Women line up for #11 of SCPS 2011 © Kenneth Hill

Velocity ’Cross: a Shimano CACX Rankings Race for Championship Showdown in Bakersfield 1.21-22.2012!

November is California Cyclocross Championships (CACX) Rankings Month Presented by Shimano. This means that each region, Southern and Northern California, will bring rankings points for starting positions to the Nor Cal-So Cal Showdown and end-of-season finale on January 21 and 22, 2012 in Bakersfield.

Southern California has bragging rights after last year’s event and committed So Cal ’Crossers lined up this weekend in Chino to earn their SoCal rankings at Velocity Cross.  Nor Cal’s Stafford Lake Cyclocross race last week earned rankings as well, and each region’s District Championship Race, along with last year’s winners, will bring the best from each region North and South to the $10,000 showdown in Bakersifeld, California in January.

The Velocity Cycling Club worked hard with series promoters to bring another fantastic course to the series at Prado Regional Park in Chino, California less than 40 miles from Downtown Los Angeles for the second year in a row. It was predominantly a grass course, with some loose dirt sections through the baseball infields, and a road start/finish stretch. The course had a fun mixture of off-camber turns, and uphill sections including the Spy Stairs and Shimano Barrier sections. The biggest challenge was the numerous sloggy grass sections from Saturday’s rain that did not allow for much rest and proved best for the strongest riders each race.

Elite Women:
Triathlete Heather Jackson (K-Swiss) got a little ’cross bug after a weekend of racing in San Diego two weeks ago and came out to Chino this week motivated and riding strong. Jackson weaved her way to the front to set the pace which split the field immediately and it looked like Christina Probert-Turner (The TEAM SoCalCross-Turner) was the only rider able to challenge as the two got a gap half-way through the first lap.

The chase, just seconds behind, was led by Junior Hannah Finchcamp (The TEAM SoCalCross) returning after a week’s rest from winning the X-Terra World Championships. As they came to Spy Hill, the second wheel, Julie LaFranchise (Cynergy), went down. Amanda Schaper (Ritte Racing) and others moved quickly around to join Finchamp again in the chase. Then, on the last part of the first lap, there were more crashes as the group snaked through the trees, taking the front of the chase group, including Schaper and Anna Fortner out of the race.  Jenna Jammer Kowalski (Cynergy) snuck through the carnage and to lead the chase.

Shining star to SoCalCross: triathlete, Heather Jackson!

The second lap defined the race and things began to calm down. Jackson kept charging hard on the front and put in the fastest women’s lap of the day, riding away from all others to eventually solo in for the win. Turner stayed away from the chase group as well to take second. And after some back-and-forth action, junior Finchcamp rode away from Jammer for third. Fourth was Jammer and fifth went to birthday girl and super promoter Dorothy Wong (The Team SoCal Cross).

Elite Men:
Brent Prenzlow (Celo Pacific-Focus) led down the starting stretch of pavement, but was passed by Brandon Gritters (Rock N Road) as racers entered the grass. Then, a couple minutes into the lap, Gritters botched a turn and Prenzlow led the rest of lap one. The front group was pretty large coming through lap one as riders where waiting for a big attack.

Lead train in the elite men's race.

After a few laps, it started to shake down. John Behrens (Bailey Bikes) got to the front, Kyle Gritters (Rock N Road), B. Gritters, Gary Douville (SDG-Felt p/b Irt) and Prenzlow were off to make up the front group. Douville began to let up a bit and Prenzlow had to go around to stay in the front. The lead four established themselves for the next few laps.

After Behrens pulled for a couple of laps, K. Gritters took over working for brother B. Gritters. John Bailey (Bailey Bikes) was chasing solo with Jason Siegle (SDG-Felt p/b Irt) just behind him. The leaders stayed together and with three laps to go, Bailey was fading back and Seigle moved up to within fifteen seconds of the front group. With two laps to go, K. Gritters lead until his chain dropped. Behrens took over the front, followed by B. Gritters and Prenzlow. Siegle was very close behind alone, but couldn’t get on.

