Thursday, December 22, 2005

Jacques-Maynes, Howe, Howland, Abele, Post "A" wins In Mud Battle Of Ft. Ord!

The first heavy downpour of the Northern California Cyclo-Cross season finally arrived in time for the holidays, and with it Ben Jacques-Maynes (Kodak-Sierra Nevada) and Barbara Howe (Velo Bella) claimed Elite victory in a full on mud bath of a race held in Monterey at Ft Ord. This is the land of the Sea Otter Classic which is known for some epic mud memories. And finally in 2005 mother nature unleashed her fury as torrential rain and high winds made a fast, smooth course into a sea of mud and slime for the competitors on hand. All the racers in attendance deserved a solid round of applause as they faced epic conditions and competed in true Cyclo-Cross weather. Each event during the day at one time or another had rain heavier then most showers in your bathroom. This combined with the mud and the wind made it a day to be proud to race your Cyclo-Cross steed.

The men's A race featured a battle of the Jacques-Maynes brothers, Ben and Andy(Cal Giant Inc./Specialized). Both of these riders were highlighted in Velo News ones to watch for cross racers 2005. And they did not disappoint on this day, establishing a early break after one lap joined by Simon Vickers(Rock Lobster/Traugott Guitars). These three were chased in a constant rain by Joshua Snead(Rock Lobster/Traugott Guitars), Aaron Odell(Rock Lobster/Traugott Guitars), David Wyandt, and Cameron Falconer(Hunter Cycles/DFL), in that order. Slowly the Jacques-Maynes were grinding down the CCCX series leader Vickers until gaps started to form. Ben was first to make a charge thru a mud field that opened up a gap on his twin brother. Then, when Andy took a spill over a tricky dismount section, it was enough to propel the hard charging Kodak-Sierra Nevada rider(Ben) to the win and a instant cash payout. Vickers meanwhile never gave up and closed to only 15 seconds of the Cal Giant/Specialized rider(Andy) at the line and took a solid third on the day. Vickers needed a few more laps and he might have been able to join the Cal Giant Inc/Specialized rider and fought for the silver medal. But Jacques-Maynes was having non of that and his experience and strength propelled him into 2nd on the day. Now Ben has full bragging rights when the twin brothers sit down for their holiday feasts during the christmas break. Only 23 seconds after Vickers crossed the line his team mate Joshua Snead came blitzing across the finish. Snead had a solid run on the day and seemed to get faster as the race went on. Bay Area Super Prestige champion Aaron O'dell rounded out the top 5 finishing 35 seconds behind Snead. O'dell was faced with a true test on this day as the Jacques-Maynes were throwing it down on the rest of the field, and the Pillarcitos winner could only take a top 5 in this event. David Wyandt who was having break pad issues before the race even started finished in 6th place. Wyandt who sits in 2nd place in the series standings fought a river of water over highway 17 just to make it to the race. Wyandt had a fine ride on the day finishing 52 seconds behind O'dell after he did some quick mechanic work in the pits to fix his break pad issues. Cameron Falconer riding out of Fairfax never gave up during the storm filled race and claimed 7th position on the day. Cameron had team owner Rick Hunter on hand watching and rode a consistent race during the hour long mud fest. Anastasio Flores(Cal Giant Inc.) had limited warm up time, but was able to regroup and claim 8th on the day. Flores held off mtn bike riding Jason Rahlwes(Fox Racing Shox) by a small margin of 7 seconds at the line. Fine riding Pat Rocchi(Norcal Velo) took the final top 10 position 21 seconds behind 9th placed Rahlwes. Rocchi riding out of Monterey, has trained in this area for many a day, but this might have been the most adverse conditions he has faced on his bicycle excursions. And Rocchi seems to be improving his rides as the cross season advances. Ben Dodge(Rock Lobster/Traugott Guitars) out of Palo Alto, David Widmark(East Bay Velo) from Albany, Jay Buenaventura(Third Rail Cycling Club) riding out of Berkeley, and Brent Chapman(Rock Lobster/Traugott Guitars) from Felton, rounded out the top 15 on the day in that order.

