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Cyclocross

‘Cross Examination: Sheldon, Hammaker win Race Pace; Simms doubles in Toronto; collegians collide

Libby Sheldon (Tokyo Joe’s) and Kyle Hammaker (Cadence) won their respective events on Sunday at the Race Pace Cross in Sykesville, Maryland, round six of the BikeReg.com MABRAcross Series. In the elite women’s contest Sheldon went away from the gun and was never challenged. Jessica Hill (Trail’s End) was clearly on her way to second place before falling victim to a mechanical, leaving Cathy Large (Yellow Breeches) free to time-trial in for the runner-up spot. The elitemen’s race was entertaining from start to finish. Hammaker, Todd Hesel (HVB), Dave Weaver (unattached) and Jeff Buckle

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Libby Sheldon (Tokyo Joe’s) and Kyle Hammaker (Cadence) won their respective events on Sunday at the Race Pace Cross in Sykesville, Maryland, round six of the BikeReg.com MABRAcross Series.

In the elite women’s contest Sheldon went away from the gun and was never challenged. Jessica Hill (Trail’s End) was clearly on her way to second place before falling victim to a mechanical, leaving Cathy Large (Yellow Breeches) free to time-trial in for the runner-up spot.

The elitemen’s race was entertaining from start to finish. Hammaker, Todd Hesel (HVB), Dave Weaver (unattached) and Jeff Buckle (Alan North America) attempted to leave the party early, but were closely pursued by a hard-charging field.

“Slick Nick” Bax (Hot Tubes) jumped from the field and managed to make the lead group, which dwindled as Hesel abandoned after flatting twice and Bax bobbled late in the race.

Hammaker, Buckles and Weaver pounced, and Hammaker kept the pressure on, eventually moving clear of his erstwhile companions to secure the win. Buckles attacked late for second while Weaver held on for third. —Joe Jefferson

Other winners included:
Women’s Category 4: Christine Briseno, Route 1 Velo-Capital Hill Bikes
Men’s Category 4: Luke Sandusky
Masters 35+: Chris Nystrom, C3-Sollay.com
Men’s Category 2-3-4: Taylor Jones, Inland Construction-BTD
Masters 55+: Rob Lea, Team Fuji)
Juniors under 18: Sam O’Keefe, C3-Sollay.com
Juniors under 16: Steven Kendall U16, NCVC

Simms doubles, Reain, Watson split at Toronto race
The inaugural Toronto International Pro-Am Cyclocross Races (UCI C2) November 11-12 saw Greg Reain (Ride with Rendall) and Wendy Simms (Kona-YourKey.com) take top honors on Saturday with the next day’s triumphs going to Simms and Andrew Watson (3 Rox Racing).

Saturday’s course at Centennial ski hill was a long, flat, serpentine affair, rewarding riders who could push a big gear. Sunday treated racers to the classic up-and-down that is the ski-hill course.

Saturday’s elite men’s race was fast from the gun. Newly crowned national cyclocross champion Mike Garrigan (Epic Ride-Jetpower) took the prime for being the first through the beer-tent barriers only to fall victim to an early puncture. A group containing all the favorites quickly formed and the race was on.

It was very much anyone’s race until the closing laps when Reain decided to make his move. The course suited his style of riding, and when he went, no one could respond. Reain finished 30 seconds clear of Osmond Bakker (Stevens Cross) with Nathan Chown (Handlebars CC) rolling in for third.

Simms, the reigning Canadian national champion, was the favorite going into the women’s race and did not disappoint — she led from start to finish. Natasha Elliot (Stevens Cross) took second place with Jennifer Stephenson (Team Ultralink) third.

With Sunday’s course came a new set of challenges. Gone were the flat, windy stretches and off-camber sections that played so strongly in Reain’s favour; climbing was the theme of the day.

Once again, the competition was fierce from the gun. As on Saturday, Garrigan took the prime, and before long he and Watson were off the front and distancing themselves from the bunch.

Watson flew up the slopes of Centennial Park, riding towards a well-deserved win. Garrigan was able to hold on for second with Reain taking third.

In the woman’s race, Simms was once again in a class all her own. Stephenson took second and Elliot third.

