SPY HAPPILY CROSSES INTO DIRT FOR SPYCLOCROSS SERIES

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Spy Fly Bridge

CARLSBAD, Calif.—SPY®, a leader in performance eyewear known for its patent-pending Happy Lens™ technology, is happy to announce their entre into the world of cyclocross with the SPYclocross Series. The brand behind the world famous SPY Belgian Waffle Ride (BWR), SPY will promote five SoCal cyclocross events over seven days spread throughout Southern California.

“I’m both personally and professionally excited to be bringing a new cyclocross series to Southern California,” says Michael Marckx, SPY president and CEO. “As a cat 1 racer who is particularly happy in the dirt, I am excited SPY can be the conduit for this new collection of stellar events to unite under one banner, which will be the only series working with USA Cycling to allow SoCal ‘cross racers the opportunity to race for points towards National rankings and upgrades. Cyclocross is a fun and irreverent sport, yet it’s accessible to a wide range of riders. It’s really the perfect platform for SPY to deliver its HTFU (happy the funk up) approach to life. Also, our series will co-exist with the long standing Prestige Series, so riders will have many opportunities to race throughout the fall and winter.”

With a Happy disrespect for the usual way of looking at life (and racing bikes), the SPYclocross Series will embody SPY’s irreverent attitude and put happy smiles on faces with a series of unexpected antics and unusual courses. All races in the series will be USA Cycling sanctioned, therefore allowing racers to qualify for category upgrades and points towards National Championships rankings. Additionally, the Southern California/Nevada Cycling Association (SCNCA) will provide a SoCal Cup cash prize to be awarded at the end of the series to various categories.

“We have watched the rapid growth of cyclocross in SoCal and decided the time was right to introduce the SoCal Cup Cyclocross Series,” says Eric Smith, president of the SCNCA. “The SoCal Cup for our road events has helped to fuel the growth of road racing in SoCal and Southern Nevada, and we expect the same to happen with cyclocross. The series will not only offer some very solid races, but all of the races will provide upgrade points and the valuable seeding points used to secure better starting positions in UCI and USA Cycling Championships. We are excited to be partnering with SPY on this series.”

Series-wide sponsorship opportunities are available. Please contact Zach Sellers at zachary.sellers@spyoptic.com if you’re interested in partnering with SPY and exposing your brand to the fastest growing segment of the sport of cycling. Additional details on each event will be posted as they become available.

For more information about SPY’s cycling, multisport and endurance sports goings-on, log-on at www.facebook.com/spyperformance. For info about SPY products, athletes and events, log-on at www.spyoptic.com and www.facebook.com/spyoptic.

