Monday, November 29, 2010


This weeks edition of the NCNCA CYCLOCROSS PHOTO PAGE boasts real life action shots from the most mud filled course of the 2010 season- Monkey Cross, Youth Community Park, held this past Saturday in Santa Rosa.

Nick Gaetano is the featured photographer, and his work captures the amazing display a deep swamp-like mud hole can produce when Cyclocross riders have at it.

Please view the NCNCA CYCLOCROSS PHOTO PAGE to see photos from a Nor-Cal course that will go down in history as truly a pure mud festival for Cyclocross.


Huge Bay Area Super Prestige Race At Golden Gate Park.

Nearly 700 Nor-Cal Cross Racers In Action As Cyclocross Makes Home In San Francisco.

Congratulations to Ben Jacques-Maynes(Bissell Pro Cycling) and Kerry Barnholt(Scott/Ritchey) on their fantastic overall Elite triumphs on the day!

Ben Jacques-Maynes rises to the occasion to claim possibly Nor-Cal's the most prestigious Cross win this season.  The legend of BJM continues to grow....

Kerry Barnholt has quietly put together one of the most dominating season's ever for an Elite rider in Nor-Cal history.  Barnholt has won every race she has entered this NCNCA race season except one.  In her only loss, BASP #1, Barnholt had 2 flat tires and still took the race to the line losing a 2-up sprint to Devon Haskell(Bike Station Aptos). 

Congratulations to Tom & Alec Simpson and the BASP Series for a awesome day of racing.

The Golden Gate Park course was epic~.
Some sections had perfect dirt for Cross racing that was hidden under giant trees, and mixed in with wild flowers and green grass. 

Other sections of course were soggy & muddy and contained some deep puddles of water that made for a great spectacle as riders ripped across. 

Congratulations to the rest of the division winners at BASP #4 Golden Gate Park!

Master 35+ A- James Coats- Cal Giant
Master 45+ A- Kevin Merrigan- Team Rambuski Law
Master Women 35+ A- Kristin Drumm- Divine Electric Norcal
Master 55+- Norm Kreiss- Cal Giant
Single Speed A- Rainer Schaefer- Freewheel/Hunter
B Women- Ellen Sherrill- Davis BIke Club
Cat B Men- Ryan Moore- City Cycles of S.F.
Master 35+ B- Shawn O'Meara- Velo Reno
Master 45+ B- Max Thompson- Missing Link
Single Speed B- Christopher Elbo- Missing Link/3rdRail
Cat C Men- Zach Bass- Mission Cycling
Cat C Women- Erin Durkee
Master 35+ C- Michael Lodoen- Murray-Renaissance
Junior Women U15- Avery Moren- Team Mad Cat
Juniors 10-14- Chance Tiner- Santa Cruz Junior Cycling
Juniors 15-18- Tobin Ortenblad- Jeff Nehls Coaching

Top 5 Elite Men-
Ben Jacques-Maynes(Bissell Pro Cycling)
Justin Robinson(Cal Giant/Specialized)
Scott Chapin(Bay101/HRS/RockLobster)
Josh Snead(Bay101/HRS/RockLobster)
Brue Sylvertsen(De La Paz Coffee)

Top 5 Elite Women-
Kerry Barnholt(Scott/Ritchey)
Barbara Howe(Ibis & The Danger Twins)
Karen Brems(Team Rambuski Law)
Sarah Bamberger(I Heart Rats)
Megan Guornier(Sterling Sports Group)

Thursday, November 25, 2010



This weekend will see races in Santa Rosa on Saturday and San Francisco on Sunday.

Up first is Monkey Cross at Youth Community Park in Santa Rosa.  This course has seen some epic Cross racing in the previous editions at Youth Community Park.  With possible rain scheduled on race day, more outstanding Cyclocross exploits are sure to be produced.  I personally enjoyed the racing on this track very much, and I highly recommend participation in Monkey Cross this Saturday!

Golden Gate Park makes for outstanding Cyclocross racing, and the history of Cyclocross in the park is long standing and lengthy. 

Last season Golden Gate Park hosted the NCNCA District Cyclocross Championships and the racing was first class.  The 2010 competition in the center of San Francisco will no doubt be equally top notch, and only the best will ride to a place on the podium. 

Words of advice to all.......
Have fun and enjoy the racing this weekend!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010


Two videos here from two of my favorite races in Europe.  The GVA Trofee - GP Hasselt & the Superprestige Gavere.

It was good to see Kevin Pauwels claim the win at GVA Trofee - GP Hasselt.  What a race this was!  Check out the crowds going crazy on the last lap.  I love the way they get fully into the stars of Cyclocross.  I liked the scaffolding fly-over obstacle toward the end of the lap, Stybar and Pauwels both hit it perfectly like a table top jump.  Watch Stybar even show a little skill as he whips the rear wheel in the air & earns some style points.  This race was very tight and the speeds were super high.  Watch as Sven Nys and Zedneck Stybar go off against each other on the final lap dicing for position.  They trade spots numerous times, and really demonstrate clean racing tactics.  In the end Pauwles benefits from those two going at each other and takes a very deserving victory.  A must see is the end of the video where they show some highlights of the start from the race.  Sun-Web riders take a beating in 2 crashes.  The second crash is one of the worst I have seen for Cross as the rider gets fully ejected from his bike at full kick in the pack start.  This is worth another look to see exactly how he gets caught up in the fencing and discharged from his ride circus style.

