Audrey Biehle (TBBCX/GHETO). The course was set up on the outskirts of downtown Los Angeles, at the LA State Historic Park. The park was a spectacular venue, with the skyscrapers of downtown visible in the distance, and Dodger Stadium just across the 101. After a brief inspection, the GHETO crew retired to a restful night of sleep in order to prepare for race domination in the morning.

    The course included several barriers, 3 stair sections, and a flyover ramp unseen yet in NorCal. The long, straight and loose start/finish was emblematic of the rest of the course. Racers wound through the park, switching from the north and south end several times over the course of a lap, and most racers would complete 4-7 laps.  An extremely tight off-camper S-turn proved to be tricky, slowing several riders down and putting some on the ground. The backside of the course rolled through hard pack dirt and had serval little dips that racers were pumping to keep their speed up in anticipation of the ramp flyover. Overall it was a varied and exciting course.

    Emily Kachorek was grateful to the awesome promoters. “I have a lot of respect for cross race promoters, especially those that take on UCI events. Dorothy Wong does such an amazing job with the races in SoCal,” said Kachorek. “She has so much passion for the sport. The races, well organized, the courses are top notch and she makes sure to include the little details that make the event more than just a bike race, food,coffee trucks, live music, etc. You can always find her somewhere day of, and she somehow even managed time to jump in the one speed race. I would really like to see Spooky Cross come back as a UCI weekend next year, and really appreciate all the hard work that goes into putting on the only UCI events in CA this year and working to grow the sport on the west coast.”

    On Saturday, the first NorCal CX racer to represent was Robert Terra (Team Bicycles Plus/Sierra Nevada) racing in the junior catagory. Bobby put down a solid race and ended up second. Next up was the Mens C and Non-UCI women. The large field held the men up a bit, but Chris and Nick still managed to garner top 20. Audrey Biehle (TBBCX/GHETO) battled it out for 1st in women’s Bs, coming down to a sprint finish against a hard charging 2nd place. Then Stacy Cooper, after her morning warm-up visit to Dodgers Stadium, came out hard and ran away with the Single Speed Women’s race. Stacy said later that she was trying to stay smooth, but the DJ in the bumpy section was just not playing her kind of music.

    The Big Show: UCI Night Racing

    The UCI Junior race was won by Maxx Chance out of Boulder, CO, with second going to Ethan Reynolds (Hot Tubes Development Cycling Team, Inc), and Garrett Gerchar (Boulder Junior Cycling) taking third.

    After an epic sunset against the downtown skyline, the UCI women went to the grid for call ups. Emily Kachorek (#ghetomoto) started on the front line for the first time after earning UCI points in Louisville. Also on the front line included Katerina Nash (Team LUNA Chix). The first lap went off fast and hard, with Hannah Rae Finchamp (Team LUNA Chix) driving the pace at the front. The second lap she was out of the main pack and Nash had created a decisive gap, which she continued to widen for the rest of the race. In pursuit were Rachel Lyod (California Giant Berry Farms/Specialized) Nicole Duke and Courtney McFadden (Cycling Northwest). They worked together, but Nash was too far off the front, choosing her own lines and charging hard. Kachorek maintained her seventh spot, trading places with Beth Ann Orten and Serena Gordon, both racers down from Oregon, but Kachorek outlasted them and took 7th. Also representing NorCal CX was Carolina Gomez Villafane (Team Rambuski Law) who ended up 11th

    The UCI men’s call up with a litany of champions, both nationally and internationally. Representing NorCal were California Giant Berry Farms/Specialized riders Tobin Ortenblad and Cody Kaiser. Sac Series ballers Jared Kessler ( Marc Pro -Strava), Keith Hillier (Team Rambuski Law) and Nick Schaffner (Marc Pro – Strava) also made the trip down to tear it up. Both Hillier and Kessler started at the back of the grid and had many spaces to move up. This was Kessler’s first UCI race and the jitters were evident. The men were off and charging hard. These top racers were dominating the long mostly flat course, including getting air over the flyover. Kaiser did well, bunny hopping barriers to the thrill of the hecklers and finished in 12th. After crashing on the stairs and having to straighten his bars mid-race, Kessler stuck with it and worked his way up to 22nd. Dominating the race was Ryan Trebon (Cannondale-Cyclocrossworld) in 1st, Logan Owen (Cal Giant) in 2nd and Daniel Summerhill for third.

    Day 2: California Sun
    The next day dawned, clear and warm. Bobbby threw down in the Junior race again to end up third. Namba represented, negotiating traffic to end up with a strong 6th in the Mens Bs. After winning the women’s B race, Biehle decided to race Women’s As and ended up second. Great results for all the Non-UCI racers representing NorCal.

    As the weather heated up, the Elite women took to the line. Kachorek lined up on the front line again and got ready to throw down. The race started fast, with Katarina, Rachel and Nicole separating from the pack and pushing hard to maintain their lead position. Then in the second lap through the off-camber s-turn, Rachel slid out, Nicole was stuck behind her and Nash took the opportunity to put the power down and open up a gap. She would stay away for the rest of the race and win her second race in a row. The other two continued to vie for 2nd and 3rd place, withDuke taking 2nd, and Lloyd 3rd. Kachorek ended up 7th behind Beth Orton.

    According to Kachorek, the course was loose due to the dry conditions, so the men went into the second day with slightly different conditions. Kessler had better positioning on the starting line than Saturday, and was charging hard with the pack into the first set of turns. The top 5 men would eventually open up a gap on the rest of the field and battle each other for position and line until the finish.

    The men’s UCI podium for day 2 was Ben Berden (Raleigh Clement) in first, Jamie Driscoll in second and Tim Johnson in third. For NorCal, Kessler slipped out in a mud berm that was holding Saturday but was just too loose to support his aggressive riding style. Hillier and Kessler rode with another NorCal rider, which led hecklers to complain that there was no use driving to LA if the three NorCal riders were just going to race each other. They eventually separated and ended up Kessler 21st, and Hillier 22nd.

    Overall it was a fantastic weekend of racing and great representation by NorCal. SoCal should be worried about the upcoming North vs South championships with the GHETO squad representing. Kachorek and Hillier will travel this upcoming weekend to cyclocross mecca Bend, OR for another weekend of UCI racing

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