The course was in sharp contrast to yesterdays race in Magnasun or even anything we have seen this season so far. It started off innocent enough with a bunch of grassy infield turns then quickly got crazy with a super steep hard run up, followed by very muddy/rocky singletrack, then a greasy muddy long descent that dropped into a mud field and ended with several greasy off camber muddy sections, through a horse barn, and repeat. The Cycle U - PopCap riders were licking their chops.....this was their kind of course.
With cold temps and rain coming down, Sean Kelsey, Chad Berg, and Evan Renwick went off. Berg got the hole shot as they snaked through the infield with teammate Kelsey right on his wheel. As they started the run-up, both Kelsey and Berg had every intention to be first to the top so they could get into the muddy trails first. The race might not be won there, but it could be lost if you were to get caught behind someone struggling in the tight technical sections. The plan worked, and when Berg and Kelsey completed the first lap, they had nearly a ten second gap on the field. Kelsey and Berg continued to hammer through the technical sections with only Audi's Todd Davis being able to bridge up early on. Kelsey continued to storm the course winning by over a minute to take the win. A little redemption for the previous days race, and Cycle U - PopCap's first win of the year. Kelsey later stated, "The win is for everyone on the team for doing such a great job. It's a true team effort and I couldn't ask for a better group of teammates."
Berg came in a couple minutes later with a solid 6th place and immediately pedaled over to Kelsey for a congrats hug and "atta boy".
In the Elite race, Renwick fought through the course,experiencing a little back aching but marched on to finish in 14th riding much of his race in no man's land.
Melanie Lewis and Kristi Berg took the start after the men, with high motivation after witnessing Kelseys impressive win. The girls got a good start through the grass and headed up the run-up and into the mayhem. The women's field was spread out very quickly with gaps between every rider as the rains continued to poor down. Lewis finished in 3rd place and Berg came in shortly after in 6th.
All day long the Cycle U - PopCap riders kept the mechanics in the pits busy, with lots of bike changes due to the brutal conditions on the course. Their commitment to their riders was on full display Sunday, and played a major role in the success of the team.
After the race, the team celebrated Kelsey's win with some cheap Champagne that tasted.....oh so good!
Next stop is Sunday, Nov. 6th for S.C.X.#5 at Steilacoom.
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