Southern California is one of the areas in the country experiencing tremendous growth in cyclocross participation. Key to this growth is Dorothy “Dot” Wong, director of the SoCal Prestige Series. Prior to the season, Dot hosted “happy hour” events at local shops throughout Southern California in an effort to bring ‘cross to the people and get more people to try ‘cross. These happy hour events combined a ‘cross clinic, food, drink, cycling movies, and of course, a raffle. These happy hours have helped bring record numbers to SoCal ‘cross, and their Race #2 brought out over 300 participants to tackle the tough, dry course.
See the full race report below.
By David Sheek
The Southern California rainstorms turned out to be a let down as only light showers hit Orange County the night before Race #2 of the SoCalCross Prestige Series. The lack of rain left the course with mainly hard packed dirt and grass, instead of the expectant mud, as riders filled Fairview Park in Costa Mesa, for “Psycho-Cross” presented by Lightning Velo Cycling Club.
The start and ?nish wound its way through grass and a dramatic barrier finish. This fast course was mostly ?at with one moderate downhill and a tough uphill run up. A highlight of the course was the infamous Kool N Fit whoop zone intertwining riders up, down and around Fairview Park’s popular BMX slopes. The entire course, except for the barriers, was rideable. Although, a few riders such as elite mens rider Chance Nobel, Mens 3-4 Eric Christenson, and Elite Men’s single-speeder Bobby Langin, Jr. bunny hopped their way over the single barrier to climb this dreaded Clif Bar hill, pushing the pace on the day. Again, the Prestige Series continues to grow with the highest turnout ever in So Cal, especially growth was seen in the Men’s Cat 4 and women’s fields as the largest and saw many new faces to ‘cross.
The SoCalCross Prestige Series Points leaders dawned their yellow Voler Leader’s jerseys and Sock Guy Leader’s socks, showing off their skills into the second race of the So Cal ‘cross season. The Juniors started off the day with SoCal’s future leaders, Millie Tanner (Sho-Air) leading the Jr Women (10-14) and Peter Morris (Bike Religion) atop the Junior Men 15-18 field. In the elite fields it was ‘cross queen, Dorothy Wong of Team CICLE dawning the yellow jersey and ‘cross king, Brent Prenzlow of Celo Pacific/Alan, considered as So Cal’s “cross royalty,” toeing the line as Series leaders after their first race success. Both leaders have been fundamental to the sport’s growth in So Cal.
The first of the elite races was the large elite women’s field. Two-time National Jr. CX Champion Coryn Rivera of the Redline Factory Team, fresh off of battles with the top elite women in Seattle’s Star Crossed and Rad Racing races, started her first cross race of the season in So Cal to defend her 2007-08 Prestige Series title. Coryn quickly took charge of the front of the field, but her lead was not instantaneous as Kendall Ryan, Carolyn Popovic, Dot Wong and other racers from Team CICLE were attacking the course, chasing down Rivera, and also looking for the win. Junior rival Kendall Ryan was hot on Rivera’s heals, but fell away from Rivera with an early mechanical. In the end, Rivera rode away from her chasers with Team CICLE’s, Popovic in second followed by Wong rounded out the top three.
The elite men were definitely the fastest group on the day with a flurry of attacks from the start. It was young, Chance Noble (California Giant), Mark Nobel (Bailey Bikes), Brent Prenzlow (Celo Pacific/Alan), Fritz Bottger (Sixtufit/Vitamix.com), Mark Santurbane (California Giant), and Mike Easter (Action Sports) fighting for the lead position and the race’s battles stayed this way through the end. Mike Easter held the lead in lap two until an unfortunate flat forced him to slow his pace to reach the wheel pits on his next lap. From here Bottger took the lead with Chance, Santurbane, Prenzlow, and Mark Noble following close behind. The attacks continued to come as the group continued pushing the pace. Chance Nobel stated after the race that the pace was so fast today that if it weren’t for his ability to hop the barriers on the climb he probably would not be able to stay with the lead group. The race did not lose its action as Bottger took a hard fall in a loose left turn with a few laps to go. Then it was the young Chance Nobel taking the lead with Prenzlow on his wheel. In the end it20came down to a battle between Prenzlow and the young Nobel exchanging the lead with Prenzlow taking the final sprint and his second win on the season also defending his Prestige Series leader’s jersey.
GoGreenRacer weekly winners where rewarded with their Green jersey and Green socks – Jon Mason (CICLE), Robert Shaw (PAA), Dot and Heidi Kanayan (CICLE) were the first of the weekly winners. Participants are scored online each week with the highest point-getters rewarded for their Eco-Actions with the GREEN! Overall points are tabulated and awards going to the top GreenRacer and Green Team at the end of the 2008-09 SoCalCross Prestige Series!
The second race of the season was successful with one of the most enjoyable yet difficult courses of SoCalCross Prestige Series. Thank you to Lightning Velo for hosting such a great event, the riders, spectators, and all others who came out to this great event. The next race, SCPS #3 – Storm the Beach will be in Oceanside presented by Celo Pacific on Sunday, October 19, so get yourself ready to join in more fun and help us continue to make this great sport grow.
Prestige Series info at: www.SoCalCross.org