Here is a quick re-cap of some of the racing action;
ELITE WOMEN- Stella Carey(HRS Rock Lobster) backed up her CCCX race #1 win with a fine show of power and skill to claim the race win at CCCX #2. Carey is never afraid to throw it down early and test the other female racers. This was the case the past Sunday, and Carey's strong leg tactics created a gap on the other riders early in the race. Carey continued to power away on the course, driving the pace on the pavement sections and ripping thru the tricky turns. In the end her steady riding produced a 15 second win for her 2nd CCCX win in 7 days. One of the most outstanding rides of the day came from Melissa Schultz(Kaiser Perm/ Team Oakland). Schultz had a blistering win at the past weekend CCCX race in the B division. Schultz then moved up a division to battle the big girls in the Elite division and test herself against some of the best riders in Nor-Cal. Schultz is extremely fast over the boards, smooth in technical situations, and powerful in open parts of the course. These elements propelled her to 2nd place on the day only 15 seconds behind Carey. Schultz should continue her progression on the bike and could be a solid contender in future Cross races in Northern California. Maryanne Hunter(FreeWheel/ Hunter) also produced a fine effort on the day to claim 3rd place and the final cash payout spot on the podium. Hunter had birthday girl- Sarah Maile(Ventana MTB) and Natasha Perry(Vello Bella) chasing her down throughout the duration of the event. Bev Chaney(Roaring Mouse Racing) was also in the chase group until chain trouble put a damper on her position. Somehow Hunter found a way to dig deep and hold the chasers off to solidify her ranking in the results. Maile was absolutely flying up the climb, it seemed as if she was celebrating her birthday while attacking the climb. Maile ended in 4th place on the day. Perry rounded out the top 5, and it seems her form is just starting to rise as she was only 15 seconds behind Maile at the finish.
ELITE MEN- With Andy Jacques-Maynes( Specialized/ KMC) and Justin Robinson(Cal Giant inc..) in the field you knew there was going to be some serious speed at the front of affairs. Josh Snead(HRS Rock Lobster) was the winner at CCCX #1 and has been riding very strong & he appeared ready to take on the Cal Giant Inc. sponsored riders on the challenging Ft Ord course. The stage was set for a showdown between the Lobster and Strawberry teams and at the whistle the pace up the first climb was extremely high with Jacques-Maynes setting the tone for the day. A select group formed at the front after the first two laps. The field contained many strong riders, but if you missed the move early and was not close to Jacques-Maynes up the hill, you were left with a long chase during the hour long event. After a few laps the lead group whittled down to five racers and contained the already mentioned three riders and Scott Chapin(HRS Rock Lobster), plus Mark Santurbane(Cal Giant Inc.) This group stayed tightly bunched during the middle of the race with Jacques-Maynes doing most of the pace setting. Chapin was a big story on the weekend as this is his first year in the Elite division and he was blasting around the course on his Cross bike looking like a true veteran of the game. The rest of the chasers of this elite pack were led by 2007 CCCX Series champion Aaron O'Dell(HRS Rock Lobster), then Cody Kaiser(Cal Giant Inc.), Cameron Falconer(Freewheel/ Hunter), and Jeremy Ferguson(Cal Giant Inc.). Kaiser and Ferguson are two young studs playing out their first year racing for Cal Giant Inc.. Falconer has been a multiple CCCX Series champion who has been fast for a long time in Nor-Cal Cross racing. As the race played out toward the end, two groups formed at the front. Snead and Jacques-Maynes separated themselves from Robinson and Chapin and when the bell sounded for the final lap this was going to be the fighting order for the top placings. Snead had his hands full against Jacques-Maynes who has had a stellar Road Race season for Cal Giant Inc. Jacques-Maynes power and skill created a little gap on the final lap and this was enough to take to the line for the win. Snead finished a scant four seconds down to race winner Jacques-Maynes, but truly showed he is ready for war during the 2008 Nor-Cal Cross season.
