1 October 2014
Is this the face of a future cyclocross rock star? Ben Gomez-Villafañe
The first month of the season’s weekend racing is complete and Northern California Nevada has been witness to terrific cyclocross. The big opening began with the West Sac Cyclocross Grand Prix, presented Cedaron, a mighty affair next to the California State Capital. Later in September, Pilarcitos Cyclesports put on the Clif Bar Grand Prix Clark Natwick; an event reflecting some of the rich tradition from the region’s cyclocross whilst at the same time leading NorCal into the future.
Ellen Sherrill (Rock Lobster) and the Iconic Golden Bridge at West Sac
John Mundelius (Cal Giant/Specialized) racing with the Candlestick Park Backdrop
A long running regional series, CCCX, began its eighteenth season and by month’s end had already four of its races in the book. Two of the smaller regional series, Sagebrush Cyclocross Series and Fresno County County Cyclocross, opened their seasons. Sagebrush made a both a literal and figurative eleventh-hour venue change but pulled off the logistics with equanimity.
Jim Pappe (Spy Giant) Negotiates a Sandy Sharp Turn on the San Joaquin at FCCX
Tobin Ortenblad (Cal Giant) Racing through Soggy Grass
Alex Work (Rock Lobster) Earns another Top-Five Finish at CCCX
Both Sagebrush and Fresno County, inadvertently for at least one of the series, laid out quite difficult courses. Racers with their shoulder’s hunched was a common enough site toward the latter laps. Watering the grass at Sagebrush’s Clayton Middle School made portions of the terrain soft and taxing. Near 180°C turns into off-camber climbs on soft ground took it out of racers at the Fresno County San Joaquin venue.
Through it all, the racing has risen above the individual course challenges. The camaraderie, through stretched on the field of racing, remains part and parcel a great reflection of the cyclocross community. And, without doubt, the regional season is off to a great 2014-15.
Rachel Lloyd (Cal Giant/Specialized) raced to wins at the West Sac and Clark Natwick Grands Prix whilst Karen Brems (Team Rambuski Law) took three wins at CCCX to boost her sixth place at West Sac and the second step of the podium at BASP. Tobin Ortenblad (Cal Giant/Specialized) is in fine form so far this season; after a fourth place finish at the West Sac, the Santa Cruz rider has raced to three wins at CCCX races along with second places at Sagebrush and the GP Clark Natwick.
Ryan Rinn (Vive la Tarte/Huckleberry Bicycles) has taken Single Speed Men by the scruff of its neck by finishing either first or second in all his races so far. Meanwhile, Ben Gomez-Villafañe (ibis/Buy-cell.com), at racing age 14, has mixed it with the big boys. The youngster has raced the top Men’s category at CCCX and the GP Clark Natwick; finishing 34th out of 49 and only a lap down against that field at Candlestick Point is a solid indication of Gomez-Villafañe’s potential.
Lloyd Dominates WSCXGP Elite Women
Karen Brems (Team Rambuski Law) continues to exhibit her racing prowess
Ryan Rinn (Vive la Tarte/Huckleberry Bicycles) Racing Extremely Well in Single Speed Men
Chris Neher (Off the Chain) and Mark Manning (DODOcase) on Suffer Bridge
Lee Slone (SuperPro) at the Grand Prix Clark Natwick