Brush and Dezendorf, Right-Angles and Smoke
14 November 2015
The 2015 Santa Rosa Cup CX got off to a great start yesterday with its Friday Night Race. The Sonoma County Fairgrounds venue is a mostly grass course crammed into a small area of less than 10 acres. The start-finish straight-away is paved. The terrain was mostly flat with plenty of turns separated by long straights. A couple of off-camber embankments and a pair of plank barriers offered up their difficulties. It was a good course to establish a rhythm.
By far the barrier of import was a right-angled flyover the height of a freight container. With ramps on both angles, it spilled out into an array of kegs forcing riders to control their speed on the down ramp and choose between going to the right or left. The whole section was corralled by two large, inflatable tubes, each in an arc, arranged to allow only one outlet. It was a small maze of sorts with smoke to foil the vision and lasers to add to the spectator’s entertainment.
Although the kegs were set up as a wall near the bottom of the ramp, riders soon understood dismounting and jumping over the barrels could earn them seconds and a position or two. With a short, fast course, and the finish line so close after the flyover, getting through this barrier first, on the last lap, was tantamount to a win.
For Women A, Caroline Dezendorf (Rock Lobster) started where she left off at last Saturday’s night race, although a missed pedal at the start slowed her effort. As she did last weekend, Kristin Drumm (CX Nation) led the race with Dezendorf on the first lap but the Rock Lobster racer would take control by the next time around.
Dezendorf’s lap times were an example of consistency with a range of only 8 seconds across ten circuits. Gradually pulling away for the win, Dezendorf led second place finisher Sarah Howerter (Fresh Air-Hunter) and Chelsea Weidinger (MashSF) to the podium. Drumm would cross the line in fourth with fifth place going to Erin Stone (Vive La Tarte).
The race for Men A produced very fast lap times and a train of riders across the early laps. Attrition would see the lead group whittle down although, after avoiding a crash, Gareth Feldstein (Real Wheels) came from a few places back to join the front. Gavin Haley, Walton Brush (MashSF), and Feldstein would eventually establish a 20-second gap to fourth place and took the race’s outcome to the last lap.
Haley would come a cropper at the turn after the plank barriers by tangling with a lapped rider. This left Walton in a good position to reach the flyover first and he would take the win over Feldstein by 5 seconds. Haley recovered for third although Brush admitted it was Haley who was the better rider of the three leaders that night. Rainier Schaefer (MashSF) held down fourth by himself with Glenn Fant coming home in fifth.
This year’s Santa Rosa Cup CX is a three-day series. More race coverage and interviews will follow after tomorrow’s return to the Sonoma County Fairgrounds. A final report will appear after the event’s finale at Spring Lake Regional Park on Sunday