Behrens on his way to the win. Photo: Courtesy Dave Sheek
Sunday brought us San Luis Obispo’s (SLO) first Prestige Series race at Laguna Lake Park… Dog Gone Cross! The venue was a beautiful lakeside park complete with geese and seagulls adding to course obstacles. The atmosphere was low key and relaxing and included a massage zone set up in the shade under the trees.
Thanks to Shaba of Nimble Creative and her SLO peeps, Edmin and Trina of Team Rambuski along with the SLO-Nexxus Cycling Team and the Great Chiweenies for bringing us this special experience. The course was fun, challenging with good opportunities to test your power AND skills! We hope to see SLO grow its cross culture in 2010 and beyond so that it becomes the gateway to California (CA) cyclocross. This is a vision that could bring a battle for bragging rights, a true California Championship. Northern and Southern CA racers meet to compete for a “California Golden Bear Belt,” a giant belt, similar to that of pro wrestling with the state flag in gold.
The elite women’s field was smaller but strong as some new faces rose to the top of the podium. It was Somersby Jenkins battling it out with hometown favorite and world masters cyclocross silver medalist Trina Baumsteiger to win her first elite women’s race at CX race age 17.
For the elite men it was a fast start and after a some riders tangled a group of 5 had formed a gap – it was John Behrens (Bailey Bikes), Mark Noble (Nonstop Ciclismo), Gary Douville (Team Platinum), Fritz Bottger (PAA/Sixtumed) and Morgan Ryan (Team SoCalCross/CICLE). Riders were working their way through the field to get back to the lead group. It took two laps and it was John Bailey (Bailey Bikes) who was back to the front group that was now just Behrens, Douville and Noble.
Behrens celebrates his win. Photo: Courtesy Dave Sheek
The moment the group hit the pavement, Behrens tactically made an excellent move, attacking on the long road section. It was almost a sacrificial attack because he thought the group would most likely catch him, but it turned out to be a well-planned mission as Behrens saw his teammate, Bailey, get back in the group. The goal seemed to be that he wanted the group to work hard, allowing Bailey to rest on the chasers, so he would be fresh once they caught him again. In which we then would see a counter-attack on a softened group and one of the Bailey riders could get away for the win. It worked perfectly.
The two chasers left, Noble and Douville, kept looking at each other trying to decide what to do. They didn’t want to drag Bailey up to Behrens so they tried to shake him. However, Bailey answered Douville’s hard charge on the front and Noble dropped off the two. Bailey stuck Douville’s wheel and Behrens had built a 30 second lead.
The elite men on the podium. Photo: Courtesy Dave Sheek
Unfortunately, Bailey’s front tire was going low and Douville was able to open a gap in a turn. He looked over his shoulder to see Bailey slowing through the turn and then blasted off. Bailey scrambled for the pits to get a new bike and make chase but lost enough time making the bike change that Noble was now back in front of Bailey. Bailey was able to get the bike change and pass Noble, but was making a little ground on Douville and there clearly wasn’t enough time to close the gap. Behrens lost about 10 seconds of his lead but still comfortably rolled in for his first prestige win of the season with Douville 2nd, Bailey 3rd, and Noble 4th.
It was another fun weekend of cross and good times were had by all! Now its time to rest up for District Championships next Sunday, November 22, at Convert Cross in Ventura. thanks to all our great sponsors, Shimano, Fluid, Planet Bike, Kool N Fit, H20 Overdrive, Stone Brewing and more for helping support us to grow cross and develop our future stars of the sport!