Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Fitzsimmons, Baker, Kramer, and Abele Post "A" Wins at CCCX#4

Nearly 200 racers competed at the Central Coast Cyclo Cross Series Race #4, held at beautiful Manzanita Park in Prundale. Racers were faced with bright sunshine and cool winds on a course that featured a little bit of everything for the die hard cross racers in attendance. There were some challenging technical sections, some sand spots, a few soft grass sections , one solid run up, and many fun turns. There was also a leg burning pavement climb that riders had to tackle each lap. The grass sections turned into deep lines of grassy mud as the day went on. And the CCCX course designer was already sweating the job of making the pristine lawn sections look as if hundreds and hundreds of bike trips across it never happened. This series goes for quality courses first and foremost. And if it takes weeks to re-do the sod, in the name of some good cross routes and fun riding, then thats life for a CCCX course designer.

Mens Elite division saw Jonathon Baker(Primus Mootry) of Boulder Colorado win impressively by 22 seconds over National 40+ champion Mark Noble(Amgen Cycling), and by 2:04 over Simon Vickers(Rock Lobster/Traugott Guitars). Baker went extremely hard at the gun, and established a early lead. While the determined Noble, who was fresh off his US Gran Prix win one week prior, worked his way thru the field to join him at the front. Also chasing the leaders were Brett Hondorp(Sycip Racing), Brian Vernor(Hunter Cycles/Pajaro Rollerz), Ben Dodge( Rock Lobster/Traugott guitars), Jason Rahlwes(Fox Racing Shocks), Pat Rocchi(Norcal Velo), Aron Bonar(Sycip Racing), and Heath Maddox(Sycip Racing). As well as Wyandt, Flores, and Kereluk. Baker then gapped the flying "Brit" Noble,and didnt let anything stop him from the win and his instant cash payout. Not even a stray dog that crossed Bakers path with two laps to go could slow him down. Baker left some cyclo-cross tire tred marks on the startled poodle and held on for the win. The dog meanwhile asked if it get get some of his puppy friends and pose as a set of barriers in future CCCX races. David Wyandt(Father) took 4th place 30 seconds behind Vickers. Wyandt has been racing very consistant and this was his third 4th place CCCX finish in the past three races. The powerful riding Vickers has had many solid performances this season. He has had a stellar cross campaign even though he was feeling a little under the weather on this day. Anastasio Flores(Cal Giant Inc.) held off Aaron Kereluk(Rock Lobster/Traugott Guitars) by a bike length to claim 5th on the day. Flores spent lap after lap chasing down the skilled cross racer Kereluk. And each time up the pavement climb he would inch closer and closer, until he finally joined Kereluk. Hondorp came across the line one minute later in 7th position on the day. Another minute later the duo of Vernor and Dodge finished 8th and 9th. And Jason Rahlwes rounded out the top 10, 40 seconds a drift of the Vernor, Dodge pairing.

