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.

[Read more...]

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

Spooky Cross and Krosstober

winberryreport by Laura Winberry (Speedvagen Racing)
image by Phil Beckman/PB Creative
It’s interesting to come to races where you have no idea as to who the competition is. I kind of like the additional unknown factors that come into play when racing away from home (Bend, OR).  Add in a week’s worth of car travel from Portland, and the question mark gets bigger.
At Saturday’s Spooky Cross, early on there were four of us (Alexis Ryan and two others) that got into a break on the first lap. Someone had crashed in front of us and we were able to skirt around the scene rather smoothly. The legs felt good and none of the four in the group really put in any exhausting attacks, myself included, so we just hung out and rode for forty minutes. The experience reminded me of the little road racing I’ve done, where folks soft pedal, ramp up the pace, and then bring it back down. Accustomed to technical, muddy courses in Oregon and the east coast, this was a lesson in patience for me. The remainder of the race we all took pulls, with me pulling the final lap and a half. The entire time I was trying to figure out when I should go and it wasn’t until after the race that I finally realized the right move. By the final half-lap the pace had accelerated and I knew I could hold it. Leading into the last fling over the fly-over, however, Alexis put in an attack through the bermed BMX section and I followed suit. It was awesome to zip through there on her wheel, as we were evenly matched. At this point, I knew she had made the decisive winning move by getting into the dirt first. Two more tight turns and she had two seconds on me. Enough for the win. Well played by Alexis and a much enjoyed evening for myself.
For Krosstober on Sunday,  I almost wanted Alexis to be there so that we could battle it out. Alas, she was not. However, I knew there had been women in the crash on Saturday that probably were going to be itching to win and of unknown speeds. Saturday evening, I decided that I would either have to do one of two things: make a move half-way through the race OR just go for broke from the start. I ended up choosing the latter and it worked out. With Nissy Cobb (a former Portland racer, recent Angeleno, wicked fast trackie, and dear friend) taking the hole shot, I knew I could get on her wheel and that she’d just go, which is exactly what she did. At about the fourth corner, I felt I needed to punch it. Giving Nissy an “on your right,” I punched, shot under the fly-over, hit the ditch to run-up with speed, and never looked back. The legs felt even better than they did on Saturday, but Sunday’s race hurt much more. I think it was the solo element, knowing that I wanted to put as much distance between myself and the other women as possible, in case the unexpected happened. Perhaps the gap ended up being 20ish seconds, but don’t quote me on that. If you can find results, then you can quote. After Saturday’s race I told Phil Beckman that I’d be going for the win come Sunday. Glad I could follow through.  That win was for my mom.
I’m accustomed to racing an hour in Oregon, so 40 minutes on both days seemed rather short. Regardless, feeling calm and riding smoothly (and smartly on day two) helped to bring everything together. Plus, I have an extraordinary team in Speedvagen Racing Machines. They are akin to family. They are family. Making the trek down and being there with them, including owner/bike builder extraordinaire, Sacha White, was fulfilling in so many ways. Getting to spend several days with Mudfoot and the crew at Golden Saddle Cyclery in L.A. (where we did a women’s cross clinic) was also another highlight. Those Mudfoot boys sure know how to ride a bike, and how to heckle.

Miller Cracks Top 10 at Cyclocross World Cup

487227_523384864356618_1329127521_nA long time coming, Miller cracks Top 10 At Cyclocross World Cup

 

Watsonville, CA – Last Saturday, Meredith Miller finally cracked the top 10 at a UCI Cyclocross World Cup when she finished a strong sixth in Tabor, Czech Republic. Since the start of her cyclocross racing career five years ago, the California Giant Berry Farms/Specialized rider’s highest finish had been 11th, twice in 2012.

 

“Wow, I’m super stoked to have had such an awesome day. I knew pre-riding the day before that if I had good legs, I could have a good result.” Miller said. “It was a fantastic day for the Americans with Katie (Compton), Kaitie (Antonneau), Arley (Kemmerer) and myself all finishing in the top 15. And it was a day I’ve been waiting for for a long time.”

 

Not only did Miller have her best result on her career – so far – but four American women placed in the top 15, including race winner, USA Cyclocross Champion Katie Compton (Trek Cyclocross Collective).

 

After a somewhat disappointing result at the first World Cup in Valkenburg the previous Sunday where she finished 17th, Miller rested and adjusted to the jetlag. All to prepare for Saturday’s race on a course well-suited to her skills and engine.

 

“It was a ‘roadie’ course – non-technical and big power. But, I also know this course pretty well as I have raced on it twice before – 2010 Worlds and the World Cup in 2011.” Miller placed 12th on the same course in icy conditions at the 2010 Cyclocross World Championships and 14th in 2011. She had to miss the World Cup last year due to a broken hand sustained at the Providence Cyclocross Festival.

 

“The course was mostly dry. There were one or two places that were a little slippery but mostly it was straight forward. The climbs on this course are long and dragging on grass. The two hardest sections were after the stairs and barriers where we kept climbing up tough climbs straight after remounting. It was all about getting back in your pedals quickly and them stomping on the pedals to get back up to speed.”

 

She used the sections after the stairs and the long climbs at the top of the course to pick off riders as she surged up from her second-row start.

 

“I lined up behind Lucie (Chainel). She missed her pedal so we were off the front right away. I made up some places but still was only in the top 15. Luckily there was nothing too technical to open gaps right away so I was able to make up some places quickly. Then as we ticked off the laps I could see people dying in front of me and I was feeling good. I knew if I could keep the pressure on the pedals I would ride into the top 10.”

 

With three laps to go, Miller had surged to ninth place and kept on moving up. “With one lap to go, Christel (Ferrier-Bruneau) and I were riding together when we caught Sanne Cant. Just before making the u-turn to head back up the hill I tried to shift into my big chain ring. My chain fell off and a gap opened up. I didn’t have enough to catch them, but I was so close to racing for 4th.” she exclaimed.

 

Miller is now back in the United States and looking forwards to the rest of the season. “It certainly takes a little pressure off but also makes me want to push for more.”

 

In the under23 World Cup, Miller’s teammates Logan Owen finished 21st and Tobin Ortenblad, 36th.

Results – Krosstoberfest SCPS#6

Krosstoberfest, SCPS #6

There were some new faces in the women’s field for this weekend’s Krosstoberfest, race #6 of the SoCal Prestige Series and the Gritters brothers continue to dominate the men’s field. Full report tomorrow.

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Photo by Philip Beckman/PB Creative

Elite Women

1. Laura Winberry (Speedvagen)

2. Emily Kachorek (Gheto.cx)

3. Amanda Nauman (SDG/Felt/IRT/SPY)

4. Nicole Brandt (LaGrange/Michelob Ultra)

5. Elicia Hildabrand (Trek)

 

 

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Photo by Philip Beckman/PB Creative

Elite Men

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

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

3. Brennan Wodtli (Speedvagen)

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

5. Chris Jackson (Castex/Felt)

 

Look for more amazing images here.