SPYCLOCROSS SERIES CALENDAR

DATE EVENT LOCATION
September 20 SPYclocross Lake Hodges/Rancho Bernardo
October 12 Velocity Cross Chino
November 9 Udo Cross – State Championships Lake Hodges
November 15 and 16 SLO Cross San Luis Obispo
December 6 SCNCA Cup Finals Bakersfield
December 7 NoCal/SoCal Showdown Bakersfield
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About SPY Inc.:
SPY® sponsors some of the nation’s most important cycling competitions and series including the SPY Belgian Waffle Ride, Crusher in the Tushar, Chino Grinder, Red Trolley Criterium, Orange County Cycling Classic, Adrenaline Cycling Promotions and Quick n Dirty MTB events. The brand sponsors the world’s most inspiring athletes, including 3-time U.S. Pro Cyclo-cross National Champion Jonathan Page, former U.S. Pro Mountain Bike and U.S. Pro Cyclo-cross Champion Ryan Trebon and top U.S. Pro Cyclocross racer Nicole Duke; Mountain Bike World Champion Troy Brosnan; Ironman Champion Chris McDonald, and Half Iron and Olympic Distance athletes Ian Mikelson, Chris Foster, Bill Jones and Keith Butsko. Additionally, the brand sponsors denizens of professional, amateur and collegiate teams nationwide, including SPY GIANT RIDE p/b MRI, Lux Pro, BMW Development Team, SquadraSF, Big Orange, Swami’s Cycling, Limitless Cycling, Metromint Women’s Cycling, Monster Media, Bahati Racing Team, Real Deal Cycling, Skyflash Racing, Team Undiscovered Cycling, San Diego Bicycling Club, UCSD Cycling Team, G2 Racing, SDSU Cycling, Squadra Flying Tigers, Adrenaline Cycling and Crosshairs Cycling. The SPY brand was born in the early 1990s during the renaissance of domestic cycling in a hotbed of U.S. bike culture—San Diego, California. SPY’s founders raced bikes, motorcycles, and they surfed, of course. They rode a lot because, unless the waves were good, it’s what you did in So Cal. SPY is founded on the idea that you can be innovative, technical and all about victory, but not look like a fool. With unsurpassed quality, innovative designs and unmatched style, SPY’s anti-fogging frame technology, and oleophobic and hydrophobic lens coatings were born of this passion for riding. Today, SPY is led by an array of expert racers, including active elite racers and former world champions in a variety of pursuits, inspiring the brand to serve the needs of cycling culture. Whether you’re rocking our Performance Series Screw—winner of Road Bike Action’s “2012 Eyewear of the Year Award,”—innovative Cutter, uber sleek Daft, Omen Goggles, or our revolutionary Happy Lens™, we hope you’re stoked with what SPY is up to on the roads, trails and faces of cyclists worldwide. There’s more to come. It’s what we do.

JEREMY POWERS UNVEILS NEW PROFESSIONAL CYCLOCROSS TEAM “ASPIRE RACING”

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Fifteen Companies Have Joined Aspire Racing As Partners
Easthampton, Massachusetts August 11th, 2014 – Today U.S. National Cyclocross Champion Jeremy Powers announced the creation of Aspire Racing – a new cyclocross team that aspires to be the United States’ first professionally registered cyclocross program in the coming years. Initially headlined with Powers as a team of one for the 2014-2015 season, Aspire Racing will participate in both domestic and international races with the goal of providing the same high visibility that sponsors have come to expect from Powers.
“Launching this team is something I’m really excited about” said Powers. “I have always been passionate about cyclocross – The JAM Fund, BTB TV, and now Aspire Racing are my way of giving back to the sport that has given me so much. I am looking forward to integrating Aspire with my non-profit JAM Fund Cycling program. By creating both a development program and a professional racing team, my dream is to create a path of support for young riders to fully develop and succeed in American cyclocross. Bases of support like development programs and professional teams are the way we will grow this sport in the US.”
Powers is one of America’s most successful cyclocross riders, with over 50 Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) victories in both the United States and Europe. He broke into professional cycling with the Jelly Belly Pro cycling in 2004, initially riding both road and cyclocross.
Also joining the Aspire Racing team are fifteen corporate sponsors, including Focus Bicycles, Rapha cycling and casual apparel, Giro helmets and shoes, Oakley sunglasses, Zipp wheels, bars, stems and seatposts, SRAM components, Quarq power meters, Park Tools, FMB tires, Fizik saddles, crankbrothers pedals, WD-40 Bike Lube and Cleaners, ICEdot crash sensors, Eco-Products and MotoFish Coffee. This year’s title sponsors are Rapha and Focus Bikes.
“Jeremy captures the imagination of fans with the way he rides and through his personality,” said Slate Olson, Chief Marketing Officer from Rapha. “Jeremy has long shown that he can compete at the highest global level, we’re excited to be alongside him this season as he ramps up a focused ‘cross campaign.”
“Focus Bicycles has had three years of success with Jeremy Powers on German-Engineered Mares CX race bikes. Focus is proud to be Jeremy’s choice as a partner in this new venture. The 2015 Mares CX incorporates more than a little bit of Jeremy’s input. Now let’s see where he takes it!” said Jeff Rowe of Focus Bicycles USA.
Aspire Racing will reveal the newly designed national champion racing kit at Cross Vegas on September 10th. Visit the newly launched jpows.com to see the full details on Aspire Racing’s upcoming season and schedule.

