2016 US Cup / Kenda Cup, Race #2

Another year and I, again, am not sure what to call this race - the banner over the finish line proclaims it as a part of the US Cup, but the results sheets call it the Kenda Cup, so that is how I will refer to it. Each year the US Cup / Kenda Cup brings many of North America's best mountain bike racers to southern California and, but for a few familiar faces and names, this year has proven to be another step in that pattern.

I show up at a fair number of races around here each year, enough to know that there are some darned good racers in the southland. When the same winds that blew yesterdays storm out and racers from across the country, and north to Canada in, the competition just ramps up even more.

Christopher Blevins (Whole Athlete) Jr 17-18 XC National Champion.

Evelyn Dong (Cannondale 360 Fly) Not sure she even touched the wood planking of the bridge on this pass.

Women's Pro Champion at today's race, Erin Huck (Scott 3 Rox). 

When the women's race resolved itself (at about the half way point) to about five racers who I believed had a chance for the win, I thought the game was up and the veteran, Katerina Nash, would pull out the victory. Huck, Chloe Woodruff, and Larissa Connors had other plans, however. The three opened a gap over Nash and Rose Grant with about two laps to go, never letting up on the pedals. Huck finished in a time of 1:27:01, Woodruff in 1:27:15, and Connors in 1:27:23. Grant took 4th at 1:28:20, and Nash 5th in 1:29:05. 

So how did it play out lap by lap, from my one-point-in-time perspective on the lakeside of the course, bottom of the hill, as the riders started to climb back up to the top of the hill: Huck was first to come into view on the first lap, followed in quick succession by Grant, Connors, Georgia Gould, Woodruff, and Nash. For the most part everyone else was still close on this go round, but the gaps from those first six racers would continue to widen. Lap two saw Woodruff come into view first, followed by Huck, Connors, Nash, then Gould and Grant. On lap three Nash had taken the lead and, not surprisingly this is when I thought the race might be won. Connors and Huck were still chasing closely though, with Gould, Woodruff and Grant together not far behind. Lap four brought yet another change, with Woodruff taking the lead, followed by Nash, Connors, Huck, Grant, and Gould beginning to lose ground. Lap five and Woodruff was still running away at point, followed closely by Huck and Connors. A bit of a gap had opened to Nash, with another gap to Grant. On the last lap, Erin had surged ahead to begin the climb, Chloe had a gap over Larissa, with Katerina and Rose in a tight battle for fourth. Right at the little rocky outcrop past the third bridge Nash had a hiccup, just enough to allow Grant to pass her. And that is how they finished.

Passing in close proximity - Katerina Nash and Rose Grant

More to come, but I have a veritable ton of photos to go through - a lot of Cat 1, this time, and even some from the Pro mens race. For better, or worse, I plan to be at the High School League race on Sunday, so don't expect the Kenda Cup #1 album to be ready before mid-week. Today was one great day of racing, and I expect to see more in Fontana during the next round of Cup action...

So, here is your link to the Flickr album, with photos from the Cat 1, Pro women's, and a few from the Pro men's races in there. As usual, consider these representative selections, rather than a complete log of all the photos; if you don't see who you were looking for, let me know and I will gladly do a search of the photos not in the album.