Barbara Howe(Velo Bella) was using the mud to prep her form for the trip to Europe she earned for being the highest place U.S women in the U.S. GP Series. The famous Velo Bella rider was also featured in Velo News as a rider to watch leading into the 2005 Cross campaign. So at the gun the hard charging rider from Larkspur threw it down on the other women and established a sizeable gap right away. Stella Carey(Kelly Bike Co.) and Shelley Olds(Rock Lobster/Traugott Guitars) chased hard but Howe showed them how in the soggy conditions and cruised to a comfortable win. Howe looks ready to travel over seas and give it a go in the land of real mud, sweat and glory, the European Cross scene. Carey used her fine riding skills to hold off the tenacious Olds and hold on to second place on the day by 40 seconds. Olds has had a solid year racing cross and really enjoyed slipping and sliding her way to a third place finish on the day. The Kely Bike Co. sponsored Carey took over the series lead with her 2nd place on the day while the hard charging Olds now sits 3rd in the series points standings.

Men's35+ A division saw mighty Mark Howland(Black Market Racing) grind to a well deserved win in some serious downpours and treacherous conditions. The race started under garden hose like showers and the beginning was quite a spectacle as rain came thundering down. Patrick Myall(DFL) out of San Francisco took the hole shot but relinquished the lead to Henry Kramer(Cal Giant Inc.) and Keith DeFiebre(Lapierre/Ritchey) and those two riders made the pace on the first lap. But as time wore on a break developed consisting of Howland, Kramer, Myall, and Cesar Chavez(Buy-Cell), with Defiebre and Tim thompson(Euro Cycling Imports)missing the move. Philip Sims(Team Santa Cruz-SCCCC), Dick Vanderluit(Euro Cycling Imports), Eric Thunstrom(Eels On Wheels), and Raymond Mendoza(Team Santa Cruz-SCCCC) were also giving chase. With about 3 laps to go Howland opened up a small gap on the group. Howland's keen racing sense deciphered that this could be his moment to seize control of the race. So in the mud and deep rivers that were forming on the course Howland applied as much pressure as possible to go fo the win. His gap grew to over 10 seconds and was 13 seconds at the finish. Howland further established himself as series leader with his fine ride and first place finish. The Black Market racer's form has been consistent during the entire series. He has been in the top 3 in every race except race #1 when Keith DeFiebre took 3rd and relegated Howland to the fourth position in a last lap duel between the two. 13 seconds behind Howland came a sprint between Chavez and Myall whom had been working together during the final laps. Chavez who is so strong he snapped off his crank arm in the last CCCX race took 2nd on the day topping Myall in the sprint. Myall had to settle for 3rd but had a fine ride in the sloppy conditions and showed great cyclo-cross skills. Henry Krammer took 4th on the day. Krammer was celebrating his wife's birthday the previous night and was just happy to wake up the next morning to make the race. His silver medal at the US national championships the week before shows the kind of year he is having on his bicycle. Tim Thompson was 5th on the day after chasing down Keith Defiebre and getting a small gap on the last lap. Thompson spent 4 or 5 laps chasing DeFiebre and finally made up the difference and those two riders worked together until the end. Philip Sims out of Santa Cruz had a fine ride and finished 7th on the day. Vanderluit riding out of San Jose, Thunstrom from Boulder CreeK, and Mendoza from Santa Cruz made up the rest of the top 10 on the day.

