by Tim Westmore
FORT ORD – The Central Coast CycloCross Series Finale at Fort Ord went out under mostly cloudy skies and stayed dry; this ended a remarkable season without severe weather conditions on race days. The course was uneven, firm-to-bumpy, consisting mostly of single track and hiking/biking trails and one paved section. The climbs were modest but challenging. Conditions were fast but less dusty than evident at last autumn’s start of the season.
In the race for Elite Women, Sofia Gomez-Villafane (Ibis/Buy-cell.com) grabbed a lead by the end of the first lap and then raced to consolidate her position. The course “was very bumpy going down the hills,” said Gomez-Villafane, “I really liked all the log hopping. I found that I could actually clear them, which I was really stoked about. It was definitely a fast course.” The Ibis racer said she was nervous about relinquishing her lead due to a mishap but, “the more I kept on going I saw that the gap kept on getting bigger and bigger. Then I cooled down on the last lap.” The contest for second place went between Josie Jaques-Maynes (CalGiant), holding the early advantage, and Mary Ellen Ash (Bay 101/Rocklobster). Good, steady work by the Rocklobster racer saw her take second late and eventually finish 5 seconds ahead of Josie Jaques-Maynes. Fourth place went to Michelle Melka (RED Racing).
Gomez-Villafane’s win in the senior race added to her win in Junior Women earlier in the day. Up next February for her is a trip to qualify for Cross-Country Nationals in Argentina. This is an attempt to earn a spot on the national team and go to the Pan Am Games.
In the Elite Men race, recently announced US World Cyclocross Championship Team members Cody “Kid” Kaiser and Tobin Ortenblad (both California Giant Cycling/Specialized) tuned up for their trip to Europe. In their way was teammate Andy Jaques-Maynes. “I ran into the team manager for Cal Giant and he said be sure to give Cody a workout,” said Andy Jaques-Maynes, “I got a good start and then settled into a pace. [Kasier and Ortenblad] held my wheel the whole way.” Andy Jaques-Maynes appeared to control the pace for the first two laps. The next few laps saw the three Cal Giant racers take turns in the lead. Andy Jaques-Maynes was heard on course giving pointers and providing critiques to his Junior-teammates until finally securing the lead for good and taking the win. Kaiser finished in second place while Ortenblad found himself dropped on the last lap to take third.