Black Mountain XC and Marathon - San Diego, California
Racers and Chasers Winter Series
Written by: Jens Raz
Winter, southern California’s shortest season is still blessed with good
weather and plenty of daylight. Talking full advantage of this, Robert Herber
set up a 4-event series that includes both cross country and Marathon events. Thanks to Robert’s great relationship with
local park rangers he has the ability and approval to use some of San Diego’s most
fun and unique trails. The sold out event went off without a hitch complete
with new timing chips that kept track of individual laps.
Racers and Chasers participants were
able to assist Robert in donating another $450, this time to East Lake High
School’s mountain bike team.
Race conditions this weekend were just about
perfect. The 7am start for the marathon came with a chilly start but higher
temperatures were to be expected for the afternoon. Notably absent in the
marathon (due to recent injury) but present to cheer was Guy Sutton (Cal Coast.)
Fighting for victory were Irish mountain goat Bryan Taylor (Zumwalts Cyclery)
and Sean Donovan (CytomaxKHS.) Sean the veteran pro racer and soil engineer
competing on a 650b hard tail got a great start. The pro’s got to start with
the expert racers on top of the 2 mile descent topping out a 40+mph.
Bryan Taylor had this to say: "I didn’t get a good start, was in 10th place or so going
down the first descents. I moved up on the first climb but could only get to 3rd,
Jens Raz and Sean Donovan had created a bit of a gap - tried to close down the
gap but my legs were not responding. I managed to catch Jens on the steep powerline
climb, (26%+) but by that time Sean had broken away. I settled in to an
uneventful few laps riding pretty much alone, trying to keep myself motivated
to keep on a pace that might allow 6 laps. However, I knew by the start of lap
4 that I was going to miss the 3 ½ hour cut-off by a few minutes, although at
least by then I had the whole cross country field ahead of me to provide some
company. Up ahead Donovan completed his 5th lap within the 3 ½
hour cut-off and completed 6 laps taking 1st place.”
Sean Donovan 6 Laps 4:06:04.6
Taylor 5 Laps 3:35:21.7
The veteran strong
man Sean Donovan is the first competitor to have completed 6 laps for the
marathon. That is close to 60 miles in just over 4hrs and 6 minutes with 8,000’
of climbing. Check out his average lap times on Racers and Chasers website to
see how he faired compared to the cross country racers.
The 3-lap cross country pro’s had some old and new faces.
Brent Prenzlow (Celo Paific) fresh off his cyclocross season was joined by a
stacked field including perineal favorite Dana Weber (Pro Bike Supply), Nate
Whitman (Herbalife 24), Hal Helbock (Cytomax/KHS) and boy wonder Zach Valdez
racing for the United States junior national mountain biking team.
The gauntlet was thrown by the
young gun Zach Valdez. He took an early lead halfway through the first lap and never
looked back. Increasing his lead to an incredible 3 minutes off 2ndplaced Dana and 4 minutes over 3rd place finisher Brent Prenzlow.
The junior’s efforts awarded his sweat with $300
2. Dana Weber 1:49:34.9
3. Brent Prenzlow
4. Hal Helbock 1:51:01.4
5. Nate Whitman 1:55:57.3