Men's45+ A division was won by fast riding Mark Abele(Boure). Abele had one of his better rides of the year and showed he is one of the fastest Master racers around. He flew up the pavement sections and used his smooth riding form to navigate the mud and river sections of the course. As time went on the course filled up with water and Abele seemed to be able to sail thru the deep water sections smoother then most riders. Abele was undefeated during the CCCX series coming into this race and after his performance on Sunday he clearly left no doubt to who is the series leader. At the line the gap was an astounding 5:02 over 2nd place Doug Hatfield(family Cycling Center). Hatfield was slightly jet lagged after traveling across the country to compete in the national championships the previous weekend. But Hatfield, who has had some great results this year, fought hard and never gave in during this mud battle in Ft Ord. Hatfield had to dig deep because Michael Erbe(Cal Giant Inc.) was having a solid go in the horrible conditions. Erbe, known as a fine all around rider, showed fine skills and handled the slimy trails taking home the bronze medal for his work 28 seconds behind Hatfield. Steve Stewart(LGBRC/Easton/Specialized) was next across the line 45 seconds later. Stewart, out of Los Gatos, sits in fourth place in the CCCX series and his nice ride confirmed his position in the rankings. Fast Frank Cuaresma(Cal Giant Inc.), riding out of San Jose, took 5th on the day and showed great determination and skill to compete on this day of horrible conditions. Cuaresma has been a great competitor during the many years of CCCX races, and this day he was forced to use all his ability in the perfect storm for cyclo cross. Bicycle Trip sponsored riders filled the next two spots, with Kem Akol from Santa Cruz besting Larry Broberg of Felton. Akol is one of the most liked and most respected riders in the group and it was a treat to see him do battle in the rain and mud. Paul Sadoff(Rock Lobster/Traugott Guitars) riding out of Santa cruz was next across the finish on a day where just finishing was quite a accomplishment.

Master Women 35+ division saw National mtn bike sport champion Beverly Chaney(Roaring Mouse Cycles), in her first Cyclo-Cross season, go un defeated in the CCCX series heading into this mud wrestling extravaganza. But Melanie Dominguez(Bicycle Trip) changed that with a fine ride in the Cyclo-Cross ring. Dominguez put a mere 21 seconds into the athletic Chaney and ruined her bid for a perfect CCCX season. Maybe it was the pressure of a undefeated season? Maybe it was the sloppy conditions? Or maybe it was just that Dominguez was riding stellar on this day? Either way, Chaney was forced to collect her first silver medal of the CCCX series for 2005 cross. Yet she should be satisfied with such a fine effort as the track grew more and more difficult as time went on. Dominguez moved into third place in the series standings with her fine win in the tricky conditions. Fast pedaling Marguerite Meyer(Velo Bella) was a solid third in this group 45 seconds back of the winner. Meyer never stopped fighting and her determination was a motivating thing to witness in the grit and grime that was on hand. Another rider who was truly inspirational to watch was Henrietta Stern(Hot Flash Chicks) riding out of Pacific Grove. Stern was facing her first mud bog test on her Bianchi cross rig, and she passed this test in fine fashion taking 4th on the day. This against women who are many years her youth, and this result shows her incredible fitness and tenacity. Amy Abele(Veloo Bela) was 5th on the day and showed great determination and heart. Abele trains on Mt Diablo from the Concord side of the Mountain, and used all her fitness to finish this epic race. Cassie McSorley(Olympic Club) had a good day in the saddle and took 6th on the day. The Salinas rider was covered in mud and filth at the end of the race, but her smile showed she really enjoyed the challenge.

Women's B division saw Alexis Alexander(Power Bar), racing out of Redwood City, show fine form and cross skills to claim first on the day. Alexander powered her way to the win putting 3:31 into second place Shauna Potocky(Family Cycling Center). Alexander showed great ability on the dismounts and was strong in the riding sections, and this skill led her to the win. Potocky who trains in Santa Cruz has been getting better and better as the cross season moves on. Her form seems to be coming around as the series heads to its final race Jan 8th, and she now sits a fine 3rd in the series points standings. Julie Brothers(Rock Lobster/Traugott Guitars) raced consistent and finished 3rd on the day. Brothers did well just to finish this race as many competitorss dropped out or had mechanicals in the mayhem the the mud and rain produced.

