Race Report and Photos by Trish Albert/Southeasterncycling.com
Blue skies and sunshine smiled upon the Grant Park CX Cup presented by Van Michael Salon on Saturday. Nearly 300 racers made this the biggest Georgia Cross race of 2015. Some of the draw was that Grant Park was part of the National CX Calendar, which is the first step before holding a UCI race.s The course was challenging for everyone with plenty of turns, fast straightaways, and off camber. The first dismount was a double barrier at the bottom of Heckle Hill. Spectators and fellow racers congregated there to heckle, give handups, and sit on the Loose Nuts couch. The second dismount was a short set of stairs on the backside of the course. They claimed several victims that tried to ride them with flat tires.
The Elite Masters on the start line.
In the Women’s Cat. 4, two duos got away on the first lap. Amy Ross (Peacthree Bikes) took an early lead before wiping out on a turn during the second lap. Several riders including Kathryn Kadous (L5 Flyers) passed her, but she eventually made her way back up to second. Kathryn held on for the wind. Mae Gurene (Sorella Cycling) put in a hard effort on the bell lap to pass several riders and take third. The Men’s C at. 5 podium was Brad Jacobs, Matt Fisher (Red Kite Bicycles), and Eric Garlinghouse (L5 Flyers). Eighteen juniors lined up. In the 10-14, Eli Hoppenfield took an early lead that he never relinquished. Reece Latham (NCGA-Mission Source) put up a good fight and got second. Leon Waine (EPTC) was third. In the 15-18, Frazier Cycling teammates Max Lenk and Isabella Nguy stood on top.
In the Elite Masters 40+, the race started out with what felt like a comfortable tempo for the front riders. After the first lap a group separated themselves from the rest of the field. On the second lap, 4 of the 7 pulled away-Peachtree Bikes riders Wes Garland and Connell Patterson along with Litespeed-BWM teammates Darren Comer and Chris Chotas. On the final lap Connell said that he “was feeling good and decided to give it a go just as we entered the end of the pavement after passing the start finish. That created a little (just a second or two) separation between each of the remaining 4 riders. Darren rode up to me and there was a small gap between the two of us and Wes and Chris. Going into the last downhill wooded section I was able to get around Darren and elected to bunny hop the stairs creating a gap between the two of us. Thankfully I was able to maintain the gap for my first elite masters win!” Darren was second with Chris in third. In the Elite Masters 50+, Bobby Thrash (Adventure Cycles) took the holeshot followed closely by Jeff Clayton (Georgia Neuro), Dub Smith and Alan Burton (both Toyota Forklifts). The four jockeyed for position with Bobby eventually dropping back from the others and Jeff sliding out on a greasy off camber section. Jeff was able to quickly rejoin Dub and Alan. The lead trio took turns on the front trying to distance themselves from the other two until Dub gained about 15 seconds on them. Alan sat of Jeff’swheel into the fourth lap until Dub’s lead was firmly established. Alan then passed Jeff and began a solo pursuit of his teammate. Alan reduced the gap to Dub, but Dub was determined to not be caught, burying himself in the final minutes to stay clear and take the win with Alan four seconds behind. Jeff was third.
The Elite Women’s field saw 16 strong ladies vying for the $1500 purse. Continuing a GACX tradition, payouts were equal for the Elite Women and Elite Men. Very quickly Lisa Randall (SuperSport) and Kim Blodgett (Atlanta Beltline Bicycles) distanced themselves from the cx peloton. Brittany “BHop” Montgomery (Sorella Cycling), Rhy May (LNC Racing), Jean Miller (Sorella Cycling), and Susie Farmer (Privateer CX) gave chase but could not catch them. An untimely flat mid-race took out Jean. Lisa, who is more known for her climbing abilities, outsprinted Kim for the win. In the post-race interview a smiling Lisa said,” That is the first sprint I’ve ever won!” BHop turned herself inside out to claim the final podium spot. In the Men’s Cat. 4 race, Junior Jack Rexter (Frazier Cycling) topped the nearly 50 rider strong field. Kenneth Ingersoll took second with Chris Bulloch (Faster Mustache) in third.
Frank Trevieso (UHN-706) and Nick Van Winkle (Litespeed-BMW) leading the Elite Men in the middle of the race.
With fast course conditions, the Elite Men stayed together much of the first two laps. Eventually, a group containing Frank Trevieso (UHC-706), Tristan Cowie (Mock Orange Bikes), Nick Van Winkle (Litespeed-BMW), and Arthur Sagat (Ms. Roses). Everyone took the lead at some point during the race. At one point a mechanical took out Tristan, but he was able to bridge to the group on the final lap. Frank pipped Tristan at the line for the win. Nick was third. In the Cat. 3 race, Darren Comer took his second podium of the day with the win. Brian Field was second, and Tim Mondor (Alpha Bikes) took third.
Serious prizes were on the line in the Singlespeed race—rubber shakes and frosty beverages. Brendan Cornett (Litespeed-BMW) wanted to make sure that he got some. He pulled away at the start and left everyone in his wake. Toyota Forklift teammates Murphy David and Dave Marbut worked together but could not reel Brendan in. Further back in the pack, a racer was seen on his city bike complete with basket and cute bell. Eric Nicolette (Fast Mustache) put in a valiant effort for a midpack finish on his tandem cargo bike without a stoker. Brendan crossed the line first. Murphy and Dave were second and third respectively. All three Singlespeeders were delighted with their rubber snakes. The Masters 35+ Cat. 4/5 riders had a huge field. Tim Marshall (Incycle Bike) took the win followed by Robert Conaster (Reality Bikes) and Jeph Burgoon (Smyrna Bicycles).