Thursday, November 30, 2006

NCNCA Districts Smackdown

Ok, I'm getting psyched for some serious racing this weekend. Since there seem to be no major races scheduled elsewhere this weekend I'm thinking just about all the contenders in all the categories should be fighting it out for the Districts Titles this weekend at the Bay Area Super Prestige Cyclo-Cross race at Coyote Point (or CCCP). There should be some excellent racing on-hand, so be sure to stick around after (or come early before) your races to check out the action. Oh, and feel free to enhance my predictions and/or give a shout-out to your favorite contender in the comments below.

Barry, it's time to make the NCNCA District officially yours
Photo: Rick

Here's my list of contenders for Districts:

Elite Men (race at Noon)

This is potentially the first meeting of ALL the Nor-Cal Elite on home turf this season. Barry Wicks has to be the favorite, followed closely by Ben and Andy Jacques-Maynes. Other podium contenders include crowd favorite and current NCNCA District Champion Justin Robinson, as well as Chris McGovern, David Wyandt, and Josh Snead, who have been racing all over the country this Fall.

Elite Women (race at 2pm)

Expect a slugfest between Rachel Lloyd, Shelley Olds, and Sarah Kerlin to claim the District Title from current (and unfortunately injured) champ Josie Beggs. Also, expect Stella Carey, Lauren Costantini, and Katrina Baumsteiger to fight out the remaining podium spots. Rachel *should* be the favorite on this course, but there's an eager bunch waiting to pounce on any opportunity should Rachel have trouble...

Masters Men

The 35+ race (at 11AM) could be the single most exciting race of the day, and there are so many potential winners in this field I couldn't hope to pick a favorite. Cal Giant will no doubt field a powerhouse Masters team including Henry Kramer, Steave Reaney, multi-national champion Todd Hoefer, and Gannon Myall, all of whom are potential winners. Don't count out the Morgan Stanley duo of Chris D'Aluisio and multi-national champion Alan Coates. And don't turn your back on current 35+ champ Rich Maile, especially if he decides to ditch the single-speed and ride gears this weekend. Nipping at their heels will be Howie (Mark Howland) and Dan Harting.

The 45+ race (at 10AM) should be another difficult race to pick. Expect Larry Hibbard, Mark Abele, Rob "Buckwheat" Meighan, Don Langley, Norm Kreiss, and Brett Lambert to battle it out. But, if reigning 45+ champ Henry Kramer chooses to act his age once again, the above riders will be hard-pressed to match his power.

The 55+ Men's race (at 8:30AM) should favor John Elgart, but Gary Noe has been close behind all season.


Jeremy Blalock has had a stranglehold on the Pilarcitos Series this year, but Logan Loader has proven can go toe-to-toe with Jeremy. But... I think Jeremy Ferguson is still a junior tho he has been ripping up the A's this season - if jumps into this battle, all bets are off...

Masters Women (race at 2pm)

The Women's Masters races should see the likes of Kathleen Bortolussi, Linda Elgart, C. Crawford-Waller, Julie Brothers, Shauna Potocky, and Julianna Perry fighting out their respective District Titles. I'm sure I'm missing someone from these categories b/c I'm not entirely sure who is in what category since the rest of the season the Masters Women all race together...please feel free to correct me in the comments below.

Single Speed (race at Noon)

Apparently the Single Speed category is officially recognized by USAC, which means Michael Matthews, Kurt Gensheimer, Pat Schott, or Richard Blanco could find themselves wearing a Gold Districts Medal at the end of the day.

BTW, here's a link to last year's Districts Report.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Calendar Hokey Pokey - Surf City and Sac Finals Rescheduled for Dec. 9

There has been an unprecedented amount of calendar shuffling today. In what may be the final touches to the calendar, the Velo Bella folks AND the Sacramento folks have both informed us that their final races will both be scheduled for December 9th. The final Surf City race will be held at the Fairgrounds, and the Sac finals had to be moved (from Dec. 2 at Granite Regional) to Sutter's Landing Park in Sacramento. See the Calendar for more details.

Sabine would like to encourage folks coming down for Surf City to make it a Monterey Bay weekend and stay for Sunday's CCCX Race on the splendid Fort Ord East Garrison course in Seaside. Maybe even take them young-uns to the Aquarium to see Whitey - you won't be disappointed, I wasn't.

More Races! East Bay and Southern Mines

Bob Liebold just informed me that he has five races to put on the calendar, including an East Bay race THIS SATURDAY in Dublin. Also added: East Bay race in Livermore (Robertson Park) on December 16 and three Southern Mines races over the last 2 weekends of December. See the Calendar for details.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Weekend Wrap-Up - Tales from GGP, NW, and Sac

Excellent weekend of racing! I'll start with the highlight of most of the Nor-Cal scene which had to be yesterday's Pilarcitos race in Golden Gate Park. A fast, twisty, tacky course through the beautiful woods of GGP made for an excellent venue. The action was pretty hot all day long in all categories, as tales of riders scrapping for placings have been running rampant on the blogs and email group today. And the biggest winner had to be new cx racer Brian Astell, who schooled his companions (Rich Maile and myself) and the rest of A category with his impressive strength and skills (read my report here). I think we may be seeing a new CX star if Brian keeps at it, let's hope he does... In other racing, the Masters 35+ race saw another Reaney/Coates dual that saw the Cal Giant Strawberry rider (Steve Reaney) hold off Alan for the win, with Dan Harting winning a tight battle for 3rd place. Shelly Olds (HRS Rock Lobster) left her teammate Stella Carey and the rest of the Elite Women behind for an impressive solo ride to victory, with Lauren Costantini solid in 3rd. Last but not least, Jeremy Blalock (Ventana MTB's) continued his dominance in the Juniors category. Great job to the Pilarcitos and Roaring Mouse folks for an wonderful day of racing.