Men's B division had one of the bigger groups of the day and the field was full of talented riders. David Samples Jr.(Cal Giant Inc.) had an undefeated steak going in the CCCX series, but this was not his day. Tim Granshaw(Lapierre/Ritchey) found his form at the right moment and claimed the win in the horrendous conditions at hand. Granshaw rode a perfect race and held the front early until the gaps began to form, and then staked his claim on the win. The Lapierre/Ritchey rider showed tremendous power up the pavement climbs and great skill in the technical sections. This combo allowed him to slowly move away from the rest of the field. And in the end the Lapierre/Ritchey rider was a good 48 seconds ahead at the finish. The Lapierre/Ritchey team had a good day as they placed 4 riders in the top 15 on the afternoon. Stacey Sell(Fox Racing) showed his form is really coming around as the season progresses. Sell sold out all his effort and showed fine spirit to claim the coveted silver medal in this fast racing group. Patirick Williams of Capitola chased as hard as possible, but there was no catching Sell or Granshaw and he settled for the bronze medal on the day. Logan Loader(Alan factory) was 4th on the day. Which could be looked at as a step down for Loader as he won both B events at the final weekend of the Bay Area Super Prestige races. But Granshaw, Sell and Williams were too much this day for the little Loader. Chasing Loader and almost getting the little guy at the line was John Kammeyer(Lapierre/Ritchey). Kammeyer finished only 7 seconds back and was satisfied with his 5th on the day. The Lapierre/Ritchey sponsored Kammeyer was involved in a devastating collision while on his bicycle earlier in the year. And thus Kammeyer displays the incredible drive and determination it takes to recover from a injury and make the top 5 again in such a competitive group. Brain Rogers(Sycip Racing) and Andrew Hammond(Specialized) sit 2nd and 3rd in the series points standings. These two riders fought hard and ended up placed directly next to each other in this race as well. Rogers, from San Francisco, was 6th on the day putting 23 seconds into Hammond from Morgan Hill who was 7th. Series leader David Samples Jr. had a fight on his hand with Isaiah Stackhouse(SF Sport & Spine). Those two riders were locked in a tight war and had a sprint finish with samples besting Stackhouse by 1 second. Jeff Bronoack(Team Santa Cruz-SCCCC) of Santa Cruz, Ryan Schlichting(SF Sport & Spine) of Oakland, Cisco Moron(Sf Sport & Spine) of San Francisco, and David Pederson(Lapierre/Ritchey) of Mountain View, filled out the rest of the top placing in that order.

Master Men 35+ B division saw fine riding Brett Lambert(Scotts Valley Cycle Sport) claim a hard fought win by a 17 second advantage at the line. Lambert had to hold off Shane Huntoon(Livermore Cyclery) during the event with Jeffrey Bramlett riding out of Palo Alto taking the final medal spot. Huntoon was the Mad Bull Challenge winner from years ago and had Olympic dreams after that small mtn biking win did. Huntoon had a great ride this day and is a great example of dedication and desire. Yet there was no catching Lambert the Scotts Valley rider who has terrific technical skills and fine pedaling form. Brammlett had to hold of tenacious Chris Baker from Soquel and did so by a scant 15 seconds on the line. Deric Dangzalan(Another Bike Shop) showed tremendous courage and will to fight thru the ugly conditions on hand and take a fine fifth place on the day. Chris Rodriguez(Pegasus Bicycles/Allegiant Air) out of Martinez never gave into the elements and took a solid 6th place on the day. Rodriguez is tied for 4th place in the series and has a host of riders surrounding him heading into the final event of the series Jan 8th. Bob Barwick(Family Cycling Center) looked strong early in this race, taking the front and establishing a good position. But as time went on he faded back, yet look for Barwick to make a big push in the later stages of the cross season. Barwick was 7th on th day holding off Mike Bodge(Body Zone Fitness) by a small margin of 9 seconds at the line. David Schindehette(Pegasus Bicycles/Allegiant Air), who is a CCCX favorite and had done races in the series for years was 9th on the day. Mike Colombani(Scotts Valley Cycle Sport) and Grant Stoner(Team Santa Cruz-SCCCC) were next across the line and were covered in mud as they crossed the finish on this fine day for cross racing.