Jacques-Maynes will be racing all over the USA this season and this win is just a start for the Specialized sponsored rider who hopes to defend his Master's National title come December. The fight for 3rd place came down to a bike throw between Robinson and Chapin. Chapin appeared to have the edge through the final corners to give Rock Lobster 2nd and 3rd on the day. However Robinson is one of Nor-Cal's best Cross racers ever, and the CCCX Series all time Cyclocross race winner. Robinson used his skill to pull along side the bucket helmet wearing Chapin in the final 30 yards. At the line it was a bike throw and after further review from the officials Robinson was granted 3rd place by a nobbie's width. Out of the top 10 riders on the day only one rider was not a Cal Giant Inc. or Rock Lobster sponsored rider, this was the 8th placed Falconer. This could be considered round one of the year long Cross prize fight between Cal Giant inc. and Rock Lobster, and the first round went to Cal Giant Inc. However Robinson could find himself very isolated later in the year if Jacques-Maynes is chasing UCI points back East. Then it might be a Lobster feast instead of Strawberry desert when bragging rights are claimed.
Other riders to make the top 20 were Alex Work(HRS Rock Lobster), Jason Rahlwes(Fox Racing Shox), Aaron Bonar(Sycip Racing), Nick Hanni(Scott/ Ritchey/SRAM) , Pat Rocchi, Brian Vernor(Team Freewheel/ Hunter), Lance Doherty(Clif Bar), Jeff Patton(HRS Rock Lobster), Jesse Mayberry(Scott/ Ritchey/SRAM) , Dean Poshard(HRS Rock Lobster), and Chris Sallen(HUP United) finishing in that order.
MASTER MEN 35+ A- This division was packed with quality riders, some have won National caliber races, so it was obvious the event itself was going to be hotly contested. True to form, the start was slightly chaotic into the first board section, and up the first climb, as speeds were very high from the field. Leading the charge was Anastasio Florez of La Selva Beach. Flores was followed by CCCX #1 race winner Gannon Myall(Cal Giant Inc.) and Keith DeFiebre(Scott/ Ritchey/SRAM) . These three riders were soon joined by a small pack of chasers and the action really began to heat up. First it was Tim Thompson(Black Market Racing) to take over the front, then past National champion Todd Hoefer(Cal Giant Inc.) was in the lead position, then Murray Swanson(Peninsula Velo/Kondra Systems) took his turn in the lead. Attacks and surges seemed to be coming left and right, and this formed the lead group of all the riders mentioned plus Mark Howland(Black Market Racing). Next in line was Brock Dickie(Buy-Cell. com), Eric Bustos(Cal Giant inc.), Gavin Payne(Arts Cyclery.com) , and John Mundelins(Wells Fargo). With two laps to go the lead had whittled down to Swanson, Myall, and DeFiebre. Black Market riders Thompson and Howland chased about 10 seconds back. The final time up the extended climb DeFiebre set the pace, however Swanson and Myall were in it to the end. Swanson then took over the front and paced the trio toward the closing portions of the race. The final turns saw DeFiebre set himself up for a possible win, as he was in front through the tricky turns near the finish. This lead was erased when DeFiebre was suddenly a rider down with only four turns to go before the finish line. Myall avoided DeFiebre on the ground, and the dust cloud he created, to prosper on to a well deserved CCCX win, his second in a row. DeFiebre ended up two seconds back on the line with Swanson in 3rd place another five seconds adrift. Howland claimed 4th on the day in this tuff division with team mate Thompson grabbing the final podium spot in 5th place. The rest of the top 20 looked like this, in this order, Todd Hoefer, Brock Dickie, Eric Bustos, Gavin Payne, John Mundelins, Anastasio Florez, Tim Watson(HRS Rock Lobster), Mike Sooder(Wife says no more bikes), John Kammeyer(Altezza 40), Cesar Chavez(Buy-Cell. com), Christopher Dougherty(Sugar CRM), Geoff Wilcox(Altezza 40), Matthew Bramer(Team San Jose/ Sugar CRM), Mitch Bramlett(Third Pillar), and Don Myrah(Buy-Cell. com).