Jpows.com

Vanderkitten Announces Return to Cyclocross for 2014-2015 Season

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Vanderkitten, one of the most recognized brands in women’s cycling, is returning to cyclocross this fall for the 2014-2015 racing season. Vanderkitten Cyclocross (VKCX) will compete in domestic UCI events with a focus on developing riders for International competition and building a sustainable program for future seasons. Riders for the 2015 VKCX program include Rebecca Gross (Raleigh Clement), Carolina Gomez Villafañe (Rambuski Law) and junior Kennedy Hill (Vanderkitten Racing). VKCX continues its relationship with many existing road program sponsors, rekindles a successful relationship with Ibis Cycles, and has a uniquecrowd funding campaign in place to assist with its funding efforts.
“The decision to field a team for a full season was arrived at sometime in June and our strong road program allowed us to tap into most of our existing sponsors to provide equipment and resources for this program,” says Vanderkitten Founder and CEO David Verrecchia. “Cyclocross is very close to the heart of Vanderkitten as it was our point of entry into the cycling world. Although we are known for our road program, ‘cross and mountain preceded our involvement in road cycling by a considerable margin. Returning to ‘cross is a natural re-evolution for us.”
Vanderkitten juxtaposes Gross and Villafañe as the Cagey Veteran and Rising Star of the VKCX program. A racer with over 13 years of experience, Rebecca has a number of impressive results under her belt including the 2012 Master’s CX 30-34 World Championship and the 2013 Master’s 30-34 National Title. Caro comes to VKCX after a break out year with impressive results including a win at the 2014 CX Nationals in Open Women. She will also be putting energy towards her goal of representing Argentina at the World Championships in Hoogerheide, Netherlands, which happens to be very near the ancestral birthplace of the Vanderkitten brand.
The team will be outfitted in brand new kits that promise to add Vanderkitten’s distinctive style and eye-catching designs to an already colorful field. These new kits will be the basis for a unique crowd funding campaign through vanderkitten.com. This campaign allows fans and supporters to invest in the race team and receive limited-run Vanderkitten products in return. Vanderkitten is now accepting pre-orders for VKCX full kits, jerseys, hoodies, and t-shirts with delivery targeted for early September through mid-October depending on when the order is placed. There’s even a $10 funding level that includes a “VKCX” sticker and access to cool social media content.
The 2015 VKCX Sponsor List:
Vanderkitten, Ibis Cycles, Psimet Custom Wheels, Pactimo, Ritchey Components, TRP Brakes, Rotor Cranks and Q Rings, Clement Pneumatics, Vittoria Shoes, Honey Stinger, Smith Optics, Zealios, K Edge, DeFeet, Osmo Nutrition, Feedback sports.

Nor Cal vs. So Cal State CX Championships

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Nor Cal vs. So Cal State CX Championships

RACE REPORT: Nor Cal vs. So Cal State CX Championships

 

January 4-5, 2014, Bakersfield, Calif. Words and images by Philip Beckman/PB Creative.

 

Sudden death overtime is something that just does not happen in the sport of cyclocross. But after a full day of California State Championship racing during the first weekend of 2014, there it was. The 4th Annual Nor Cal vs. So Cal Showdown at Hart Park in Bakersfield produced one of the most improbable conclusions anyone could imagine.

 

Before we go there, let’s examine how we got there. The first day of racing at this challenging, Euro-like venue served as a splendid warmup for Sunday’s title fight. It was also the second round of the SoCal Cross Fever Series. An enthusiastic ensemble of Northern California CX fanatics saw fit to make the drive and enjoy some fun in the late-season sun, not to mention defend their crown from last year.

 

Saturday’s results bode well for the visitors, who actually outnumbered the home team. In the Women’s Category 1-4 foray, Carolina Gomez-Villafane (Team Rambuski Law/Family Cycling Center) topped Emily Kachorek (Gheto/Rouse/Vanderkitten/Voler) and Felicia Gomez (Leopard-Sapporo) — all Northerners.

