Young and Feldstein Double Up at SacCX
12 October 2015
For the Sacramento Cyclocross Series, Julie Young (Roseville Cyclery) and Gareth Feldstein (Real Wheels) picked up where they left off at Orangevale 2 weeks ago. Both came out winners for the Elite races in the heat and dust of Maidu Regional Park. As before, Young battled with Hollie McGovern (Real Wheels) before pulling away late in the race. Feldstein’s task was more taxing for this race after a strong ride from Liam Dunn (Clif Bar) kept the race’s outcome in doubt until the final lap.
Jen and Clint Classen, and their entire SacCX crew, made it another well executed event complete with a now standard beer garden and food truck plus music from the Gheto crew. It was another good turn-out for the series with 379 race-entries including 71 in Women’s categories.
SacCX also laid out a terrific course, taking advantage of everything available at a city park. The terrain included grass, hard-packed dirt, gravel, and paved pathways. In amongst some of the technical sections under tree cover, plenty of plant debris and off-camber made for challenging riding. There were plenty of transitions between surfaces that required acute attention. And, for an area that is mostly flat, the course had plenty of elevation changes from a soft, sand-pit shallow mound to two difficult run-ups. The second of the latter followed a left-hand turn at the bottom of a decline that rose up, into, and over three plank barriers. This was the reward racers saw after a short climb leading into this section.
The big, steep run-up, some 7m high, had a loose top layer to the racer’s right that invited riding the bike to the top. To the left was a shallow, dry gully perfect for foot holds except for a couple of tree roots exposed by erosion from long-ago rains. Riding this big run up was certainly a huge expenditure of energy and certainly faster than most could run. However, the penalty for failing to ride all the way to the top was a difficult slide back down and plenty of lost time. To make the run-up that much harder, it too was situated after a turn at the bottom of a downhill to spill the momentum of racers.
“Obviously if you’ve got Clif Bar on your back you can ride a bike”
The course was punchy but fast in sections and Liam Dunn led the racers at speed early in the first lap for Men A. He was first to reach the big run-up and, along with Feldstein in second place, rode cleanly to the top. Just a few seconds later, Scott Hooper (Real Wheels) led a scrum of racers as the crowded conditions forced many off their bikes. At the big-run up on the second lap, Dunn and Feldstein had grown a small 10-second gap on Chris McGovern (Real Wheels) in third, Hooper in fourth, and AJ Snovel (HiFi CX) in fifth.
Gradually Dunn and Feldstein built their gap all the while exchanging the lead between themselves. A battle for third was roiling some 20 seconds back between Chris McGovern, AJ Snovel, and Justin Thomas (Reno Wheelmen). McGovern and Thomas were able to put a gap between themselves and Snovel before McGovern did likewise to Thomas. However, as the race closed in on the final lap, Thomas gained ground back on McGovern. He then overtook McGovern for good on the final lap shortly after the sand-pit mound.
Back at the front, Dunn and Feldstein were still racing hard against each other. With two laps remaining, Feldstein made his move and pulled away for the win. Of the 20-second winning margin, over half was gained on lap six of seven.
“He [Dunn] rode pretty strong for about half the race,” commented Feldstein. “Obviously if you’ve got Clif Bar on your back you can ride a bike. He started to yoyo a little bit with, I think with three to go. He tried to ride the big hill on the backside but went into the ditch and then backwards. I felt bad for attacking there but I was able to make it. It was two to go that I went. The game plan seems like I’m going from three or four out. But, I’m just taking the opportunity as it comes. If it comes on lap one or lap six you just have to take the opportunity.”
“The hill was tough,” continued Feldstein, “with a 42 and only a 27 on the back. I rode it every time except for being safe on the last lap. The course was great. Real fast and off-camber loose stuff. It’s different from last week and seems that we didn’t have to get off [the bike] as many times this week.”
Thomas’ late move earned himself a third-place podium finish, some 10 seconds back of Dunn, followed by McGovern and then Snovel in fifth.
