Spooky Cross 2008

Spooky Cross returns for a bigger scare in 2009. by Eric Colton

by Dave Sheek


Stop number six of the Southern California Prestige Series of Cyclocross presented by Shimano made its debut in the City of Long Beach and El Dorado Park, the city’s mega regional park and a new home to the sport of cyclocross.  The course was a mix of fast pavement, quick mulch gardens, and bumpy gopher-punctured grass. It included a fun hillside step up taking riders down and through a lot of turns, a deep sand pit and a laberynth of turns taking riders around the course and back to the pavement straight-away.  The course design was well-received by many of the racers with the great design collaboration of Velo Allegro, Lightning Velo, and SoCalCross’ designers’ Jonathan Livesay and Jeff Herring, who brought their experience continuing their magic to build a top caliber-UCI level course once again for the Prestige Series.

The day also brought in many racers still new to ‘cross including the large numbers of women and juniors as well as some notables in the elite men’s field including Long Beach Cycling Ambassador, Tony Cruz.  Pro MTB tour Champion, Sid Taberlay and SoCalCross’ elite, Brent Prenzlow, Brandon Gritters, and John Bailey to name a few.

The elite men set their fastest pace yet this season. It was a high-speed start on the road that took riders into the trees of the slick pine needle covered forest. And, from the beginning it was Brent Prenzlow (Celo Pacific/B&L) with the hole shot and lead. Prenzlow set the pace on the day and did not slow down. Gary Douville (Team Platinum) rode out with Prenzlow on the first lap but said the pace was too uncomfortable after a lap and a half so he dropped back to the first chase group. From here it was Prenzlow all alone riding away for the win while the chase group held together tight for the real racing to happen.The chase group contained Sid Taberlay (Sho-Air), Brandon and Kyle Gritters (Rock N’ Road), Chance Noble (Cal Giant Strawberry), John Bailey (Bailey Bikes) and Motocross Superstar Ben Bostrom (Sho-Air). Eventually, the group began to fall apart, Noble almost hit a tree and fell back to the second chase and Bailey, while having strong rides recently and looking to be in great form, unfortunately, rolled two tubular tires leaving him with a long run to the pits. In the chase it was the Gritters brothers and Taberlay looking most eager to close the gap to Prenzlow. There were good efforts but by the end Taberlay opened his own gap on the brothers to ride in for second while the brothers finished third and fourth. Just behind it was Bostrom who took advantage of Douville who put out the big early efforts to round out the top six.

The elite women’s field continues to be dominated by Team SoCalCyclocross/CICLE’s Kendall Ryan. She had an awesome start and great battle with Lana Atchley (Sho-Air) until a male rider on course made an insolent move pushing the leader, Ryan, off course and through the tape almost crashing. It was just the gap that Atchley needed to take the win as Ryan dropped back to fourth place and had to fight her way back up to finish second.  Beatriz Rodgriguez (SoCal Velo) is returning to her roots and racing cross this “off-season” put in some great efforts battling with Dorothy Wong (SoCalCyclocross/CICLE) and her work was just enough to allow herself third with Wong in fourth. In Fifth it was Alexis Ryan (SoCalCyclocross/CICLE) who barely beat Fortner Banna (Van Dessel). Banna had a great start in second with Ryan but it seemed that her early efforts were a bit too much today and she had to settle in behind Alexis.

Don’t miss the race of the season, Spooky Cross Night Race, this Saturday, 10/24 in Irvine, CA. Race details below. It is going to have astounding racing, as the elite men’s field will be at its largest this season with Taberlay and Prenzlow looking for their rematch, costumes, and a west coast cross party only Oregon’s Cross Crusade could compete with. We look forward to seeing everyone at Spooky Cross and remember to bring a friend or introduce someone new to the sport.

Get Ready for Spooky Cross

Bring your favorite costume and be prepared for the time of your life! Music, Halloween madness, costumes and beer will be the call as the Southern California Prestige Series of Cyclocross presented by Shimano brings you Spooky Cross Night Race hosted by Rock N Road Cyclery on Saturday, October 24th in Irvine, CA.

This will be an unforgettable event filled with Halloween-themed festivities beginning with Juniors and Youth cyclocross racing at 2:30pm.  Spooky sounds begin to fill the air.  At 3:15pm, the kids will get the chance to show off their costumes with the Clif Kids Costume Race!  The schedule continues with Prestige Series racing culminating with live music by the Rims and more, food and beer and elite cyclocross racing at dusk and into the night.

In between Jack-O-Lantern Carving Contestants will become the pumpkin barriers and will put racers to the test on the Spooky Costume Race course – starting out with a celebration lap for everyone to show off their Halloween garb.  Team Duke hosts the Spooky Costume Relay Race – 2 or 4 person teams to benefit the John Wayne Cancer Foundation. Prizes awarded to top men, women, co-ed and best costume podium.

The Halloween themed course is a mix of pavement and dirt and grass. The racers will head out on with a full-out sprint taking racers out of the field and onto the Planet Bike Hill of Fame sending racers up and down then into a steep run up and back onto the infield heading through the Ellsworth Tunnel. Racers will charge around the Sock Guy go cart track and onto the Moots Gucci off-camber dirt bank before heading over to the H2O Overdrive Stairs and back around the SoCalCross Expo and Shimano fast-track double barriers.  This will take racers into the darkness of the Kool N Fit DJ Dead People Zone and immediately into the Fluid Sand Pit. Racers complete the loop and finish on pavement in the middle of the SoCalCross Expo and Beer Garden. Each lap is approx. 3.5km in length. Races are timed circuits on the course based on category. The elite categories will race at dusk and night. Look for challengers for Elite Men’s Series Leader Brent Prenzlow (Celo Pacific) from the Gritters brothers – Brandon and Kyle of Rock N Road.  MTB Champions Brian Lopes and Sid Taberlay are schedule to be in the line-up as well.

Save $$$, save time, pre-register on-line at: Prestige Series discount passes available.  Each time you pre-register, you will be automatically entered to win a Fuji CX frame and Fork!  Online registration closes Thursday, October 21st at 9:00PM (Pacific).  Race Day registration is available opens at 1:00pm and closes 20 minutes prior to each race category start.  Demo.rental bikes are available for new riders to ‘cross.  Reserve yours today.  A beginner’s CX clinic will take place at 1:30pm.

GOOGLE MAP DIRECTIONS: 8800 Irvine Center Drive – Irvine, CA