CXLA Weekend

A last minute venue change and Los Angeles’s downtown Historic Park became the site of Dorothy Wong’s LACX race. The best way to describe Wong’s effect on the racing scene would be to use what would become the weekend’s announcer CoolAssMike’s catch phrase when introducing the podium “We will now enter the mind of Dorthy Wong.” There was a great start to the weekend with number pickup at LA’s newest bike shop Golden Saddle Cyclery. Situated right in the heart of cool, next to Dangerbird Records and The Pablove Foundation and down the street from Intelligentsia’s first LA location in Silverlake. That is a lot of cool situated in about two city blocks. The guys from Golden Saddle were on hand to offer fans and racers a brief intro of what was to come over the weekend — drinking, non-stop heckling and a mashing of the new and old styles of racing — after all we did have both Zach McDonald and Tim Johnson on the course at the same time later in the weekend.

DAY ONE: Julie 3rd, Chris 3rd, Zach 8th
DAY TWO: Julie 4th, Chris 3rd, Zach 9th

To say that this course suited Meredith Miller (CalGiantBerry-Specialized) is a bit of an understatement. Meredith Miller ruled this course. Slight twists and dusty corners led to long stretches of road that would allow Miller to dig deep into her (former National Road Champion) legs and unleash the hurt on the rest of the field. Meredith timed her attacks on day one to come late in a race which Julie led from early on. Taking the holeshot was Cannondale-Cyclocrossworld.com’s Nicole Duke, but it was not to be for Duke who flatted on the second lap, chased back into 5th and then flatted again late in the race.

Krasniak’s plan was simple enough, to try and make Miller work from early on in the hopes that the twists and turns in the course would be enough for her to escape the wrath of Miller’s late attacks that were her downfall last weekend in Iowa. However, when the former National Champion Road Racer took over there was no looking back. Portland’s Sue Butler however was ready and locked herself to Miller’s rear wheel and held on for the second spot.

Dorothy Wong not only organized the race on the weekend but also pulled together a number of different cycling events to happen over Saturday and Sunday. There was a Women’s ride to benefit the LA County Bicycle Coalition, a night ride/pub crawl as well as a few other rides. If you have no idea how this lady keeps up with all the great events and rides that she puts together just try to keep an eye on her the next time you are at one of her races. Not only will she be announcing the podiums and wrangling the mariachi bands, but she also raced in a few different races including the Single-Speed race and one with the Elite Women. Definitely one of the best race organizers and promoters in the country.

The Men’s racing on the weekend was something else to behold. If you were there to witness the speed/power combination of Meredith Miller hopefully you stayed for the blind fury that would be Chris Jones, Ben Berden and the newly christened Tim “The General” Johnson. CoolAssMike was on the Mic at the races and handed out a few new nicknames as well. Check out his YouTube page for a few videos on the weekend.

All signs point to yes that indeed Tim Johnson is back and ready for action with his win at the Saturday LACX. Chris Jones had made it one of his personal weekend goals to “keep Timmy winless” but like Miller in the Women’s race, Johnson could not be shaken from his tail. The one chance that he had was disrupted when race leader Chris Sheppard bobbled in a corner causing Jones to bunch it up and slam on his brakes just as he began his attack. Besides this one brief window of opportunity Johnson was stuck to this group like one of Stu Thorne’s tubular glue jobs on a cross wheel with disc brakes. He would then outmaneuver the group and shake them before the final turns of the race.

The surprise on the weekend would come from Ben Berden (Ops Ale – Stoemper Bikes) who caught the Men’s field taking a quick nap in the middle of lap four and attacked to such a degree as to never be seen again. He smoothly powered his way through the remaining laps to put almost a minute into the field that counted their losses and then started licking their chops for the second spot on the podium. But before Berden could don his sombrero on the podium there would be a sprint to the line between Chris Jones and Tim Johnson that could possibly reignite and redefine the entire Cross Clash altogether for this coming weekend in Bend, Oregon. Considering how the challenge has never really come to bear fruit between the former Cannondale teammates of Johnson and Jeremy Powers it may be time to start anew. After all Cyclocross Worlds selections are on the very near horizon…

But in all seriousness, congratulations to Dorothy Wong and Co for putting together a great weekend of racing in sunny Los Angeles. The scene down there is one of the best in the country and continues to be an amazing city to visit for its food, friends and definitely for its Cyclocross racing.