For more, see www.ontariocycling.org. —Scott Kelly

Toronto International Pro-Am Cyclocross Races
Toronto, Ontario, CAN. Nov. 10-11
Nov. 10
Elite men

1. Greg Reain, RWR-Colnago-Time, 57:03
2. Osmond Bakker, Stevens Cross, at 0:29
3. Nathan Chown, at 0:30
4. Derrick St. John, The Cyclery, at 0:31
5. Andrew Watson, 3 Rox Racing, at 0:54

Elite women
1. Wendy Simms, Kona-YourKey.com, 48:15
2. Natasha Elliott, Stevens Cross, at 0:43
3. Jennifer Stephenson, at 0:43
4. Kelly Jones, Sugoi, at 3:22
5. Jill Vale, at 4:07

Nov. 11
Elite men

1. Andrew Watson, 3 Rox Racing, 56:07
2. Mike Garrigan, Epic Ride-Jetpower, at 0:10
3. Greg Reain, Ride With Rendall, 0:48
4. Osmond Bakker, Stevens Cross, 0:49
5. Nathan Chown, Handlebars-Queen City Cyclists, at 0:56

Elite women
1. Wendy Simms, Kona-YourKey.com, 41:37
2. Jennifer Stephenson, Team Ultralink, at 1:26
3. Natasha Elliott, Stevens Cross, at 1:47
4. Kelly Jones, Sugoi.com, at 3:21
5. Jill Vale, Coach Chris.ca-Ted Velikonja, at 3:35

Bard and Middlebury thrive; Rutgers survives
The second weekend of the Eastern Collegiate Cycling Conference (ECCC) Cyclocross series brought surprises and upsets throughout the two-race weekend.

After the collegiate series kick off at the Verge New England Championship Series races Chainbiter and Cycle-Smart International a week previous, it seemed as if no one could topple the 2006 ECCC Cyclocross champion Rutgers University Cycling Team.

With collegiate races moving to New Jersey for Beacon Cyclocross and HPCX, part of the Verge MAC series, Rutgers looked to continue its dominance on home turf. Rutgers, however, was upset by the impressive rides at Beacon Cyclocross by riders from Middlebury College, who were able to hand Rutgers a division 1 omnium defeat for the first time in the history of the ECCC cyclocross series.

Rutgers fired back the next day at HPCX, fielding a team of 15 riders to defiantly take the D1 omnium and place Rutgers riders Andy Glaser and Mark Vareschi as overall individual series leaders in the Men’s C and B categories. Rutgers retains an impressive lead overall in the series.

As the David-and-Goliath story played out in Division 1 competition, Division 2 competition brought its own share of slain giants. The battle of the weekend was between Drexel University and Bard College. With riders represented both days, Drexel and Bard tied for the D2 omnium at Beacon. Bard pulled ahead at Sunday’s HPCX to take the D2 omnium just ahead of Drexel.

With its consistent results, Bard now leads the Division 2 team overall ahead of national collegiate cyclocross champions MIT and perennial powerhouse Dartmouth College.

Collegiate cyclocross action moves back to New England for the Baystate Cyclocross November 24 in Sterling, Massachusetts.

For more information, see www.eccc-info.com.

REI backs women’s race at Capital Cross
REI will sponsor the international women’s division at the Verge MAC Capital Cross Classic UCI C2 cyclocross race December 2 in Reston, Virginia.

The outdoor retail co-op, founded in 1938, has more than 3 million members and operates retail stores nationwide, plus two online stores — REI.com and REI-OUTLET.com — and an adventure travel company, REI Adventures.

The REI Classic powered by SRAM will start at 1:30. It will be the first of two internationally ranked races highlighting a full day of racing at Lake Fairfax Park.

For more information, see www.potomacvelo.com/CapitalCrossClassic.htm

MD, DC and DE championships slated
The small Maryland town of Taneytown will host a combined championships for Maryland, Washington, D.C. and Delaware on Sunday, November 25.

The championships, part of the BikeReg.com MABRAcross finale, will be run at Taneytown Memorial Park.

For more, see BikeReg.com and click the “BikeReg.com MABRA Cyclocross” button.

Goodies on offer at CX nats
Competitors at the 2007 USA Cycling National Cyclocross Championships will receive complimentary energy drinks and energy gels, giant strawberries, comprehensive neutral support, stationary trainers for warm-up and free offee.

These are just a few of the perks being offered by the event’s official sponsors for the competition December 13-16 at Wyandotte County Park in Kansas City, Kansas.

“We want every athlete — from the youngest to the oldest and from the B racer all the way up to the elites — to have the best racing experience possible,” said Bill Marshall of KLM Marketing Solutions. Many of the sponsors will be part of the expo, in a massive tent adjacent to the course, near the finish line. A second large tent will serve as the athlete warm-up area. Inside the latter will be complimentary Gatorade, GU Energy Gel, 180 Energy Drink (courtesy of Anheuser Busch), California Giant Berry Farms berries and 20 new CycleOps trainers for warm-up on a first-come, first-served basis.

For more information, see www.kccrossnationals.com.