Monday, November 07, 2005

So-Cal: Noble and Wong take Hart Park Cyclocross

The Southern California Cyclocross Cup reached its halfway point in grand fashion as nearly 100 riders took to the European style course of Hart Park in Bakersfield, CA. Sunday Nov. 6th. With the sun shining and a beautiful day in prospect, riders and spectators took to the course for some hot cross’ racing action.

Hosted by the Kern Wheelmen Bicycle Club of Bakersfield, an expo area with food, drink, music and fun greeted everyone. There were demo bikes by Cannondale, Specialized, Redline and wheels by Ritchey. Clif bar, XS energy drink and the famous SCCX booth with a slew of stickers, cowbells, socks further complimented the race.

The course, a design by race director Sam Ames, was based upon time spent in Europe and countless hours watching Belgian and Dutch cross videos, “I always want a wide, flowing course. A course Sven Nys would be proud to ride on. You have to have some technical but still favor the traditional cross rider and I think this venue and course is the one of the best around.” Riders started fast as the course featured pavement, grass and one short but steep run up. Two high concrete curbs were a crowd favorite as a few riders were able to bunny hop them, while most stuck to the traditional dismount.

In the women’s A race series promoter Dorothy Wong of Kelly bikes took the win from rival Carolyn Popovic followed by Amy Bowen in third. “It was a tough race but such a good course. Loose in the corners and that run up! Wow…” said Wong. Popovic and Wong have traded wins this season and have a good battle on their hands.

In the men’s A race it was team Amgen getting the upper hand at the end of the first lap, but not before Nat Faulkner a former Canadian national champion took the first lap prime. “I think I blew myself up a bit, but it was fun!” said Faulkner. With son Chance Noble bunny hopping the tall curbs and teammate Gary Hanson tagging along, national Masters Champion Mark Noble set the pace and the trio quickly built a 30 second gap on Faulkner. In the end Mark pulled away from his teammates to take the win with Chance taking the sprint for second and Hanson in third.

The last bit of business for the day was the drawing to benefit the Lance Armstrong Foundation. A complete Cannondale cyclocross bike was donated and the lucky winner was Steve Christiansen of Bakersfield. Congratulations!

The series continues next weekend with the Urban Cyclocross at Palos Verdes Estates.


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