Monday, August 30, 2010

VINTAGE CYCLO-CROSS

Vintage Cross photos really show the history of the sport in each still frame. Please click on each photo to get a close up view of how Cyclo-Cross looked many years ago...


I wonder if heckling was going on back in 1919? This sort of reminds me of a good BASP fan section, but where is the beer being sprayed on the racers? It does seem that this brutal run up had a gathering of spectators just wondering if the riders can navigate such a steep pitch...
I like the collared shirt on this rider going through hub deep water and mud- a very stylish shirt for racing. Nor-Cal needs more of these deep water-mud pits to spice things up...
Today's Nor-Cal Cyclo-Cross is lacking the 1 or 2 minute long run-up sections...
This photo below reminds me of a section of course from some of the classic "Jungle Cross" Nor-Cal races of the 80's- one line of trail and if you get off that line trying to pass or something, you are most likely going to be down in a ditch looking up at the racers rolling past...
The more things change- the more things stay the same! Our run ups are much shorter in today's Cross events, but the spectators still migrate to the top of the run-ups to get the best view of the suffering at hand...
I want to see some downhill running sections this season- the extra large fields of today's Cross would be quite entertaining trying to navigate super steep running sections of loose and twisting downhill trail- this would make for quite the spectacle...
You know it is steep when the racers use their off hand to maintain balance and dig into the grass and dirt to keep upward momentum...
I think there was heckling going on back in the day...
The last two photos really show the incredible near vertical run-ups that were used in early Cyclo-Cross races. It seemed no hill was too steep to challenge the riders. And the style of running up from the athletes was part balancing act- part crawling. This again reminds me of some of the Nor-Cal Cyclo-Cross of the 80's when "Jungle Cross" ruled and only the strongest survived.

CrossVegas Will Be Fast

With the Masters Cyclocross World Championships coming to America in 2012, and the UCI Elite World Championships taking place in the USA in 2013, you are bound to see more Euro's competing on this side of the pond...
CrossVegas boasting strongest ever field assembled at American cyclo-cross event.

From Cyclingnews-

Preliminary starters for the fourth edition of CrossVegas have been announced in what is shaping up to be the strongest ever field to take part in an American cyclo-cross race.


"The winners of the CrossVegas titles are going to come from the best field ever assembled in America," said CrossVegas organizer Brook Watts. "Whether you break it out by national champions attending where we've got eight nations covered, or if you look at the international rankings we've got three of the top 10 riders in both the elite men's and elite women's categories.


"If you look at it from another level, you've got the returning champions from the previous editions of CrossVegas. And then to really top it off you've got a dozen 'wild card' contenders and any one of those riders could draw an ace on race day."


The men's field features American champion Tim Johnson (Cannondale-Cyclocrossworld.com), Canadian champion Geoff Kabush (Team Maxxis-Rocky Mountain), Italian champion Marco Fontana (Cannondale Factory Racing), French champion Francis Mourey (Francaise des Jeux), Belgian elite champion Geert Wellens (Champion System), Danish champion Joachim Parbo (KCH Leopard Cycles) and Hungarian champion Zoltan Tisza (Tecnofilm Bentonexpressz 2000).


The women's event has a pair of national champions slated to start: American champion Katie Compton (Planet Bike) plus Czech champion Katerina Nash (Team Luna Chix).


In addition to the assortment of national champions scheduled to compete, a strong selection of riders in the top 20 of the UCI rankings will take part in CrossVegas. The men's field features fifth ranked Gerben De Knegt (Rabobank Continental Team), Francis Mouray (Francaise des Jeux) at seventh, Switzerland's Christian Heule (Rendementhypo Cycling Team) at ninth and American Jonathan Page (Planet Bike) at 18th.


The women's field will include fifth ranked Katie Compton (Planet Bike), Katerina Nash (Team LUNA Chix) at 7th and Nash's American teammate Amy Dombroski (Team LUNA Chix) at 16th.


