by Tim Westmore
The latest venue for the Sacramento Cyclocross Series was the Lange Twins Winery; the course saw adverse wet weather last year that left stout and deep ruts for this year’s race. Though unavoidable, portions of the course were akin to washboard roads. The recent storm that passed through California left behind gusty winds and dusty racing. Some racers reported having a different angle of attack depending on whether they were leaning into the wind or with the wind. Being California in December, however, the sky was sunny and cloudless whilst temperatures approached the low 60s.
The Men’s Category A race saw three former winners and last year’s series winner take to the course. Current series leader Steven Springhorn (Team Revolutions) rabbited off right from the start. A few spectators shouted encouragement, but there was always a sense of things to come. Springhorn managed to build a serious and hopeful lead before, on lap three, Mitch Trux (City Cycle of San Francisco) and Keith Hillier (Marc Pro-Strava) matched him. Trux then took and built his lead, first over Springhorn and then over Hillier.
Trux, now focusing on cyclocross racing, took his second win of the series with a margin of 68 seconds. “[Springhorn] looked smooth and got himself out there on that first lap,” said Trux, “I had Keith [Hillier] with me and we kept [Springhorn] somewhere around 30 to 50 meters ahead, keeping tabs on him. Two-thirds of the way through the second lap, we [Hillier and I] were quick to close the gap to Springhorn. From that point I stepped on the gas.” Trux went on to say that, “I thought [Hillier] would be coming with me but in ’cross there are no freebies; so if he wasn’t there I just knew I had to keep the pace strong.” Hillier rode home second with Matt Obregon (Team Bicycles Plus/Sierra Nevada) finishing third, Torey Philipp (Team Specialized Racing Juniors) in fourth, and the brave Springhorn fifth. Hillier’s second place was enough to secure the overall win for the series.
Earlier in the day, the Women’s Category A race saw Marja-Liisa Magnuson (Kinetic Cycles) launch into an early race lead that she would never relinquish. Magnuson’s performance on the day was one of consistency at a pace unmatched by her competitors. Magnuson commented that, “it was a good race, fun course. I just tried to get away from the start. I don’t usually start very well so I’ve been working on that [aspect of my race].”
About the conditions, Magnuson said “it [was] really windy out there. It was either right in your face or right in your back. Combined with the bumps it was kind of brutal.” With Magnuson’s second win of the series never in doubt, the competition between series leader Stace Cooper (The Bicycle Business) and Amanda Siegle (Metromint Cycling) was the unknown outcome early in the race. Siegle battled from behind Cooper, matched the Bicycle Business racer on the third lap, and then set her command of second place. With her first-place finish, Magnuson takes the overall series win in the best six of eight races.
The Women’s Category A35+ was also an exciting race with National Masters Champion Linda Elgart (Webcor/Alto Velo), Joan Greg (ProTek Abruzzo), and Lauren Liden (Michael David Winery Cycling Team/Delta Velo) racing in close-quarters early in the race. For the first three circuits of the course, individual lap times were with four seconds of each other. These three racers have taken one or more of the previous six wins in the series. Much was at stake as only five points separated the three racers for the series lead at this penultimate race. Joan Greg finished first with Elgart in second and Liden third. The race “went really well,” said Greg, “There were a couple of opportunities where I was able to make a pass and open a little bit of a lead. I never wanted to let up because I knew [Liden and Elgart] were right behind me.” With first place, Greg takes the series following her win in Women’s Category A last year.
Full results are available at http://www.bicyclingevents.com/SacCx/Results.asp. The final round of the 2011 Sacramento Cyclocross Series will take place at Laguna Del Sol in Winton on 17 December 2011.