Ann Fitzsimmons(Velo Bella) claimed her second CCCX win in as many races by dominating the other women and taking first by over 2 minutes. Fitzsimmons seemed fresh and at home on the challenging curcuit that had ample traction from recent rains. Fitzsimmons followed Stella Carey on lap one before throwing it down and opening a gap. The ever improving Fitzsimmons is really finding some nice form as of late, and comented that she raced the B division two years ago at this same venue. Now she is racing for money and claimed a cash payout as she crossed the line in first. Stella Carey(Kelly Bike Co.) took the silver medal and a small cash payout for her days work. Carey mentioned that she was growing somewhat tired racing seemingly every weekend in a row. But really wanted to compete at Manzanita Park, a place she has tasted success at in the past. The consistant Carey held off hard charging Lori Cox(Velo Girls) by 20 seconds to claim the silver medal and one spot higher on the podium. Cox, riding out of San Jose, has had some strong efforts this season. Her cross skills are developing each week and she should be able to make a medal winning appearance before too long.
Master 35+ Mens division was won by District champion Henry Kramer(Cal Giant Inc.) in a race that was hottly contested and skillfully won. The cunning and crafty Krammer held of Mark Howland(Black Market Racing) by the smallest of margins and claimed a instant cash payout for the win. This race saw some serious tactics come into play as a group of six riders established a talented break. This six-some featured Kramer, Howland, local legend Larry Hibbard(Family Cycling Center), Michael Matthews(Buy Cell), Tim Thompson(Euro Cycling Imports), and Gannon Myall(Cal Giant Inc.). Giving chase in the next group were Brock Dickie(Buy Cell), Keith DeFiebre(Lapierre/Ritchey/Bay Bikes), Charles Hess(Bicycle trip), Christopher Daugherty(Infineon Raceway), and speedy Brij Lunine(Missing Link Bianchi). Hibbard was the first to test the open waters of the front, and attacked on the climb to create a solo gap. But it was Howland and Kramer who joined forces and brought the ripped and muscular Hibbard back into fold. Hibbard looked to best his break away companions Kramer and Howland on the final lap, but two last lap crashes inside the final 1/4 mile sent him reeling back to 3rd place and the bronze medal, plus a little gas money for his stellar effort. So the huge cash payout for 1st came down to Krammer looking for his second CCCX win in a row, and Howland who wont give a inch when it comes to close racing. In the end, an uphill sprint for the win, it was Kramer by a measly 1 second at the line. The next chasing group that formed was a four-some featuring Matthews, Thompson, Hess, and the Missing Link/Bianchi powered Lunine. Absent from those four was Gannon Myall who was "rider down" in a time costly crash. These four on form riders worked well together and in the end they were only 30 seconds off of the winning time. It was a good effort for all these racers and a fun race to witness. Seperated by seconds at the line their finishing order was Buy Cell- Matthews, Euro Cycling Imports -Thompson, Bicycle Trip- Hess, and the Bianchi riding Lunine. Myall limped across the line next in 8th on the day. The Lapierre/Ritchey sponsored Defiebre, who was racing against doctors orders after a broken collar bone suffered only 4 weeks earlier, placed 9th on the day after a gallant one shoulder effort. Hard riding Buy Cell racer Brock Dickie rounded out the top 10 with Christopher Daugherty finishing next only ten seconds later. The rest of the top fifteen on the day were Philip Sims(Team Santa Cruz-SCCCC), Eric Bustos(Cal Giant Inc.), Ruben Villarreal(Velo Pro), and Dick Vanderluit(Euro Cycling Imports) in that order.

Master Mens 45+ division saw Mark Abele(Boure) remain un defeated for the series winning his fourth CCCX race in a row. This win was his closest of the series as Jim Gentes(Family Cycling Center) kept the time gap to a respectable margin of only 30 seconds at the line. Gentes is slowly catching up to the super charged and super smooth Boure sponsored Abele. And Gentes gauranted to challenge Abele in the next two CCCX races to deny the able riding Abele a undefeated CCCX campaign. Doug Hatfield(Family Cycling Center) was third on the day another 10 seconds after Gentes. Hatfield has now tasted third place for the second CCCX race in a row and has showed solid racing form this season. Anton McGready(Boure) has made a fine rise back to the front of the group. McGready, a past CCCX series champion, is a living cyclo-cross legend. He is as experienced a racer you could find in the sport of cyclo-cross. And he is finding his legs at a perfect time leading into the Super Prestige series finals held this weekend near San Fransisco. Joe Fabris(LGBRC/Easton/Specialized) rounded out the top five. While the rest of the top ten looked like this, Santa Cruz's Mark Michel(Bicycle Trip), Los Gato's Steve Stewart(LGBRC/Easton/Specialized), Santa Cruz's Thomas Sullivan(Amsterdam Bicycles), Santa Cruz's Kem Akol(Bicycle Trip), and San Jose's Frank Cuaresma(Cal Giant Inc.) in that order.

