by Philip Beckman
(Long Beach, CA) – What a difference a couple of weeks can make. Round four of the SoCalCross Prestige Series took place at the same location as Round four, two weeks prior. It may as well have been in a different time zone. The temperature was set to defrost instead of broil, the course was radically revamped, and both the Men’s and Women’s Elite A results were completely rewritten.
This event was originally scheduled for a park in Pasadena, but a last-moment glitch there meant some harried phone calls for SoCalCross management and a ton of hospitality by the folks at El Dorado Park in Long Beach. Credit too the local cycling team, Velo Allegro, for their tireless assistance. It all came together for Krosstoberfest despite the odds, as a strong turnout of riders was obviously willing to adjust plans to navigate the heavy-grassed, bumpy terrain and the infamous tree trunk this facility is known for.
There was guaranteed to be a new Knobbe Martens Women’s Elite A class winner this time out. Amanda Nauman, after dominating the first three rounds, elected to instead do some climbing miles and participated in the previous day’s El Grande Fondo in the San Gabriel Mountains. This ride was also produced by SoCalCross, in partnership with the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition and the National Forest Foundation.
Nicole Brandt (LaGrange/Michelob Ultra) didn’t need to be asked twice to step to the top of the podium. “Maia’s Mom” has been battling to stay with Nauman all season, but had only Christina Probert-Turner (The TEAM SoCalCross/Turner Bikes/Jenson) to offer any resistance at Krosstoberfest. Turner and Brandt quickly dispatched the rest of the field, and when Turner went down on the third lap, aggravating an old arm injury, it was Brandt with clear sailing and her first victory of the season.
Turner held on for second place, well ahead of a spirited scrap for third between Marilyne Deckman (Stage One), Summer Moak (K-Edge/Felt) and Beatriz Rodriguez (Wolfpack Hustle). They finished in this order.
The Men’s Elite A class was mysteriously void of its biggest hitters as well, but it was an impressive and entertaining show nonetheless. Taking center stage were Jean-Louis Bourdevaire (Blackstar) and Alfred Pacheco (Buena Park Bicycles). These two spend most of their season rubbing elbows on the SoCal mountain bike scene, but they’ve shown up with cyclocross bikes for most of this cyclocross season; both have been on the podium already.
The Frenchman Bourdevaire clocked most of the time on the front, throwing in attacks that Pacheco was repeatedly forced to close down. Bryson Perry (DNA Cycling) was in the mix at the front for a few laps, but he had spent considerable energy winning the 35+ A class just a few minutes earlier and was beginning to suffer; he dropped back at the halfway mark. John Behrens (Velo Hangar) was putting in a remarkable come-from-behind ride and eventually caught Perry for third place in the waning moments.
The win was going to come from either Bourdevaire or Pacheco. With about a lap and a half left in the nine-lap, one-hour race, Bourdevaire hit the gas once again and pried open a small gap. Pacheco could not answer that one, and had to settle for second some 16 seconds adrift of Bourdevaire. Behrens secured third, Perry fourth and Rex Roberts (Velo Allegro), who had parlayed a great start and smooth ride into a solid finish, completed the podium in fifth.
Full results can be found at socalcross.org.
Next on the SoCalCross schedule is one of the favorites among competitors and spectators alike. Spooky Kross Weekend goes off at Irvine Lake 10/25-26. The following weekend, 11/1-2, will find the SoCalCross cast and crew at the Peloton Cross in Ojai.
For more information and to stay connected to all SoCalCross PRESTIGE SERIES activities, be sure to bookmark SoCalCross.org as well as follow it all on Facebook and Twitter.