We had 12 state champions crowned on Sunday under cloudy skies and chilly temperatures. Trey and David organized a great course with a lot of flow, muddy spots and a nice new forced dismount which left a lot of folks wondering who could bunnyhop it and who could not. The rideable hill on the back side of the hill deteriorated nicely as did many chicanes near the playground so picking the correct lines are important.
In the junior race we had Brandon Pruett (Cycle Therapy) taking the lead and holding it for the win. For the younger juniors, Brody Hartley (Fulton Flyers), Annelise Oestreich were both winners. The women’s CX 4 saw Dominique Shore (Frazier Cycling) continue her success winning both the fall series championship and her first cyclocross state championship. The singlespeed race saw masters racer David Marbut (Fulton Flyers) win his first state championship.
In the men’s CX 4 race “Big Slim” Joey Schoenfield and Sham Douglas were neck and neck for a lot of the race and as they entered into the last few turns, Sham bobbled and Joey sprinted for the win for his sedcond title in two years.
The masters 35+ race saw the return of Eric Neely to defend last year’s title earned in Savannah. With conditions much diffrent from last year’s race Eric and Brady Rogers were off early and Eric Drummer (down from Chicago) was in third. As Eric powered away, Brady fell and was hurt, Eric D eventually passed him and it was Eric Neely earning another state championship jersey. In the masters 45+, Lamar Mauney was the defending state champion, but put that second to honoring Carla Swart who raced for Lamar and Fulton Flyers a few years earlier. Carla was killed two weeks ago in South Africa training and in the masters race Lamar wore her Lees-McRae national championship jersey in her rememberance. In the field were long time masters racers Wayne Nix and two time RWCX race winner Farmer G Schisla (GTC) as well as “youngsters” Bob Kuhn (me, HUP United) and Michael Schmid (Nouveau Velo). Launching into the first muddy section a small group emerged at the front containing Farmer and Michael. I stumbled until the first road section and then passed the group into the lead. I was able to hold it for the win and my first state title in 10 years of trying. The men’s CX 3 race featured Brandon Pruett (Cycle Therapy) fresh off of a nice performance at nationals taking on a deep field. Brandon gain held the lead and won his second state title of the day.
In the elite event, the women‘s CX 1/2/3 race was knee deep in talent. The start list featured many past state champions as well as regional road and mountain biking talent. In the house were Lisa Randall, Georgia’s winningest CX racer, multi-state champion Kim Sawyer, former VanderKitten captain Leigh Hopkins, ultra-distance standout Namrita O’Dea, and last weeks winner Megan Melgaard among others. The race started with a nice group but soon gaps emerged with Megan taking the lead, chasing were Namrita and Lisa spread out by seconds. As Megan increased her lead through the muck, Namrita and Lisa tried to close gaps to the woman in front of them. But it was Megan taking the win for her first state title, Namrita second and Lisa third. Meanwhile, Kim Sawyer’s race mechanical saw her run almost the entire last lap carrying her bike. Definately the “people’s” champion that day in showing her determination to finish.
In the men’s elite race, the shadow of Thomas Turner (Jamis) loomed large over a small but determined field. The one-two punch of Eric Nicolletti and Alex Clifford (Faster Mustache) and Eddie O’Dea (Topeak-Ergon) were his main threats. Mark Babcock started out hard taking the hole shot and after the first horribly muddy chicane, it was Thomas who glided over each section gaining the front. Eric and Eddie chased the entire race as Alex and Mark fell a bit back. Thomas was gaining time each lap having no trouble with the log on the back side and the hill thereafter. With 6 laps to go myself, Michael Bowen and Mark were near the rear of the race. Both Michael and Mark took nasty falls which led to their injury. Meanwhile Brandon Pruett back for his third race of the day called it a long day. With two laps to go I was fighting to not get lapped. I lost that fight as Thomas passed me on the uphill section as I ran my bike. Smiling all the way, he cruised in for his third CX state title in 3 years. Eric was second and Eddie surprised with a third place over Alex.
Last year after our small but fun series over at Dave’s farm, Trey and I had the idea that we would try and do something bigger but still maintain the fun atmosphere. Later on I was contacted about a bid on the state championship race and meanwhile Trey had secured Lock and Dam for the new series venue. Things seemed to merge as we worked for 6 months or so to prepare the series and championships. Sponsors were contacted, courses laid out, Harbin Clinic purchased a timing system for their events, and the website overhauled. We also assembled a great team of volunteers led by Debbie West who played a huge part in race day success of the series. David Heath and Trey gathered a group of dedicated guys who transformed Lock and Dam into 3 great course variations. Our sponsors of course gave us the means to bring the 3 race series to life and provide a memorable experience.
There was lots of learning along the way as well but all in all we consider the series a success and mainly bacause of all those who raced. We were close to our predicted goals for the number of racers. My hope is that if you had a fun time you will help us by spreading the word and our success will grow. We plan for another round next January and have plans to also make it a great experience for you all. Drop us a line and let us know your feedback. Promoting is a learning experience.
Most of all THANK YOU for contributing to something we are proud of and had a lot of fun doing.
until next time….Stay Hungry!