MASTER MEN 45+ A- Robert Meighan(Cal Giant Inc.) and Steven Gile(HRS Rock Lobster) established a gap early on in this Master 45+ A race. These two riders finished one-two in CCCX #1 and the re-match was on right from the gun. The two riders were forced to work together to keep the pace high as strong riding Brett Lambert(HRS Rock Lobster) chased valiantly in 3rd position on course. Other riders to chase within a chance of the win were Mark Abele(Black Market Racing), Philp Sims(SCCCC / ABS), Thomas Feix(Pen Velo/Kondra Systems), Tom Ryan(Cal Giant Strawberry), David Schaefer(Pen Velo), and a fired up Shane Huntoon(IC3) . It was the hard charging Huntoon who really delivered an inspiring ride. Huntoon kept the drive forward and picked off rider after rider to claw and scratch his way into the top five. Huntoon finally hooked up with Mark Abele and the two gave everything to get on terms with Lambert who was riding alone in 3rd position. Lambert was having none of that, as he was focused on joining the lead duo of Meighan and Gile. This was a difficult task, as Gile has huge power on the flat portions of the course. While Meighan is technically savvy and can lead at a very high tempo through the turns. On the final lap it came to a showdown between Cal Giant Inc. and Rock Lobster just like in the Elite Men's race. In this tussle for the win it was Rock Lobster rider Gile who established a small gap in the final third portion of the final lap, and then go on for the victory over the Strawberry sponsored Meighan. Gile ended up 12 seconds ahead on the finish line. Lambert's hard charging got him as close as 8 seconds to 2nd placed Meighan at the finish. While Black Market Racing's Abele claimed 4th place on the day. Making his first 'A' division podium was a ecstatic and pleased Shane Huntoon. Huntoon dedicated his strong ride to his family and felt very satisfied to gain the podium spot when all was said and done. Then came these riders in this finishing order in this very competitive 45+ A division; Philp Sims, Thomas Feix, Tom Ryan, David Schaefer, Jeffrey Bramlett, Joe Fabris(Plus 3 Network), Ross TinLine(Peninsula Velo), Logan Kelsey(Vertical Online), Steve Stewart(Easton/ Sugar CRM), Michael Mann(SCCCC Team Santa Cruz), Erik Salander(Peninsula Velo.), Paule Bates(Roaring Mouse Cycles), Leslie Austere of Burlingame, Chris Baker(Bicycle Trip), and George Smith(Webcor/ Alto Velo).
CATEGORY B MEN- As was the case in CCCX race #1, this division showcased some tremendously close racing. On the final lap the top five were separated by only 20 seconds. These riders were Abe Rotstien(Freewheel/ Hunter), Tyler Frasca(SV Cyclesport), Cody Klasna(Scott/ Ritchey/SRAM) , Jean Luc Callahan(Specialize d), and Nico Cerna(VOS Racing).
Cerna had home field advantage having done hot laps with the Master 45+ A winner and Cerna's private coach in the days leading up to the Sunday race. Cerna also is a veteran of the Nor-Cal High School MTB league, which worked with the CCCX races to host High School MTB racing in this area. So it was Cerna, who is a Cyclocross new-be in his first year Cross racing, who maybe had an edge amongst the other more established Cross racers. Callahan and Klasna both applied as much pressure as possible to the young and talented Cerna, but nothing could faze the determined Salinas resident from the win. Scott/Ritchey/ SRAM sponsored Klasna desperately attempted to get ahead of the fly weight Cerna in the final lap. Callahan also made aggressive moves for the lead over the diminutive and scrappy Cerna, but all the effort was for not. Cerna posted a excellent victory in front of family and friends, and all of his hard work in practice payed dividends in the final. Callahan held on for 2nd place two seconds behind Cerna, followed by Klasna in 3rd place another three seconds back. A little further back Tyler Frasca and Abe Rotstien were locking horns to fight it our for 4th and 5th place on the day. SV Cyclesport racer Frasca used cunning and wit to barely squeak out a two second margin over the Freewheel/Hunter sponsored Rotstien. These top five riders put on quite a race and seem to be very even in terms of strength moving farther into the season ahead. Making the top ten in this large field of B riders was not a easy task. Here is the rest of the top ten riders in this competitive division; Bryan Dyke(SHS Cowboys), Cole Rasmussen(Fox Shox), Kevin Marr(Godspeed Tattoo/ Omnifil), Charels Pockell-Wilson( Morgan Stanley), and Eric Highlander(Evil Cycling) finishing in that order.
