by Paul Guerra
After reading the Bay Area cyclocross online newsgroup last season and hearing talk of dry and dusty Norcal conditions, Mother Nature decided that she owed the cyclocross fanatics of Northern California an authentic racing season. With 100% chance of rain in the forecast, the Bay Area Super Prestige Series’ second race got underway at Coyote Point in San Mateo California. The first race in the series, held at Merritt College of Oakland, was also a wet one and was held on a flat, stony course that meant punctured tires (or lack thereof) would decide the outcome. Coyote Point was vastly different than the Oakland venue, as it routed the racers uphill at the start, through a paved parking lot and then wound around a hill on the shore of the San Francisco Bay that served up a soft, loamy soil that changed from dust under the dry canopy of the eucalyptus groves to peanut butter mud in the open areas. A sand pit chicane that forced dismounting for even the best sand rider and a single set of barriers rounded out the course.
A Race of Champions
Kerry Barnholt of Scott-Ritchey won the Women’s A race was won in impressive fashion, no doubt drawing on her off-road racing history and Worlds team experience to distance herself from the pack on the mostly dirt course, beginning with the first lap. Barnholt stayed away for her nearest competitors on the long course, stringing out the competition. Second place went to Gina Hall of team Cal Giant Strawberries and third to Karen Brems of Team Rambuski Law, making the Women’s A podium a powerhouse, with two reigning Masters national cyclocross champions (Barnholt and Hall) and a former world and national champion on the road (Brems). Notably absent was Devon Haskell, who was chasing UCI points (successfully) at the Southern California Prestige Series.
Wyandt Holds Down the Fort
With local favorites and contenders Justin Robinson and Cody Kaiser of Cal Giant, Frank Spiteri of Pen Velo-Pomodoro and Scott Chapin and Josh Snead of Bay101-HRS-Rock Lobster all in Los Angeles to work on their tans and snag some UCI points, the men’s A race was wide open. The man who seized this opportunity, in its entirety, was Dave Wyandt of Bay101-HRS-Rock Lobster. Although a solo crash on the final lap slowed him down, he joined Barnholt in winning in convincing fashion over second place, Merritt College winner Steve Reaney of Cal Giant Strawberries, with De La Paz Coffee’s Brue Sylversten in third. Reaney didn’t need his mountain bike this time, with the more tire friendly-course of Coyote Point allowing those with handling skills and proper mud tire selection to excel. That didn’t stop several riders (including the author of this article) from choosing their fat tire bikes for extra flotation and the foul-weather stopping power of disc brakes on the loose and wet descents. Don Myrah of Ibis-Buy-Cell.com, who also rode to a breakaway victory in the Master A race, came in fourth, with Krishna Dole of Team Sheila Moon in fifth.
Wyandt took to the podium in a traditional wool Navy pea coat, which was particularly fitting given the theme of the race – honoring Veterans in advance of Veteran’s day on November 11th – and sharing with the race community the maritime history of the race course site . Race promoter Tom Simpson made a special point of this by allowing any racer in possession of honorable discharge paperwork from the Armed Forces to race for free.
While the long-awaited flyover was not unveiled, Simpson was still visibly happy with the way the race had turned out, and shared that it was no accident that he was still able to put on a race at Coyote Point on one of the wettest days of the season. “You plan to have a course that can withstand thousands of wheel impacts without too much remediation like we can do here. It’s not luck – it’s planning,” he said. Despite the work that everyone knew would have to be done to get ready for racing next week, be that returning the ground of the course to its original condition, or cleaning and preparing weather beaten equipment, everyone at Coyote Point was upbeat.
When asked to sum up his race, Sylversten, happy with the true ’cross conditions and technical nature of the course shared his perspective: “Who needs LA? I stayed up here and it was well worth it.”
(Heather Langendorfer contributed to this report.)
Full Results coming soon.