Stuff Cup (Presented by Kona & The Path Bike Shop) was a huge success!
first ever XC race allowed in an OC park (The Okole Stuff Cup) was this past
Saturday at Irvine Regional Park and Santiago Oaks Park in Irvine, CA. Like the
races of old the course was lined with cheering spectators at many locations.
The racers got to experience the thrill of the crowds as they pushed there
limits to the highest level.
course itself was a throw back to the courses of the past with 1077' of
climbing per 9 mile lap and many very technical sections.
the race participants and the public were treated to great food from Wahoo's
and the chance to try out some great bikes at the Dirt Demo.
Brent Prenzlow, local southern California Cyclo Cross star
and endurance buff had this to say:
1 - Chris Heinrich (the Path), Paul Freiwald (Pivot), and Eric Bierman (Steven
K) all took turns leading out the pro group as we headed toward the
pivotal singletrack climbs. I took the lead at the bottom and set a medium-hard
pace to see how everyone was riding. I opened up a small (10 sec?) lead at
the top of Coach Whip, but was soon joined across Barham Ridge by Sean Donovan
(KHS). Donovan wanted by and I figured as a local he knew the trail so I
obliged. He went so fast down Chutes I was immediately dropped in a cloud
of dust! Soon the rest of the Pros were also backed up behind me (sorry
guys!). Donovan was out of sight, and Freiwald passed me and took up the
chase. As we crossed the deep sand & rocky dry river I moved back
into 2nd and could see Donovan at the top of the next short climb. I pinned it,
and got a gap on the chasers and successfully bridged across by the pavement
ending the lap. I moved to the front just as we completed lap 1.
2 - I could see the chase group together about 20-30 seconds back. I knew
Donovan was probably the fastest local rider here so I was hoping to work
with him on lap 2 to build a lead. Shortly into lap 2, however, I noticed
Donovan getting ready to take a feed and at that point I got a small lead. I
didn't pick up the pace, but I didn't slow either. I had no feeder and was
riding with 2 large bottles to get me to the end. I made an on the fly
decision to try and extend the lead thinking that if I built up a gap then
maybe I wouldn't get passed and/or dropped on the Chutes downhill. When I got
partway up the singletrack climb, I could see down and the chase group had
caught Donovan and they were all working together. I put in a max effort this
time up and didn't look back. I was starting to lap riders, and when I went
down Chutes I had to slow down here and there to pass safely. I hoped this
played into my advantage as the chase would need to do the same. By the bottom,
I wasn't caught so I pressed on. Finishing lap 2 alone, I could see
Donovan chasing solo with no one else in sight.
3 - I've raced Sean Donovan a few times before, and I know he's not one to
easily give up -- I had to keep the pace high the entire last lap, and
also be mistake free if I was going to hold him off. I had to pass a lot
of riders again (mainly on the singletrack climb), but everyone let me by
without incident. (Thanks everyone for yielding!) When I looked back down from
the singletrack climb, I could see Donovan a good distance back (maybe 2
minutes). I never saw him again, but as I finished "arms up" and
pulled over to catch my breath - there he was; only 1:04 back! - I knew he
wasn't going ease up! Further back, Peter Smith moved up well to round out
the podium in 3rd."
1, Brent Prenzlow 2:01:48
2, Sean Donovan 2:02:52
3, Peter Smith 2:03:41
4, Eric Bierman 2:08:40
5, Paul Freiwald 2:09:09