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Racers and Chasers Balboa Park, San Diego XC and Marathon

Posted by: Jens Raz |January 24, 2013 12:20 AM
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Racers and Chasers Balboa, San Diego XC and Marathon

Written by: Jens Raz

The final mountain bike race of the year in southern California was set up by "Racer’s and Chasers” in San Diego’s Balboa Park.  At Robert Herbert’s races, one can choose between a traditional XC event and the longer Marathon race format over 3.5hrs.  As usual, part of the proceeds went to one of the local Mountain-bike teams. This event brought $500 to the Hemet High School team. The race support for the 230 plus boys and girls was handled by Zumwalt’s Bicycles. Robert also tried something new by providing LIVE timing for the Expert /Pro race. The timing system was posting live to the internet every few seconds with the current results and will allow one to check his/her results on their smart phones right after finishing! This will be expanded to all future classes I was told. 

A 2 day rainstorm proceeded the race and smoothed out the course. This helped make the conditions some of the best and stickiest in recent memory. The circa 4 mile loop consisted of some fast descends, a mix of short yet steep climbs, longer stretches with 6% grades and double track sections. A fast course for sure! From the Pro XC group, Brent Prenzlow (Focus Bikes) one of the most dominant Socal Cyclocross racer of the past decade had this offer: 

"Friday's rain made for great conditions at Balboa Park for Saturday's XC race. Chris Johnson led out the Pro/expert field on Lap 1, but it didn't take long before I worked my way up to the front. After putting in a good effort up the longest climb on the course, John Bailey & I were alone and would stay away for the rest of the race. We both worked equally at the front and kept the tempo high to build a nice lead.

With 1.5 laps to go, Bailey was leading and completely missed a corner. He ended up off the bike in the bushes and I had a gimme 10 second lead. It didn't feel right so I kept a mellow pace. Bailey rejoined me and we now had 1 lap to go. Game on! He lead the first half of the lap but once we entered the "technical half" of the course in the canyons behind the Velodrome, I made a strategic pass and picked up my pace. I was able to open up a small gap by taking a quicker line through a corner into a bridge, which lead to the steepest climb on the course.

I kept my Focus Raven 29er in the big ring and sprinted up the hill opening up a small lead of maybe 10 seconds. The rest of the lap was painful as I had to keep it smooth yet ride max effort up the final long climb and into the headwind to the finish. I knew Bailey wouldn't give up, but I managed to hold him off to take the win by 20 secs. Johnson rolled in for third a few minutes later. Thanks RacersAndChasers for hosting another fun event!”

Pro – Overall

      1,      Brent Prenzlow (Celo-Pacific/Focus Bicycles)

            2,      John Bailey (Bailey Bikes)

            3,      Chris Johnson (Shoebacca)

      The battle of the day belonged to Bryan Taylor of ”Zumwalt Bicycles” and Guy the flying Dentist Sutton racing for "Cal Coast Bicycles”. Guy had this to share:

      A who's who 40 local endurance racing and Strava KOMers lined up at the start in Balboa Park's Morley Field to contest 3 1/2 hrs of racing on a mix of fire road and single track.  Rain the previous night left the trails tacky but free of standing water.   After 3 blistering laps a large lead group was whittled down to 6 riders -  Bryan Taylor (Julian Death March champion, Never Forget 100 champion, marathon series winner), Stephane Roch (ShoAir), Guy Sutton (26" wheel dinosaur), David Sullivan (ShoAir50+ ), Gabriel Marocco (CalState San Marcos) and Pasqual Bonaventure (cat 1 roadie from Belgium).  

      David Sullivan and attacking Brian Taylor did most of the work pulling on the flat sections while Guy Sutton would lead out on the technical Florida Canyon area.  After two hours of racing with lap times faster than the 90 mins race XC experts Taylor, Bonaventure and Sutton would break off from the others.  Riding became much more difficult as the beginner class just entered the arena and the trails became exceedingly congested between lapping riders, dogs and joggers.  

      Spectators cheered the riders on in what was believed to be the final lap when a sprinting Sutton and Taylor arrived at 3hrs 29mins 30 secs.  Taylor who had jettisoned his bottle 4 miles ago (just like you see on TV to save a few grams) kept on going and Sutton who went through the finish had to get back on course and chase.  Both rider’s engines were seizing up but Sutton had electrolytes and was able to keep some semblance of pace, covering 50+ miles and to take 1st.  Bonaventure wisely decided not to go on for the 12th lap for a 3rd overall and first place in his "open men" category” 

Overall Results-

1.    Guy Sutton      CalCoast  - 12 laps

2.      Bryan Taylor    Zumwalts – 12 laps

3.     David Sullivan ShoAir – 11 laps

4.      Aaron Hauch (SS)   Zumwalts - 11 laps

5.      Stephane Roch -10 laps

The race was closed with cool awards and raffles for Otus head/Helmet phones, ESIM grips and much more!

 See you next Year!

Kyle Ireton 12/05/2012 1:53 PM
And where can more photos be found? PinkShorts Photography? :)
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