Southern California UCI Weekend – Kross-toberfest Presented by Focus Bicycles:
KROSS-TOBERFEST DAY ONE REPORT: Sat 10.2
Humid temperatures and morning rains brought some mud to Southern California (SoCal) for the first UCI double-header weekend the area has seen in two years. The mud was literally a giant pit and, along with a mixture of heavy grass, required a lot of power from racers. Day One was fantastic, bringing more than just exciting racing with a bike swap, morning trail run series, and other advocacy rides for cyclists.
The Elite Women’s race started with Devon Haskell (Bike Station Aptos) being first up the long, curving road start and into the grassy fields of Kross-toberfest. In second it was former SoCal resident, Carolyn Popovich (PAValleys.com), who took the lead as Haskell crashed halfway through the first lap. But the women’s field was lined up and ready to attack as California Giant Berry Farm’s Teal Stetson-Lee and Barb Howe (Ibis) made their moves. Haskell was back on the bike quickly and back to the front group of five as they stayed together. However, this early attack from Stetson-Lee and Howe set a pace that separated the women. The chase group got close but could never close the gap to the five leaders.
With two to go, Howe had a mishap in the mud causing a slip that separated her from the front group, while Teal continued to smash the pace on the front and open her gap even more. In the end it was Teal Stetson-Lee to take the win with Haskel second, Sarah Maile (Ventana Bikes) third, Popovich fourth and Barb Howe rounding out the top five.
The Elite Men saw tight, aggressive racing from the start as riders sprinted to the grassy fields elbow to elbow. Within the first quarter of a lap multiple crashes caused tangles that created breaks in the group. The first to take the lead was Chris Jones (Rapha-Focus), and by the end of lap one his lead was almost 10 seconds off the front. But it wouldn’t stick as he unfortunately rolled his tire on lap two, putting him back in around 15th. While the lead group took off, Jones rode his way back to the leaders to settle back in until the finish.
With two to go the excitement grew as Joachim Parbo (Leopard Cycles) took the lead. He raced smart as early on he sat in the group, but the week off from the USGP must have served his legs well as Parbo opened a gap on the field. It was close, but the chase group of Sid Taberlay (Sho-Air), Tyler Wren (Boo Bicycles), Danny Summerhill (Garmin), Sean Babcock (Kona) and Chris Sheppard (Rocky Mountain) could not close. Parbo took the final lap and relaxed a bit on his way to the line for the win. Taberlay came hot out of the last barrier section bunny-hopping his way off the group for second. Jones and Wren took third and fourth with an exciting sprint finish and it was Danny Summerhill, who unfortunately had a mishap in the last turn after the barriers but was able to hang on, to round out the top five for the first day of Kross-toberfest racing.
Day Two 10.3
It turned out to be a stirring weekend of competition in California. It was more than just racing this weekend and Bonelli park, San Dimas, California, turned out to be a great venue for the UCI weekend of racing, bike swap and more cycling advocacy events that promoter Dorothy Wong made happen. But the racing was the fastest seen in Southern California cyclocross and exciting for fans and park-goers to watch, thanks to the level of competition in town for the show. The stage had racers from four different countries in the Elite fields and a handful of successful U23s who showed their talent this weekend.
Teal Stetson-Lee takes the barriers in stride © Mark Colton
In the women’s race it was Teal Stetson-Lee (California Giant-Specialized) who looked powerful and confident coming off her first Elite win from day one of the Kross-toberfest event. She led the women from the start on the newly routed course for the second day of racing. Devon Haskell (Bike Station Aptos) followed with Katrina Baumsteiger (Rambuski Law) and Barb Howe (Ibis) in fourth. Howe looked to quickly move up as Stetson-Lee slid out in the first lap, but she was passed in the mix-up by Sarah Maile (Ventana Bikes). Teal was up quickly and back on the group and it didn’t take long for Stetson-Lee and Haskell to dominate the front of the race again. Maile and Howe were on the chase, but in the end it was Teal Stetson-Lee again for the win and an emphatic stamp on the weekend.
Haskell took a comfortable second and Howe found herself alone with a small gap as she broke away from the chase to solo in for third. In fourth it was Carolyn Popovich (PAValleys.com) who moved up in the field to grab fourth from Maile, who rounded out the top five.
Summerhill takes the win in front of Jones © Kenneth Hill
With Rapha-Focus rider Chris Jones still hungry after his mishap with rolled tires and Joachim Parbo (KCH Leopard Cycles) fresh off dominating the end of day one’s race for the win, it was no coincidence that these two were on the front at the beginning of the race. It was Parbo who took the lead after the fast road start and through the first lap, but he slipped back on lap two as Jones and Danny Summerhill (Garmin) took to the front. Parbo said later, “I knew the way I felt that I would not break anybody up front, so I allowed myself to drop back.” It was true that the course favored road racers as the final results revealed.
Summerhill sat second wheel for a good porting of the day. He did some of the work, but he stayed up front while others set the pace. Early on Kelly Benefits rider Alexander Candelario took the lead from Jones and set the fastest pace of the race for a lap. But, Jones was looking strong; he went back up front and put down road-style attacks one after another. With about 30 minutes to go in the race, Jones and Summerhill broke off from the front group until the end.
Close behind it was another strong road racer, Jonathan Baker of the Hudz-Subaru team, who also had tire troubles the first day. Baker too wanted the win, but later explained he was very happy with third for the day. After Baker it was the talented U23 riders Jeremy Ferguson (California Giant/Specialized) with fourth and Zach Mcdonald (Rapha Focus) fifth as they just broke off their group in the last lap. They were second and third, respectively in today’s U23 standings behind Summerhill.
The racing was intense and close-fought throughout the top 10. The next group had Aaron Schooler (H&R Block), Tyler Wren (Boo Bicycles) and Craig Richey (Cyclocross.com-Blue).
The weekend turned out great with warm weather, some showers that brought mud to SoCal cyclocross for the first time in two years, and well-planned courses. Overall it was a great experience to bring UCI racing to the West Coast with a field of international competition, and to see three U23 riders in the top five of the Elite men’s field, as it is a glimpse of the progression and future of US cyclocross.