RWCX Race #2 Report

The picture to the right pretty much sums it up. This is the joy of racing cross. Sunny day but foul conditions. Trying to win, or maybe to gain enlightenment by trying to race a race without mistakes. Races in the mud and snow are like trying to surf the perfect wave. Bobbles, dabs, crashes and slips can set you back in a major way. So to finish, win or meet a goal leaves you with the same feeling Sam has here in this photo, and that is what we are trying to capture here in RWCX.

I did not feel too bad as I saw the wide eyed juniors taking practice laps on the crunchy snow. They looked a little worried. A freshly embrocated Brandon Pruett was out there with them and I think seeing him in shorts, cutting lines eased the trepidation. The single-speed guys are old hats at this but seeing them testing their gearing in the slop gave the sense that a long day was in the making. The women CX4 racers were also gingerly testing out the track, but that changed as the whistle blew. In the end it was Brandon riding away in the junior race, Michael James besting “team beard” members Josh Frank and Kyle Schultz, and in her last race as a cat 4, Megan Melgaard putting it to rest.

The men’s CX 4 race is always one of the best. Whether it is fall in GA CX or in the winter, they come out in large numbers. It was a nice mix of juniors and CX4 veterans and as you can see above, Sam Douglas went away, stayed away and notched a win.

The masters 35+ race featured 3 time state champ “Shady” Brady Rogers coming back from a defeat last week to earn the win. Hitting the snow from the start, Brady immediately had a gap and held it. Brady will be hard to beat for another state title next week.

The masters 45+ race is really a race of friends. This group has been together for a number of years now with lots of stories about things that happen during races and after races too. It is one of the best categories because these guys are genuinely happy for each other when they do well, and are genuinely happy giving each other crap when things don’t go so well. Last week Greg “Farmer G” Schisla stunned the 45+ racing world by going off the front and winning. In this weeks race, no one would make it easy for him. Alan Burton latched on soon after the race started and Farmer could not shake him. With Lamar Mauney not far behind, neither could afford a mistake that would cost them the race or allow lamar from catching back on. In the closing laps, Greg puled away for a muddy victory. Being on good form, the state champs is bound to be a nail biter.

In the men’s CX 3 race it was a close battle between Brandon Pruett and Gary Gomez. I did not see the race but I understand that is was a sprint finish with Brandon winning. I’ll post more about this race later as I get more details. Next week will probably be Brandon’s last as a CX 3 as he moves up to racing A’s next year. Could he exit with a state championship?

In the women’s CX 1/2/3 race it was another great cross-section of women’s racing in GA. I don’t remember the last time I heard any woman A racer complain about conditions, cross in January interfering with training, etc. They simply come out, race hard, and offer no excuses. With national champion Kim Flynn winning a state championship in Tenn, the door was left open for the win today. I am not sure anyone was prepared for Megan Meigaard to step in and fill the void, especially with Kim Sawyer and Lisa Randall in the field. I think next week’s women’s race will be the race to watch, especially if we get a combined field from the last two races.

The men’s CX 1/2 race was small with only 4 guys taking the start. ¬†Sometimes course conditions have a way of equalizing abilities or separating them as well. Thomas Turner had been salivating about snow and mud conditions all week. Very patient from the start, he casually sat while others sprinted, took the hole shot and gradually gained a lead in the first lap. Riding through the sloppiest conditions of the day as the result of 6 inches of snow melt, he rolled almost effortless though the course building up a substantial lead, and leaving the rest of us behind. but, at some point during the race he ripped apart his rear derailleur. It happened just beyond the pit area near the pavillion and he was forced to run to the next pit (without his bike?) to grab his spare bike. As I rolled through the finish area people were telling me that he had a mechanical and was now running. They were saying this as if I could catch him. But, knowing the legend of Thomas in his top 15 results at La Ruta where they do plenty of bike running and face all kinds of adversity, even running it would be hard to catch him. I never did catch him and he still finished out in front. Ryan Leech is the only GA racer to beat him in CX this season. Is there anyone else out there up to the challenge or will Thomas Turner gain another state title?

Once again we have the best volunteers on the planet. They show up early, get to work, never complain, some race, some don’t, they stay until the end to break down the course and then will happily chat with you for awhile after. Please say a “thanks” to them next week!

Thanks also to our bagpiper who was great and I hope he can come back next week. Ronnie had “kilt envy”. Also thanks to Fuddruckers for providing lunch and coffee. They found that we eat a little healthier than they expected so they will be back with some meat alternatives next week from what I hear.

Special shout out to Trey Smith and David Heath for their last 2 course designs and spending their Saturday’s setting up.

See you next week for the last cross race in GA until the fall. It is the state championships, let’s show up, represent, and see what you got!

Ronnie Bratcher’s Pics

Trish Albert’s Pics

Geof Galat’s Pics

Robert Milks’s Pic (Wilderness Adventure Photography)

Mike Waine’s Pics

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