Master Men 45+ B division had Bruce Lodge(Black Market Racing) claim his first win of the series with a fine display of determination and skill. Lodge, who rides out of Tuolumne, had a battle on his hands with William Hall(LGBRC/Easton/Specialized) and in the end it was a 20 second win for the ever improving Lodge. Hall, from Monterey, took the silver medal home for his efforts. Peter Sherrill(Mt. Nittany Wheelworks) riding out of Salinas was the bronze medal winner on the day. Sherrill upset the feisty and strong Scott "Dino" DeLaurentis who is the series leader and forcedd the daring one into a non medal position. DeLaurentis(LGBRC/Easton/Specialized) never gave in to the despicable conditions on hand and showed his true character to keep fighting and finish out the event. Matt Dunston(Scotts Valley Cycle Sport) of Boulder Creek, Bob Malheiro(SCCC/Le Village Imports) of Sunnyvale, and the inspirational Len Tabor(Velo Club Monterey) of Hollister took the next placing in that order.

Junior Men 18 & Under division was won by Logan Loader of Pacific Grove. Loader put 40 seconds into Jeremy Blalock(Joselyn's Bicycles) at the finish. Those two riders are now only separated by 2 points heading into the finals Jan 8th, so it is winner take all on that day of racing. Jonathon Mayfield(Harbor High School) had a outstanding ride in the technical conditions on hand and took the bronze medal back home to Santa Cruz. Mayfield is getting ready for the high school Mtn bike season and this race was perfect preparation for the upcoming year. Jesse Nickell(Bicycle Trip) had a great ride on the day and took 4th in a solid field of juniors. Nickell was the top Bicycle Trip rider on the day and he really has shown improvement during the CCCX series. The Scotts Valley Cycle Sport duo of Taylor Shamshoian and Jack Fogelquist waged another war on the former Army base at Ft Ord. This time it was Fogelquist who got the better of Shamshoian and there was actually a time gap between them instead of the usual photo finish. Jack put 12 seconds into Taylor and the war will surely continue in future CCCX events. Next across the line was a trio of Harbor High School
cycling team members with Jason Larson leading the way. Larson was ahead of fast Robbie Millazzo and Joshua Kaneg, both of Santa Cruz. Kyle Vanderstoep(Bicycle Trip) made the top 10 on the day and had fun in the adverse conditions. Vanderstoep has a great cyclo-cross name and is riding like a fine Belgium or Dutch superstar. Harbor High School racers made a solid impact in this race and team mates Erik Young, Oliver Eicholz, and Josh Houston, all of Santa Cruz, finished next in that order.

Junior Women's division was won by Harbor High School's standout rider Lainey Aldridge. Aldridge is a tremendous cyclist and a great competitor who is not afraid of challenges. When faced with horrible mud conditions and tricky off camber loose sections Aldridge seemed to ride her best. Looking forward to the high school mtn bike season Aldridge should have a great impact in those events as well. Aldridge took a gold CCCX medal home to Harbor High for her days work. Tania Lokmagozian deserves tremendous praise as she was racing an experienced Aldridge in this technical day in the saddle. Lokmagozian gives up many years to the far older Aldridge yet the CCCX series leader never backed down and finished the mud bath of a race in fine fashion. This encounter with racing against high level competition in tremendously adverse conditions will surely benefit the talented young racer from Monterey. Lokmagozian will win the series for this season, as she has raced incredibly all year, and she will most likely have many more wins in years to come with all the experience she is gaining in simply trying. Another young junior who has show great improvement this season is Jesse Blalock. Blalock is in her first year of bicycle racing and on this day she was in the worst possible conditions. Yet she was not set back at all by the horrible storm, and actually reveled in the terrible deluge that became the race route. Blalock was greeted with a bronze medal at the finish.

