Tuesday, November 23, 2010

NCNCA CX Championships

Nash and Candelario Storm the NCNCA Championships – Updated: More Photos

Posted by CXM on 11/22/10 • Categorized as race reports
Katerina Nash took the win close to her Truckee home. NCNCA 2010 Cyclocross Districts. © Tim Westmore

Katerina Nash took the win close to her Truckee home. NCNCA 2010 Cyclocross Districts. © Tim Westmore

by Paul Guerra

This year’s Northern California and Nevada Cycling Association District Championships were held in Reno, Nevada, at Clayton Middle School and were hosted by the Reno Wheelmen in addition to their normal Sagebrush Cyclocross series lineup. Although Reno has a vibrant cycling scene and is in close proximity to excellent road and off-road terrain, most of the cycling population, and therefore most of the racers at this even,t had to travel from points west in California over the infamous Donner Summit on Highway I-80. In a repeat of the events of November, 1846, an early season storm dumped 12 inches of fresh snow on the Summit over the Friday evening prior to the race. Many racers spent a cold night parked on the highway, waiting for accidents to be cleared and scraping ice from their windshields only to arrive in Reno in the wee hours of Saturday.

The expectation then was that serious snow would have accumulated at the racing venue, making for a rare snow race. The high desert of Nevada, however, didn’t let that happen. While temperatures hovered in the 30s during the race, only a light dusting of snow blanketed the course and melted off by the time of the Elite Men’s race at 1:30, leaving the faintest bit of mud on the grassier sections of the course.
Donner Summit was a snowy, stormy mess. by {Stardustza} on flickr

Donner Summit was a snowy, stormy mess. by {Stardustza} on flickr

The course was laid out with a minimum of elevation change. Long grass and sand sections demanded more power and cardiovascular fitness of the racers and less technical ability. Sets of closely spaced barriers and a forced dismount and run-up completed the circuit. Several locals took advantage of the proximity of the race and their adaptation to altitude to take home the coveted bear-and-star jersey of NorCal/Nevada.

Nash shows her National Championship form

A light women’s field saw Truckee, California local, Team Luna Chix phenom, Winter Olympian and Czech National Champion Katerina Nash run away with victory. From the end of the first lap, Nash held a commanding lead over second place, 2009 40-44 Masters national champion Gina Hall from Cal Giant Strawberries. Third place in the strung out Elite Women’s category went to Emily Thurston of team Missing Link. Both Thurston and Hall could not match Nash’s superior performance at altitude, as both hail from the San Francisco Bay Area and Nash was fresh off a win at the USGP in Fort Collins, Colorado.

Nash said after the race, “I was really happy that a big race like Districts was in Reno, so close to home.” She also appreciated the relatively dry and grassy course, having spent the morning shoveling her way out of her nearby mountain town home.

The Mountain Men Rule the Day
Alex Candelario wins the District NCNCA 2010 Cyclocross Districts. © Tim Westmore

Alex Candelario wins the District NCNCA 2010 Cyclocross Districts. © Tim Westmore

As a warm-up for the Elite Men’s race, Bjorn Fox (Clif Bar Development Cyclocross Team) handily won the Junior’s race. Fox hails from the nearby ski town of Incline Village of Nevada and echoed Nash’s comments, saying, “I’ve been racing a lot around the US, so it’s nice to have a race close to home.” ’ Cross legend Don Myrah (Ibis-Buy-cell.com) also won his Masters 35+ age group race as a warm-up for later racing in the Elite category. Myrah waltzed away with the win, putting 30 seconds on his closest competitor, Anastasio Flores of Cal Giant Strawberries.

Both Fox and Myrah joined a strong, if slightly small, field in the Elite Men’s race to battle it out for top honors. Reno native and World Bicycle Relief representative Alex Candelario had other ideas however. Similarly to Nash, Candelario has recently had a commanding performance at altitude at the Colorado Cross Classic and carried his form to Reno where he had an exceedingly strong showing. Candelario began lapping the field with three to go and held a significant time gap over his nearest rivals, second place’s Brue Silversten (De La Paz Coffee) and Abe Rotstein (Hunter-Freewheel). Myrah narrowly missed his second podium of the day after being out-sprinted for third by Rotstein. However, with prizes in this category going 10 deep, and additional swag handed out by the promoters to spectators and racers, no one went home empty handed. Hopefully the memories of the racing and the loot kept racers warm as they assaulted a socked-in Donner Summit again on their way west, back home or to a Sunday of racing for those who could recover from the travel and racing effort of Saturday.

[Newly minted women's 35+ district champion Heather Langendorfer contributed to this report.] Full results below the photos.

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