SINGLE SPEED A- Tim Cannard(Buy- Cell.com) left all doubts about his CCCX race #1 victory far behind, just like he left his competitors far behind during the race. Cannard kept pressure on at the front of the race, seemingly pulling the lead riders in the Single Speed division along for a ride. Lap after lap the other riders desperately tried to hold the wheel of Cannard who appeared to be riding with the strength of 4 men. Cannard was on a mission to solidify his place in the repeat winner's club, proving his race #1 victory was no fluke. And on the line it was and emphatic fist pump making the Buy-Cell.com rider the marked man in the Single Speed division so far in 2008. Ceasar Chavez(Buy-Cell. com), Ruben Villarreal(Maciel Velo/Z Mobile), and John Cheetham(InfoVista) established a group that virtually went handle bar to handle bar during the event with the last lap deciding the placings. Chavez was basically undefeated last season in the Single Speed division and he used his winning background to take 2nd place in the race only five seconds ahead of Villarreal and six seconds ahead of 4th placed Cheetham. Next on the race route came a strong battle between David Gill(SCCCC Team Santa Cruz) and powerful riding Jeremy Loader(Team CCCX). Gill had a advantage over Loader in the technical portions of the course. Gill would charge through the difficult sand sections and scamper past the tricky turns under the beautiful oak trees. All the newly wed Loader could do is hang on for dear life and hope to somehow get ahead of Gill somewhere. Loader dug in and managed to make the 5th place, with the fast riding Gill taking 6th place on the day in his return to Cross racing.
JUNIOR MEN 14-18- Salinas resident Stephen Crowley(Cowboy Racing) upended the Bike Trip domination of the Junior division with a fine victory on the day. Crowley won by over 30 seconds against Bike Trip sponsored Kyle Vanderstoep. Bike Trip put six riders in the top ten in this exciting Junior division and again show they have one of the best Junior programs of all Nor-Cal bike shops. Ian Samuels(Cal Giant Inc.) was another rider who showed form and skill on his way to 3rd place. In the end Samuels smooth riding and constant acceleration put a big time gap into a four pack of Bike Trip riders who chased. These Bike Trip riders were Joshua Kaneg, Max Burkhardt, Dylan MacDonald, and Jordan Vanderstoep. Another Salinas resident, Jesse Roger(Cowboy Racing) was also in this chase group. Roger ended up in the 8th position in the race.
CATEGORY B WOMEN- Lindsey Collins(SCCCC Team Santa Cruz) posted a fine win in this division as the race was not settled until the final corners in a epic duel with Lainey Aldridge(Bike Trip). Aldridge is a very talented rider who excels in all types of riding. It could be MTB XC racing, MTB DH racing, Jumping, or Cyclocross, Aldridge does it all very well. However on this day Aldridge had her hands full with a hard pedaling Lindsey Collins. Collins never let up pressure on the other ladies and in the end had nine seconds on 2nd placed Aldridge. Jamie Stamps(Another Bike Shop) was 3rd placed on the day. Stamps was one of the few female riders to bunny hop the low laying logs near the finish.. This showed the great bike handling skills and guts that Stamps displays whenever she races. Rita Celeste Leon(SCCCC Team Santa Cruz) was 4th place on the day holding off Katherine Butler of Oakland by 21 seconds at the finish. Katie Stubbendick of Pacific Grove was 5th fastest in the race and Jasmins Parsins(Infovista) ended up 6th overall in this fast group of riders.
Other winners on the day;
CATEGORY C WOMEN- Kathleen Pearl of Los Gatos
MASTER WOMEN 35+- Janel Lodge(Black Market Racing)
MASTER WOMEN 45+- Winona Hubbard(SCCCC Team Santa Cruz)
JUNIOR WOMEN- Brenda Mai(Velo Bella)
JUNIOR MEN 13 & under- Samuel Cerruti(Cal Giant Inc.)
CATEGORY C MEN- Tim Keller(Dynamic Lunch Group)
SINGLE SPEED B- Billy Hall(HRS Rock Lobster)
MASTER MEN 55+- Frank Cuaresma(Cal Ginat Inc.)
MASTER MEN 45+ B- Tim Roehrl of Sunnyvale
MASTER MEN 35+ B- Greg Galuppo(Info Vista)
-- Dusty Downs