David Samples Jr.(Cal Giant Inc.) was the winner of the B Mens division. This was Samples third win of the series in as many starts. This was a really fine win for the new father, as there were a total of 10 riders within one minute of the win. This race was very tactical as groups formed and then disintegrated throughout the 45 minute saga. In the end it was the on form and stupendous riding Samples who walked away with the gold medal on the day. Brian Rogers(Sycip Racing) was the other racer in this division to post a CCCX win this year, taking race #2 at Ft ord. Yet this is the second race in a row the talented Rogers has been relagated to the silver medal by Samples. This time it was only 8 seconds that seperated the two at the line. Prunedale local Stacey Sell(Fox Racing Shox) claimed the bronze medal on the day with a fine ride finishing only 11 seconds behind The Sycip sponsored Rogers. Sell most likely was testing out the dirt and conditions as the race grew closer, and he used his local advantage to his best performance of the series. Park rangers noticed a racer preparing for the event as its date grew near, and that rider was most likely the forward thinking Sell. This home field advantage clearly helped as Sell held off Chris Coffey(Rock Lobster/Traugott Guitars) by a scant 2 seconds at the line. Meanwhile, Cole Rasmussen(Specialized) had his hands full with Tim Granshaw(Lapierre/Ritchey), Tim Simanski(Roaring Mouse Cycles), and Andrew Hammond(Specialized). Rasmussen, Granshaw, Simanski, and Hammond finished in that order. They put on a great show as the four riders were seperated by only 9 seconds at the line. It was cross racing displayed at its finest as these skilled riders fought for position and placings on the final few laps. Also chasing hard was legend Mark Fitzsimmons(Fox Racing Shocks) who ended up 9th on the day only 8 seconds behind 8th placed Hammond. Only five seconds later came hard charging Geoff Luttrell(Strongbadia) and his fine ride placed him 10th on the day. This is a very respectable result as this B mens group was the largest division of the day. Chance Regina(Morgan Stanley), Uri Freedman(Borracho/Bike-Co-op), Nick Sims(Specialized), and Morgan Fletcher(SF Sport & Spine) had a solid tussle for the next placings on the day. Those four riders were neck, neck, neck, and neck as the finish line came near. At the line it was only 8 seconds seperating the four headed monster that their group was forming. With the Mountain View rider Regina taking bragging rights out of this four pack of racers. In 15th on the day was Andrew Yee(Alpha Sigma Sandbag) who had his hands full with So Cal racer Josh Rebol(Echolon Santa Barbara). Yee out smarted and out pedaled the rebel with out a cause Rebol, and nipped him at the line for that 15th place by only 2 small seconds. Geoff Wilcox, Isaiah Stackhouse(SF Sport & Spine), Shawn Locker(DeSalvo Cycles), and Ryan Schlichting(SF Sport & Spine) rounded out the top 20 on the day in that order. Top twenty riders diserve a fine round of applause as this B Mens group was packed with talent and just to make top twenty on this day was a great ride.

Mens 35+ B division saw Murray Swanson(Peninsula Velo) remain perfect for his efforts in the series winning his 4th CCCX race in a row. Swanson took another gold medal home back to Woodside besting a solid group of racers. Swanson has shown great riding ability during this series and it still remains to be seen if he can run the table for the CCCX races in 2005. Second place on the day was Shane Huntoon(Livermore Cyclery) coming across the line 1 minute behind the high flying Swanson. Huntoon was the Sacramento series champion this year, and he marveled at the fine lay-out and solid running races of the CCCX series. Huntoon said this was his best ride of the year, and he was using other riders to pace himself in chase of the undefeated Swanson. Brett Lambert(Scotts Valley Cycle Sport) and Tao Bernardi(Pegasus Bicycles/Allegiant Air) had a fight on there hands behind the BMX promoting Huntoon. Lambert and Bernardi were locking horns during the 45 minute affair and in the end it was Scots Valley's Lambert getting the best of Dublin's own Bernardi by a mere 5 seconds at the line. Rounding out the top ten were Jeffrey Bramlett in 5th, who is having a very fine cross racing season. Bob Barwick the Family Cycling Center shop manager in 6th place. Chris Baker held off Dave Scindehette(Pegasus Bicycles/Allegiant Air) by a tiny 2 second advantage to claim 7th on the day. Eric Lowe was 9th on the day and Deric Dangzalan took the 10th position.

Jeff Crofton(Peninsula Velo) riding out of Half Moon Bay took a fine win in the Mens 45+ B division. Crofton was definitly on a good day of form as he bested 2nd place by a whoping 2:06 at the line. This was the second win of the CCCX series for the talented Crofton who was the victor in race #1 at Montery Peninsula College. William Hall from Monterey had one of his best rides to date taking a fine 2nd place and the silver medal. This was hard fought as Hall had two riders breathing down his neck and had to use all his skill and energy to hold them off. Only one second behind Hall was Bruce Lodge(Black Market Racing) who proudly took the bronze medal back up to the foothills in Tuolumne. Lodge was also being shadowed by Erik Salander(Peninsula Velo) who took 4th on the day only 4 seconds behind Lodge. Riding out of Salinas, Peter Sherrill(Mt. Nittany Wheelworks) was a fine fifth place on the day. This was a fine ride by Sherrill as he had the daring one, Scott DeLaurentis(LGBRC/Easton/Specialized) chasing as hard as possible from behind. DeLaurentis had to settle for 6th place on the day. Making up the rest of the top ten for the day were Boulder Creek's Matt Dunstan(Scotts Valley Cycle Sport), Palo Alto's Wayne Smith(SCCC/Le Village Imports), Santa Cruz's Dwight Goss(Redwood Riders), and Sunnyvale's Bob Malheiro(SCCC/Le Village Imports).

