Brems and Judelson Triumph, Gomez-Villafañe Astonishes
6 October 2015
by Josh Constantino Tabije
The depth of talent in cyclocross racing for NorCal Nevada went on full display at Toro Park: veteran racer and World Champion emeritus Karen Brems (SunPower Racing/Alto Velo) won the race for Elite Women; recent transplant and bass player Max Judelson (Rock Lobster/Voler) took the top step of the podium for Elite Men; and Ben Gomez-Villafañe (Muscle Milk/Specialized) chased down the second step, 5 seconds behind Judelson. Gomez-Villafañe’s racing age is 16 and the youngster is earning enormous renown against the “big boys”.
Central Coast Cyclocross #4 was held at Toro Regional Park nestled in between Monterey and Salinas. The CX race wasn’t the only bike related event at the park as Stanford University held their mountain bike race as well. The competitive juices were flowing all over.
The course at Toro was setup similar as in year’s past. Power straights, velcro-like grassy 180° turns, natural root barriers, single track, a punchy climb, and skittery downhill are all what veteran’s of Toro Park have come to expect. Wind was also a factor later in the day as gusts reached upwards of 20mph in the lower reaches of the park. But it was the goat head thorns that seemed to surprise everyone who hadn’t recently juiced their tubeless or tubular setups. I fell mercy to the goat head epidemic as well as a teammate. I also saw other racers frantically trying to add sealant to their wheels before races. Even the mountain bike racers were overheard grumbling about goat heads at their staging areas.
Despite it all, the racing was still fast and furious as there were highly competitive races throughout the day.
The Elite Women’s race started off bunched together as the course configuration and early barriers kept things tight. It wasn’t long before Brems used her engine to slowly gap the field. “The course was nice and flowy with some twisty and turny sections,” described Brems. “Once I established my gap I just tried to stay smooth and not make any mistakes.” The rest of the field was spread out around the course but it seemed no racer was truly in the clear as everyone was still chasing hard trying to move up.
After winning at Sagebrush’s Hidden Valley Park, Judelson made it two for two on the weekend with a commanding win in the Men’s Elite race. Judelson created a gap by the end of the first lap which grew to almost 30 seconds by mid race. A chase group consisting of Muscle Milk/Specialized, other Lobsters, and a few others were following, But, it seemed like the team tactics were being played as Lobsters were seen on the front of the group potentially stalling out the chase effort. Muscle Milk finally organized and moved to the front of the chase group and four riders were seen drilling it at the front trying to catch Judelson. It was a little bit too late. Judelson hung on for the 5 second win over Gomez-Villafañe and his teammates.
1. Karen Brems (SunPower Racing/Alto Velo)
2. Janey Dalton (Lulu’s Cycling)
3. Beverly Chaney (Team Roaring Mouse)
4. Chelsea Weidinger (MashSF)
5. Emily McKissock (Ninkasi-Caletti)
6. Erin Stone (Vive La Tarte)
7. Christina Peck (Moth Attack CX)
1. Max Judelson (Rock Lobster/Voler)
2. Ben Gomez-Villafañe (Muscle Milk/Specialized)
3. Eric Colton (Muscle Milk/Specialized)
4. Sam Cerruti (Muscle Milk/Specialized)
5. Nate Riffle (Muscle Milk/Specialized)
6. Christopher Kelly (nourishbalancethrive.com)
7. Justin Robinson (Santa Cruz/Factory Racing)
8. Alex Work (Rock Lobster/Voler)
9. Ryan Grenler (Velo Fratello)
10. Ian Stowe (Rock Lobster/Voler)
11. Kell McKenzie (Broakland/King Kog)
12. Brendan Lehman (Rock Lobster/Voler)
13. Murray Swanson (Pen Velo Racing/Summit Bikes)
14. Kailin Waterman (Rock Lobster/Voler)
15. Joe Brennan
16. Chris Seymour (Santa Cruz/Factory Racing)
17. Allan Sherlock
18. Aaron Glick (SuperPro)
19. Aaron Nathan (SuperPro)
20. Aidain Malmberg (Family Cycling Center)
21. Robert Terra (Bikes and Bites)
22. Brandon Reif (crossiscoming.com)
23. Travis T (Fresh Air/Hunter)
24. Andrew Nelson (Vive La Tarte)
25. Liam Dunn (Clif Bar)
26. Erik Krisdtiansen (Specialized)