Nash Makes it Three, Berden Draws the Ace on Last Lap
19 September 2015
Shadow Industries staged an excellent festival and bike race yesterday for many interested in music, food and drink, health and fitness, and cyclocross. The reviews are top notch from those that know all too well themselves the machinations needed to promote an event. On time starts, execution to a tee, and a course that drew begrudging admiration from many for its tough challenges, were just some of the positives for the first CrossReno.
On top of all this, the day saw excellent racing across all categories and impressive results for racers from NorCal Nevada in the Elite fields. Czech National Champion and Olympian Kateřina Nash (Luna Pro Team), who makes her home in California, topped off a fine week with the win for Elite Women. It was her third after victories last week at WSCXGP and mid-week at CrossVegas.
In another compelling race, Ben Berden (Wcup Stoemper), for much of the hour, battled with Troy Wells (Team CLIF Bar) and NorCal’s own Tobin Ortenblad (California Giant/Specialized). On the final lap, Berden pulled the card from up his sleeve and pulled away to take an exciting victory. Wells and Ortenblad tried to pull him back on the finish straightaway.
The course was long and rangy with mostly firm terrain and a section with green grass. There were two sets of plank barriers, one wickedly set at the top of a run up that itself rivals Toro and Hart Parks. A flyover bridge and sand pit punctuated the course and some categories contended with off-camber loose dirt on the downhill side of the run up.
One fascinating obstacle was a raised wooden box filled with hay. On either side were long wooden planks just wide enough to precariously ride along yet just narrow enough for a mistake to ruin a race. The straight-forward approach to this barrier was to carry the bike through the wide section of hay. Risk takers, reward makers could ride the planks and this did see a few changes in position throughout the day. Still others, like Max Judelson (Rock Lobster) and the young Ben Gomez-Villafañe (Muscle Milk/Specialized), bunny hopped their way into and then out of the hay.
For the Elite Women’s race, Kateřina Nash was first to reach the hay-obstacle and chose to ride along a plank. Many of the others close behind chose to run through the hay. Nash flirted with potential disaster slipping off the wood onto the raised section of hay. It was firm enough for Nash to continue to ride without any loss of ground. Despite this mishap, as the race progressed, Nash still continued to ride along the plank.
With the field spreading out after the first lap, the Luna Pro Team set the pace at the front with Nash, Georgia Gould, and Maghalie Rochete. Courtney McFadden (American Classics/Zones) held onto fourth but began to lose touch with the leaders. Mical Dyck (Naked Factory Racing) was just over 3 seconds further back and soon to be joined by Caroline Dezendorf (Rock Lobster) and Caro Gomez-Villafañe (Muscle Milk/Specialized) in a battle for fifth.
On the third lap, Nash was still riding along the plank and the Luna Pro three had a 13-second lead over McFadden, with Gould and Nash sharing most of the lead. There was a full-on battle for fifth amongst Dezendorf, Dyck, and Gomez-Villafañe. Emily Kachorek (Squid) was alone in eighth place. Ellen Sherrill (Rock Lobster) had been racing with Karen Brems (SunPower Racing) but the Rock Lobster racer got away and had her sight on Kachorek.
Gomez-Villafañe was having a very good race in the battle for fifth before Dezendorf slid out and collected Dyck. The second mechanical for Dezendorf, in as many weeks, would ruin the race for the Rock Lobster racer. She is showing good speed in the early season. Dyck had a mechanical and needed to run to her spare bike. But, she was foiled further by loose handle bars on the new bike.
With just over two-laps to go, Nash attacked and snapped the elastic to her teammates. “I increased the pace and suddenly the group fell apart,” reported Nash. “It’s pretty fun to come here and do a big event with all the familiar faces but also the people that came out here from all over the US.
“It feels great. It’s been a super busy week and I’m happy to have a good race here. It’s obviously a great day for the Luna Team and I’m excited.”
