Report & Photos: US Cup Mountain Bikes Sizzle at Sycamore

It was a perfect Sunday for a barbeque, as long as you liked sunscreen on your meat. The fifth round of the 2013 Kenda Cup West Series served up the first real shot of summer in Southern California, with temperatures topping the 90 degree mark under a blazing sun at Sycamore Canyon Park.

Casey Williams (Whole Athlete/Specialized) handled the toasty conditions like it was just another day at his mountain home in nearby Big Bear. This 19-year-old up-and-comer has been on fire this season, posting several impressive rides against the best in the country in his quest to be part of the U.S. team competing at this year’s World Championships in South Africa at the end of August. Williams has trained and raced there before.

Photos By Phil Beckman/PB Creative 

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Williams smoked his four laps on the fast, rolling, baked adobe, sand and slick rock in a time of just 1:12:31, finishing nearly two minutes up on first round winner and series leader Charles Jenkins (KHS/Cytomax). Veterans Matt Freeman (Cyclery USA) and Garnet Vertican (Bear Valley Bikes) sweated out third and fourth place respectively, while Durango, Colorado’s, Miguel Ramos (Bear Valley Bikes) completed the Pro Men’s podium.

Deyanira Guerrero (Veloz/Ellsworth) was in a class of her own in the Pro Women’s race — literally. An unfortunately thin turnout from the local ladies saw small fields in most of the gals’ divisions. Guerrero blistered her three-lap race in a time of 1:35:41.

But the fastest female of the day turned out to be 36-year-old Cat 1 Alison Jones (Rokform/Rock n’ Road), who did the same distance in a sweltering 1:23:27. Next best at this distance was triathlete/cyclocrosser Amanda Nauman (SDG/Felt) who rode alone in the Cat 1 19-29 class to a 1:36:04.

Also worthy of mention — and the heavenly ice cold towels being issued at the finish line by promoting organization Team Big Bear — were the scorching results of Cat 1 hotshots Shane Skelton (17-18, Whole Athlete), Brodie Stringer (25-29, Team Muscle Milk), Steve Boniface (30-34, Blackstar), Nathan Lloyd (40-44, Family Cycling) and Victor Sheldon (45-49, Giant). Their class-winning times would have put them all on the Pro Men’s podium.

Next on the schedule is the venerable Sage Brush Safari near Lake Morena in south-central San Diego County on May 19. Only two more events remain on the calendar. For complete results, point standings and more info on the Kenda Cup West Series, visit

Words and Photos by Phil Beckman/PB Creative