Young for the Late Win
Hollie McGovern led the field out of the starting blocks in the race for Women A. She was followed closely by Young. At the big run-up, the leaders were Hollie McGovern, Young, and Tanya Grossman (Los Gatos Women’s Elite Team). The race had begun in similar fashion to the Orangevale Park race, 2 weeks ago, with the same three riders vying for first place. This race, however, changed that complexion quickly as Hollie McGovern and Young stretched out a 21-second gap to Chelsea Weidinger (MashSF) in third with Grossman in fourth. Another 5 seconds back, Kara LaPoint (Team Luna Pro) was running in fifth place.
As Hollie McGovern and Young kept up their pace, Grossman retook third place from Weidinger but LaPoint had fallen back by 16 seconds. Later still, Amanda Siegle (Jakroo Racing) would catch, put the Luna racer under pressure, and then take over fifth place. However, LaPoint, in just her fourth cyclocross race, put in a late charge. She regained her deficit to take back two places and finish fourth, just 1 second behind third-place Grossman.
“I got off to an alright start,” described LaPoint of her fourth cyclocross race, “but on the second lap I guess I hadn’t tightened my back wheel quite enough. It actually came undone, was bouncing around, and about to come off. Right at the top of the second steep climb I had to stop and fix that. I dropped back and spent the rest of the time trying to catch up. I got some gas again on the last lap and a half and caught up to third and fourth. I didn’t quite have the room to make the pass on third but I was feeling good at the end.”
Up front, Young, another rider on her fourth ‘cross race, managed to get away from Hollie McGovern. The Real Wheel’s pace dropped significantly whilst Young maintained similar laps times all the way to the win, some 56 seconds ahead. McGovern’s task to catch back up was also hindered by other riders and a stumble in the sand pit mound on the final lap.
“Hollie McGovern was setting a nice pace,” said Young. “Last time I really appreciated the opportunity to learn from her because she has good skills. I tried to help out and take the lead on the backside. With two and a half laps to go she seemed to want to be in the lead. On the backside in the trees, where it’s off-camber and sandy, Hollie went down. I made sure she was OK and went by. I took the opportunity to set my own pace.”
“[The local cyclocross scene] is fun,” continued Young. “It’s so festive and energetic. You just see so many friends. Having been in the road scene and drifting away from cycling, you still see the usual suspects and it’s fun to get back in touch with all the friends from the race days. Every race is just so different. You think you’ve seen the crazy of the crazy and then you come out here and wow, it takes it up a notch.
“I was out yesterday to help set up. For a few reasons that was amazing to see the work that goes into these races. I had nightmares from all the red flagging where the posts had to go because there were so many of them. Initially I was quite uninspired because it just seemed ugh. Then I got out here today and it raced really fun. Having helped set up I have all the respect in the world for what goes into this.”
Both LaPoint and Young are newcomers to cyclocross in the region and join many of the other Women to keep the racing competitive, exciting, and interesting. It will be a treat to watch them race at some of the other series and venues.
1. Gareth Feldstein (Real Wheels)
2. Liam Dunn (Clif Bar)
3. Justin Thomas (Reno Wheelmen)
4. Chris McGovern (Real Wheels)
5. AJ Snovel (HiFi CX)
6. Mason Bond (Real Wheels Bicycle Studio)
7. Scott Hooper (Real Wheels)
8. Stewart Bowerman
9. Phillip Violett (Auburn Ski Club/SQUID)
10. Nicholas Terzakis (BEERxSQUID)
11. Antonio Miranda (SGW)
12. Cormac Dunn (Clif Bar)
13. Chris Namba (BEERxSQUID)
14. Ramon Jacquez (TCB)
15. Scott Williams (Bicycles Guys/Cannondale)
16. Erik Nelson (Bicycles Plus/Sierra Nevada/Reliable)
17. Robert Terra (Bikes and Bites)
18. Bailey Eckles (The Team SoCalCross)
1. Julie Young (Roseville Cyclery)
2. Hollie McGovern (Real Wheels)
3. Tanya Grossman (Los Gatos Women’s Elite Team)
4. Kara LaPoint (Team Luna Pro)
5. Chelsea Weidinger (MashSF)
6. Amanda Siegle (Jakroo Racing)
7. Anna Poehlmann (Dirt Birds)
8. Audrey Biehle (Dirt Birds)