WORDS AND PICTURES BY Trish Albert/Souteastercycling.com
Typical early Georgia cross season weather greeted riders for the Jim R. Miller Park Cyclocross Race in Marietta. Mostly cloudy skies gave way to sun in the afternoon, which drove temperatures above 75 degrees. With a lack of rain the last few weeks, the course was dry and dusty. The course was run the traditional counterclockwise direction. Three dismounts provided a challege for the riders–barriers on the backside, the Infamous Red Clay Runup, and barriers in the field. Riders also enjoyed Dutch Letters on the far side. Comments about the course after the race included “best course ever” and “fantastic course.”
While final numbers are not in, there were 261 race finishers, which may be a Georgia Cross attendance record.
First up were the Elite Masters. In the 35+, the battle for first was between Brian “Sven” DeLoughy (Bikeman) and Brady Rogers (Litespeed-BMW). Midway through the race, it looked like Brady would win as Brian fell back several places. He rallied, though, and was able to make his way back to the front to finish first. In the Masters 45+, John Phelan (ACC) took his first win of the year. Series leader Michael Schmid (Deeds Publishing) finished second and retained the series lead.
The second race of the day was the Juniors and Cat. 4 Women. In the Juniors 15-18, Adam Christopher (Cycle Youth) won with Luke Broadwell (Junior Flyers) in second. In the Juniors 10-14, Davis Branyon (Frazier Cycling) was first, and Michael Garrison (Junior Flyers) was second. The huge Cat. 4 Women’s field saw a three way battle for first place. Amanda Green (US Stove-Vantaggio), Crystal Henry (Mystique Cycling Team), and 14 year old Salma Huque (Junior Flyers) took off within the first quarter lap. They quickly gained almost a minute on a small chase group. Amanda and Crystal would pull away from Salma after dismounts, and experienced track racer Salma would pull them back on the flat sections. Amanda took the win and retained her series leader’s jersey. Crystal was second, and Salma finished a few seconds behind to take third.
The Men’s Cat. 3 race was exciting as always. Ryan Murray (Nouveau Velo) won, and David Hicks (Homesmart/L5 Flyers) got second. In the Women’s 1/2/3, a group of 5 got off the front on the first lap: Shannon Greenhill (Peachtree Bikes), Elizabeth Lee (Garneau Factory Team), Paula Burks (US Stove-Vantaggio), Cheryl Fuller-Muller (Louis Garneau Factory Team), and Kim Sawyer (Fulton Flyers). Shannon and Elizabeth soon broke away from the group and were being chased by Kim and Paula. Shannon won for the second weekend in a row, and Elizabeth finished right behind her. Paula got third.
Combined, the Cat. 4 race had almost 100 entries between Cat. 4 and Masters 35+ Cat. 4. The Cat. 4s took off first, leaving a huge dust cloud in their wake. When the haze cleared, Austin Sholly was on the top step of the podium, and Donald Hoefer was second. In a very competitive Masters Cat. 4 field, Kenneth Fischer (Reality Bikes) took the win with Riveria Chanel in second.
The Men’s 1/2/3 race saw over 20 riders. As usual, Thomas Turner (Jamis) took the early lead, which he never relenquished. The battle for the rest of the podium was on. A group formed that would number between 3 and 5 for the duration of the race. Midway through the race, Brandon Pruett (Rome Velo) broke away and went solo. Spencer Whittier (HUB Endurance), Mclean Harris (Smyrna Bicycles), David Sagat (Fuji Bikes), and Dave Gearhart (Litespeed-BMW)
With 3 to go, Mclean crashed, and with 2 to go, Spencer and David S. fell off pace. Dave sprinted past Brandon on the backside rode going into the entry area of county services parking lot prior to the hard right hand before the dirt road. Dave got a gap, but he threw of the chain after the runup. After a struggle to put it back on, Dave watched Brandon pass him and ride away for 2nd place. Dave hung on for 3rd.
The Singlespeed field continues to grow as well. Singlespeed gearing can be a challenge. Racers want to run a large enough gear not to spin out too much on the flats but small enough to be able to ride up the climbs. A small group formed on the front during the first lap. By the third lap, Tim Barrett (Roswell Bicycles) was by himself. He held on for the win. Aaron Pyle (ACC) took second.