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The Southern California Prestige Series of Cyclocross formed in 2005 by an association of  cycling clubs motivated to become the premier cyclocross series in Southern California and the nation! The SoCalCross Prestige Series hosts races weekly across Southern California kicking off with the Happy Hour Tour series of promotional clinics and events running from September to January each year.  SoCalCross also hosts gravel events in the Spring and Summer signature LA Roubaix kicks off our Spring/Summer gravel ride season!

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ANZA Crossing a HOT Prospect!

NABRA Championship Saturday in Riverside! Co-hosted by the Inland Empire Bicycling Alliance!

November 8, 2014, Riverside Calif. Words and images by Philip Beckman/PB Creative

Saturday was a landmark occasion for the SoCalCross Prestige Series. “Anza Crossing” presented by Jenson USA became the first CX event in the Inland Empire city of Riverside. Located at Martha McLean-Anza Narrows Park on a scenic bluff overlooking the Santa Ana River Valley, Anza Crossing offered participants the most technical, entertaining layout of the season. Rolling, grassy terrain featuring more off-camber corners than we’ve seen in quite some time were punctuated each lap by an exceptionally challenging sand pit.

Thanks to the assistance of the Inland Empire Biking Alliance, Anza Crossing was a well-received and worthy venue for the 2014 North American Bicycle Racing Association (NABRA) CX Championships. Special attention was given here advocating road safety for “vulnerable” users such as pedestrians and cyclists. It was a theme continued the next day as well, with compelling reason (more on that later).

Under warm, blue skies, the big winners of SCPS Round 8 were the same as they were at Round 7 the weekend prior. Andrew Juiliano and Kora Colasuonno captured the Men’s and Women’s Elite A classes, respectively.

In her rookie season of bicycle racing, Colasuonno (S.W.A.T.) sat back and let the small Women’s field sort itself out for most of the first lap, then put her extraordinary strength to work and powered quickly into the lead by the start of the second circuit. Fast starter Summer Moak (Felt/K-Edge), now in the Series Leader jersey, tried to hang with Colasuonno for a few turns, to no avail. Christine Pai (Knobbe Martens Intellectual Property Law) trailed in third for several laps but was eventually overhauled by the “veteran” of this group, McKenzie Melcher (Jenson/The TEAM SoCalCross). Rounding out the top five was Tessa Riley (SDBC), some two minutes behind the winner.

According to Colasuonno afterward, “The many off-cambers and sand features presented quite the challenge, since I still have a great deal to learn in the handling department, and the bumps were pretty damn intense. It was brutal, but I had a good time!”

Rex Roberts (Velo Allegro) blasted into the early lead of the Men’s A class, soon to be joined by Series Leader Alfred Pacheco (Buena Park Bicycles) and Juiliano (Voler/Rock Lobster/HRS). These three wasted little time building a gap to Scott Lundy (Serious Cycling), Dakota Gracey (Velo Allegro) and John Behrens (Velo Hangar).

That margin grew as the laps counted down from ten, then the front trio came apart just past halfway. Juiliano, Pacheco and Roberts each rode alone, and it looked as if the results were set. But the leader was dealing with a softening tire, forcing him to the pits for a front wheel change on the penultimate lap. He reentered in third place but was able to put on a jaw-dropping charge to retake the lead with half a lap to go. Try as he might once again to score his first SoCalCross Series win, Pacheco was left shaking his head seven seconds back. Roberts rode in almost half a minute in arrears. Lundy and Behrens had the endurance to fill the remaining podium positions.

“I tried not to get too frustrated [with the flat] and decided to just bury myself the last few laps and see if I could catch Alfred, and it worked out,” stated Juiliano. “He was going good. He put in a pretty good chunk of time on me when I was in the pit. I was a little worried and actually thought we still had two to go when it ended. It’s been fun racing with him the past couple weeks.”

Full results from Anza Crossing presented by Jenson USA will be found at socalcross.org.

Next on the SoCalCross schedule is a joint venture with the SPYclocross Series as well as another round of the new California Cyclocross Series (CACX). It’s the SLO Cross Weekend in San Luis Obispo, 11/15-16. After that is the big one for these parts: the UCI CXLA Weekend at Griffith Park in Los Angeles, 11/22-23.

For more information and to stay connected to all SoCalCross PRESTIGE SERIES activities, be sure to bookmark SoCalCross.org as well as follow it all on Facebook and Twitter

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