The Superprestige Gavere is a hard race!  I like this race for it's character.  There are numerous technically demanding downhill sections, followed by some very grueling and strength sapping uphill grinds.  The course finishes after a long uphill push to the end, making for great final tactics and drama as riders near the finish.  The Pit Zone is cool, and the entire course runs on very challenging terrain for Cross bikes.  The crowds are again huge, and some sections of course are crazy full of fans.  As usual the fans in Belgium love to wave at the camera as riders go past, it seems there is always random people somewhere in the crowds waving at the camera as if they were on TV for the first time ever.  Kevin Pauwels is the on form rider now in Euro Cross and appears ready to claim another win in this race.  Yet the legend, Sven Nys, was having none of that.  It came down to a two-up finish and Nys led out the sprint on the right side of the course, and then closed the door slightly as Pauwles tried coming around on the left.  They would never call Sven Nys for a irregular sprint!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010


The countdown is on leading toward the USA Cyclocross National Championships, in Bend- Oregon.
20 Days Now & Counting Down....

The NCNCA region athletes will play a huge role in many of the championship races, this is guaranteed!

For some local riders the entire season is based around success at the USA National Championships.

2009 was the year of the Nor-Cal Masters Women racers at Nationals. 

Northern California Women owned Bend Oregon in 2009, and put on a performance for the ages.  Local racing creates infighting on course that raises the level of fitness and form for all.  We are all hoping for more success from the Masters Women Cross racers from Nor-Cal come
Dec. 9-10-11-12.

Masters Men racing at Nationals over the years has delivered the most constant success of any group in the NCNCA region.  Year after year the Masters Men have climbed up on to the podium at Cyclocross Nationals in one age group or another. 

2010 will undoubtedly again see extremely high finishes from the Nor-Cal Masters aged Men Cross racers at Nationals.  Each week Nor-Cal's best Masters racers hit the course and force themselves to reach the highest level possible for success.

Cross is King in Nor-Cal, and the Masters Men & Women Cyclocross warriors will head toward Bend with a point to prove, and form on their side in quest for the coveted Gold Medal and Stars & Stripes winners jersey.

The NCNCA's best hope for a medal in the Junior division could come from Bjorn Fox(Clif Bar Developmental Cycles) or Tobin Ortenblad(Joe Nehls Coaching).  Fox has been riding at a very high level this entire Cyclocross season, and Ortenblad is just now coming into from following injury.

Masters racers & Junior racers have always shined brightest for the NCNCA at the USA Cross Nationals.  I am positive 2010 will be more of the same.  Good luck to all the riders in their preparations for Nationals coming a mere 20 days from today.

Monday, November 22, 2010


Congratulations 2010 NCNCA District Cyclocross Champions...

Elite Women- Katerina Nash
Elite Men- Alex Candelario
U18 Women- Maddie Ortenblad
17-18 Men- Bjorn Fox
15-16 Men- Spence Peterson
35+ Women- Heather Langendorfer
45+ Women- Yvonne Warbroehl
55+ Women- Jenny Frayer
35+ Men- Don Myrah
45+ Men- John Mundelius
55+ Men- Norm Kreiss
Singlespeed- Tim Cannard

Thank you to Kevin Joell, the Reno Wheelmen, & all the volunteers and staff who put on such a great race Saturday.  Light snow covered the ground for the Reno Districts 2010, making for a very memorable and picturesque day for Cyclocross racing!

The 2011 NCNCA Districts have been awarded to the Central Coast Series and will be held at Toro Park in Salinas, using a similar course to Sunday's CCCX event.

Sunday's Elite winners at Toro Park were Kerry Barnholt & Justin Robinson.

Congratulations to the Elite winners on the day Gina Hall & Alex Candelario.


Thursday, November 18, 2010


Kevin Joell & The Reno Wheelmen made a request during the summer to play host to the best and most dedicated Cross racers in the NCNCA region for the District Championships.  Thank you to the dedicated cyclists of Reno for making the race happen!

Cyclocross has a long history in Reno, Nevada.  They are very passionate about their Cyclocross and I have faith that Joell and the Reno Wheelman will do a fine job in crowning the top of class racers from the NCNCA.

District Champions will be crowned in these divisions- Elite Men, Elite Women,
SingleSpeed A’s, Masters 35+ Men,
Master Men 45+, Master Men 55+,
Master Women 35+, Master Women 45+,
Master Women 55+, Junior Men 15-16,
Junior Men 17-18, Junior Women 10-18,
Junior Men 10-14.

May the Best Men, Women, & Juniors Win!

The District Championship is the highest one day racing honor in the NCNCA region.  To win a District Championship in this region, which boasts some of the fastest and most fit athlete's in America, is an amazing achievement.  Past District Champions are a who's- who of the NCNCA's very best Cross riders ever.  This Saturday new names will make history and become Champions. 

