Almanac

Sports - February 20, 2013

Kramer wins Cyclo-cross title

Henry Kramer of Menlo Park won the men's 55-59 UCI Cyclocross Masters World Championship on Jan. 31 in Louisville, Kentucky.

Racing for the California Giant Berry Farms team, Kramer finished the three-lap race in 37 minutes and 43 seconds, just 4 seconds ahead of the second place finisher, Randy Fields. The world championship is an event Kramer has competed in 10 times, eight times in Belgium.

A sportsman who has been bicycle racing for 30 years, he says cyclocross racing has "quite a group of riders in Northern California, especially around Santa Cruz. This is one of six master titles that has been brought back to the Bay Area. Several of us hope to defend our titles next season, which will probably mean returning to Europe."

This is the first time in its 64-year history that the championship has been held outside Europe, he said.

According to Wikipedia, cyclocross is a form of bicycle racing that is strongest in the traditional road-cycling countries, such as Belgium, France and the Netherlands. Races typically take place in the fall or winter and consist of many laps of a short course featuring pavement, wooded trails, grass, steep hills and obstacles, requiring the rider to dismount, carry the bike, and remount.

One story about the origins of cyclocross is that European roadracers in the early 1900s would race each other to the next town over and were allowed to cut through farmers' fields, over fences, or take any other shortcuts in order to win. This was a way for them to stay in shape during the winter months and put a twist on roadracing, says Wikipedia.

Henry Kramer grew up in Menlo Park, where he lives with his wife, Holly, and daughter, Kate. He attended Menlo School and the University of Colorado. For the past 30 years he has operated Econo Tree Service, a tree-care company based in Redwood City.

Asked if his daughter, a freshman at Menlo-Atherton High School, will carry on the cycling tradition, he notes she is too busy as a competitive horseback rider and lacrosse player.

Of his recent win he says: "It is a proud moment for us and our community to bring this jersey back home to Northern California and the Bay Area. Winning it allows one to wear it for the following season and from then on don the rainbow stripes forever."

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