Beverly Chaney(Raoring Mouse Cycles) was laying her three race winning streak on the line for the CCCX series at race #4. And the Carmel resident did not disapoint her fan club as she took her 4th straight win by a scant 26 seconds. Applying constant pressure the entire race to Chaney was the strong riding Melanie Dominguez(Bicycle Trip). Dominguez was trying her hardest to erase the defficit to Chaney, but Chaney kept her at bay and held on for the win and gold medal. Lovely Julianna Perry and Melinda Jones(Team Santa Cruz-SCCCC) had a great race going on. They were fighting back and forth during the 45 minute event, and nothing could sperate the two cyclo-cross racers. So in the end it came to a photo finish and video footage showed a tie at the line. This could have been because they were holding hands as the they finished, in a fine show of sportsmanship. But they were both given same time as their finish was so close video footage couldnt even decide the placings. Henrietta Stern(Hot Flash Chicks) worked hard the entire race and did her finest effort to chase Amy Abele(Velo Bella). Abele, riding out of Concord, had her hands full with the determined Pacific Grove resident Stern. When Henrietta rides she is very stern faced and super serious, and this effort enabled her to top Abele by a small margin of 4 seconds at the line.

Category B Women saw Katrina Baumsteiger(Black Market Racing) win for the 4th time in 4 starts at the CCCX series. This particular win was her most impressive as she bested second place Janel Lodge(Black Market Racing) by a whoping 2:37 at the line. Baumsteiger riding out of Templeton never gave up her pace even after she had established a solid gap on the rest of the ladies. Strong riding Santa Cruz's Lodge, had finished within seconds of the speedy Baumsteiger the last two CCCX races. But on this day the Black Market team mates were sperated by a few minutes. Shauna Potocky(Family Cycling Center) had her best race of the series to claim a solid third place on the afternoon. Potocky is slowly finding her racing form as the season wears on, and with her friends cheering her on she had a great race to claim the bronze CCCX custom medal. Riding out of San Jose, Michelle Lambert(Sycip Racing) just missed the medal placings and claimed 4th place. Jana Roberts(Lapierre/Ritchey) was next to cross the finish and she was a fine 5th on the day. Roberts is a new sign for Team Lapierre/Ritchey and her strong riding and kind disposition is a great addition to the newly developed Lapierre/Ritchey factory team. Racing out of Oakland, Julian Foley(SF Sport & Spine) was 6th place for the race. Trailing the hard charging Foley were Julie Brothers(Rock Lobster/Traugott Guitars) and Julie Starling(Velo Bela). The consistant Starling shined like a shining star in her Velo Bella team kit. Five of the ladies names started with "J" in this talented group of cross competitors, and all we needed was Juli Schmidt(Lapierre/Ritchey) present to make the "J" names fully dominate the group.

Junior Women saw the future sensation of cycling Tania Lokmagozian, out of Monterey, fully establish herself as the series leader. The powerful and clean riding Lokmagozian won her 4th stright race of the CCCX series and has firmly put her grips on the championship trophy. I look for this impressively gifted competitor to make some more major results in her racing future. Her father is a very talented rider and Tania looks to follow in his footsteps, or tire tracks, and continue her winning ways. Another impressive junior was Meghan Barr(Cal Giant Inc) riding out of Watsonville. Barr was making her Central Coast Cyclo-Cross series debut and she showed that in the coming years it is likely she will be at the front of many races.

