SAN MARCOS, CALIFORNIA – While a lot of racers where attending Cyclocross National Championships this past weekend in Wisconsin and a lot of other regions have finished their cross seasons, the SoCal Prestige series continued to bring racing to all those cyclocross fanatics. Series sponsor Spy Optic presented their second race of the season and put on a fantastic event.
The course was dry and fast, as the California winter seemed to pass by over the past two weeks bringing temperatures into the 70’s. A majority of the course was road/hard packed dirt and loose dirt but there were sections with grass and the challenging gravel descents and turns. The run up sections were fun and they led into challenging descending but nothing on course was as cool as the SPYclone (cyclone). The SPYclone took riders left in circles for almost 20 seconds until they reached the middle and then reversed spinning them right on their way back out from the center. It was a total of 40 seconds or more where riders had to really focus and watch their speed so that they would not trap themselves in whirling fortress of course tape.
From start the women charged the course chasing U23 Hungarian champion Barbara Benko (Focus-MIG Team). Christine Probert-Turner (The Team SoCalCross/Turner Bikes) and Amanda Schaper (Ritte Racing) were close behind and looking smooth through the challenging sections of the course.
With Benko in the lead she unfortunately, again for the second week in a row, got a flat. The flat allowed Schaper and Turner to pass as Benko did her best to get back to the pits. Turner worked her way off the front and continued to open her gap as she soloed in for the win. Schaper rode strong to take second. Benko, eventually, made it to the pits and changed out her rear tire and put out an awesome effort to get back to the ladies up front but she settled in for third.
After winning the past two races riders were looking at Jason Siegle (SDG/Felt p.b. iRT) as the person to watch and he was definitely waiting to strike from early in the race. But, at the start, it was Philip Tintsman (Spy/Blue) who threw it all out to take an early lead and set an impressive pace through lap one to get a gap as he bunny hopped the first barrier allowing him to ride the first run up.
Brent Prenzlow (Celo Pacific/Focus) led the chase as the group in pursuit of Tintsman. On lap two Siegle attacked going for Tintsman and getting a small gap on the chase. On lap three Tintsman pulled out and Siegle was in the lead until he crashed through one of the challenging graveled corners.
With the group just behind Siegle, Brandon Gritters (Rock N Road) with Prenzlow and his brother Kyle Gritters (Rock N Road) passed to take the leading at finish of the third lap. Siegle caught back up to the group on the fourth lap and then Prenzlow unfortunately got a flat that took him out of the race. The Gritters brothers attacked to get a small gap and Siegle was working to pull them back when he crashed again, this time on the gravel descent.
It was just the break the brothers needed to again put in another big effort and increase their lead to 30 seconds. The two brothers worked together the entire race to the finish with Brandon taking the win and Kyle second. Siegle continued to ride strong to finish third. His teammate Anton Petrov (SDG/Felt p.b. iRT) rolled in fourth riding hard to hold off Jonny Weir (Shimano/Pearl Izumi) who took the final podium position.
It was another great weekend of racing in SoCal and the season is not over as there are still two more events left in the series, plus the Nor Cal vs. So Cal showdown scheduled at the end of the month. This week the series will go to High Desert Cyclocross in Palmdale, California for the race number 21 of the solid 22-event season.
For more information go to: www.socalcross.org