Returning are 2009 CrossVegas champions Jamey Driscoll (Cannondale-Cyclocrossworld.com) and Katie Compton (Planet Bike), who also won in 2008. Ryan Trebon (Kona), winner of the 2007 and 2008 editions of CrossVegas, will also be returning. Trebon and Compton are the only two-time winners at CrossVegas.


"Don't underestimate the other great riders who will be coming to CrossVegas," said Watts, who named men's contenders Jeremy Powers (Cannondale-Cyclocrossworld.com), Adam Craig (Rabobank-Giant), 2009 men's runner-up Chris Jones (Rapha-FOCUS), Italy's Davide Frattini (HUDZ- Subaru), Belgium's Tim Van Nuffel (Vangoethem-Prorace), Switzerland's Martin Grujan (Cannondale Factory Racing) plus women's contenders Georgia Gould (Team Luna Chix) and Meredith Miller (Cal Giant-Specialized).


"I've probably missed a half a dozen top guys and gals that are capable of turning CrossVegas upside down," said Watts.
Complete CrossVegas information is available at www.crossvegas.com.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

NCNCA NEWS

Mark Howland is one the 16 NCNCA riders featured in the new posting of NCNCA Cyclocross Photo Page- Paul Doran's work from the BASP Series final 2009.
Howland was the thrilling winner of the BASP Series title in the Masters Men 45+ "A" division that day at Coyote Point, near San Francisco. Brett Lambert(Rock Lobster) and Rob Meighan(Cal Giant Inc.) were deadlocked in a tussle for the championship going into the final BASP race. One of the two talented riders seemed destined to win the series as they had built a strong lead in overall points over the course of the series. Yet it was a double points final race and as they marked each other, the on form Mark Howland sneaked away up the road and never looked back on his way to the race win and the coveted BASP Series crown. Howland has been one of the most consistent riders in Northern California over the past 15 years. Howland has been District Champion, won the most difficult NCNCA BAR division- the Masters 35+ "A" field in 2002, won numerous races over the years on all types of courses, and as mentioned above captured the 45+ "A" BASP Series win in his first year eligible for that age group. Howland has also traveled to Europe multiple years to compete in the Masters World Championships, usually held in Belgium. For 2010 Howland will be dropping his Blackmarket colors to join forces with Paul Sadoff's Bay 101/HRS/Rock Lobster team. Howland has been one of the longest sponsored riders for Rock Lobster, with the two starting a working relationship in 1992. Howland brings with him to Rock Lobster the core group of last years Blackmarket team, Janel Lodge who was a silver medalist at the NCNCA District Championships last year, and Bruce Lodge of Sonora. Howland and the other Blackmarket riders will add talent, knowledge, and experience to the already full blown super team that is Bay 101/HRS/Rock Lobster. The 2010 NCNCA Cyclocross race season is going to be a classic!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Buy-Cell.com

