Sagebrush Omnium – Hidden Valley
4 October 2014
Under blue skies and warm weather, the Sagebrush Cyclocross Series began their 2-Day Omnium at Hidden Valley Park, Reno. Teal Stetson-Lee (Luna Pro Team) led a free cyclocross clinic earlier in the day and then led the Women’s A field to the finish line. Walton Brush (MashSF) fought for position early, survived a tumble at a barrier, but then established his position to win the race for Men’s A.
Sagebrush organizers, lead by Race Director Erica Grief, laid out a course with something for everyone. They had two available terrains, paved road and compacted dirt, but the course made the most of the gently sloping side of a hill. With stadium seating, one obstacle was a stair run-up into the horse arena. Early in the lap, course designers strung together a line of three plank-barriers followed by switch backs; deciding to run this technical section in the early, crowded portion of a race, favored the brave.
The rest of the course employed elevation changes, fast downhills, and obstacles from the parks playground.
Terrific Women’s Field
Amongst an excellent field for the Women’s A race, one to take advantage of nuances on the course was Ellen Sherrill (Rock Lobster). Wearing the latest team kit, Sherrill decided to run the early and slippery switch-backs, earning herself second place ahead of Karen Brems (Team Rambuski Law). The TRL racer rode the switch-backs but it was the slower approach at that point in the race. With a following misfortune for Brems, as she slid out on a fast downhill, Sherrill was able to cement second place.
Stetson-Lee was first through the early technical section and cemented her lead as the race progressed. Earlier in the day, the Luna racer helped support Sagebrush’s efforts to introduce new racers to the sport by helping in a free CX clinic. Some promoters in the district adopt an approach that putting on several races serves the community well. With distinction, Sagebrush and others attempt to introduce new racers, with clinics and pick-up races, as a means to grow the sport.
Stetson-Lee and Sagebrush provided some of the day’s racers with a clinic. “I’m local. I live here in Reno and moved here a year-and-a-half-ago,” said Stetson-Lee. “I feel like local series are one of the most important places where people can get a start. That’s how I got started. A local series and being a collegiate racer is what gave me my start. I am all about supporting the local races. That’s where everybody comes out from kids to their parents. Everybody can race. It’s an opportunity for everyone to participate.”
“It’s been great. I’ve only been here a year and a half but I can see that [Sagebrush has] grown significantly even from last year. There’s definitely a demand and it’s great that this is meeting that demand. [Sagebrush] offers a lot of diverse courses which make’s it really fun for everybody to try out a little bit of everything.
“For the time being, this series is a great start [to get Bay Area riders to travel to Reno]. As it get’s bigger, builds more momentum with great things going for them like equal prize money for men and women, that is going to spark motivation and people are going to realize it is worth coming over here. It’s a combination of doing it for a while and then building the network so the word gets out and people want to become a part of it.”
“It is awesome that [Erica Grief, Noah Silverman, and Nick Schaffner] have been community members that have decided to spearhead this effort,” continued Stetson-Lee. “That is exactly what Reno needs. They’re doing great and I’m really excited to participate in as many of their races as possible.”
In the race, Sherrill was able to stay ahead of Brems, securing the second step of the podium. Brems had to contend with her early mishap and the altitude; nevertheless, strong as ever, she reinforced the reason she is a much respected racer in the region. Erica Greif (Reno Wheelman) overcame her single speed bike to take over fourth place as Hollie McGovern put in a steady race to take fifth.
The race for Men A saw may of the locals line up along with Walton Brush. Often seen flying over barriers, the MashSF racer contested first with Chris McGovern (Real Wheels) over the early race. During the second lap, Brush and McGovern came shoulder-to-shoulder in a battle for first place; Brush raced to avoid goat heads whilst McGovern searched for the best line. It was no-harm-no-foul aggressive racing.
McGovern raced ahead of Brush at that point. However, Brush found places on the course to take advantage of his strengths and, by the next lap, it was the MashSF racer out front with a sizable gap.
Brush’s only falter afterwards was a crash at a barrier. Known for his ability to put significant lift between himself and the ground, Brush fell afoul of a double plank-barrier. He recovered and maintained his lead but, to his credit, he also resorted to carrying his bike on the opposite shoulder when needed.
McGovern’s race would see a further drop in position as a steady race from Curtis Smith (Team Bicycles Plus/Sierra Nevada) earned him a second place-finish with only a few laps remaining. Nick Schaffner (Marc Pro-Strava) continued his recovery from a throat infection with a fourth place finish. Noah Silverman (Reno Bike Project) put in a solid race to fifth place.
1. Teal Stetson-Lee (Team Luna Pro)
2. Ellen Sherrill (Rock Lobster)
3. Karen Brems (Team Rambuski Law)
4. Erica Grief (Reno Wheelmen)
5. Hollie McGovern (Real Wheels)
6. Katrina Baumsteiger (Team Rambuski Law)
7. Kim Vandersyde (Bicycle Wharehouse)
1. Walton Brush (MashSF)
2. Curtis Smith (Team Bicycles Plus/Sierra Nevada)
3. Chris McGovern (Real Wheels)
4. Nick Schaffner (Marc Pro-Strava)
5. Noah Silverman (Reno Bike Project)