by Annette Padilla
November 4, 2009; Oceanside, CA, USA: 100 elite victories. Wow. Brent Prenzlow raced to win the Prestige Series “Storm the Beach” cyclocross elite men’s race Sunday. Prenzlow races for Celo Pacific Bicycle Racing Team and B+L Bikes (www.celopacific.org). With a gap over Sho Air’s Pro Mountain Biker Sid Taberlay, Brent was again at the top of the podium. But it wasn’t just another win.
Saturday’s win was special for Prenzlow, who won his 100th elite men’s race in front of family, friends, and supporters, including his mechanic Gordon Yeager. The crowd was screaming and cheering for a man who loves ‘cross. His friends shook his hand, hugged him and his wife, and gave him a Belgian beer after the race.
It was also a special win for those of us who race cyclocross in Southern California, as we got to witness our top rider achieve such a major milestone.
Prenzlow says “he’s addicted to cross,” and loves to train and race. As a category one racer, Brent is a unique and talented athlete. He’s easy going and highly respected among his teammates and the other cyclocrossers. Brent has been racing cyclocross for fifteen years and was among the first key guys who started promoting cross racing in Southern California with the 5-race SoCal Cross Cup in 2002. That series has now grown into a much larger 15-event Southern California Prestige Series (www.socalcross.com). Brent has contributed to the ‘cross community by leading practices and providing instruction on techniques such as how to get over the barriers smoothly. Currently, he volunteers numerous hours to Celo Pacific as their webmaster, tracking and posting race results every weekend to support the team’s racing.
When not racing, Prenzlow works full time at the Hewlett Packard’s Rancho Bernardo site where he is a technical software engineer. He rides to work and back as part of his training or his wife, Gail, drops him off, then he rides home. It’s a hilly 25 mile commute one way.
“I cannot believe I made it to 100,” says Prenzlow. Neither can we, but the official results speak for themselves (see his plamares here). When asked about the beach course on Sunday, he says “I enjoy racing in the deep sand and creating challenging courses”.John Behrens, co-founder of Bailey Bikes and a previous teammate of Brent’s with Celo, adds that the man who raced in red booties is a mentor to everyone in ‘cross. Through Prenzlow’s leadership and providing tips in travel, training, and racing, Behrens, who lines up at the start with Brent, has advanced categories in cyclocross to the elite level. “Brent keeps on getting faster and faster,” says John. “He is efficient and smooth over and over again.”
Race announcer Larry Longo says Prenzlow is truly gifted because “nobody wins 100 elite races.”
Future dreams of the “King of Cross” as some call him, include standing on the highest podium at the December Cyclocross Nationals in Bend, Oregon for the highly competitive 40-44 age category and plans for pro mountain bike racing locally in the NORBA series. He hopes to race the new Specialized 29er mountain bike for Celo and B+L. Maybe he will complete a double century-the next 100 in the dirt on a mountain bike? Stay tuned.