One Northern California Cyclocross team that has had a very large impact on this regions racing over the past few seasons has been Tim Cannard's - Buy-Cell.com squad. This forward thinking group of racers has set a standard of excellence on the Single-Speed Cyclocross circuit in Nor-Cal. Time after time Buy-Cell.com star rider Cesar Chavez has proved himself to be one of this region's premier Single-Speed competitors. Chavez was the Single-Speed Champion of the BASP Series in 2007 & 2008, as well as the Surf City Series & CCCX Series champion during a stellar run of results for 2009. The Buy-Cell Single-Speed men swept the top three placings of the BASP Series for 2009, with Cannard leading the way followed by Julian Villafane, then Chavez. Another Buy-Cell.com rider who posted strong results in the Women's division during 2009 was Michelle Monroe. Monroe was a first year Cross racer who's talent was crystallized while being surrounded by the Buy-Cell bunch. Monroe responded by riding to the NCNCA's best all-round rider(BAR) classification in her division during the 2009 season. Another giant move by Cannard which had large ramifications on the Nor-Cal race scene was his help to motivate and support Don Myrah in his comeback to racing. The rest is history- as Myrah is back in style after a few seasons of races to find his form- and now is once again one of the USA's top Cross performers in his age group. Myrah will have his own sponsorship package from SRAM & IBIS for 2010. The Buy-Cell.com team will be generously supported also from IBIS, and will be racing on the finely crafted Hakkal├╝gi Cross steed at select Nor-Cal events. Tracking and supporting up and coming racers, and challenging Cyclocross legends to return to the sport they dominated in the past, is a theme that Cannard and the Buy-Cell.com team appears to keep focused on. More big news from their camp has one of Northern California's all-time great Cyclocross legends being edged back into competition with support from Buy-Cell.com and IBIS.... Larry Hibbard will be back in action and making some special appearances at races near you during 2010. Hibbard is a true legend of the sport and his return to competition will be exciting to follow this season. Other figures from this team who always seem to be running hot and constantly at the front of affairs in Nor-Cal Cross are the popular Brock Dickie, the super smooth Mike Sooder, the powerfully built Mike Matthews, and the aggro riding Scott Zavack. Buy-Cell.com brings even more surprises to the table for 2010 Cross by stacking the already fully stacked Nor-Cal Women's Elite division with gifted rider Jamie Busch, from Boulder Colorado- who has a past Collegiate cycling title in her resume.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

New Rules Voted In Place For 2010/2011 Cyclocross Season

On a local level this is not an issue, but for major events some new rules will be enforced this season...

Colorado Springs, Colo. (August 12, 2010) -- USA Cycling announced today that its Road, Track & Cyclo-cross Board of Trustees has voted in favor of several rule changes for the upcoming cyclo-cross season.

The new rules are in line with the UCI rulebook and will take effect at the beginning of the 2010/2011 cyclo-cross season.

The changes accomplish the following three things:
1) Establish rules for cyclo-cross race feeding
2) Change the manner in which lapped riders are handled to enable the use of the 80% rule currently utilized in many mountain bike events, and
3) Modify the rules regarding course obstacles (barrier height, distance between, and total number of obstacles on the course)

A summary of the rule changes is as follows:
Course Design- There are several important changes to course design as outlined below:

The nature of the wooden planks has changed. Instead of having to be 40 cm high, they now can be up to 40 cm high. Also, the distance between the planks is now a range of 4 to 6 meters instead of the prescribed 4 meters.

The number of obstacles has been changed from 6 total obstacles to 6 artificial obstacles. This might make it possible for some courses to have more total obstacles than in the past. However, the limiting factor is that obstacles can still only be 10% of the course, so if you have a 3K circuit, you can only have 300 meters of obstacles.

The ban on artificial sand was removed and replaced with specifications that if you have artificial sand, it must be 40-80 meters long, straight, and have no lip up or down to access it.

Feeding:
Feeding is now authorized under select circumstances:It must be at least 68 degrees. Feeding must take place in the service lane only. It cannot take place in the first two or the last two laps.

The penalty for feeding any other place or time is disqualification.

Tire Width:
The UCI has narrowed the maximum width of a cyclo-cross tire from 35 mm to 33 mm. The intent was to reduce the amount of equipment that many riders feel they must bring in order to be competitive.

This rule does not affect local events as we currently have no rules regarding tire width and the Board of Trustees is not adding any tire width requirement. However, the tire width rule will apply at National Championships for all riders 17 and over.

Disc Brakes:
This also does not affect local events, but the UCI will now allow disc brakes for international events.

Lapped Riders:
For the second year in a row, the UCI has changed how lapped riders are handled. They now have two ways to handle it. For domestic events, there are now three methods. The officials will decide what method is being used at each race and communicate that method to the riders.

Lapped riders can be left in the race and may finish on the same lap as the leader.

Lapped riders can be removed at the entrance to the final straight once they have been lapped.

Note, sometimes when there are few officials, these same riders are removed at the line, but the UCI requires that no lapped rider ever cross the finish line.

