WORDS AND PHOTOS BY Trish Albert/Southeasterncycling.com
Another gorgeous fall day was on tap for Augusta Cross presented by the Augusta Sports Council. Lake Olmstead Park provided a lovely venue with fall colors just beginning to show. Ross Douglas put together a great course. The start was moved to the field. It then went to a series of 180 degree turns; the barriers were the next challenge. The field was followed by a short paved section, up a curb, to a long, fast off camber straight away. Next up was a little more pavement before beginning the climb to the run up. This year the run up was very steep. Only one or two riders were able to make it to the top without dismounting.
The Masters 1/2/3 riders were first as always. In the 35+, it was a battle between “Shady” Brady Rogers (Litespeed-BMW) and Eric Neely. They swapped out the lead several times, but ultimately Eric won with Brady in second. Daryl Sawyer (Fulton Flyers) edged out series leader Bob Kuhn (HUP United) for third in an exciting sprint. In the Masters 45+, Alan Burton (Fulton Flyers) took the holeshot with John Phelan (ACC) taking control two turns later. John set a pace that soon separated himself, Alan, and Mike Schmid (Deeds Publishing) from the others. As the trio approached the run up for the first time, Mike and Alan both went to the ground in separate incidents allowing John to get a gap. Mike and Alan then rode together with John maintaining a steady pace a short distance ahead. A last lap effort brought Mike and Alan to the base of the run up as John was approaching the top, but contact remained elusive. The three soloed across the line; John with the win, Mike in second and Alan third.
Although the Junior fields were small, the competition was tough. In the 15-18, the three entries stayed together for the majority of the race. Fletcher Lydick (Frasier Cycling) won, Elliot Barring (Cycle Yough) got second, and Willem Kaiser (Junior Flyers). Twin brothers Leon and Troy Waine (Junior Flyers) have stolen everyone’s hearts this year. At 9 years old, they are the youngest cross racers in the series and fierce competitors. Leon took his first win today in the 14 & under with Troy in second. They could be found ringing their new cowbells at everyone later in the day.
The Cat. 3 race was fast. Clouds of dust were stirred up as riders took off from the line. Hutch Zimmerman stood on the top podium step with series leader Ryan Murray (Nouveau Velo) in second. In the Women’s 1/2/3, Lisa Randall (Sorella Cycling), Elizabeth Lee (Garneau Factory Team), and Kim Sawyer (Fulton Flyers) got off the front and rode together until 2 to go when Kim got popped. She kept chasing while Lida and Elizabeth battled for first. Elizabeth gapped Lisa but went down in the 180 near the finish, allowing Lisa to take the win. Elizabeth got second with Kim not far behind in third.
Large fields turned out in Augusta for the Men’s Cat. 4 and Masters 4 race. Both races stayed tightly bunched for the first lap until the run up. Several riders had problems with the sharp left turn and took a tumble in the dirt. Matthew Reeves (Loose Nuts Cycles) emerged with the Cat. 4 win, and Donald Hoefer was second. In the Masters Cat. 4, local ACC rider Laddie Williams won, and Brian Murphy (C Town Bikes) took second.
In a replay of the previous two races, Thomas Turner (Jamis) took the win in the Men’s 1/2/3. David Sagat (Fuji Bikes) gave a good chase and came in 2nd. Eric Nicoletti (Faster Moustache) grabbed his first podium of the year with a third place finish.Thomas is looking on form to defend his medal at the Masters World Cyclocross Championships in January. (Mark Babcock rode the first two laps with a can of NOS in his bottle cage like an idiot. -Ed.)
Single speeders were the race finale. Series leader Aaron Pyle (ACC) took an early lead along with Daryl Sawyer and Rob Simpson (ATHCX). Aaron and Daryl worked together off the front for much of the race, but Daryl took Aaron in the sprint.