 

On the Men’s 1-4 side, Tobin Ortenblad (California Giant Berry Farms/Specialized) grabbed the win ahead of Chris McGovern (Real Wheels/Cycleution) and, upholding SoCal honors, Brent Prenzlow (Celo Pacific/Focus).

 

With State Champion jerseys and bragging rights on the line, intensity was palpably turned up a couple of notches the next day, With the course now running in the opposite direction, it was an evenly matched contest across the board in every class.

 

SoCal’s cause was helped by the performance of Amanda Nauman (SDG/Felt/IRT/SPY) in Women’s 1-4. Nauman slipped past Gomez-Villafane and Kachorek within the first half lap and quickly opened a comfortable gap that would shrink only a little before the finish.

 

As Nauman explained, “On the last two laps I was taking the run-ups a little bit easier because they just destroy your legs, and Carolina was making up so much time on me there. She was catching up. It was a good race because she was still there and I could still see her. It was fun. I just love this course; there’s so much variety.”

 

“Amanda has power, so she was getting away on the flats,” said Gomez-Villafane. “I was sort of catching up on the runs and the technical stuff, but she made a gap and maintained it.”

 

Kachorek, Gomez and Hollie McGovern (Real Wheels/Cycleution) rounded out the podium.

 

As the final race of the day — Men’s 1-4 — was staging, it was announced that SoCal had built a slim nine-point lead over NorCal.

 

Hometown hero Gareth Feldstein (Ritte CX Team) led the charge up the paved start/finish straight and into turn one. He kept the pressure on during the first lap and opened some daylight, but was joined at the front by five chasers, including Ortenblad, Walton Brush (MASH/Hed/Oakley) and Jason Siegle (SDG/Felt/IRT/SPY).

 

This group of six left everyone else well behind during the next two laps, then started coming apart with five to go. Only Ortenblad, Brush and Siegle remained, and Siegle’s chances were crushed when he slid out and down a lap later.

 

The surprising Brush, a native of Berkeley via Portland, Oregon, led rising star Ortenblad for much of the last two laps. The crowd was waiting for an inevitable coup de grace from the defending champ, but it never came. At the moment of truth, Brush crossed the line with a bike-length’s lead.

 

Ortenblad admitted that he had underestimated Brush, even though they race together regularly. “There’s a roller before you drop into the long drag to the finish,” he said. “Walton jumped me there but I was ready for it. He got a bigger gap than I anticipated and then I spun out my gearing. He played it smart. I think I got a little cocky. I thought for sure it would be no problem to take him. I was too confident; he’s been racing really well this year.”

 

Brush appeared to be somewhat shell-shocked afterward. “The race was fun today. I didn’t know anyone except Tobin. He’s faster than me so I just tried to stay near the front. When it started to split apart I put some effort out and Tobin and I got away. Coming into the end I knew he was all around better than I was but I thought maybe I could sprint better. I kind of played it safe riding the front and got a gap early and stayed with it till the line. This is the first race this season that it’s played out to my advantage.”

 

Siegle finished a lonely third, while Jerome Townsend (BikeReg.com/Cannondale) — all the way from Princeton, Massachusetts — and McGovern completed the podium.

 

Now all eyes were turned to the scorekeeper. After a few moments the verdict was reached: the Nor Cal vs. So Cal showdown had ended in a points tie: 338 to 338!

 

Race Director Sam Ames and the crowd were stunned, especially when it was announced that no tiebreaker had been instituted for this highly unlikely event. After a fair amount of deliberation as well as a touch of desperation, the decision was made to choose one man from each region to sprint about a hundred yards against each other on the pavement, winner take all.

 

Ortenblad and Feldstein were cajoled back onto their bikes, and in a blur of last-second excitement, Feldstein snapped across the finish tape half a wheel ahead of Ortenblad.

 

Sudden death indeed. There simply is nothing else like cyclocross.

 

Following this week’s break for the National Championships in Boulder, Colorado, two more CX races remain on the SoCal calendar. The final rounds of the Cross Fever series take place at Lake Casitas 1/19 and Los Angeles 1/26. 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.