Riders may be withdrawn per the 80% rule. For example, if the first lap took 10 minutes, then 80% of that is 8 minutes. This rule would require that each rider who is more than 8 minutes down every lap would be pulled. Again, this should happen at the entrance to the final straight or some other convenient location.

For a more in-depth look at the rule changes, please reference the complete rulebook here: http://www.usacycling.org/forms/USAC_rulebook-5.pdf

CrossVegas

CrossVegas moves to close women’s prize money gap...

From Cycling News-
CrossVegas has joined the list of particularly cyclo-cross races moving to narrow the prize money gap between the elite men’s and women’s field. Organiser Brook Watts has announced a ‘podium bonus’ for the top three finishers in this year’s women’s race, with each rider to receive an additional $500USD on top of the prize money nominated by the International Cycling Union’s management committee.
“Would I prefer to be announcing 100 per cent equality in women’s and men’s prizes? Absolutely I would,” said Watts. “However despite our current economic climate, I’m pleased to be able to move the bar up a notch in recognition of the equal effort put in by the Elite Women’s field at CrossVegas.
“There has been a lot of chatter in the online world in the last few days about the CrossVegas prize list,” he added. “What doesn’t get publicised is the work that goes on behind the scenes by me and other interested parties trying to raise the necessary funds to make fundamental changes like this not only for CrossVegas but other cyclo-cross races as well.”
Watts doesn’t hide the fact that the women’s prizes – at $766, $687 and $643 respectively – are still lower than the men’s, but highlighted that he’s been instrumental in the push for equality. He helped get the NACT series prize lists equal for both men and women.
“Changes like the NACT purse and the CrossVegas podium bonus have been in the works for some time so it makes some of the recent criticisms frustrating,” said Watts.
Watts called on other disciplines to join cyclo-cross in the push to provide equal prize money for both genets. “It seems like ‘cross has been singled out for an issue that cuts across all cycling and in fact all sports,” he said.
CrossVegas is held during the Interbike trade show in Las Vegas, USA. This year’s event will be staged on Wednesday, September 22

Saturday, August 21, 2010

COUNTDOWN CONTINUES

The days seem to be quickly ticking past, leading up to the first few races of the NCNCA Cyclocross season for 2010. Looking at the NCNCA calendar, it shows a full five months of Cyclocross racing which will fire up in early September and run non stop into January. This full schedule of races allows Nor-Cal riders ample opportunity to find their best form leading up to the 2010 USA National Championships, where our most talented local racers have shined so brightly year after year. The full schedule of events also allows for Cyclocross racing on a local level to be run during the peak season of Cross, the true Winter months, where conditions can become epic during December and January in Northern California. The early season races are usually contested on fast & dry courses where speed is plenty, and dust is prevalent. While the late season competitions favor the true "mudders' and hardened riders who can handle the most brutal conditions Winter racing can bring to the table. The two most dominate Cyclocross teams in Northern California, California Giant Inc./Specialiazed and Bay 101/HRS/Rock Lobster, have their lineups set for 2010. The on course battles between these two top tier Cross teams have been outstanding the past few years, and this season should be more of the same. Anthony Gallino's Cal Giant Inc. team features three of the top male Elite riders in Nor-Cal, Justin Robinson, Cody Kaiser, and Jeremy Ferguson. These three riders are serious studs and can contend for the win in any race they enter. They are backed by the very best Masters team in America. The Cal Giant Inc. Masters team is stacked and raises the bar extremely high for anyone trying to race for victory in events like the BASP Series, the CCCX Series, & the Surf City Series. The Cal Giant Masters team consists of Gina Hall, Carmen D’Aluisio, Josie Jacques-Maynes, Alan Coats, Todd Hoefer, Gannon Myall, Steve Reaney, Ana Flores, Rob Meighan, Norm Kreiss, Dave Anderson, Don Langley, Eric Bustos, Jessie Moore, Jordi Cortes, Frank Curesma, and Tom Ryan. Cal Giant Inc. Masters have brought home 6 National Championship Medals along with 11 top five National Podium finishers over the past 5 years. Nor-Cal's other top Cross squad is Bay 101/HRS/Rock Lobster. Bay 101 will now be co sponsoring the HRS/Rock Lobster team, which is sure to boost this high flying unit which competes on the beautifully crafted Rock Lobster Cross bikes. Leading the charge of this team are three of Nor-Cal's most consistent high finishers over the past few seasons, Sarah Kerlin, Stella Carey, and Josh Snead. Kerlin and Carey are guaranteed to throw down at the front of affairs in the Women's racing. While Snead has been the regions top male Elite performer in local racing the past two seasons. The other extremely high caliber Lobster racers are Dave Wyandt, Scott Chapin, Aaron Odell, Alex Work, Brett Lambert, Aaron Kereluk, Brian Staby, and Jon Mason. This fast group is backed by team owner Paul Sadoff and mechanic Ryan Bontrager, making for a strong and well organized team that races hard and still keeps it fun. 2010 is shaping up to be a very special year for Cyclocross racing in the NCNCA region I must say...

