Brems Cranks Out a Win as Cerrutti Out-Duels a Team Mate
22 November 2014
On the Saturday of BASP’s Candlestick weekend, Karen Brems (Team Rambuski Law) overtook and held off the hole-shot leader Amanda Schaper (Caletti Cycles) to secure another win in her season, though it was her first at BASP this year. In another first, Sam Cerruti battled his Family Cycling Center/Ibis team mate Ben Jacques-Maynes to victory as a mechanical failure scuttled Scott Chapin’s bid for a third win at BASP.
The day started out cold, wet, and windy. Those were idealized conditions for the cyclocross racer that appreciates the traditions of the sport, not to mention the realities of racing in the autumn and winter seasons. Much of the soft, sandy terrain at Candlestick Point turned to slippery mud for the early race categories, running the Clark Natwick course in reverse. Once the rains ceased, the wind and sun began to dry out the ground and the soil went through a transition of soft, tacky mud that was viscous enough to slow down racers. The worst muddy sections ran into the wind.
By the time of the Elite Women’s race, the sun was beaming and growing compacted lines meant only a few tough muddy sections remained a challenge, though they all required more power output.
Brems to the Fore
Under pressure from a clearly motivated Katie Styer (Team Jortz) and two others, Schaper was able to grab the hole-shot and the early lead. Lying in wait and true to form, Brems quickly caught Schaper, challenged, and took over the lead before the end of the first lap.
By the second lap, a growing gap between first and second suggested the race for the win could soon go out of contention. Brems was running a controlled race, picking her lines, and reserving her strength for the difficult muddy sections.
Although a little way back in second place, and picking a few different lines from Brems, Schaper nevertheless stayed in the race by keeping the gap on a rubber band. After the lap card had flipped over and over, a late-race bobble still could easily have changed the race’s outcome.
Brems, however, appeared as though she was racing in a good rhythm, thus making Schaper’s challenge a difficult ask. In the end, the winning margin was 31 seconds for the TRL racer as she rid herself of the slew of second place finishes this season at BASP.
“It was harder than it looked,” remarked Brems. “I had a bad start but got around everybody except Amanda [Schaper]. She was on a bad line so I passed her. I drilled the flats and got a gap but then all of a sudden, on the muddy sections, she was right on my wheel.
“I had to go hard again. I gapped her at the start-finish but then she almost caught me again on the second lap. I had to drill it on every straight-away but you need power in the mud too. I couldn’t rest in the mud so it was hard.
“[The mud] just took power and you had to stay on a groove. Some of the sections there really wasn’t a line, just a bunch of grooves from tape-to-tape. We don’t get much practice at that.”
Just behind Brems and Schaper in the field, Fresh Air/Hunter teammates Kathleen Bryan and Leah Plack contested third place with serious intent. Bryan had an early advantage but a bobble on one of the slippery changes in elevation handed that over to Plack. The pair would then race against each other for position. It took another couple laps but Bryan finally took control of the position all the way to the checkered flag.
Fifth place went to Janie Dalton (First Republic/Missing Link) who suffered an early seat post failure and a late challenge from Kristin Drumm (CX Nation). Drumm too had a poor early race but she did pass for position and closed the gap on Dalton. Were there only another lap or two then both riders would have to stake a claim for the last podium-presentation place.
Excellent Field for Men’s Race
Despite the draw of points down south, the race for Elite Men lined up a quite impressive field. Masters racers Murray Swanson (Pen Velo) and Justin Robinson (Cal Giant/Specialized) were amongst the starters. Everyone needed to keep in mind Robinson recently won both his Master’s race and Elite Men on the same day at CSU Monterey Bay.
Keith Hillier (Team Rambuski Law) added his pedigree to the race. Two other favorites included Ben Jacques-Maynes and Aaron Bradford (Family Cycling Center/Ibis).
In the first lap, Robinson led Jacques-Maynes but the Family Cycling Center racer took over the lead at the 180° up and back over a 1-meter ridge. Chapin was in an ominous third place vying for his third BASP win in a row yet he was to suffer a double mechanical. After switching bikes, the race seemed completely lost to Chapin with Jacques-Maynes out front. In coincidence, Chapin’s former Rock Lobster team mate Bradford also fell foul to a mechanical.
Robinson began to lose touch with the lead before, almost out of nowhere, Cerruti and Jacques-Maynes became the two leaders. It was experience versus youth and a tremendous amount of momentum and expectation for the former National Champion. And so it lends credence to the accomplishment that, with a couple of laps remaining, Cerruti put a gap between himself and Jacques-Maynes.
With the sun dropping below the San Bruno hills, Cerruti took his lead all the way to the chequered flag but only after Chapin added more excitement to the race. Recovering from his mechanical and very deep in the field, the Rock Lobster racer put in a brave and impressive effort to steal the win. He reached Robinson and Hillier, fighting for third place after Kurt Wolfgang slid on the course and out of contention. After passing those two, his sights were set on Jacques-Maynes and Cerruti before he ran out of laps.
1. Karen Brems (Team Rambuski Law)
2. Amanda Schaper (Caletti Cycles)
3. Kathleen Bryan (Fresh Air/Hunter Cycles)
4. Leah Plack (Fresh Air/Hunter Cycles)
5. Janie Dalton (First Bank/Missing Link)
6. Kristin Drumm (CX Nation)
7. Emily McKissock (Team Caletti)
1. Sam Cerruti (Family Cycling Center/Ibis)
2. Ben Jacques-Maynes (Family Cycling Center/Ibis)
3. Scott Chapin (Voler/BMW/HRS/Rock Lobster)
4. Keith Hillier (Team Rambuski Law)
5. Justin Robinson (Cal Giant/Specialized)
6. Sen Estes (Muscle Milk/Specialized)
7. Scott Hooper (Bicycles Plus/Sierra Nevada)
Compete results are available at the BASP website.