Massive addition of Crelan AA Drink team signals another step in the brand’s commitment to cyclocross

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Massive addition of Crelan AA Drink team signals another step in the brand’s commitment to cyclocross

(Baal, Belgium) – Just a few days ahead of his namesake race, Trek Bicycle is formally announcing a partnership with the Crelan AA Drink team consisting of World Champion Sven Nys (BEL) and Sven Vanthourenhout (BEL). Trek will be Nys’ and the team’s frame supplier, while Bontrager will assume the role of equipment and components supplier.

 

The world’s most accomplished cyclocross racer and current World Champion, Nys brings a new level of prestige to a program that already includes UCI World Cup Champion Katie Compton. As with all Trek athletes, in addition to racing for the brand, both Nys and Vanthourenhout will work with Trek’s product development team (DEV) to further push Trek’s cyclocross products. “The partnership with Trek and the work we put into the bikes is another dimension for me in cyclocross,” said Nys. “I am really happy to be part of the family of Trek and to do something special with them.”

 

Trek will unveil the team’s new bikes on January 1 at the GP Sven Nys in Baal, Belgium. Both Nys and Vanthourenhout will join Trek Cyclocross Collective’s Katie Compton for a special event and press conference.

 

Matt Shriver of Trek’s Race Shop has been at the forefront of Trek’s movement into a leadership role within the cyclocross community and sees the signing as another step in the brand’s commitment to the sport. “When we really dedicated ourselves to cyclocross a few years back, we had a strategy to support racing with the full commitment of our product development team and partner with some of the biggest names in the sport,” Shriver said. “This move in particular is a huge step for us, and one that we are really excited to take.”

 

In just a few short years, Trek has transformed from a company that offered a bike for cyclocross to a company filled with passionate ‘cross racers that supports the biggest names in the sport and even hosts a UCI cyclocross race in their backyard, the Trek Cyclocross Collective Cup. Trek’s current cyclocross program, the Trek Cyclocross Collective will continue to race as such in 2014.

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Race Report: SoCalCross Doubleheader at Hart Park

 

Race Report: SoCalCross Doubleheader at Hart Park

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Race Report: SoCalCross Doubleheader at Hart Park

 

December 7-8, 2013, Bakersfield, Calif. Words and images by Philip Beckman/PB Creative.

 

SoCalCross Prestige Series competitors received a shock to the system during the penultimate weekend of the 2013-14 schedule. After sweating through the first 14 events in what has been a very warm, dry season, the locals got a taste of what most of the world calls “cyclocross.”

 

Just one week after wilting under summerlike conditions in Los Angeles, the Hart Park Cross in Bakersfield took place in temperatures that had riders and supporters scrambling for all the winter gear they owned — and then some. Is layering with flannel pajamas USA Cycling legal?

 

Oh, and by the way, that hard crust on top of the puddles is called ice.

 

The potential for this event to be even more of a wintry challenge (hello, snowbound Bend and Philly) came but then quickly left. A late-week arctic storm dropped rain on the course Friday and Saturday morning. The early races got to experience some rare, slick mud, but then the sun came out and made the surface all too perfect for the rest of the weekend. Missed it by that much.

 

This storm also discharged enough snow in the nearby mountain pass between L.A. and Bakersfield to close Interstate 5 for a few hours, which may have accounted for the relatively low turnout. Either that or many of the regulars decided to go into hibernation.

 

Too bad, because the snoozers were losers of a tidy event on one of the more Euro courses around. Hart Park is known for its challenging run-ups, and when combined with a seemingly endless succession of punchy climbs and twisty, off-camber descents, as well as a long section of paved false flat, riders needed to be on their A game. Promoter Sam Ames set the course to run basically clockwise on Saturday, then reversed its direction on Sunday. Sunday’s layout was a preview of what’s to come at the NorCal vs. SoCal Shootout/State Championships on January 5th.

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LONG BEACH CX WEEKEND

 

RACE REPORT: LONG BEACH CX WEEKEND

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LONG BEACH CX WEEKEND

RACE REPORT: LONG BEACH CX WEEKEND

 

Nov. 16-17, 2013, Long Beach, Calif.