There is good info. on the host hotel, fine food, course status, and all the racing particulars.

The Reno Wheelman, The City of Reno, and Kevin Joell are sure to bring together a great time, and solid course for the most prestigious one day Cross race in the NCNCA region.  Best of all there might be some pure Cross weather to spice up the competitions!

Then on Sunday are the outstanding Series races from the Sacramento Series & the Central Coast Series

I know from personal experiences that both courses on Sunday are knock out strong for quality. 

The Central Course Series will take place on the front course of Toro Park.  This course used last year for the first time was a instant classic!  Toro Park was kind enough to give up it's most pristine area for Cyclocross.  The front of the park usually hosts Cross County running, but this Sunday it will be Cyclocross taking center stage.  The course features moderate elevation changes, a few grass sections, smooth riding dirt trails, one classic run-up, and some fast fire roads.  There will be lots of turns, mixed in with some wide open high speed track.  The dirt is mostly hard packed and sandy, so any rain will only make the riding better, or at least more interesting!  The front course at Toro Park is a classic.

Sacramento will be racing at the outstanding venue of Lange Twins Winery, in Acampo. I was there for the first race at Lange Twins Winery last season, and the course is a true test of Cyclocross.  Rich Maile pioneered this venue, and delivered a fantastic race course on the grounds of Lange Twins Winery.  There is not much elevation change in the route, yet the venue boasts excellent grounds for Cyclocross.  Pavement sections, dirt roads, and grass trails are the main features.  Small rises in the terrain make for off camber sections, difficult little climbs, and fun riding rolling hills that create a good feel for the Cross bikes.  Adverse weather could really make this race route a challenge.  There is a high percentage of grassy fields used and very dark & slick dirt.  Any rain could really make this race route memorable. 

Lange Twins Winery & the front course at Toro Park are both Cyclocross race courses that rate at the highest level for Northern California Cross.  This weekend is sure to be outstanding for racing in the NCNCA.
Ride Safe & Have Fun!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010


More information tomorrow on the NCNCA Cross Championships...

Then on this coming Sunday there are Cyclocross races hosted by the Sacramento Series & the Central Coast Series.

Looks as if there could be classic Cross conditions for this weekend's events, as foul weather is called for in Reno and Northern California.  Difficult conditions make for the best & most memorable races.  This year the BASP Series, the Santa Rosa Series, and the CCCX Series have all had epic Cyclocross races contested under adverse and brutal weather conditions.  My suggestion to all is, if the weather is bad- get out there and race!

This version of Cross videos demonstrates how cool it is to race Cross in bad course conditions.

First video is from the Jaarmarktcross Niel 2010.  This course is plain brutal!  Just look at Neils Albert's face as he grinds through the sloppy and muddy conditions of the day.  Albert is the second placed rider on course behind leader Sven Nys and his expressions are a testament to how difficult that track was to race on.  It is amazing to see the strongest riders in the world simply not be able to ride parts of the deep mud, they are forced to run to maintain a higher speed.  My favorite part of this video is toward the end of the clip when they show leader Sven Nys head into a pit zone for a bike change toward the end of the race.  In a classic moment Nys had no support and his pit crew did not have his back-up bike ready to roll.  Nys is a hero, he does not panic and continue on with a dirty bike.  Nys calmly waits for his clean bike to arrive and then continues racing.  Nys is the biggest star in Cyclocross today.

Check out the ankle deep mud section of course... better make sure your shoes are strapped on tight or there is a high chance it could get sucked off in in the mud.  I like the camera man who is positioned on course in a mud pocket that could reach his knees if he sinks any deeper...

The second video is the most epic race I have seen on the UCI World level for years.  It is from the Superprestige Hamme-Zogge 2010.  Conditions of the day were beyond hard, and this race turned into a all time instant classic right from the start gun!    This race breaks down to a three man battle in the final laps between Sven Nys, Neils Albert, and Klaas Vantornout.  The running on this course became super sized after heavy downpours peppered the course for days leading up to the race.  Just watching this video is a great show, and seeing the best riders slog and slop through horrible conditions makes for good action.  It was amazing to see Klaas Vantornout make his winning bid in the final stages of the last lap while running!  How many times do you see victories in Cross races come down to long, dragged out running sections of mud ponds and slop filled course.  It is incredible to see Klaas Vantornout and Sven Nys just run away from Niels Albert and distance him immediately in the slime.  The final comes down to a memorable finish in the last one minute of racing, and is very much worth watching!

Final video is from the Cyclocross GP de la Région Wallonne 2010.  Ouch!  This course just looks hard!  It is a short video and if you speak French your in luck.  Any time they open up the video with a close up view of the ground and it shows wet grass mixed with sloppy mud, the course is going to be difficult to navigate.  French racer Francis Mourey gets the best of the mud on this day. 

It is racing days like the videos displayed on this page that make Cyclocross so unique.  I highly recommend when the weather is bad, you get out doors and race, because this is the true spirit of Cyclocross.