After Nash, Gould solidified her hold on second with Rochete taking the last step of the podium. This made it three for three for the Luna Team to add to Nash’s third victory of the week. McFadden took fourth just 15 seconds behind Nash. Gomez-Villafañe completed her very good race in fifth place, a further 8 seconds back. A battle between NorCal Nevada riders Gomez-Villfañe and Dezendorf is becoming very, very interesting as now each has finished ahead of the other twice in four head-to-head races.
Settled on the Final Lap
In the race for Elite Men, Tobin Ortenblad, Troy Wells, and Ben Berden dominated the race after they broke away from the field. It was a tight see-saw battle with the lead changing several times. Without a clear leader amongst them it came down to the final lap and the big run up. After riding the more efficient energy saving planks at the hay-obstacle, Ortenblad made an attempt to ride up the run-up. With Wells behind and Berden in front, Ortenblad kept pace and looked forward to seeing his competitors remounting at the top. At three-quarters the way up, however, Ortenblad slowed and had to dismount. Berden pulled away and by the downhill side Ortenblad was behind Wells.
“I made it half way up the hill and then I went really fast,” said Berden. “I had a really good downhill and I think I got 10 meters. That was enough to get victory. I’m from Belgium and used to running a lot in races.” That was indeed all Berden would need as he kept up his fast pace to the finish line. Ortenblad did recover second but, slumped over his handle bars afterwards, he clearly displayed disappointment.
Cody Kaiser (LangeTwins/Specialized) had a lock on fourth place for most of the race whilst behind him Max Judelson and Jonathon Baker (Chico Masters) were in a titanic tussle for fifth. “I was gapping him at the same spots every lap,” described Judelson. “I didn’t have the gas on the straight-aways so I was just riding my own race to keep as much gas as I could. The worse case if I didn’t beat him on the run up I would stay close and beat him at the barriers.” Judelson didn’t allow Baker a successful move on the big run up and took the hard-earned fifth place by 7 seconds.
1. Kateřina Nash (Luna Pro Team)
2. Georgia Gould (Luna Pro Team)
3. Maghalie Rochete (Luna Pro Team)
4. Courtney McFadden (American Classics/Zones)
5. Carolina Gomez-Villafañe (Muscle Milk/Specialized)
6. Emily Kachorek (Squid)
7. Ellen Sherrill (Rock Lobster)
8. Karen Brems (SunPower Racing)
9. Nicole Duke (SRAM/Focus)
10. MacKenzie Woodring (Foundry Cycles)
11. Mical Dyck (Naked Factory Racing)
12. Shayna Powless (Liv Co-Factory)
13. Colleen Wanty (Dolore Grotta/Big Swingin’ Cycles)
14. Ann Kennedy
15. Hollie McGovern (Real Wheels)
16. Aubrey Milner (Get Real/Reno Wheelmen)
17. Jennifer Teerlink (Dirt Birds)
18. Caroline Dezendorf (Rock Lobster)
19. Fanny Bourdais
1. Ben Berden (Wcup Stoemper)
2. Tobin Ortenblad (California Giant/Specialized)
3. Troy Wells (Team CLIF Bar)
4. Cody Kaiser (LangeTwins/Specialized)
5. Max Judelson (Rock Lobster/Voler)
6. Jonathan Baker (Chico Masters)
7. Elliot Reinecke (Book a Bike Mechanic/WD-40)
8. Zach Heath (Hifi/Squid Cycling)
9. Justin Abbott (Rock Lobster Cycles)
10. Sean Estes (Muscle Milk/Specialized)
11. Chris McGovern (Real Wheels Bike Shop)
12. Justin Thomas (Reno Wheelmen)
13. Nick Schaffner (Herbalife p/b Marc Pro-Strava)
14. Benjamin Gomez-Villafañe (Muscle Milk/Specialized)
15. Sage Aldebaran (CX Nation)
16. Dan Hoeppner (Giant Co-Factory)
17. Steve Ouzounian (Dolore Grotta)
18. AJ Snovel (Jakroo Racing)
19. Ian Stowe (Rock Lobster)
20. Jim Gentes (Buy-cell.com)
21. David Greif (Velo Reno)
22. Sam Gross (Harmony Systems/Trek)
23. Mason Bond (Real Wheels)
24. Gavin Haley (Giant Factory Team)