Judelson and Dalton Win at Bumpy Stafford Lake
2 November 2014
Janie Dalton (First Republic/Missing Link) executed her strategy to perfection in a dominating win for Elite Women at Stafford Lake Wildcat. In the race for Elite Men, team mates Max Judelson and Scott Chapin reprised their previous day’s race as Judelson led Voler/Steven’s Creek BMW/HRS/Rock Lobster to a one-two finish.
A favored course of many, Stafford Lake had excellent, sunny weather for cyclocross. Rain at the end of the week cut out all the dust though portions of the course were arm-jarringly bumpy. Even with on-going construction for a new bike park, Murphy Mack and crew included all the course features well-associated with Stafford Lake.
The big stair run-up fulfilled its part in separating racers. A soft right-hand corner, at the back of the course, saw its firmness vary throughout the day and catch out more than a few riders. At the front of the course, the Belgium Farm Wall again became a fixture of the race, albeit with added modifications for safety.
Opposite the lake was a plank barrier on off-camber terrain. Even though many in the Elite Men’s race managed to bunny-hop the barrier, some of those looked a little sketchy as they came off the bike or tangled with the course tape.
Missing from the course this season were the moving hay bales. Is this perhaps for the good? Reflecting on the traditions of cyclocross, one can easily imagine equivalents to the Belgium Farm Wall and Cesspool of Filth along the terrain of steeple chasers. Love it or hate it, moving obstacles is definitely of latter day lore.
“A Man’s Got to Know His Limitations”
Dalton recognized she would be at a disadvantage racing behind the lead so set about putting herself in front of everybody by the single track portion of the course. Reaching the stair run-up on the first lap in second, behind Kristin Drumm (CX Nation), Dalton legged it up with purpose. As planned, she reached the double dips at the back of the course with a good gap. From there she never needed to look back as her design ensured she would stay ahead of those with more technical skills and other talents.
Drumm held onto second for much of the race but her pace slowed as the laps wore on. Christina Peck, on the other hand, raced the last five laps in lap-times all within a 10-second window and passed the CX Nation racer for the second step of the podium. Drumm remarked afterwards the terrain and bumpiness were not too her liking, and it is fair to reminisce on her prowess as a crit racer.
Celeste Green to the Fore
Paul Sadoff’s Rock Lobster Cyclocross Team is a perennial winning team in the region, with racers in recent years including Aaron Bradford and Scott Chapin. This year, one may well add Max Judelson to the list of outstanding local racers. At the previous day’s Santa Rosa Cup, Judelson and Chapin raced out in front of the field. A long, uphill sprint finish gave the advantage to the geared Rock Lobster bike of Judelson.
At Stafford Lake, the same two protagonists pulled away from field starting on the second lap. Chapin looked strong and in control, particularly going over the off-camber plank barrier. To tackle the obstacle, Judelson dismounted his bike early in the race but once he did begin to hop the barrier, his first few attempts were rough. A massive stumble behind Chapin threatened to hand a gap to his team mate. To Judelson’s credit, he caught back onto Chapin very quickly.
Both Rock Lobster racers took turns to lead the race but Chapin’s reputation, experience, and form on the day looked like a big ask for Judelson. Which he answered by picking his spot and attacking on the last lap. Returning to the treacherous off-camber barrier, Judelson had a gap of 10 seconds. This time, Judelson went over the barrier with smooth aplomb. Chapin, magnanimous in finishing second, gave an approving nod to his team mate and regaled in the double one-two weekend for the team and the team’s sponsors.
Behind the dominating race from Judelson and Chapin, Murray Swanson (Pen Velo) and Derek Yarra (Mash SF) put in a near race-long contest of their own for third place. The pair approached the Belgium Farm Warm on the final lap with an equal opportunity to claim the final step of the podium. Swanson came down off the barrier a full step in front but both launched into their remount at the same time. Swanson had the smoother time of it, Yarra’s head went down, and the Pen Velo racer was able to sprint away from Yarra for the envelope.
Elsewhere on the day, singlespeed standout Ryan Rinn (Vive La Tarte + Huckleberry Bicycles) continued his excellent season to date. Racing far and wide, taking on everything thrown at him, Rinn has yet to finish off the podium in all his races this season. Rinn was particularly strong at Stafford Lake taking this victory with a 60-second margin.
1. Janie Dalton (First Republic/Missing Link)
2. Christina Peck
3. Kristin Drumm (CX Nation)
4. Sarah Powers (Team Roaring Mouse)
5. Emily McDonald (Bicycle Outfitters Race Team)
6. Chava Kroneberg (SuperPro Racing)
7. Maddie Ortenbald (Bear Development)
1. Max Judelson (Voler/Steven’s Creek BMW/HRS/Rock Lobster)
2. Scott Chapin (Voler/Steven’s Creek BMW/HRS/Rock Lobster)
3. Murray Swanson (Pen Velo)
4. Derek Yarra (Mash SF)
5. Alex Pasqualina (6Fifteen Cyclery)
6. Andrew Nelson (Vive La Tarte + Huckleberry Bicycles)
7. Rainier Schaefer (Mash SF)