Wet and Muddy at Surf City
30 November 2014
Surf City Cyclo-X held its Santa Cruz County Fairgrounds race under oft desired conditions of rain and mud; the racing was simply terrific and enjoyed by most. Tobin Ortenblad (Cal Giant/Specialized) won the Men’s A race surviving challenges from both Ben and Andy Jacques-Maynes (Family Cycling Center/Ibis Cyclocross Team), the Rock Lobster/Voler/Steven’s Creek BMW/HRS duo of Scott Chapin and Max Judelson, and a storming Murray Swanson (Pen Velo). In the race for Women A, Carolina Gomez-Villafañe (Vanderkitten) put in a rock-solid race to stay ahead of Janie Dalton ((First Republic Bank/Missing Link) and win by good margin.
The Surf City Fairgrounds course featured two long run-ups with one interrupted by plank barriers. The course elsewhere saw a variety of terrain from pavement to gravel to soupy sand fit for producing waves of mud as wheels cut through. Much of the course was very slippery. Spectators preferred the big downhill section that, throughout the day, lacked all grip. Chants rose up asking racers to slide down on their backsides whilst cheers came at those instances a rider took the treacherous slope at speed.
The Surf City Cyclo-X series is looking at a modest success with expectations of a break-even year this season. Race organizers report great feedback on the courses and the racing. The ‘B’ field has become popular such that 2015 may see the category split into two for Elites and Masters.
Another Gomez-Villafañe to the Fore
The race for Women A went underway as the rain was petering out. Caroline Dezendorf (Marin Bikes) had the early lead but Gomez-Villafañe was right on her wheel. Kelly Chang (Rock Lobster/Voler/Steven’s Creek BMW/HRS) was in the mix at this stage, racing in third. Janie Dalton sat in fifth place early after another poor start.
Gomez-Villafañe had the lead on second lap after Dezendorf dropped a chain and had difficulty with the recovery, falling to third. Dalton was now giving chase in second with Chang in fourth. For much of the race, Dalton stayed within touch of Gomez-Villafañe, a credit to the part-time racer.
As the laps fell away, Dezendorf dropped into a fight for third with Vive La Tarte racer Jessica Culunue. This was the closest race for position at the sharp end of the field and any mishap on the slippery terrain could easily have changed the outcome.
Dalton stayed strong but eventually Gomez-Villafañe stretched out her winning lead to 50 seconds. Dezendorf held off Culunue for third whilst Amanda Shaper (Caletti Cycles) held on for fifth place.
Murray Swanson was the Flying Scotsman today as he grabbed the hole-shot and took the very early lead. He led Andy Jacques-Maynes and Justin Robinson (Cal Giant/Specialized) into the arena area of the Fairgrounds that otherwise sees horse riding shows and the calf-roping competitions.
Racing from fifth place early in lap one, Tobin Ortenblad had a 15-second lead at the plank barriers on the second lap. Both Andy Jacques-Maynes with his team mate and brother Ben were in full pursuit. Rock Lobster team mates Scott Chapin and Max Judelson were a further 23 seconds adrift in fourth and fifth but Judelson was already beginning to lose touch with Chapin. Brian Finnerty held sixth place at this stage but recovering from an illness would see the Cal Giant racer eventually fall away. Swanson had dropped to seventh place.
A bobble and dropped chain allowed Andy Jacques-Maynes to catch Ortendblad and lead through the stables. Chapin was sitting back in tenth at the first corners and was beginning to put in a good charge to reach the racers ahead, having passed Ben Jacques-Maynes for third.
Ortandblad was clearly in his game today and enjoying the race and conditions. Again he pulled away from a Andy Jacques-Maynes to restore his earlier lead. Chapin clearly had the pace to catch second place and looked strong going up the hill and over the plank barriers. With Andy Jacques-Maynes opting to change bikes at the top of the hill, Chapin moved ahead into second place.
The race settled with Ortenblad out front and Chapin and Andy Jacques-Maynes tussling over second place, some 20-seconds behind the leader. The spectators crowded at the top of a steep and muddy hill were getting there fill of racers taking up the challenge or faltering on the very slippery mud. All the while, Ortenblad remained out front though the gap stayed within 30 seconds.
Late on, Andy Jacques-Maynes was able to run away from Chapin on the same muddy slope where the Rock Lobster Racer first nudged into second place. Andy Jacques-Maynes took second place just 19 seconds behind Ortenblad. Chapin crossed a further 23 seconds back.
Mechanicals and bike changes saw the rest of the fall further back and Ben Jacques-Maynes was able to secure fourth place some 3 minutes behind the winner. Judelson’s solid race earned him the fifth step of the podium.
On course at the same time were the Single Speed A racers. Ryan Rinn (Vive Le Tarte/Huckleberry Bicycles) was in fine form and was first to reach the gravel road as well as the plank barriers. It was on the climb going over the barriers that Rinn demolished his competition, showing unwavering pace. Come the end of the race, Rinn had lapped nearly the entire field of Single Speed racers.
1. Carolina Gomez-Villafañe (Vanderkitten)
2. Janie Dalton (First Republic Bank/Missing Link)
3. Caroline Dezendorf (Marin Bikes)
4. Jessica Culunue (Vive La Tarte)
5. Amanda Schaper (Caletti Cycles)
6. Tanya Grossman
7. Trina Baumstieger (Team Rambuski Law)
8. Kelly Chang (Rock Lobster/Voler/Steven’s Creek BMW/HRS)
9. Kathleen Bryan (Fresh Air/Hunter Cycles)
10. Heather Pugh (Fresh Air/Hunter Cycles)
11. Courtney Van Dimpel (Caletti Cycles)
12. Chelsea Weidinger (MashSF)
13. Emily McKissock (Rebound/Tireless Velo)
1. Tobin Ortenblad (Cal Giant/Specilaized)
2. Andy Jacuqes-Maynes (Family Cycling Center/Ibis Cyclocross Team)
3. Scott Chapin (Rock Lobster/Voler/Steven’s Creek BMW/HRS)
4. Ben Jacques-Maynes (Family Cycling Center/Ibis Cyclocross Team)
5. Max Judelson (Rock Lobster/Voler/Steven’s Creek BMW/HRS)
6. Murray Swanson (Pen Velo)
7. Sean Estes (Muscle Milk/Specialized)
8. Aaron Bradford (Family Cycling Center/Ibis Cyclocross Team)
Single Speed A
1. Ryan Rinn (Vive Le Tarte/Huckleberry Bicycles)
2. Nelson Eric
3. Tim Canard (Ibis/Buy-cell.com)
4. Emery Wedel (Caletti Cycles)
5. Scott Junker (Totally Tubular)
6. Alex Kramer (Quadzilla)
7. Clif Irrebaria