So Cal Cross Prestige Seriesby Dave Sheek

After a fantastic weekend of UCI events the Southern California Prestige Series presented by Spy Optic headed north to Santa Ynez valley for race six of the series. Michael Hecker’s Dirt Club known for its mountain bike races was the host to its second ever cyclocross race and like the year before they put together a fun course of long straights, tight turns, and some technical twisting descents.

Saturday’s racing started off cool but things heated up quickly in the valley of vineyards. It was warm but a typical lovely sunny California weekend. The fields were loving the course and the rest area of spectators and local beers in Charlotte’s Meadow.

Elite Women:

Ellen Sherrill (Bike Station) traveling all the way from Lake Tahoe smashed her pedals down to take the hole shot and lead the women setting a hard pace. The rest of the field lined up chasing Sherrill but half way through the first lap as the women went over the log run up and down through the lose turns Sherrill looked over her shoulder to see her 15 second gap that she monopolized on through the entire race.

In second Amanda Schaper (Ritte Racing) was chasing with the women close on her wheel but a slip through the lose corners, caused a spill that lost her position as two riders snuck past. With the group in chase of Sherrill the women of The TEAM made their moves and charged past.

With one lap to go Sherrill kept her lead with Dorothy Wong and teammate Nancy James (The Team SoCal Cross) charging for the line. In the end it was Sherrill who took the win with Wong in second, James in third, Schaper in fourth, and Julia LaFranchise (Cynergy Cycles) in fifth.

Elite Men:

The long starting straight went into a loose left turn where riders waded up and a small group formed on the front immediately. Brent Prenzlow (Celo Pacific/Focus) took the hole shot with Brandon Gritters (Rock N Road) second wheel and then Gary Douville (SDG/Felt p.b. IRT). Other riders rode their way back up behind the front three but the leaders made things hard early in the race.

Prenzlow lead out the first lap then Douville took charge on the second lap and he held it for two. Douville hopped the log run up gaining a few seconds off the front with each lap but by lap four Prenzlow attacked pulling Gritters up with him. Again, Prenzlow was on the front and led until David Forkner (SDG/Felt p.b. IRT) caught the front three. Instantly, Forkner attacked and it blew the front apart as Prenzlow and Gritters counter attacked to ride away from the SDG/Felt riders.

With two laps to go Gritters was able to open just enough of a gap to hold off the rest of the field and take the win. Prenzlow attacked the chase on the last lap to finish second. Forkner was close behind Prenzlow for third. John Bailey (Bailey Bikes) who dangled off the lead group all day put out some impressive late efforts to pass Douville for fourth and Douville was fifth.

A great day of racing at the Dirt Club was a perfect warm up for the double weekend of Central coast racing as the series went to San Luis Obispo, California Sunday.

Elite Women’s Results:

1Ellen SherrillBike Station Aptos
2Dorothy WrongThe TEAM
3Nancy James-KlingerThe Team Socal Cross
4Amanda Schaper
5Julia Lafranchise
6Nicole BrandtLA Velocity
DNSTrina Baumsteiger

Elite Men’s Results:

1Brandon GrittersRock N Road Cyclery
2Brent PrenzlowCelo Pacific / Focus
3David ForknerSDG / Felt p.b. IRT Wheels
4John BaileyBailey Bikes
5Gary Douville
6Chris JacksonRambuski
7Anton PetrovSDG / Felt p.b. IRT Wheels
8Ted WillardSDG Felt pb. iRT
9David Sheek
10Doug HallThe TEAM SoCalCross
11John BehrensBailey Bikes
12Alexander Vaughn-RuizThe TEAM SoCalCross
13Kendall JohnsonCal Poly
14Menso de JongWonderful Pistachios
15Blake AntonTeam Clif Bar
16Jason HardyTwin Six
17Benny BreckPlatinum Performance
18Jay KwanThe TEAM SoCalCross
19Sam Sweetland
DNFJason SiegleSDG/Felt p.b. iRT Wheels
DNFVincent OwensSierra Pacific Racing