By Philip Beckman/PB Creative and Kenneth Hill/Light and Shadows Photography

 

The only thing that might stop Brandon Gritters this season is a banana daiquiri. The defending SoCalSeries Men’s Elite A champion captured two more victories during Long Beach CX Weekend, making it seven out of 11 events so far. He’s now on his way to Mexico for a family vacation.

 

The elder Gritters brother says he does not plan to race again until the last event on the schedule (Santa Cross, just before Christmas). Even though a rider’s best 10 results for the series are counted in the final standings, he already has enough points to kick back and sip a tall, cool one – or three.

 

Gritters’ ride on a perfect Saturday at El Dorado Park was as strong as Bacardi 151. On a very rough, grassy, twisty, dry, mostly flat 1.7-mile course, the Blackstar/Rock ‘n’ Road rider got out to a third-place start behind holeshot artist/brother/teammate Kyle Gritters, which became second place when Kyle slid out and went down with a crunch on a brief section of gravel-covered concrete near the end of the first lap. SoCal CX legend Brent Prenzlow (Celo Pacific/Focus) assumed the lead.

 

Just a lap later it was Brandon Gritters out front and pouring it on. Prenzlow was trying desperately to remain in his draft, but soon had something else to worry about as Kyle Gritters had regrouped, passed Jason Siegle (SDG/Felt p/b IRT) and was closing in. That was basically last call for Prenzlow.

 

Just as it’s written up in the team tactics handbook, Kyle sat on Prenzlow’s wheel for the next seven laps, then attacked with just a little over a lap to go in the nine-lap race. Prenzlow was reeling and could only watch as the Gritters went 1-2 once again, with Brandon nearly half a minute in front. Siegle was a lonely fourth, with only teammate Anton Petrov nearby to keep him company.

 

Brandon Gritters stated afterward that he was just trying to avoid the hard feelings that had been brewed during the previous race after the family’s teamwork had gotten a little too close for a competitor’s comfort. “I didn’t want any controversy this week,” he said with a wry grin. “I felt really good on the flat, straight, bumpy stuff where it wasn’t much fun but it suits me really well. I got a little gap then and just kept the gas on.”

 

Sunday was not quite as much of a party for Gritters, but he still went home with the cake. Kyle Gritters once again grabbed an early lead and once again took a first-lap soil sample, handing over to Gareth Feldstein (Ritte CX), down from Bakersfield for the day. Lining out behind were Brandon Gritters, Prenzlow, Siegle and a re-righted Kyle Gritters.

 

Siegle was obviously feeling fresher on day two and charged into the lead on lap three, with Brandon Gritters in tow. Little bro Kyle was also on the move, getting past both Prenzlow and  then Feldstein.

 

Siegle – winner of three races this season – managed to drop Brandon Gritters by mid-race, but Gritters fought back and then attacked when Siegle hit the turf with two to go. This was all that Gritters needed, and he was able to maintain a 15-second gap all the way to his final pass over the timing strip. Kyle Gritters finished his weekend all alone in third, while Prenzlow rolled in for fourth after catching and passing Feldstein in the waning moments.

 

Despite a couple of falls on Saturday – the first of which involved a nasty impact between her right shoulder and the large tree in the hairpin first turn – Nicole Brandt (LaGrange/Michelob Ultra) was a decisive winner in the small Women’s Elite A class.

 

Defending champion Hannah Rae Finchamp (Luna Chix), just back from earning the overall amateur women’s crown at the XTERRA World Championship, was a contender but dropped off Brandt’s wheel with two to go in the five-lap show. A scrape with same bit of concrete that claimed Kyle Gritters in the Men’s race – not to mention a cross-country running race earlier in the day – sealed Finchamp’s fate.

 

As series points leader Brandt put it, “I caught Hannah Rae on a good day, for me. I’ve got to make the most of it when I can.”

 

Early race leader Christina Probert-Turner (The TEAM SoCalCross), Nancy James Klinger and series promoter Dorothy Wong (The TEAM SoCalCross) rounded out Saturday’s podium.

