Theme of the week: Best “Philisms”
Smyrna Bicycles and the Toyota Forklift team ordered perfect southern fall weather for the third round of the Georgia Cross Series. It rained heavily on Friday, so riders were unsure what kind of conditions to expect on the course. Boundary Waters Park has a mix of terrain and soil types. Except for two big mud holes on the climb, the rest of the course was in perfect shape. The course was similar to past years with a fast, flat section in the field punctuated by a set of barriers. There was a fast downhill to a sharp left turn in the woods and then a bit more flat. The climb is the biggest obstacle during the race. About half of the racers could ride it; everyone else was forced to run it. Pavement, grass, and move pavement brought riders back to the finish line.
The Singlespeeders had 21 racers sprinting around the course and jumping over things with one gear. A lead group of Mclean Harris (Smyrna Bicycles), Mikey Waine (EPTC), Matthew Reeves (LNC), and David Marbut (Toyota Forklifts) got off the front early in the race. The lead jockeyed back and forth several times. A bit further back in the field, there were races within the race. Josh Frank (ATLX) said that “I scorched a kitten trying to hold Shannon Greenhill’s wheel but ran out of fur to burn before crossing the finish line.”* Shannon dropped Josh and many of the guys. Kyle Schultz (ATLX) also dazzled the crowd on the run up with his very Miley Cyrus like dance moves. Mikey reached into his suitcase of courage to win the three up sprint. He was followed by Mclean and Matthew. The Master 4/5 Category is proving very popular with nearly 45 entries. Conor McNally (L5 Flyers) had a great start and took the holeshot into the barriers. He never gave up being on the pointy end of the race and led it home for the win. Jeff Richards (HomeSmart) continues to improve each week. He and Tom Hoppe (Bikeman.com) picked their way through the field and battled it out for the last 2 podium spots. Jeff came in second with Tom in third.
In the 35+ Elite Masters, a pack took off from the starting gun. For the first 3 laps, they settled into a rotation, taking turns pulling. No one was able to get a gap. With 3 to go, Tim Barrett (Toyota Forklifts) made a move and gained 7-8 seconds on the chasers. Nate Sibley (Atlanta Cycling) got a slow start. At one point he was nearly 10 riders back, but he slowly picked his way to the front. Working with Chris Wyatt (Peachtree Bikes), they reeled Tim back in. Going into the final lap, Chris and Nate were side by side. Chris took the sprint for the victory. Nate followed closely behind, and Tim hung on for third. The 45+ Senior Gentlemen got off to a fast start. Dub Smith (Toyota Forklifts) took the early lead followed by Brady Rogers, Charles Rossignol (both Litespeed BMW), Grayson Tudor, Scott Staubach (both Peachtree Bikes), and Alan Burton (Toyota Forklifts). The first trip through the ride/run-up hill split the group with Brady, Charles, and Grayson riding over unscathed and the others forced to dismount. The second lap was one of re-grouping and re-sorting into pairs that would continue for most of the remainder with Brady and Grayson in the lead followed closely by Charles and Scott, who in turn were followed by Alan and Dub. Aiming to hit the run-up in the lead on the final lap, Grayson gained a gap on Brady before entering the woods that he held until the finish for his first 45+ win. Just behind, Charles had separated himself from Scott taking third for his first trip to the 45+ podium.
The Cat. 5 kicked up a lot of dust as they started. When it settled Todd Steigerwalt came out on top with Blake Zorn (Peachtree Bikes) and Zach Holmes rounding out the podium. Eight Juniors 10-14 toed the line. Michael Garrison (NCGA/Mission Source) took the victory. William Sietz (GSMR) was second, and Sean Branyon (Frazier Cycling) was third. In the 15-18, Mikey Waine (EPTC) wasn’t content with just one victory for the day. He soloed to take this older Juniors race, too. Davis Branyon (Frazier Cycling) came in for second, and Gabriela Lantinga got third. The Cat. 4 Women’s race was open for anyone to win. First time cyclocross racer Jenna Downey (Peachtree Bikes) took the honors. Julia Bryant (Sorella Cycling) and Ali Whittier (Hub Endurance Chattanooga) were on the other two podium steps.
The Women’s 1/2/3 battle is between Lisa Randall (Super Sport) and Paula Burks (Peachtree Bikes) this year. So far, they have each won a race. With a course that did not favor either rider, it was anyone’s to win. Lisa and Paula dropped everyone early and stayed with each other throughout the race. Paula got Lisa at the line by 1 second. Leigh Hopkins was third. A little further back in the peloton, riders were more concerned with the quality of the hand ups. Lisa Bongiorno said that “the bacon was freshly cooked but a little dry, causing the back end of the field to nearly choke to death.” Others noted the serious lack of donuts. In the Men’s Cat. 4, Connor Ardery (Outspokin Augusta) took the flower. Eric Palacio (L5 Flyers) and Robbin Rahman (The Forge) rounded out the podium.
Last week at Elks Aidmore, Zach Lutz (Grindstone Cycling) won Saturday’s Cat. 4 race and immediately moved up to Cat. 3. This week, he won the Cat. 3 race. David Vargus (Atlanta Cycling) took second, and Joshua Jackson (Outspokin Augusta) was third. With course conditions so fast, the 1/2 Men’s race looked like a road race the first few laps. A large lead group and two smaller chase groups were within eyesight of one another. Half way into the race, slower riders had been shed with only the best up front. The usual suspects were there including Frank Travieso (UHC/706 Project), Nick VanWinkle (Litespeed-BMW), and Artur Sagat (Round Here Racing). The fast course favored crit racer Frank, but he could not shed Nick, Artur, and the others. He finally put in the winning move with 2 laps to go. Frank came down that finish straightaway like a Grand Prix Motor Car to win. Nick got second, and Artur hung on for third despite flatting on the last lap.
*No actual felines were harmed in the writing of this race report.