Photos & Report: How to Win at CX: Proper Motivation is All it Takes

What motivates a cyclocross rider to perform at his or her highest potential? Fame? Money? Ego? The love of a good wo/man? In Brent Prenzlow’s case, it’s being stuck in stop-and-go freeway traffic.

Prenzlow was the big winner at round three of the 2012-13 SoCalCross Prestige Series, held at Casa Pacifica near Camarillo, California. This is a lovely facility dedicated to children and families needing a little extra support in their lives.

Prenzlow (Celo Pacific) was almost a no-show. According to the Carlsbad resident, “I almost turned around in Orange County after an hour of bumper-to-bumper traffic. But I decided to keep going and made it just 45 minutes before my race. I had to win to make it worth all the effort to get here.”

Opening round victor Brandon Gritters (Rock n’ Road) didn’t make it easy, however. Gritters put considerable pressure on Prenzlow repeatedly on this relatively flat course, but repeatedly had issues with its prominent feature: a couple of long, deep, twisty sand sections that were giving riders fits all day.

Ultimately this “California mud” was the deciding factor. As Gritters explained, “We were mickey mousing for the last two laps. He was on my wheel, waiting and waiting. I didn’t think he was going to go, then he went right before the first sand section on the last lap and I wasn’t ready. He kind of caught me sleeping. He gained five seconds right there and I could not get them back.”

Anton Petrov (SDG/Felt p/b IRT) came from way behind to prevail in a duel with Kyle Gritters (Rock n’ Road). “Kyle and I rode together for a couple of laps and then I attacked on the last lap because he’s a really strong roadie and I didn’t want to have to sprint against him. He crashed right behind me in the sand and that was it,” said Petrov.

Carolin Shiff (SDG) made it three-for-three for the season in Women’s A, withstanding a bit of early pressure from multi-time national champion and current international road pro Alexis Ryan (The TEAM SoCalCross).

Said Shiff, “I heard Alexis is very strong and she was on my wheel for over two laps, but then she was gone and I was able to ride my own race. Winning is always nice.” Shiff crossed the finish line holding up three fingers, almost half a minute in front of second place.

That was Ryan, who held off the advances of Amanda Schaper (Ritte CX Team). Schaper became yet another victim of the sand pit with less than half a lap to go, giving Ryan some much-needed breathing room.

As Ryan explained with a wry smile, “This is supposed to be my off season. I haven’t raced since the World Championships in Netherlands a month ago. I haven’t done any intensity training at all.”

Schaper crossed the line 15 seconds later for third. She had competed in and won the Women’s Single Speed class only moments before this race, but didn’t feel that it had been a detriment. “I think it helped me learn the course. I rode much better in that second race,” she stated.

Next up is the infamous Spooky Cross and Krosstober-Fest on October 20-21. This is part of the inaugural L.A. Bikefest, which will be rollicking at the Fairplex in Pomona. For details, click here. Rounds six and seven will take place farther south the following weekend, October 27-28, with the San Diego CX Weekend. For additional series info, visit

Report & Photos By Phil Beckman / PB Creative

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