 

Finchamp returned the next day as competitive as ever. She and Brandt rode together for the first two laps as they escaped the field, then Finchamp rode away to win by half a minute. Saturday’s third-place finisher, Probert-Turner, suffered a mechanical issue just after the start and had to DNF, leaving the podium to Maddie Melcher (The TEAM SoCalCross), Amanda Schaper (Ritte CX) and Robin Kaminsky (Black Sheep Squadron).

 

“After Saturday I was out for a little revenge so I gunned it from the beginning,” said Finchamp. “I was feeling much more like myself on Sunday than on Saturday. I didn’t crash this time, and I was able to ride the sand while she ran it, which gave me a little gap each time around the course.”

 

Next up for the SoCalCross Prestige Series is one of the classics in this part of the country. The Thanksgiving-themed Turkey Trot CX takes place at Verdugo Park in Glendale on Sunday, Nov. 24.

 

This serves as a nice warmup for a major regional event just a few days later: CXLA Weekend, with two days of internationally-sanctioned UCI racing and Saturday’s Cross After Dark Series finale. All that and much more will go off at Los Angeles State Historic Park November 30-December 1. Don’t miss it.

 

To stay fully informed of all SoCalCross PRESTIGE SERIES activities, be sure to bookmark SoCalCross.org as well as follow them on Facebook and Twitter.

 

 

Nov. 16-17, 2013, Long Beach, Calif.

By Philip Beckman/PB Creative and Kenneth Hill/Light and Shadows Photography

 

The only thing that might stop Brandon Gritters this season is a banana daiquiri. The defending SoCalSeries Men’s Elite A champion captured two more victories during Long Beach CX Weekend, making it seven out of 11 events so far. He’s now on his way to Mexico for a family vacation.

 

The elder Gritters brother says he does not plan to race again until the last event on the schedule (Santa Cross, just before Christmas). Even though a rider’s best 10 results for the series are counted in the final standings, he already has enough points to kick back and sip a tall, cool one – or three.

 

Gritters’ ride on a perfect Saturday at El Dorado Park was as strong as Bacardi 151. On a very rough, grassy, twisty, dry, mostly flat 1.7-mile course, the Blackstar/Rock ‘n’ Road rider got out to a third-place start behind holeshot artist/brother/teammate Kyle Gritters, which became second place when Kyle slid out and went down with a crunch on a brief section of gravel-covered concrete near the end of the first lap. SoCal CX legend Brent Prenzlow (Celo Pacific/Focus) assumed the lead.

 

Just a lap later it was Brandon Gritters out front and pouring it on. Prenzlow was trying desperately to remain in his draft, but soon had something else to worry about as Kyle Gritters had regrouped, passed Jason Siegle (SDG/Felt p/b IRT) and was closing in. That was basically last call for Prenzlow.

 

Just as it’s written up in the team tactics handbook, Kyle sat on Prenzlow’s wheel for the next seven laps, then attacked with just a little over a lap to go in the nine-lap race. Prenzlow was reeling and could only watch as the Gritters went 1-2 once again, with Brandon nearly half a minute in front. Siegle was a lonely fourth, with only teammate Anton Petrov nearby to keep him company.

 

Brandon Gritters stated afterward that he was just trying to avoid the hard feelings that had been brewed during the previous race after the family’s teamwork had gotten a little too close for a competitor’s comfort. “I didn’t want any controversy this week,” he said with a wry grin. “I felt really good on the flat, straight, bumpy stuff where it wasn’t much fun but it suits me really well. I got a little gap then and just kept the gas on.”

 

Sunday was not quite as much of a party for Gritters, but he still went home with the cake. Kyle Gritters once again grabbed an early lead and once again took a first-lap soil sample, handing over to Gareth Feldstein (Ritte CX), down from Bakersfield for the day. Lining out behind were Brandon Gritters, Prenzlow, Siegle and a re-righted Kyle Gritters.

 

Siegle was obviously feeling fresher on day two and charged into the lead on lap three, with Brandon Gritters in tow. Little bro Kyle was also on the move, getting past both Prenzlow and  then Feldstein.

