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The Southern California Prestige Series of Cyclocross was formed in 2005 by an informal association of  cycling clubs motivated to become the premier cyclocross series across Southern California and the nation! The Prestige Series will host 18 races over 15 weekends from of racing from San Diego to San Luis Obispo - September 2012 to January 2013.

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SoCal Cycling - Your Source for Cycling News, Events and Information Since 1995

SCPS3: STORMING INTO OCEANSIDE…

Epic CX action at the BEACH!

RACE REPORT:  Storm the Beach a beautiful day in Southern California racers couldn’t ask for a better day to race cyclocross on the Beach!  Red Beach in north San Diego County Oceanside was the place for SoCalCross Prestige Series Round 3!  Racers came from far and wide to participate in this unique venue comprised surprise…  of BEACH SAND!  The start was on hard pack dirt mostly flat sand-dirt-gravel road mix with occasional tidal puddles in the midst.  Riding paceline road style was the norm… until riders hit the beach sand and the shoreline where Juniors and Youth racers had it the hardest on the with tide just rolling out and the sand soft tried to prevail, but these young riders would not stop that stop them as many of the youth riders pushed their way hup hup and back down to the beach taking many riders off course and sometimes off the bike then over the TRP barrier section and up the battle town then back to the beach sand for the full lap and with no excuses!

Next up the Masters and Beginners hit the course and as the tide rolled out the shoreline more hard back the lap times got faster and faster.  Masters 55+ Jay Thorton (G2 Bike) charged his way with no competition in sight taking a commanding win.

The Masters B men saw some tighter competition with both 35+ and 45+ leaders challenging each other Series leader Travis Roberson (G2 Bikes) takes another win in the 45+B race while  Justin Christopher (TEAMSoCalCross/JensonUSA) battled it out with first timer Juan Araya (Celo Pacific) Juan taking the win by just 4 seconds in the 35+B race.

Masters Women continue to have a full podium breaking this field into 35+ 45+ and 55+ categories as SoCalCross works hard to get more female riders into the sport.  The Wednesday before the race women’s cycling team Holliday Rock p.b Zoca co-hosted a women’s focus clinic as part of the SoCalCross Happy Hour Tour of promotional events Series Director Dot Wong has proven to bring more people into the sport especially women. Attendance in the women’s fields are up 30% from last season!

In the elite races the Women’s A race saw Series Leader Nicole Brandt (TEAM SoCalCross/Jenson USA) take the lead from the start with Holly Breck (InCycle p/b Full Circle Racing) making a valiant chase for second . These ladies are 1/2 in the Series thus far. Should be an exciting season to see how it all plays out.Christine Pai and AJ Sura of G2 Bikes taking 3/4th place and McKenzie Melcher (TEAM SoCalCross/JensonUSA) taking 5th.

Enjoy NICOLE BRANDT’S PERSPECTIVE race perspective…

Racing on the shore of the Pacific Ocean was memorable and fun! I had never ridden my bike on the beach, and it was great to have the opportunity to do so! Furthermore, the backdrop of the race was beautiful and it was a unique experience.  This was my first year racing “Storm the Beach,” and from my first glimpse of the course, I knew I had to race smart and reserve energy for the deep sand sections, as it is not my forté. From the gun, I let others set the pace. AJ Sura did a great job starting fast and setting tempo. From there, Holly took over, I got on her wheel and we opened up a small gap. Just before the first deep sand section began, I surged in front of Holly, wanting to be able to take my own line through the sand, which had given me a hard time in warm-up. I believe both Holly and I had to dismount our bikes, but I think I got lucky, was able to stay on my bike a little longer, and opened up a small gap. From there, I focused on pushing hard through the deep sand sections and run-ups/barriers, and eased up on the flat sections to recover.  Holly Breck is a trooper – pulling an all-nighter and still doing TWO races! I’m excited to see her at the races and look forward to seeing her a lot more this season!!

In the elite men U23 race the pack racing together for prizes and elite overall title the Series also promotes young rider development offering a U23 separate podium recognizing the top 5 U23 riders in the elite race.  U23 Series Leader Michael Barker (Team Velocity) inspired by the coastline attached the lead pack on lap one opening the gap on the lead group of 6 including the eventual race winner Brandon Gritters (Rock N Road/Big Red Coaching).

The lead group traded leads after reeling in Barker with local favorite John Behrens (Velo Hangar) trying to hold off Brandon for the win.  John taking 2nd place with Jason Siegle (SDG Muscle Monster) in 3rd while course designer, Brent Prenzlow (Celo Pacific/Focus) riding for a strong 4th and Scott Lundy (Serious Cycling) taking 5th.

complete race results can be found here

AMAZING PHOTOS FROM JEFF URBAN PHOTOS captured the spirited moments from the day!

FAN APPRECIATION OF TEAM CELO PACIFIC MAKING IT HAPPEN …

Celo Pacific is one of the long standing OG clubs in SoCal.  Thanks to great leadership and passion for the sport brought back the famed or shall we say infamous Storm the Beach.  It did not disappoint the SoCalCross crowd and a real treat for the racers.  Riders cam as far as away as Canada, Texas, Ohio, Nevada and north Santa Barbara even Davis… “Fun race… glad I was able to hit (I live in Davis and just happened to be in San Diego/LA for work, so I brought my bike).”