Up North in Washington and Oregon the USGP Finals were decided in two starkly-contrasted days of racing. At the Rad Cup in Lakewood, WA, the riders faced a fast but difficult circuit that includes the brutal "Knapp Time" run-up. Ryan Trebon was once again victorious, but Nor-Cal had a strong showing with Ben Jacques-Maynes in a superb 4th place and Barry Wicks in 6th. In the Elite Women's race, Katie Compton outsprinted Lyne Bessette for the win, with Nor-Cal riders Sarah Kerlin and Rachel Lloyd taking the last 2 spots in the top 10. In the Masters 35+ Race, Mark Noble took the win with Nor-Cal riders Todd Hoefer and Henry Kramer in 4th and 6th respectively. In Sunday's finale, Portland unleashed another epic day of racing (just look at those pictures), with Tim Johnson and Katerina Nash taking the final races in the series. Andy Jacques-Maynes hung tough in the mud for 6th in the Elite Men's race, and Rachel Lloyd showed her fine technical skills in the goop with a solid 8th place in the Elite Women's race. Gannon Myall and Todd Hoefer had great rides (4th/6th) in the Master's race.

And Finally, a brief word from the Sacramento gang:

The race went off great yesterday with every body we talked to happy with the course lay-out, and no injury’s or big crashes. Pretty good turn out with about 90 racers, and an absolutely PERFECT day to race, weather wise. The dirt was tacky & damp, so the traction was as good as you will ever find for a CX course. Results will be e-mailed to John & Linda tonight so everyone can have their series points up-dated.
Thanks again to everyone who helped and everyone who showed up to race.

Duane & Connie Strawser / Tour of Nevada City Bicycle Shop

Friday, November 17, 2006

Weekend Preview - Muddy Northwest, Sac and Pilarcitos GGP

Whether you're travelling up to the Northwest or staying local, this should be a great weekend of racing.

All the rain that's fallen on the West Coast recently plus more scheduled for Sunday's USGP Finals in Portland should make for an epic finale for the USGP series.

In Nor-Cal, however, it appears the weather will be ideal for spectators and riders alike, for our Sac and Pilarcitos races on Sat and Sun, respectively.

I just rode thru Golden Gate Park on my way home from dropping my son off at preschool, and I have to say that the conditions should be excellent for Sunday. Green grass is poking thru all over the woods and the trails are spongy from yesterday's rain. By Sunday they will be tacky and fast, so no real mud for the mudders, but great conditions for racing and spectating. Come on down to the park, bring your friends, a picnic basket, and your favorite beverages!

Tom Simpson just issued an update to his previous PR, see it here.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Surf City # 3 CANCELLED

Just got word from Watsonville this morning that today's race has been cancelled due to some kind of issue with the maintenance crew. Stay tuned for details on whether it will be rescheduled to a later date...

Message from Sabine:

It is with great (you have no idea!) disappointment that we have to
announce that Surf City #3 scheduled for today has been cancelled.

We just found out this morning that there might be permit issues. All
of the fairgrounds representatives are out of town and unreachable and
maintenance will not let us in the venue.

We will review the calendar to see if the date can be rescheduled. We
will let everyone know any further information as soon as we are able.

I deeply apologize for the inconvenience this may have caused anyone.


Monday, November 06, 2006

Overdue Wrap-Up: Surf City, White Hill, Pilarcitos, USGP

So...sorry that the main news section has been sorely out-of-date (I blame Dave Carr*). I have just emerged from my own personal hell, though, so things are looking up...

Last weekend's big Nor-Cal weekend was a hit, with the White Hill, Sac, Reno, and Surf City races all taking place. There was a wonderful writeup on CyclingNews for the Surf City race (click here).

In the inaugural White Hill event, Josh Snead and Rachel Lloyd emerged victorious - I have just posted the very tardy Race Report from Brian Bruckner (sorry Brian).

Also, check the Sac and Reno sites for results on their respective events.

Yesterday brought the Pilarcitos Series to a new venue on a tricky little course at McLaren Park in San Francisco. What looked like a friendly and fast course (looking from the S/F area) suddenly turned savage when the course hit the run-up (GREAT run-up, BTW) and hit the bumpy hilly trails of McLaren Park. In the Women's A race, Rachel Lloyd (Proman/Paradigm) continued her winning ways with a decisive victory over Shelly Olds and Stella Carey. In the Men's A race, your intrepid editor managed to botch a decent lead with a series of mechanicals and the result was a first-ever Pilarcitos victory for Aaron Kereluck (HRS/Rock Lobster) in a tight sprint over Troy Barry. Results are posted on the Pilarcitos Site.

Back at the USGP races in Colorado, the Jacques-Maynes brothers both hung tight in Saturday's Longmont Race to finish in the top ten. Chance Noble had a strong performance in this race which saw him finish 3rd in the U23 category. Gannon Myall cracked the top 5 in the Master's event with Todd Hoefer looking to be coming on form finishing 8th. At press time I couldn't find complete results for Sunday's Boulder event.

* I keep trying to get Dave Carr to sign up to update this section when I am too busy but he seems to only be interested in stirring things up in the Babble Blog. Dave, now you have been publicly criticized...