 

Siegle – winner of three races this season – managed to drop Brandon Gritters by mid-race, but Gritters fought back and then attacked when Siegle hit the turf with two to go. This was all that Gritters needed, and he was able to maintain a 15-second gap all the way to his final pass over the timing strip. Kyle Gritters finished his weekend all alone in third, while Prenzlow rolled in for fourth after catching and passing Feldstein in the waning moments.

 

Despite a couple of falls on Saturday – the first of which involved a nasty impact between her right shoulder and the large tree in the hairpin first turn – Nicole Brandt (LaGrange/Michelob Ultra) was a decisive winner in the small Women’s Elite A class.

 

Defending champion Hannah Rae Finchamp (Luna Chix), just back from earning the overall amateur women’s crown at the XTERRA World Championship, was a contender but dropped off Brandt’s wheel with two to go in the five-lap show. A scrape with same bit of concrete that claimed Kyle Gritters in the Men’s race – not to mention a cross-country running race earlier in the day – sealed Finchamp’s fate.

 

As series points leader Brandt put it, “I caught Hannah Rae on a good day, for me. I’ve got to make the most of it when I can.”

 

Early race leader Christina Probert-Turner (The TEAM SoCalCross), Nancy James Klinger and series promoter Dorothy Wong (The TEAM SoCalCross) rounded out Saturday’s podium.

 

Finchamp returned the next day as competitive as ever. She and Brandt rode together for the first two laps as they escaped the field, then Finchamp rode away to win by half a minute. Saturday’s third-place finisher, Probert-Turner, suffered a mechanical issue just after the start and had to DNF, leaving the podium to Maddie Melcher (The TEAM SoCalCross), Amanda Schaper (Ritte CX) and Robin Kaminsky (Black Sheep Squadron).

 

“After Saturday I was out for a little revenge so I gunned it from the beginning,” said Finchamp. “I was feeling much more like myself on Sunday than on Saturday. I didn’t crash this time, and I was able to ride the sand while she ran it, which gave me a little gap each time around the course.”

 

Next up for the SoCalCross Prestige Series is one of the classics in this part of the country. The Thanksgiving-themed Turkey Trot CX takes place at Verdugo Park in Glendale on Sunday, Nov. 24.

 

This serves as a nice warmup for a major regional event just a few days later: CXLA Weekend, with two days of internationally-sanctioned UCI racing and Saturday’s Cross After Dark Series finale. All that and much more will go off at Los Angeles State Historic Park November 30-December 1. Don’t miss it.

 

To stay fully informed of all SoCalCross PRESTIGE SERIES activities, be sure to bookmark SoCalCross.org as well as follow them on Facebook and Twitter.

CX at the Beach, Day 1, SCPS #10

 

CX at the Beach, Day 1, SCPS #10

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CX at the Beach, Day 1, SCPS #10

Elite Women:

 

1. Nicole Brandt (LaGrange/Michelob Ultra)

2. Hannah Rae Finchamp (Luna Chix)

3. Christina Probert-Turner (The TEAM SoCalCross)

4. Nancy James Klinger

5. Dorothy Wong (The TEAM SoCalCross)

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CX at the Beach, Day 1, SCPS #10

Elite Men:

 

1. Brandon Gritters (Blackstar/Rock ‘n’ Road)

2. Kyle Gritters (Blackstar/Rock ‘n’ Road)

3. Brent Prenzlow (Celo Pacific/Focus)

4. Jason Siegle (SDG/Felt/IRT/SPY)

5. Anton Petrov (SDG/Felt/IRT/SPY)

 

Full gallery to be posted by Sunday eve at http://pbcreativephoto.com/

Video – Schoolyard Cross

Schoolyard Cross at the Boulder Reservoir 2013 – Men’s Elite

from Jamie Servaites

Men’s Open cyclocross race at the Boulder Reservoir on November 3, 2013.

 

Podium: 1. Danny Summerhill, 2. Brady Kappius, 3. Pete Webber

 

Music: “God’s Gonna Cut You Down” by Johnny Cash