The Elite men jockey for the holeshot ©Dave Sheek
Glendale, CA – The annual Turkey Trot event was, as usual, a fantastic course and the overnight rains again this week allowed for racing on fast tacky dirt and grass. This week’s event was not only race 14 of the Southern California Prestige Series but also the Southern California and Nevada Cycling Associations district championships. It was a holiday weekend but it did not seem to make much of difference as the cool conditions and championship events made for some real winter cross racing excitement.
The tension runs high as the Elite women toe the line for the start of their race. ©Dave Sheek
Kendal Ryan led from the start with teammate and sister Alexis (Team SoCal Cross). Halfway through the first lap after the line of women charged through the double sand pit and into the curving tree lines Amanda Schaper (SDG Factory Team) found her way on the front to take charge. The Ryan sisters were working hard keeping Schaper within reach but the MTB skills of Allison Mann (Rock N’ Road) allowed her to move passed the sisters in her pursuit of Schaper.
With two laps to go Mann passed Schaper to lead and was looking strong until a dropped her chain allowed Schaper to take control again. Mann was quickly back on the bike but behind her it was Alexis Ryan moving back up with Hannah Rae Finchcamp (Team SoCal Cross). Finchcamp started with the elite women but was racing the Cat 4 category and definitely was leading her field. The two could not pass Mann as she was hungry for the win and with half of a lap to go Mann took back the lead from Schaper to capture win and the district championship title.
Brian Lopes (Oakley/Ibis) takes the top step of the Elite men's podium ©Dave Sheek
Tim Allen (Feedback Sports) led the elite men out on the long straight sections and set the pace through the first lap. Spectators were expecting to see some impressive sprinters like Rashan Bahati (Bahati Foundation) and Brian Lopes (Oakley/Ibis) jump out up front but the pack were all pushing it with little movements after the first turn. It was not until the first section of sand pits, followed by the curving tree lines where riders started to break apart. A tough bunch, of nine riders, settled in as the lead group and continued together with small changes throughout the race.
Brent Prenzlow (Celo Pacific/B&L) and Lopes were playing it smart all day. They would work on the front of the pack but never go back farther back than fourth wheel, watching for all attacks up front. With four laps to go the group was finally starting to crack. Three to go Jason Siegle (Bike Religion) took control of the front and led trying to make a couple of attacks stick only to break the main group into two. With one lap to go it was now a pack of four. Siegle made a mistake through the technical drop/climb allowing Lopes the tiny amount of space he needed to attack. Lopes burst forward on the climb, then Prenzlow and Gary Douville (Platinum) passed Siegle through the next section. The four were still together but with less than a fourth of lap to go Lopes was hammering up front and held it for the win.
Rolling in second just a bike length behind was Prenzlow followed Douville third and Siegle fourth. The battle for fifth was also insane as early leader Allen came around the last turn for the finishing stretch a few bike lengths ahead of Kyle Gritters (Rock N’ Road), until Gritters pulled out one last effort to get Allen at the line in a photo finish sprint to take fifth.
It was another great Turkey Trot and District Championships event with exciting racing as 25 champions were crowned from juniors to masters and elite. This holiday race brought a load of cyclocross racing enthusiasts and many for the first time. The non-championship race brought in a host of new riders and the second largest race of the day.
Elite women’s results:
Elite men’s results: