WORDS AND PHOTOS BY Trish Albert/Southeasterncycling.com
For years riders clamored for an intown Atlanta Georgia Cyclocross venue. Bring cyclocross racing closer to The People! Last year, the wish was granted. For 2015 Litespeed-BMW and L5 Flyers teamed up to host the Grant Park CX race, which doubled as the Georgia State Cyclocross Championships. Mother Nature provided a stunningly beautiful day with nothing but sunshine and warm temperatures. No mud was to be found, but there was plenty of dust on the twisty, turny course. A set of barriers on a hill on the backside and the infamous Green Monster Run-Up provided the day’s obstacles. The GMRU was the scene of the party of the year! Hundreds of spectators lined the hill with handups consisting of adult beverages, pickled herring, Fireballs, and donuts. Rumor has it the white wine handups were the biggest hit. Cowbells could be heard clanging all over the park as the adoring public cheered on the racers. Attendance records were broken by many divisions. A final total isn’t available yet, but the GPCX had the largest turn out ever for a Georgia Cross Race!
The Single Speeders and Masters 4/5 racers showed up en. Among the racers were Dan McCarthy (Smyrna Bicycles) as Wonder Woman, Erik Nicoletti (Faster Mustache) as Walter White from Breaking Bad complete in his tighty whiteys and riding a tandem, and several riders braving jorts. The Single Speeders went off first. The course lent itself to keeping groups together, and the front group formed quickly. It included David Marbut (Toyota Forklifts), Matthew Reeves (LNC), and McLean Harris (Smyrna Bicycles). The three played leapfrog until the final lap. Matthew was able to put a small gap on David and take the coveted red, white, and blue jersey. McLean came in for third. A fast start to the 4/5 Masters race had Mike Albaneso (Outback Bikes), Conor McNally (L5 Flyers), and Jeff Hopkins riding to the front, chased by Mark Baldwin (Faster Mustache) and Corny Delasalas (SoPo Bikes). As Conor rode off, Mike faded, and Jeff slipped on a sandy hairpin. Mark, Conry, and a surging Mathew Sexton (Reality Bikes) took advantage of the bobble and sailed past. Conor would take the win followed by Mark and Corny.
The Elite Masters were fighting for three jerseys: 35+, 45+, and 55+.. The Masters 35+ wasted no time getting racing started. Chris Lessing (Round Here Racing) took off like a rocket. He was chased by Tim Barrett (Toyota Forklifts) , Nate Sibly (Atlanta Cycling), and Chris Wyatt (Peachtree Bikes). They couldn’t catch Chris, who held on for the victory. Tim was second, and Nate was third. The Masters 45+ and 55+ started together. Charles Rossignol (Litespeed-BMW) took the early lead followed closely by Dub Smith (Toyota Forklifts) and Brady Rogers (Litespeed-BMW) with the rest of the field strung out behind. By the second lap Michael Schmid (Reality Bikes) had worked his way through the field to join the leaders while close behind was Grayson Tudor (Peachtree Bikes) looking for a piece of the action for himself. A battle ensued amongst this lead group for several laps. Brady was eventually purged with a mechanical, and Charles falling victim to the relentless pace. With the finish near, the remaining trio had to determine who would stand on which box. Concluding that a solo victory would work for him, Grayson rode clear leaving Dub and Michael to fight it out for second. With the finish line just ahead, Dub fell victim to a mis-shift opening the door for Michael to take second place at the line. Charles hung on for fourth holding off the charging duo of Scott Staubach (Peachtree Bikes) and Kirk Corsello (THL Automotive) who had overtaken Brady. The 55+ Elder Statesman of GACX put in a hard fought battle. Lamar Mauney (Toyota Forklifts) took the jersey. Joining him on the podium were Jim Behning (CTown Bikes) and Michael Johnson (Mission Source).
The Women’s Cat. 4 saw over 25 racers. Jenna Downey (Peachtree Bikes) took the win followed by Ana Baile (L5 Flyers), and Ali Whittier (HUB Endurance Chattanooga). The Juniors came out in force this weekend! In the Juniors 10-14, Michael Garrison (Mission Source) won. Harrison Nguy (Frazier Cycling) was second with Leon and Troy Waine (Junior Flyers) in third and fourth. Not to be outdone by his younger brothers, Mikey Waine (EPTC) won the sprint for the jersey in the Juniors 15-18, adding to his impressive palmares for the year. Blake Johnson came across for second. Willem Kaiser (Mission Source) took third. The Men’s Cat. 5 race was won by Zach Holmes. Andrew Rytlewski followed with Tim Mondor in third.
The Women’s 1/2/3 race awarded two State Championship jerseys—Cat. 1-2 and Cat. 3. The race within the race was what Cat. 3 would cross the line first and take it? The ladies wasted no time and strung the field out on the road. By the first run up, Paula Burks (Peachtree Bikes) and Lisa Randall (Super Sport) broke away. The chase was on! Rhys May (LNC), Elizabeth Lee (Loganville Ford), Leigh Hopkins, Kim Sawyer (Toyota Forklifts), and Kim Blodgett were trying to get them. Eventually, Paula and Lisa pulled away, never to be seen again. On the final lap, they were still together. Paula got a slight edge over Lisa on the Green Monster and took the win by 3 seconds. Kim Blodgett was third. Coming in a strong 6th, Rhys took the Cat. 3 jersey. In the Men’s Cat. 4 Blake Zorn (Peachtree Bikes) stepped up to receive the State Championship jersey. Joining him on the podium were Jason Wolfe (Outspokin-Woodstock) and Andrew Luettgen (Wrenched Bicycles).
The Pro/1/2 race was exciting to watch! Four riders took off at the beginning-Nick Van Winkle (Litespeed-BMW), Spencer Whittier (HUB Endurance Chattanooga), Frank Trevieso (UHC/706 Project), and last week’s winner Artur Sagat (Round Here Racing). Nick moved to the front with 4 laps to go; however, Spencer was hot on his tail. Riders got jumbled the next lap. Frank moved into second with Artur and Spencer chasing. Nick continued to increase his lead. In the end he had plenty of time to celebrate his win. He fell off of his bike into the arms of his teammates in victory. Artur had passed Frank out on the course, and he rolled in for second. Frank followed shortly thereafter. In the Men’s Cat. 3, Eric Kirk (LNC) didn’t want to be outdone by his girlfriend, Rhys. He won a jersey, too. Trevor Harding and Zach Lutz (ALTX) rounding out the podium.