Elks Sunday Race Report by Trish Albert/Southeastern Cycling
Stephan Hicks practices his Superman in his first Cat. 5 race.
The Elks Aidmore Cyclocross Festival always has some of the more challenging courses that Georgia Cross races on. This weekend did not disappoint. Saturday was the Backwoods Course that many prefer to race on a mountain bike. Sunday was Shades of Honey Badger. Weeks of rain took their toll on Sunday’s track with several wet places and two wheel sucking mud holes. The biggest feature on the course is The Ditch, which is just as it sounds-a muddy, slippery ditch that riders have to navigate. A few brave souls try to ride it, but most riders opt to dismount and hop over it on their feet. The course then wound through the woods before a short stretch of pavement. A long grass section was broken up by two stairs. The final dismount is a set of barriers just before the finish.
With Carol Baldwin upgrading to Cat. 3, the Women’s 4 race was wide open. On the first lap, Cambrie Epperson went to the front. Amy Ross (Peachtree Bikes) was close on her heels, only a few seconds back. Cambrie used her mountain bike skills to keep the gap open and take the win over Amy. Kathryn Brown finished third. The ditch took its toll on the Cat. 5 racers. One crashed dismounting before the ditch and a few crashed trying to ride or hop the ditch, much to the amusement to the hecklers. Other spectators could tell when someone fell because of the noise and cheers coming from the direction of the ditch. Tim Spackman (Globalbike) won. Eric Garlinghouse (L5 Flyers) broke his shifter on the last lap and managed to run his way to second. Matt Hutchinson was third. Blake Wilson (Frazier Cycling) passed much of the Cat. 5 field on his way to winning the Juniors 15-18. In the Under 14 Juniors, Reece Latham (Mission Source-NCGA) took the victory over Troy and Leon Waine (EPTC). The Waine twins would later be seen in between races putting their BMX skills to use by riding the ditch and clearing it with a foot to spare.
Seven year old Josh Hills (Frazier Cycling) fearlessly attacked the Ditch on the first lap, but he didn’t quite make it-instead doing his best frog impression. (Josh was fine and went on to have a strong finish in the Juniors 14 & Under!)
On the start line of the Elite Masters 40+, Wes Garland (Peachtree Bikes) looked around and saw a sea Litespeed BWM kits. The Litespeed boys were not going to let Wes run away with the win Sunday! They put up a good charge with Charles Rossignol firing the first volley. Then they sent Daren Comer to the front. Wes kept his cool and fought off their attacks one by one. Chris Chotas was the last to give it a go against Wes. He couldn’t quite catch the man in orange but got second place for his efforts. Ian Prunier (Smyrna Bicycles) moved up through traffic to claim third. In the 50+ Elite Masters Chris Isenberg (Mission Source-NCGA) took the holeshot with Hardwick Gregg (Infinity Racing p/b Tom Williams BMW/Mini) hot on his heels. Alan Burton (Toyota Forklifts) passed both in the twisty tree section -leading the others down the hill to the ditch and continued to set the pace into lap two. Midway into the second lap Jeff Clayton (Georgia Neurosurgical Institute), now recovered from a first lap mishap, took the lead on the junk shed climb. Hardwick passed Alan early in the third lap as Jeff continued to steadily pull away. Keeping one another in sight the final three laps, positions remain unchanged with Jeff taking victory followed by Hardwick, Alan and Chris.
Armed with her new orange Fuji, Kim Blodgett (Atlanta Beltline Bicycles) laughed at the mud and roots. They were no match for her on Sunday! Kim went to the front on the first lap and immediately put a small gap on Leigh Hopkins (Service Course Auto Works) and Maria Carelli (UHC-706 Project). An ill-timed broken derailleur left Leigh in the pits borrowing a bike. Maria solidified her second place. Behind them Loose Nuts teammates Rhys May and Emily Cox were battling for third. Emily squeaked by for the final podium spot. The Men’s Cat. 4 podium was Rubin Jacobo-Rubio, Chris Bulloch (Faster Mustache), and Tim Marshall.
The course did not seem to favor any rider in the Men’s Elite race. Frank Trevieso (UHC-706 Project) and Nick Van Winkle (Litespeed-BMW) traded being on the front for the first half an hour. Frank finally put a few seconds onto Nick with 3 laps to go. He held on for the win with Nick in second. Spencer Whittier (Privateer CX) used his form from the big Ohio and Louisville races to capture third. In the Cat. 3, Ian Garrison (Hincapie) took the win over Andy Leuttgen (EPTC) and Tim Mondor (Alpha Bikes).
The Single Speeders were heard cursing a few of the hills as they raced. The course had several hills that were grades of 11-12%. Gearing was an important choice when you had only one. Looking to solidify their domination of the Single Speed overall standings, Toyota Forklifts used teamwork to isolate Michael Manthey (Faster Mustache). While Murphy Davis took to the front, Dave Marbut sat on Michael’s wheel. Murphy soloed for the win. Dave passed Michael on the last lap to take second. Michael was third. In the Masters 35+ Cat. 4/5, Nick Harmer (Faster Mustache) won. Robert Conaster (Reality Bikes) and Corny Pogi (Atlanta Beltline Bicycles) rounded out the podium.