The men take the stairs. Kenneth Hill

The men take the stairs. © Kenneth Hill

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA — The second round of UCI weekends in Southern California (SoCal) is part of the premier California Gold Crown Events presented by Shimano.  The elite races started to the beat of the Dragon Dance as group from Chinatown came to share its rich history. The park is immediately adjacent to Chinatown, the Metro Gold line, and a short walk from Dodgers Stadium and Olivera Street. The location hosted the first race of the SoCal season and was a good spot to for promoter Dorothy Wong to hold her second UCI weekend this year. The park has a great backdrop of downtown and as Dr. Leonard Pitt said, “No other available 32 acres holds as much opportunity to enlighten us about history and culture of Los Angeles and this region.”

The course made for some strategic racing as the long straights led into slow, loose, and tricky turns that made the racing exciting. From the start riders began through long fast straight, into a challenging loose left and into an immediate right. Once riders came through the twisting front section they opened up again on the back straight. Each of these long straights really picked the pace up each lap, grouping riders together. It was a strength in numbers game all day as the gusty winds swept across the granulated sections. The flyover and fast right hand banked turn were a definite favorite of riders all day.

Elite Women:

It was Sue Butler (River City Bicycles) who took the holeshot and through the first part of the course but by the first technical section Julie Krasniak (Rapha-Focus) came around to lead with Nicole Duke ( Meredith Miller, who had a great weekend last week at Jingle Cross, sat comfortably fourth wheel.

On the first lap Duke flatted far out from the pits and was slowing off the lead group. She made an exchange and got back out on course but a second flat put her out of the race. The front three kept driving hard and increasing their gap on the field. The chase broke into two and by the end it was Devon Gorry (Rambuski Law) and Katherine Sherwin (Stan’s NoTubes) who sprinted it out. SoCal series leader Allison Mann (Rock N’ Road) had a great ride and rolled in for sixth. Gorry beat Sherwin to the line to take fourth.

The battle up front was going back and forth and with two to go it looked like it was going to be either Butler or Miller. By the last lap it was clear Miller was in control as she rode ahead of Butler to take the win. Krasniak rolled in for third.

Elite Men:

The first lap held a big group together and it was Cody Kaiser (California Giant-Specialized) who took the holeshot but early into the lap Allen Krughoff (Boulder Cycle Sport) took the lead. By the second lap more riders started working the front and the accelerations of the group eventually started taking the numbers down in the ten-man group.

Eventually, the front group split as Tim Johnson ( pressed the pace. There was some indecision in riders as to who would continue the pace between Ben Berden (Opes Ale-Stoemper), Krughoff, and Johnson.  The hesitation allowed Chris Jones (Rapha-Focus) and Chris Sheppard (Rocky Mountain) to close the small gap that opened. But Shepperd once back, started to attack back and forth with Johnson increasing the gap back to the group led by the Cal Giant rider Kaiser.

With two laps to go Johnson put in a big attack on the far back stretch of the course that left Krughoff and Shepperd to chase. With one to go Shepperd continued to chase hard but rolled in comfortably for fourth as Krughoff flatted and had to change bikes to take the final podium spot in fifth. Up front Johnson went early and ran away with it for the win with Berden second and Jones third.

Day two will be another exciting day of UCI racing in downtown Los Angeles as the course will see some minor tweaks.  It seems as if old man winter has taken the weekend off to allow these cyclocross hero’s another bluebird day in SoCal.

Elite Women

1Meredith MillerCal Giant / Specialized
2Susan ButlerRiver City Bicycles/Ridley
3Julie KrasniakRapha-Focus
4Devon GorryTeam Rambuski Law
5Katherine SherwinStan's NoTubes Elite Cyclocross Team
6Allison MannRock N' Road Cyclery
7Ellen SherrillBike Station Aptos
8Christina Probert-TurnerThe TEAM SoCalCross - Turner Bikes
9Courtney DimpelBike Station Aptos
10Sarah MaileVentana Mountain Bikes
11Lisa CurryGAS/Intrinsik Architecture
12Barbara BenkoFocus-MIG Team
13Shannon GibsonStan's NoTubes Elite CX Team
14Alexis RyanThe TEAM SoCalCross
15Hannah Rae FinchampThe TEAM SoCalCross
16Dorothy WongThe TEAM SoCalCross
DNFNicole DukeCannondale p/b Cyclocrossworld / Spy
DNFRebecca BlattTeam Kenda p/b Geargrinder
DNSNancy JamesThe TEAM SoCalCross

Elite Men

1Tim JohnsonCannondale p/b
2Ben BerdenOps Ale - Stoemper
3Chris JonesRapha-Focus
4Christopher SheppardRocky Mountain Bicycles Shimano
6Tyler WrenBoo Bicycles
7Cody KaiserCalifornia Giant/Specialized
8Zach McDonaldRapha-Focus
9Kevin NoilesSportique
10Steve FisherRevel Consulting / Rad Racing NW
11Aaron BradfordBay101/HRS/RockLobster
12Brandon GrittersRock n Road
13Ryan KnappBob's Red Mill Cyclocross
14David ForknerSDG Felt p/b IRT
15Scott TietzelPlains to Peaks Racing
16Erik TonkinKona / Team S&M
17John BaileyBailey Bikes
18John BehrensBailey Bikes
19Anton PetrovSDG/Felt p.b. IRT
20John CurryGAS/Intrinsik Architecture
21kenny wehnStans NoTubes Elite Cyclocross Team
22Shawn HarshmanBoulder Cycle Sport
23Morgan RyanThe TEAM SoCalCross
24Abe Rothstein
25Chris JacksonRambuski Law
26Eric ColtonSoCalCross
27David SheekSDG/Felt p.b. IRT
28David McNealSPY Optics
29Derek YarraIbis/Buy-Cell
30Ben BertigerThe Team
31Jay KwanThe Team SocalCross
32Alexander Vaughn-RuizThe TEAM SoCalCross
33Justin WilliamsThe TEAM SoCalCross
34Dean Poshard
DNFdonald p/b blue
DNFScott Chapin
DNSRahsaan Bahati