The Elite Men at SoCal's Storm the Beach cyclocross race. ©David Lawson
by David Lawson
The 2009-10 Southern California Prestige Series of Cyclocross presented by Shimano is now officially half way through the season with stop number eight at Celo Pacific’s Storm the Beach Cyclocross in Oceanside, CA. Over two hundred racers came out to play in the sun, sand, and surf – and it seems that everybody had a great time. The course was a dichotomous balance of high speed and slow motion racing. Hard packed fire roads and a long, firm beach section saw speeds approaching those of your local criterium. These were punctuated by steep bluff-side climbs, a barely rideable sand-pit, and two deep sand runs. The bluff-top expo area which overlooked all the technical portions of the course gave the spectators a dilemma of whether to watch the riveting race action or gaze out at a stunning ocean view.
After their races, appreciative riders took advantage of the bike washing station provided by Nomad Portable Power Cleaners to get that grinding noise out of their drivetrains. Other highlights of the day included SoCal’s youngest ‘crossers competing in the Clif Bar kids race; the “Please Pre-register” raffle for a pair of Revolution Wheelworks Rev-25x wheels won by Kermit McGovern; and an historic moment in SoCal cyclocross racing with Brent Prenzlow taking his 100th career Elite win. Now on to the racing action…
The juniors were first up and carving lines in the fresh sand. Tori Baldewin, Team Velocity’s up-and-coming racing star led the 10-14 Junior women’s race smiling as always along the way! In a hotly contested Junior 10-14 Men’s race… newcomer Quinten KIrby took the win! The warm SoCal sunshine brought in racers from as far away as Sacramento and New Mexico including National Masters Champion Tove Shere, (Nat’ls Project) in town visiting friend Renee Milton, made a powerful showing to win the Masters Women’s 35+ race (three of the top four ladies were over 50! Go fast ladies!) with Milton finishing in a respectable sixth place in her first ever ‘cross race! Both had so much fun, they duked it out again in the Women’s Elite race! Jon Miller (Rock N Road) “aka Wave Dogg” surfed his way through sand to a smooth victory as the donimant series leader in the 55+ men’s race. Johnny O’Mara continues his winning ways in the 45+ Men’s race… winning two in a row with hid debut at Spooky Cross this season. Host club and Best Team Competition Leaders Celo Pacific took victories in starting with the Yourth-Jameson Campaigne, Ben Jones (SS 1/2/3), James Walsh (Men 3/4) and Brent Prenzlow (1/2/3) races. Mike McMahon (Velocity) returns to form with a close but powerful victory in the 35+ 1/2/3 race between six riders and coming down to the final lap uphill sprint finish.
The Elite Women at Storm the Beach. ©Eric Colton
Just as with every field on the day, a wicked fast start initiated the Women’s Elite race across the course’s long, hardpack dirt sections. The pack was led out by Tonya Bray (YOR Health/MTBChick.com) and followed closely by Megan Elliott (Black Mountain), Dorothy Wong (SoCalCross-CICLE) Lana Atchley (unattached) and Emily Katchorik (Beer). Once the race hit the sand, Megan Elliott (Black Mountain) and Dorothy Wong (SoCalCross-CICLE) attacked. Then taking advantage of their strong road backgrounds, the pair worked together and increased their lead on the hard packed fire roads. Megan proved to be the stronger rider and surged on the finish hill with two laps to go, opening a gap on Wong. Elliot kept the tempo high and maintained her lead to the finish. In the end it was Elliott, Wong and Lana Atchley (also a strong road and track rider) on the blocks with Tonya Bray and Emily Katchorik rounding out the top five.
In the Elite Men’s race, presented by Hoover and Nebrig, the action started out fast and furious through the dirt fire roads and resembled a (dirt) road race as the pack stuck together taking advantage of the draft. The early pace was driven by Brent Prenzlow (Celo Pacific/B&L), Brandon Gritters (Rock n Road), Sid Taberlay (Sho-Air), John Bailey and John Behrens (Bailey Bikes). It was the deep sand sections, however, that would prove to be decisive. On the third lap, as the eight-strong lead pack wended its way through the sand, Prenzlow and Taberlay threw down the wattage and opened a gap. The two collaborated on the fast fire roads, but once on the beach Prenzlow made an acceleration into the B&L Bikes sand run and forged into the lead, leaving Taberlay in his wake. Prenzlow threw everything into this move and, upon re-emerging onto the beach from the fire roads on the next lap, Taberlay was nowhere in sight and would eventually slip back to the chase group. The last three laps saw Prenzlow increase his lead while the battle for second place remained close despite several riders being taken out of contention by flats including Kyle Gritters (Rock n Road) and John Bailey. Finally on the last lap, Prenzlow used the massive lead he had built up to savor taking his 100th career Elite win on his home course and in front of a home crowd: beaming a huge smile, high fiving the crowd, and dismounting to finish in classic cyclcocross style. The sprint for second resembled a tractor pull with rooster tails of sand being thrown up by the lead group of riders as they careened through the sand pit under full power. Taberlay held off a hard charging John Behrens with Gary Douville (Platinum Performance) and Fritz Bottger (PAA/Sixtumed) just behind.
Bren Prenzlow wins his 100th Elite win!
|1||Brent||Prenzlow||Celo Pacific / B+L Bikes|
|4||Gary||Douville||Platinum Performance Cycling Team|
|5||Frederick||Bottger||PAA / SIXTUMED p/b CARE FOR DIABETICS|
|6||Brandon||Gritters||Rock n Road|
|7||Kyle||Gritters||Rock n Road|
|11||Ted||Willard||Rock n Road|
|17||Damon||Roberson||Surf City Cyclery|
|18||Michael||Herdman||Cal Poly Wheelmen|
|20||Griffith||Vertican||Bear Valley Bikes|
|1||Megan||Elliot||Black Mountain Bicycles|
|4||Tonya||Bray||YOR Health / mtbchick.com|
|10||Jean-Marie||Wheeler||G.S. Adams Avenue Bikes|