Thursday, August 19, 2010

CYCLOCROSS SEASON RAMPS INTO ACTION IN ONE MONTH

The Cyclocross season is just around the corner and racing begins in only a few weeks time. Nor-Cal's Cross teams are starting to come together, with rosters filling out, solo and group Cross workouts firing up, and the NCNCA Calender of races becoming just about totally complete. The Scaramento Cyclocross Series dates have been added to the calendar, as has the Bike Monkey Santa Rosa Series event dates. The CCCX Series, the Surf City Series, and the BASP Series, all have dates claimed in what looks to be a awesome season of Cross racing ahead. Classic events like the Folsom Cyclebration Cross, and the Lion of Fairfax Big Swingin' Cycles race only highlight what a great schedule of racing Nor-Cal Cross athletes can pick and choose from. Most of the best riders in Northern California race virtually each weekend to dial in their fitness and practice their chosen craft of cycling's most athletic discipline- Cyclocross. I highly recommend all racers keep a sharp eye on the the NCNCA calendar, as race dates can change and nothing is set in stone with regards to the current calendar listings. Each race season in Northern California brings new surprises. Established teams always seem to add new riders, thus making for fierce competition just in each team, let alone on course racing against other squads. Certain riders step up and deliver great and surprising performances during the year. Ranked riders from other regions relocate to Northern California making the Nor-Cal racing even more competitive. Like Scott/Ritchey rider Kerry Barnholt last season, who dominated Nor-Cal racing in 2009, then went on to win a National Masters Championship in Bend Oregon. New teams form each season, which keeps the Cyclocross energy high and introduces this great sport to new riders of all ages, gender, and cycling ability. One new team which is sure to have a impact on race days is Ciclista Bonita. Women Cross racing overall in Nor-Cal is stellar, the fields in all divisions are large, and the Nor-Cal ladies dominated the USA National Championships in 2009. Ciclista Bonita is a new women's Cross team that is sure to bring more female racers to the table while showing that a healthy lifestyle can be achieved by taking part in the sport of Cyclocross. Bike Station Aptos is backing this group of Women led by Mary Perez. Other riders on this new team are Goldi JM, Winona Hubbard, Rachel Wolff, Livia Peras, and Karen Kefauver, Jenny Meyer Feix, and Dionne Ybarra. I am all for more Women racing Cross and Ciclista Bonita is leading the charge in this realm. Another team note regarding one of Nor-Cal's leading ladies is Karen Brems, who was one of the best Elite Women racers in the NCNCA for 2009 Cross, joining up with Trina Baumsteiger at Team Rambuski Law. These two fine riders are sure to find success in 2010. This race team is also strong on the Masters Men's side with Kevin Merrigan being a new recruit, and set to join Tim Thompson, Jim Gentes, Logan Kelsey, and Edwin Rambuski. I hope to track down more team info to share and continue the build up to the first race of the 2010 Cyclocross season. Cross is King in Nor-Cal, and each and every year I see growth in participation and the level of competition on course. However, please always remember to keep it fun...