Junior Men 13 & Under division was won by Oliver Nickell(Bicycle Trip) in a hard fought tussle with team mate Raymond Mendoza(Bicycle Trip). Nickell showed great determination during the event chasing down Mendoza and putting a small margin of 10 seconds into his team mate at the line. Mendoza sits a solid second in the series standings and he was a solid second in this race too putting over 3 minutes into 3rd placed team mate Darik Thunstrom(Bicycle Trip). Series leader Noah Karter(Bicycle Trip) was not in attendance and Oliver Nickell to full advantage of this to take the gold medal back home to Santa Cruz. Nickell is now a solid third in the points standings for the year. Thunstrom had a fine race and seems to be following in his dads foot steps and becoming a great racer. Thunstrom seems to be improving each year and by the time he is 15 or 16 he will have many miles and races under his belt. Andrew Lanier(San Jose Bike Club) just missed the medal placing for the day but took a fine fourth place finish in the difficult conditions. Thomas Mendoza(Bicycle Trip) took a nice top five finish on the day talking on the water filled course and showing great ability to make it thru the entire race. Carson Cole and Kendall Barr(Cal Giant Inc.), both of Watsonville, had great rides on the day and never gave in to the tuff layout. They placed 6th and 7th on the day respectively.

The Men'sC division saw series leader Jimmy Sopko(Bay Bikes) continue his fine cross campaign and took another solid win. Sopko a dedicated Bay Bikes racer who does not make excuses or think negatively used his strength and intelligence to take first by 53 seconds over Travis Tonn(San Jose Bike Club). Tonn sits second in the series standings heading into the final event, and this ride in the mud and flowing water further established himself as one of the years top riders. 44 seconds after Tonn came Alex Anderson(Team Santa Cruz-SCCC) to claim the bronze medal for his great team from Santa Cruz. In his first cross race ever, world famous triathlon racers Christopher Cupito placed 4th. Cupito was competing on his mountain bike and his huge tires maybe slowed down his progress on the swamp like course. Brian Schenone of Redding had a outstanding ride on the day. the Redding riding Schenone battled hard for most of the race at the front of the group and finished top 5 in the race. Mirco Caramori of San Jose was next across the line only 9 seconds after the super fast Schenone. Rapid Rick Rosales of Carmel was 7th on the day and showed great form in taking on the onslaught the course produced. Monterey resident Eric Sassman was 8th on the day putting 26 seconds into 9th placed Charles Meehan(Ride SFO) of Soquel. Ron Riley(Team Santa Cruz-SCCCC) had a good ride and made 10th on the day thus showing another fine placing for terrific Team Santa Cruz. David Castro of Aromas had a fun day in the saddle. Castro was doing his first bike event in years and was faced with grueling conditions, but did not quit and took 11th on the day. Castro should get his legs back as time goes on and have more fine and fun rides in the future.

Single Speed division saw legendary Cyclo-Cross racer Pat Schott(Black Market Racing) dominate a strong group of riders and win another cross race in his stellar career. Schott is a past district champion and I remember that day well as Larry Hibbard surged past Chris D'Aluisio on the final lap and came across the line arms raised thinking he had the win. But little did he know that the incredibly riding Schott shot to the front earlier in the race and snuck away from the leaders and rode solo to the finish out of sight of the chase groups. Schott is a great rider and a great man and his win this day gave team Black Market racing a astounding 3 wins on this brutal day for cross racing. Erik Ebberoth of Seaside rode to a solid second place on the day. Ebberoth a high school cycling sensation now sits only 2 points out of first in the series heading to the final on Jan 8th. Patrick Myall(DFL) was racing his second mud filled excursion of the day and he collected his second medal of the day for his effort taking the bronze medal home back to San Francisco. Tim Cannard(Buy-Cell) was fourth on the day only 14 seconds a drift of Myall. Cannard moved into 3rd place in the series as the final looms in the distance. But Cannard has lots of company while fighting for that top three spot in the series rankings. Jason Lloyd of Albany rode hi single speed rig to a top 5 placing on the day. Michael Martin(Team Santa Cruz-SCCCC) bunny hoped his way into 6th place on the day. Martin was the only rider who was bunny hopping the double board section and had a fine ride in the mud. Mike Mann of Marina was next across the line taking 7th on the day only 27 seconds behind the highly skilled Martin. Meanwhile, AJ Ataie(Pegasus Bicycles/Allegiant Air) of Danville was having dick brake issues. The strong riding Ataie was searching for more stopping power during the downpour and looks to use different disk pads in future rain filled cross events.

Report by
Dusty Downs
Cycle Sport International


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