Junior Men 13 & Under saw Team Bicycle trip continue their dominating team tactics taking the top three places and taking 5 out of the top 8 placings in the race. Leading the way was series leader Noah Karter(Bicycle Trip) who claimed the gold medal and his 4th straight win in the CCCX series. Karter is showing no mercy on the rest of the 13 & under racers, and looks poised to bring the CCCX series championship back to Santa Cruz. Also riding out of Santa Cruz Raymond Mendoza(Bicycle Trip) is showing great promise and has many CCCX medals to prove this to his class mates. Mendoza was 2nd on the day holding off team mate Trent Knebel(Bicycle Trip) by a small margin. Gilroy's own Andrew Lainier(San Jose Bike Club) crashed the Bicycle Trip party and took a solid 4th place on the day. Darik Thunstrom(Bicycle Trip) had one of his best rides of the series and took the 5th position on the day. Next across the line were Carson Cole from Watsonville, Kendall Barr(Cal Giant Inc.) out of Watsonville, and Jordan Vanderstoep(Bicycle Trip) from Soquel.

Junior 18 & Under division had Logan Loader(Alan Factory) take the hole shot and never surrender the lead. Loader was the 2005 Surf City Series champion and is looking to be tuff to stop in the CCCX series as well. Loader was showing off a little during this race as he had his girl friend in attendance and even pulled up in a flashy Volvo showing the other juniors he has passed his DMV test. So with his girlfriend watching and his new drivers liscence in his pocket there was no stoping him on this day. Chasing hard was Jeremy Blalock(Joselyn's) who ended up droping 1:27 to the fired up Loader at the line. Blalock and Loader look headed for a showdown at the next CCCX race to be held in Ft. Ord at a race route were Blalock put the hurt on Loader the last time a race was held there. Blalock put over 30 seconds into Loader that day, and he will need to cross the line ahead of his rival if he has any chance to win the CCCX series for 2005. Jack Fogelquist(Scotts Valley Cycle Sport) took the bronze medal on the day in a photo finish over his team mate Taylor Shamshoian. These two racers have put on many fine racing spectacles over the past few races and this race was another fine show. It took a video camera to distinguish the racer who could claim the bronze medal, and the judges gave the nod to Fogelquist by less then 1 milimeter, or .0000001 of a second. Racing for Bicycle Trip Kyle Vanderstoep was 5th on the day.

C Men Division saw Jimmy Sopko(Bay Bikes) re establish bragging rights at the shop as he bested his break away companion and co worker Jeremy Keyes(Bay Bikes) by a tiny 9 second margin. These team mates raced a solid event and seperated themselves from the other racers as the event wore on. Keyes had to chase down Sopko, who took a early solo lead, and the 2 riders were faced with a last lap dash for the win. Sopko took the front and slowly opened up some time over the last 1/2 mile of the race, and in front of his girlfriend Sopko was able to celebrate the win. Keyes was not happy with second and claimed he will surely change the order at the next CCCX race to be held on his home course of Ft Ord. Riding out of Campbell Travis Tonn(San Jose Bike Club) had a great ride and was able to walk away with the bronze medal in the end. Tonn was only 30 seconds behind 2nd place and put a full minute into 4th place Brad Helper. Hepler, riding out of Los Gatos, was riding alone for most of the race and held off 5th place Alex Anderson(Team Santa Cruz-SCCCC) by 18 seconds. Top 10 on the day in this very competitive group were Troy Mayfield(Spokesman), Monterey's Ned Mason, Walnut Creek's Chris Coffee, Charles Meehan(Ride SFO), and Gregory Kuhnen(Ride SFO), in that order.

Michael Matthews(Buy-Cell) won his third single speed race in a row at the CCCX series. Matthews had a solid 35+ A Men race earlier in the day, and backed it up with a single speed win. Dan Sovereign(Bullseye/ESBWB) kept Mathews in shouting distance and only finished 30 seconds behind the on form Buy-Cell racer. Local boy Eric Ebberoth was third on the day and contiuned his fine single speed riding. Ebberoth knows that the high school mtn Bike season is coming up very fast. So he is trying to remain race ready as the high school opener gets closer. Michael Martin(Team Santa Cruz-SCCCC) was 4th. Twenty seconds later Tim Cannard(Buy-Sell) sprinted across the line to round out the top 5 on the day. The rest of the top 10 looked like this, Mike Mann from Marina, A.J. Ataie(Pegasus bicycles/Allegiant Air) from Danville, Kevin Pelley(Scary Fast) from Salinas, Joe Fabris(LGBRC/Easton/Specialized) from Los Gatos, and Justin Mann(Calvary Chapel) of Marina, in that finishing order.

Report by

Dusty Downs
Cycle Sport International


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