Savannah Race Report – Day One

With Hurricane Sandy swirling just offshore, Saturday’s racers weren’t sure what the weather would bring. A deluge? Winds knocking riders off bikes and into crocodile-infested waters? Fortunately (or unfortunately for those hoping for epic conditions), the weather stayed at bay and racers lined up in breezy, overcast conditions to test their skills through sandy turns, over a flyover run-up, and through the Spiral of Death.

Masters Elite racers started the day’s racing with a furious pace. In the Master’s 35+ race, Eric Neely (Hincapie Sports) and Daryl Sawyer (Toyota Forklift/FFCC) established a gap early on, with Nate Sibley (Scott Bikes) being the last racer left to give chase. With two to go, Eric pulled away from Daryl and stayed away for the win. Daryl finished 2nd, and Nate’s lone chasing efforts earned him a 3rd. In the 45+ race, John Phelan (ACC) took an early lead and held off Michael Schmid (Deeds Publishing) for the win. Dub Smith (Toyota Forklift/FFCC) was 3rd.

The action continued in the Junior and Women’s 4 races. In the Junior 15 – 18 race, Haegan Altizer (Junior Flyers) took off for 1st, while teammate Willem Kaiser finished 2nd. In the Junior 14 and Under category, dynamic duo Leon and Troy Waine (Junior Flyers) duked it out for 1st and 2nd place, with Leon emerging victorious. In the Women’s 4, Florida rider Anne Moore (Moody/Evergreen) escaped early on and crossed the line first. Kim Pounders (Smyrna Bikes) and Jennifer Undutch (Sorella Cycling) were 2nd and 3rd, respectively.

In Men’s 3 race, Ryan Murray (Noauveau Velo) got a gap and held it to take first. Aaron Pyle (ACC) and Hutch Zimmerman (Roswell Bikes) could not match his efforts and finished in 2nd and 3rd with good rides. In the Women’s Elite race, Shannon Greenhill (Peachtree Bikes) eventually pulled away, with Elizabeth Lee (Louis Garneau Factory Team) and Paula Burks (USSC-Trek p/b Vantaggio) chasing together. Kim Sawyer (Toyota Forklift/FFCC) finally crossed the gap and joined in the chase. After Paula crashed into a barrier, Kim and Elizabeth pulled away from Paula and closer to Shannon. Shannon stayed away for 1st, with Elizabeth taking 2nd and Kim 3rd.

The Men’s 4 and Men’s 4 35+ categories were next to toe the line. When the dust had settled, David Lavenhagen (352 Racing) pulled off a convincing 1st, with Austin Sholly and Charlie Putnal (Big Ring Racing) taking 2nd and 3rd in the Men’s 4 race. In the 35+ race, Todd Leedy (352 Racing) showed his domination by taking 1st, with Chip Larkby (Team GB) and William Bartley (Cyclocrossworld.com) rounding out the podium.

With dusk falling, the Men’s Elite race took the stage. Thomas Turner (Team Jamis) again stamped his authority on the race, finishing 1st. David Sagat (Fuji Bikes) and Doug Ollershsaw (Litespeed-BMW) battled it out for 2nd and 3rd.

In the last race of the day, Singlespeed action under lights (combined with relentless heckling by the Florida racing contingent) provided entertainment for all. Amidst the taunts, Aaron Pyle (ACC) and David Marbut (Toyota Forklift/FFCC) pulled away early to eventually finish 1-2 in an exciting sprint. Christian Ahrens (352 Racing) was third.

After a long day of hard racing, riders headed out in search of food (or beer–or both) and sleep in an effort to recover enough to do it all again on day two of the Savannah Superprestige Cyclocross Race.

David Sagat puts the hammer down on his way to both 2nd place and the complete ruination of the sport of cyclocross.

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