The team got up and was greated with some chilly weather this morning in Statesboro, GA. 40 degrees! Where did the warm weather go the day before? We had windbreakers and full warmers on for this early 8:45am start. There was a nice breeze from west to east that put the chill in your lycra also. I hit the trainer for about 20 minutes but it wasn't enough for this chilly morning. The A's left at 8:30 with Zack from King College the lone rider from his team. We lined up to go and I decided about mid-pack is where I needed to be because there was no way I was going to be able to hang with this 22 mile drag race that was about to unfold this chilly winter Georgia morning. It was a neutral start so no one ripped the throttle right out of the gate, I'm thankful! After we got to the first turn the boys hit the gas. 20mph to the mid 30's (37-38 to be exact), wow, this is gonna rip my legs off. Ben and Schyler were on the front with all the King kids and one other team. They were getin' down and spinning the cranks. I was impressed how these SECCC kids rode. Not much pulsing to speak of except for a couple small incidents. I like it that way! I was surprised at all the yellow line infractions from riders passing in the left lane advancing ahead when we would slow to about 25 on the slight climbs, where's a USAC official when you need one? A couple of turns later and about half way into the lap (11 miles) a small debacle managed to explode what was left of the pack (25 guys?)into two groups (myself in the second). The lead group managed to pull away from the small group I was in and disappear with the help of the "Applebeast" giving them hell at the front with some massive pulls I would be told later. Well they caught the B riders and assimilated with them, then shortly after chewed them up and spit them out and continued on. There wasn't anyone at the intersections for my small group so we guessed which way to go at three of them, well, we got two right if that accounts for anything (no road markings or nothing to direct us, just an occasional person at an intersection every now and again). Anywho we are spinning along racing (we don't know where we are racing to but we are racing nonetheless) and see a lead car with a huge group of riders in tow behind it coming at us in the distance. The car speeds up and comes at us head on in our lane with the driver waving us to the other side of the road at an intersection. HUH???? We go the direction he points "totally" confused now. We ease up and wait to be assimilated and try to bridge using this group when we see them heading our way. We assimilate and see Ben, Schyler, the King riders ???????? Huh???? Hey man they took us 3.5 miles out of route off course. Dang! This was now a cluster. The B's and the C's (what was left) were back together again! We all ride together now at about 22mph and then the C guys start crossing the yellow line 2-3 at a time passing everyone in the left lane....Again!! (USAC Official please?) I'm not an officials expert but I think all this passing over the yellow line and advancing is illegal - someone correct me if I'm wrong please. I think to myselfness "we aren't supposed to be doing that". I rode middle pack with the B's for a few miles then worked my way to the front and rode away with 3 C riders before getting scooped back into the pack one more time. They turned right for their second lap and the small group of about 8 or so C's continued straight, headed for town and the finish. We managed to organize a pace line and pick up the pace considerably, by now Ben and the fast C group should have been finished. I sat on a Mercer's wheel and finally we could see the EZ-UP at the finish about a mile off. I looked around and calculated who may go about that time one goes (a mile out? hmm) I wait on my wheel guy and another one breaks about 3/4 of a mile to go so I switch wheels and stay tucked tight. I sense the rest of the group moved onto my wheel behind me and wonder should I go or should I ..... about that time another one goes so I do too. I stayed low in the drops and dug hard, I got the two that went ahead of me and started reeling in the first one that went as well, I dug some more and stood. I stroked the BMC for everything she had and nipped the guy at the finish by half a bike beating out all the guys in my group but it still left me a yucky 20 something finish, I'm guessing, the results will be up tomorrow. It was a chilly race for sure and my face was COLD! I found out that Schyler nailed 4th at the line with Ben very close in tow. I was next for ETSU with Chris and Nathan a few minutes behind the "old man". It was a successful "road racing" weekend for the bucs and our first ever SECCC road conference race! Go Bucs!
On the trip back crossing into Tennessee from North Carolina on Sam's Gap what were we treated to? A winter wonderland. Beautiful white frothy snow coating everything on top of the mountain. We all looked at one another and just sighed.............we're back!