The rain finally arrived the day after Thanksgiving and the long awaited mud came with it. The Watsonville fairgrounds has been the site of epic CX racing for the last 15-odd years and today was one of the best. Kelly Chang rode tough in the series to score third place overall.
Michelle Perez did what she does most seasons-dominate the womens 45 plus group. She won the series.
With consistent strong finishes in the three race series Benoit Dubuisson and Craig Ball got 5th and 4th overall in the series.
The racing all day started fast but within a lap folks found out that the slippery deep mud would slow their progress and the races wound up being extremely difficult, especially the running sections.
Even without good finishes Rick Ortenblad and myself wound up 4th and 5th overall for the series. In my case, it really pays to show up.
Max Judelson showed that he is a contender in every race and rode to a 5th place in the mens A event.
Scott Chapin was near the front for the duration of his race finishing in 3rd on the day.
Ariel Raymon got a 5th on the day in the womens B race showing that as the season progresses, she gets faster.
The bikes and riders needed a thorough cleaning after the race-mus was everywhere. Pit duties were ably handled by Ellen Sherrill and Eric Brown. We kept the racers on fresh bikes as much as possible.
A visitor from down south Eric Nelson don's last years kit for the single speed race and gets 2nd. Kailin Waterman would crack the top 10 and finish 9th in the mens A race with Brendan Lehman coming in top-20.In the mens B race Javier Valencia overcame traffic and crashes to finish 12th. Nearly everyone from the team who raced today got on the podium........winning !
This is the biggest event in the bay area in cyclocross and our small team made an impact. First to get on the podium was Benoit Dubuisson in the single speed B race in 5th place.
Craig Ball also came in 5th in the men's 45 B race . In the open B race Javier Valencia placed 37th, just ahead of Matty Garcia in 38th in a filed of 73 riders.
Big winner on the night was Scott Chapin winning the mens A race for the second year in a row and the third time in the last five years. This year he tried something different-a headlight that was provided by the sponsor Knog lights. I guess it worked very well and made it easy to pick out Scott coming down the course.
Also in the mens A race were Alex Work in 18th, Brendan Lehman in 26th and Ben Dodge in 38th. In the womens races Campbell Steers finished in the money in 8th place it the A race. Alexis De Zubria finished in 15th in the womens B race followed by Areil Raymon in 18th. In Masters racing Rick Ortenblad finished 12th in the 55+ rce followed by me in 15th and Brent Harris in 18th. It was a fun night with very large fields and many spectators.
This series always has tough courses and really goofy obstacles. This one is called the 'Belgian farm wall'. It looks pretty scary but it is well constructed and angled for a quick approach. Here's Scott, finding the wall a bit too tall to jump on the bike.
Here's Alex showing his style , making quick work of the wall. Below is the podium-a repeat of the day before with Max Juelson getting the win with Scott Chapin coming in second. The two would ride away from the field in the first three laps of the race and never get caught.
Alex Work wound up 10th and Ian Stowe overcame a mechanical and a crash to finish 19th. In the masters Michelle Perez used the womens C race for training and got 3rd. In the mens 55 plus I had a good run coming in 5th with Brent Harris feeling the previous days effort coming in at 7th.Craig Ball had a decent race in the mens 45 B group and came in 12th.
We only fielded six riders total in this event. Lots of folks were either at a Sacramento race or out of state. Three of our riders were in the money and all finished in the top five so I would say that this was a very successful day for the team. Brent Harris rode strong to finish in 3rd on the day and second for the series. I was close behind in 4th.
In the mens A race it was all Max and Scott, riding away from the filed and showing some speed that none of the other riders could match. Within a few laps they were by themselves trading pulls. In the end Max Judelson got his first win on the west coast with Scott Chapin in 2nd. Alex Work would have a pretty spectacular crash but fought back up to finish 5th.
Kelly Chang had a good start but a knee injury caused her to fade late in the race. She still finished in 5th in the womens A race.
Here's Alex-riding well, not knowing that soon he will be visiting the forest not of his choosing.
