WORDS AND PHOTOS BY Trish Albert/Southeasterncycling.com
Serenbe is a beautiful community about 30 minutes outside of Atlanta. Usually the races out there are late in the season, dry, and cool. Not in 2014–cool temperatures, over 2 inches of rain, plenty of mud, and even some lightening. Peachtree Bikes really knows how to throw a party! Racers of legal age got a beer glass with their entry that they could use to take advantage of the keg, which may or may not have been tapped before the first race began. Not wanting to lose time trying to find a cup after preriding, one racer was seen previewing the course with a solo cup in his jersey pocket. An announcer provided the wet crowds with race updates. Huge cowbells and honking horns were everywhere on the course, especially by the mudpit and on the backside of the barn. The two horses were not quite sure what to make of the entire melee.
The Single Speeders had the advantage of not worrying about having to shift in the mud. Their drivetrains were not affected by the early morning slop. Matthew Reeves (LNC), Troy Dunton (GS Tenzin), and Dave Marbut (Toyota Forklifts) separated themselves from the pack. Within the first quarter lap, Matthew led followed a few seconds later by Troy. Dave trailed about 5 seconds back. Into the third lap, Matthew came through with Dave next. Troy slid out and got a mud bath, which put him further back in the field. Matthew rode home for the win. Dave was second, and Troy recovered for third. In the Masters 4/5 race, Jeff Hopkins (EPTC) got the holeshot with the the L5 Flyers train of Conor McNally, Robbin Ralman, Dawson Morton, and Paul Latinga hot on his heels. Midway through the race Jeff, Mike Albaneso (Outback Bikes), and Mark Baldwin (Faster Mustache) broke up the lead group and turned up the heat as the mud was churned. With 2 laps to go Corny Delasalas (SoPo Bikes) used his running and scuba skills to pass everyone but Conor. On the last lap, he caught up with Conor at the mud pit before the barriers. Corny would lead the duo up the hill and put in one last dig, but Conor stuck to his wheel and pulled away on the downhill for the win. Corny finished second with Mark Baldwin claiming the last podium spot.
The Elite Masters love to play in the mud. Tim Barrett (Toyota Forklifts) put on a one man demonstration of how to handle some of the worst race conditions in the 35+. He has always been known for his bike handling skills. Tim flew through every mud puddle, the sand, and anything else the course threw at him. He got away early and stayed there until he crossed the finish line in victory. Nate Sibley (Atlanta Cycling) and Darren Comer (Litespeed-BWM) rounded out the podium. In the Masters 45+ the victory was no so easy. Several riders played cat-and-mouse throughout the race. Ultimately, Michael Schmid (Reality Bikes) won Charles Rossignol (Litespeed-BWM). State Champion Grayson Tudor (Peachtree Bikes) was third. Congratulatory handshakes were given all around after a hard race.
The first two races were spared anything other than drizzle. Not the 11:15 race. They got down poured on the entire time. The Men’s Cat. 5 saw a but competitive field. Tim Mondor got first. Zach Holmes was second, and Michael Packard was third. In the Juniors 15-18, Ian Garrison (Mission Source/NCGA) took the win followed by Blake Wilson (Frazier Cycling) and Mikey Waine (EPTC). Youngsters love to play in the mud. Several first timers came out for the Juniors 10-14. Smiles were seen the entire race as for once parents did not care how dirty their kids got. Michael Garrison completed the Mission Source/NCGA sweep of Junior wins. His teammate Owen Braunecker was second. Leon Wayne got third. With 2 of the fastest Cat. 4 Women having upgraded in the last 2 weeks, the Women’s Cat. 4 field was wide open. Anna Frey took the win followed by Barbara Chandler and Amy Ross (Peachtree Bikes).
Ten Women’s 1/2/3 racers braved the elements to have fun in the mud. With $50 on the line for the Sandpit Holeshot, Rhys May (LNC) slogged her way to the front to take the cash. With the holeshot competition out of the way, Shannon Greenhill (Peachtree Bikes) and Kim Blodgett came around. Shannon’s triathlon background and half Ironman amateur win this summer came in handy as she swam, biked, and ran her way around the course. A little further back, Amy Frank (ALTX) and Trish Albert (Sorella Cycling) decided to break out their kayaks. Shannon held on for the win. Kim was second, and new Cat. 3 Jenna Downey (Peachtree Bikes) was third. One first place was not enough for Ian Garrison. He won the Men’s Cat. 4. Jason Wolfe (Outspokin-Woodstock) and Liam Ainslie (UGA) rounded out the podium.
Course conditions deteriorated throughout the day if that was possible given that they were already terrible for the first race. The Men’s 1-2 got off to a fast start. As has been the case for most races, Frank Travieso (UHC/706), Artur Sagat (RHR), and Nick Van Winkle (Litespeed-BMW) were off the front in the first lap. Eventually, Frank gapped Nick, who in turn, gapped Artur. With his win, Frank said, “I think I’m a cyclocrosser now.” Nick came in second, and Artur was third. In the Men’s Cat. 3, Trevor Harding hopped up on the highest podium step. He was joined by LNC teammates Matthew Reeves and Kinzer Hewitt.