Late October and racers had another California-cyclocross day. The central coast was a cloudless blue sky with afternoon temperatures in the eighties. The dusty and elongated course at Toro Park had one long slightly inclined section with corners and barriers. At the end of this was an uncompromising steep uphill road that led into fast, downhill single track.
The Elite Women were the first to race after noon. The tight bunch cresting the hill on the opening lap quickly gave way to a three-racer lead group by the second lap; Devon Gorry (Team Rambuski Law) and teammate Courtney Van Dimple were joined at the front by Ann Fitzsimmons (Family Cycling Centre). This quickly became a group of two as Fitzsimmons fell and Van Dimple tangled with the stricken racer. To stay in the race, Fitzsimmons had to resort to a pair of over-sized racing shoes and a replacement bike…not to mention shedding some skin for the cause. Van Dimple came out the better and went on to win the race closely followed by Gorry.
The fortunate Van Dimple said, “I toppled over [Fitzsimmons] on the back descent because she lost her front wheel. That was a pretty exciting summersault but I got back on quickly. Luckily my bike was alright and I managed to get back on [Gorry’s] wheel.”
Dimple remarked about her day saying, “The race was super hard. I felt my legs were going to explode every time going up that [hill]. Fortunately, I had a great teammate and a good wheel to follow. I came out on top at the end and I owe a lot to my teammate.”
Indeed, one could see and hear Gorry supporting her race partner in a magnanimous show of teamwork. Van Dimple was clearly excited and grateful at the end for her first win and Gorry’s support. Bev Chaney (Team Roaring Mouse) secured the third step of the podium.
Elite Men: Bradford Takes Control
The Elite Men started their race with a string of racers covering the lead over the first few laps. With six remaining, attrition began and the group started to break apart. Aaron Bradford (HRS/Bay 101 Rocklobster), Andy Jacques-Maynes (CalGiant/Specialized), Jeremiah Root (Steven’s Bicycles Racing), and Tobin Ortenblad (CalGiant/Specialized) became the lead group. Next, Ortenblad fell back due to a flat. Then, at three-to-go, Bradford and Jeremiah dropped Jacques-Maynes. The CalGiant racer said he was falling short because of only one-hour of cycling over the prior two weeks, albeit a win at last week’s CCCX race.
With a small but significant gap to the Steven’s racer, Bradford apparently took control of the race for
good on the bell lap. However, there was one more dose of excitement: Bradford negotiated the final stretch and rode slowly around another racer finishing in the single-speed category. Root, not giving up, was able to pounce on an opportunity and pressed for a win. Had the race organizers added another meter to course on that final lap, the outcome may have read differently than the result. Bradford responded quickly to Root’s stab at the finish line and just managed to cross the tape ahead. Andy Jacques-Maynes’ third place interrupts his four wins from four CCCX races.
“Last year I over-heated [at this race],” said Bradford, “but this year I got a little more time in the sun and I can tolerate the heat. [My race] was good. I rode the single speed today and had a nice gear. I pretty much just coasted all the downhills. The single-speed worked good [for this course] and the climb up was good. No complaints.” About the photo finish, Bradford continued, “It was a close, for sure, but it made for an exciting finish.”
The next CCCX event takes place at Manzanita Park on 6 November 2011. CCCX will also hold the NCNCA District Championships on 4 December 2011 back at Toro Park.
Full results from the event are available at http://www.cccxcycling.com/2011CROSS5photosandresultspage.html.