The mens A podium with Scott getting down to Max's level for the photo.
This race is always very hard and this day was probably the toughest of the season so far. Ariel Raymon did well to finish 8th in the womens B race without injury.
Kelly Chang and Campbell Steers represented the team in the womens A race finishing 7th and 8th-Kelly managing 7th in spite of three crashes.
Ian Stowe fought hard to finish 18th while Brendan 'Shredlox' Lehman had a good race finishing in 13th in the mens A race.Javier Valencia did a good ride coming in 12th and Matty Garcia came in at 22nd in the mens B field of over 50 riders.
In the masters Benoit Dubuisson finished at 6th in the large field with Michael Schaller coming in at 28th. Rick Ortenblad had a good race to finish 6th and I had not so good of a race to come in at10th in the mens 55+ race.
Our sole rider on the podium was Alex Work , 3rd in the mens 35 A race-a fine showing against former national and world champions. While this race was going on Scott Chapin and Ellen Sherrill were off in Kentucky at the CX single speed worlds. The pinkbike video tells all-check it out.
The team was spread between four events -one here in Monterey county, one in Santa Rosa, one in Oregon and one in upstate N.Y. so getting eight folks to this race was pretty good. We had four riders in the men's A race, good representation there.
Alex Work is now on top of the overall standings in the series and had a tough ride against a top-notch field but he would get a podium in 5th.
Kailin Waterman rode in the A race as well and got 7th staying close to the action and riding strong. Ben Dodge had a rough start but recovered mid-race to finish 11. Ben also rode to 10th in the 35 A race earlier.
Max Judelson would demonstrate his speed and agility recovering from a couple of tumbles to finish second.
Michelle Perez almost pulled off a win coming in second in the women's 45+ race. Alexis De Zubria also rode strong to come in second in the women's B race.
Max in the closing laps, still going full gas.
I had a fairly good ride coming in 4th and getting my first podium of the season in the men's 55+ Michael Schaller would finish 10th in the men's 45 B race.
A little relaxation before the pain begins. The laps were short with five dismounts and a pretty sharp climb. It was a fast course and we all had to do many laps.
Here's the men's A podium with Max and Alex. Considering that we showed up with about half the team our results were solid.
Race over, it was time for a beer and some well earned rest.
On a cloudy day that saw some drizzle there was also some really fast racing. With our numbers down due to racers out of town and the hangover from the team party there were some challenges on the day. This said, our women's team was nearly all on the podium starting with Michelle Perez in 3rd in the 45+ race.
Alexis De Zubria rode to 5th in the women's B race .
Ellen Sherrill continues to improve getting 3rd in the women's elite race with Campbell Steers nearly making the podium in 6th.
This is the women's B podium with Lexi.
The women's elite podium featuring Ellen.
Michelle descending the podium after the 45+ awards.
Our men's elite squad was missing two main payers, Scott Chapin and Max Judelson so Alex Work had to fill in as the point man. This didn't play out quite as well as Alex would have liked but he rode strong in the closing laps to finish 8th out of over 30 starters. Brendan Lehman would follow in 12th with a strong ride and newcomer Ian Stowe finished in 16th with Ben Dodge following in 19th. New man in his first race of the season Eric Brown came in 21st.
The A single speed field was filled with the top Nor-Cal men and Sean Coffey held his own and came in 4th and on the podium.
Brendan 'Shredloxx' at the top of the small climb.
Alex Work on his recently re-worked frame that was damaged by a deer on Hwy. 17. -I'm not kidding.....
Ben Dodge in his second race of the day.
Eric 'Ferret' Brown putting everything into it on the course.
This is the A single speed podium with Sean Coffey. In the men's masters races Ben Dodge finished 10th in the 35 A race, Michael Schaller was a victim of a hard crash and had to pull out of the 45 B race , Brent Harris finished 12th and I in 10th in the men's 55+ field. Benoit Dubuisson scored a 4th place in the B single speed race and continued an excellent start to his season.