PERSPECTIVE FROM HOST CLUB, CELO PACIFIC…  MARK CAMPAIGNE, RACE DIRECTOR

I love cyclocross because it’s the most family and spectator friendly.  The green grass and park settings are awesome, but “unique” is an understatement for Storm the Beach.  Painful and beautiful sum up the venue.  Arguably the hardest course in the series, the cold beverage and sunset at the end of the day have me already thinking about next year.

HERE ARE SOME SUPER COOL PEOPLE WHO RACE SOCALCROSS IN OUR ELITE FIELDS!

MEET HOLLY BRECK – ELITE WOMEN & SINGLE SPEED:

1. You’ve been racing SoCalCross for a couple years dabbling and so far enjoying not one but two races. Why do you like CX?
HB: I love CX!!! Cross is so different then road racing and mountain bike racing. Just a fun crowd, fast competition and good people to be around. I grew up racing motocross so being on a dirt course with obstacles totally reminds me of that.

2. How did the elite women’s race play out and how did you like racing Storm on the shore of the Pacific?
HB: The elite womens race… its a tough one! Nicole Brandt and Amanda Newman (when she’s at the races) are really fast so its everything I have to try and stay with them. The storm the beach race played out with myself getting the holeshot and Nicole passing me in the first sand section. I was near her for the first lap and then just couldn’t hold her pace no more. she ran away with it and I came in second. That course was tough!!! But sooo much fun!

3. Your moto-x and road cycling BG how does that help you with CX?
HB: Moto-x definitely helps with trying to pick the right lines and seeing different lines develope and just being able to use the whole track/ course instead of just the main line and road riding is great cardio.

4. You are adding to the number of women racing CX what does that mean to you?
HB:  It means alot to me because not many women want to come out and do this kind of stuff. I think its one of the coolest things to do so if I can inspire more women to do so then my day is complete :)

MEET JOHN BEHRENS – ELITE MEN:

1. How did the race play out and with you leading a good portion of the race.

JB – I had a pretty lousy start—which isn’t uncommon for me—and a front group formed, leaving me in a second, chasing group. On lap two, I rode the sand onto the beach really clean, instantly transporting me from the second group to the back of lead group on the beach. The front group wasn’t really working; only responding to attacks. In years past I’ve been a strong runner in the sand, or in crappy conditions in general, so I too decided to attack and give it a test coming off the beach. I had been running in sort of a physical therapy capacity for the last two-or-so years: my reflexes are mostly back to normal (which is just my normal level of dopey), and I’m feeling even and balanced for the first time in a few years. So yea… I’m thinking all that freakin’ running finally worked as Brandon immediately began cursing at me about my long-ass legs and so on. I wasn’t aware that I had any kind of gap until I was steering around the urban-combat structures and realizing that I was alone. At that point, I certainly wasn’t going to sit up, so I kept the power on. For some laps, I knew a big group wouldn’t work very well on the beach section; I could ride tempo on the beach and at least maintain any gap I had, while trying to add to that gap on the transition off the beach. But once Jason and Brandon were in chase as a pair, I knew I would get caught, and finally Brandon came up to me alone. Unfortunately (and to my dismay), I couldn’t find an ounce of draft on the beach section and Brandon would just muscle me off his wheel. I could close him a bit on the run up, and I was having better luck getting onto the beach way more cleanly; he was sliding out of the ruts and getting jerked off. So the gap to him was in check, but yoyo’n a bit through each lap. In the finale, I had really hoped to close him on the final run off the beach, but I was just shuffling through the sand like a super old dude full of screws and hardware at that point. And thus, second place it was—but believe me, I’ll take it.

2. And Celo hosting CX at Red Beach in 2015 how was racing Storm again, what does that mean to you? Did that play into your lead?
JB – I’ve always loved StB and I think I’ve always done pretty well there. It’s almost always a really balanced course requiring all the skills: you’ve got deep sand, sandy grooves, hard runs, hard run ups, slow grinder sections, fast sections, tactical drafting sections—pretty much there is something in there that allows you to exploit one of your strengths in hopes of balancing a weakness or two. So you have to game the race and game yourself to do well … I’m totally full of s**t: it’s hard as hell and it hurts. I always really liked it afterward, not so much during. It kills everybody and everybody suffers, then it ends and seems great; it has sort of a lore, if you will. On that note, I was pretty stoked to see that StB was on the schedule this season since I was broken the last time it was held. I’m not sure if it means anything to me per se, but it does look and feel like I’m back at a similar level, with similar strengths and weaknesses, to where I was four years ago. Maybe that means I can finally quit this nonsense? I’m joking of course: I love nonsense.
3. As a long-time CXer what is your take on the growth of the sport in So Cal?
JB – I work with a lot of Dutch folks and they’re often surprised to hear that there is someone, anywhere in Southern California, that races ‘cross;  they’re even more surprised to hear that I only race ‘cross; and they’re downright shocked to hear that there is a SoCal-based series with up to 20 races every year. So it’s pretty sweet that the numbers are there to support and sustain your business as promoter, but it’s cool to see the different age groups and categories grow to the point of being competitive little scenes upon themselves, instead of outside, fringe races; the Cs, Bs, and masters groups are bigger, deeper, and stronger (and I’m talking about all genders). These deeper groups are trickling up to the elites which have much deeper, less predictable fields now (a little less predicable anyway, I mean, Brandon doesn’t always win)—you have to remember, like 10 or 12 years ago, it was the Mark [Noble] and Brent show with six or seven of us fighting for third a couple minutes back.

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