Hot Temperatures and Hot Racing in WestSac
6 September 2014
Today the NorCalNevada cyclocross region opened it’s book, for the 2014-15 season, with the West Sacramento Cyclocross Grand Prix, presented by Cedaron. Matt Hargrove and the entire NorCal CX/Gheto crew put on a marvelous show case for the sport and the region. There were many of the renowned local food-truck vendors on hand plus live music during the Elite races.
And Rich Maile drew out all he could, from the narrow stretch of River Walk Park, to create an excellent course, mostly on grass with a significant portion of off-camber. There was plenty of use of embankments, to avoid a flat track, and the racers were taken around a beer tent. Racing taxed the unprepared and brought to the fore those with the fortitude for racing in sunny and warm conditions of West Sacramento.
Without a Plan
The race for Elite Women attracted some top racers including Elle Anderson (KDL Cycling), Teal Stetson-Lee (Luna Pro Team), and Karen Brems (Team Rambuski Law). Under the mid-afternoon sun and heat, it was the visiting Australian Lisa Jacobs (Rapha-Focus) leading the field early through the finish-line straight at the end of the first lap. The next time around, regional star Rachel Lloyd (California Giant Berry Farms/Specialized) took to the front of the race.
From here, the berry-red clad racer would grind out a bigger and bigger lead. At first Anderson took up the challenge from second place but it was Emily Kachorek (Squid Bikes) that would take up the mantle of the best-of-the-rest. Lloyd commandingly grew the lead out to the 30-second mark to take the win in the inaugural West Sac GP as well as the season’s first race.
“I didn’t really have a plan but I didn’t think I would lead that long,” remarked Lloyd. “I figured I would sit on whomever was in the lead and see how everybody was going. So I sat on the Australian girl [Jacobs] and then Teal [Stetson-Lee] came around. I was with her so I thought I should attack, which I did.
“I saw Stetson-Lee crash and that made a bigger gap. I saw Elle Anderson catching me for a while. Then I was seeing Emily Kachorek about 30 seconds back and I wasn’t sure where Anderson was.
“It’s a pretty hard course with not a whole lot of resting spots. It was up and down and the grass is always hard to ride through. I think there were just enough corner’s that it was good for me and not all out power.
“I wasn’t expecting anything great so I’m surprised and happy. I think some of the other girls had a little trouble with the heat as it was really hot out there. I carried a bottle of water with me and the Osmo helped.”
Kachorek took that second place as Stetson-Lee recovered for third place.
An Almighty Pace
Another stacked field set out for the Elite Men’s race. Homegrown talent Cody Kaiser (LangeTwins/Specialized) was on hand along with Keith Hillier (Team Rambuski Law) and Max Jenkins (Marc Pro-Strava). Tobin Ortenblad (California Giant/Specialized) remarked he was feeling good before the race, and for his upcoming ‘cross season, as the U23 added to a competitive group.
The early race-pace started out fast…and continued that way for a good portion of the allotted 60 minutes. Ortenblad, Kaiser, and Walton Brush (MashSF) would head the field along with Anthony Clark (JAM/NCC), with his flowing locks making him stand out. The four remained as a group as they began to pull ahead of the rest of the field. It became a race to avoid attrition but, unfortunately, Ortenblad was the first secede as he gradually lost touch. Clark then managed to pull away from the high flying Brush and Kaiser.
“These guys are good. I just kept it going,” described Clark, “and I noticed they were getting gapped. I [thought] I would see if I can hold this. If I blow then I blow. I just kinda lucked out.The course was a little bit hilly with tight corners and it was hot. I guess I’m good under those conditions.” On top of winning, Clark was impressed with the event. “It’s pretty awesome. I can’t wait until this is a UCI race. It’s amazing and a fun course.
The competitive sharp end of the race was left to Brush and Kaiser to settle second place. The pair remained on each other’s wheel to bring on a climax in the last lap. A short hill precedes the finish-straightaway and getting over the top in front was Kaiser. With Brush sitting up, Kaiser took his first cyclocross-podium for LangeTwins/Specialized, his new team.
1. Anthony Clark (JAM/NCC)
2. Cody Kaiser (LangeTwins/Specialized)
3. Walton Brush (MashSF)
4. Tobin Ortenblad (Cal Giant/Specialized)
5. Gavin Haley
6. Zach Heath (HiFi CX)
7. Keith Hillier (Team Rambuski Law)
1. Rachel Lloyd (Cal Giant Berry Farms/Specialized)
2. Emily Kachorek (Squid Bikes)
3. Teal Stetson-Lee (Luna Pro Team)
4. Lis Jacobs (Rapha-Focus)
5. Carolina Gomez-Villafañe (Vanderkitten CX)
6. Karen Brems (Team Rambuski Law)
7. Caroline Dezendorf (Team Mikes Bikes p/b Equator Coffee and Teas)