On the final lap, Behrens was riding impressively strong lead, and Prenzlow was watching closely. With a half lap to go, B. Gritters passed on the right before the Spy Steps and Prenzlow then countered to pass on the left. They quickly remounted and on the off-camber, Prenzlow went low with more speed and passed Gritters. Prenzlow come out of an off-camber 180 degree corner and sprinted, he took the next two corners max, and attacked again to get a gap. He applied one more little sprint past the pits and nailed the s-turn through the trees. It was just enough to hold a six second lead to the finish straight. B. Gritters held off Behrens for second. Siegle was alone in fourth, and Kyle recovered to take fifth.

Elite Men's podium worked hard for 60 minutes but Brent Prenzlow took the win.

It was some exciting action again in Chino as many groups in the series continue to see different winners each week, which is a sure sign that the competition is growing. With riders now halfway through their season, now is the time to get focused.  The Southern California (SCNCA) District Championships take place Sunday November 27 in Glendale – Turkey Trot Cross! Next week, the series heads back to the central coast, Cambria, for the last of the central coast events this year and the first West Coast Collegiate Cycling race since Irvine in 2008.

Elite Men Results

1Brent PrenzlowCelo Pacific/Focus59:50.463
2Brandon GrittersRock n Road59:56.464
3John BehrensBailey Bikes p/b Dime-a-Dozen59:58.260
4Jason SiegleSDG / Felt p.b IRT Wheels1:00:27
5Kyle GrittersRock n Road1:01:03
6John BaileyBailey Bikes1:01:26
7Oliver HutchinsonHelens1:01:32
8Anton PetrovSDG-Felt1:01:57
9Chris JacksonRambuski Law1:02:26
10David ForknerSDG Felt1:02:40
11James WalshDNA1:03:29
12Ted WillardSDG Felt1:03:38
13Dave SheekSDG / Felt p.b IRT Wheels1:03:38
14David McNealSpy Optic1:05:25
15Frederick BottgerSDG Felt1:05:54
16Garnet VerticanSpy Optics1:06:29
17Ben BertigerThe Team1:08:28
18Alexander Vaughn-RuizThe TEAM SoCalCross1:00:42
19Greig Walkervelo moulin1:00:57
20Jay KwanThe TEAM SoCalCross1:03:04
21Michael RoeckleinStage 17 Racing1:06:01
22Kenneth HillThe TEAM SoCalCross1:03:19
DNFTy HathawayMudfoot/GSC/iRT/Poler43:55.984
DNFGary DouvilleSDG-Felt34:14.956
DNFBrian PerkinsCynergy Cycles Untouched World31:17.463
DNFBrian HarmonVelocity15:14.985
DNFThad Sparrowcelo pacific15:34.680
DNFJonathon HarmonTeam Velocity7:57.179
DNFJosh CAdyCynergy Cycles-Untouched World3.233

Elite Women Results

1Heather JacksonK. Swiss37:05.9
2Christina Probert-TurnerThe Team / Turner Bikes38:29.6
3Hannah FinchampThe TEAM38:58.3
4Jenna KowalskiCynergy Cycles - Untouched World39:38.5
5Dorothy WongThe TEAM SoCalCross39:41.7
6Julie LaFranchiseSynergy Cycles-Untouched World39:42.3
7Laurie WinterTeam Redlands42:28.7
8Nicole BrandtLA Velocity44:01.8
9Kate Wilsonconnie cycling44:30.4
10Madelaine MelcherTHe TEAM SOCalCross46:41.7
11Courtney ComerAcqua Al 2 / SDBC37:31.8
12Hannah EckvahlThe TEAM SoCalCross37:33.3
DNFAnna FortnerThe TEAM SoCalCross08:26.8
DNFAmanda SchaperRitte Racing0.926