Monday, November 25, 2013

UGA - KING - VI Collegiate SECCC CX

I'm a tad behind. This post will cover 3 collegiate races so here we go...

UGA was the season opener for the collegiate SECCC CX Season. We traveled to a small farm 15 minutes outside of Athens, Ga. home of the Bulldogs.

The course, of course, was through fields and farm roads because we were at a small Georgia farm. The place was very spacious and home to several horses too. The course; It consisted of a couple of tight 180 turns then the rest was wide open and fast. Seriously there was only 4 90 degree and 3 180 degree turns in the whole 1.5 mile course... a roadie's dream. I'm guessing that half was doubletrack farm road that the A riders ripped to shreds at speed. The A race was fun to watch as there are several new freshmen racing this year that are giving the old guard huge fits. Furman, Milligan and King Universities have legit freshmen making their mark on this season already... collegiate road will be interesting to say the least.

Here's a sweet arch made from old bike wheels that we raced through in the woods.

The horses were kicking and snorting when the racers would fly by. I'm not sure if they were cheering for the racers or wanting some for themselves.
This old barn was really cool. They actually routed us through the middle of it back onto the farm roads. There was a really fast, bumpy, pot-holed laden farm road going downhill that takes you into the 100yd single track bringing you back up to the finish line when you exited the barn.

My race;
I didn't have any expectations. I've dropped the ball on my training ever since the first MSG series race. This season has felt more like work than fun racing CX. It's my fault for volunteering for the work though. I will say that at least I don't make several suggestions then do nothing to see that they come about... we've got a couple like that around here. Back to the racing, I started as usual... attack from the back. I started and hung out last. Before we were half way through I was in 4th I think. I just rode to that position though at my slow effort. I will add that I actually got a good 30+ minutes of warm up before Collegiate B's started so I was actually feeling pretty good. After 2 laps I started pushing a tad harder. "You've moved up to 3rd" somebody yelled from the sidelines. I just tried to hold that pace for 30 more minutes but started to fade on the last lap and was caught by a Florida rider. Oh well, it's good for an old guy I guess.

Friday I went over to help King's with set-up. Thursday King riders set all the stakes in the ground but didn't get it taped so I swung by and assisted for 3 hours.... in the rain.

 Wet, tired and cold I was treated to an awesome sunset as I drove home. Just to the right is the Bristol NASCAR race track that our area is so famous for.


The first pic below is this years incoming freshmen and fast they are! Two Furman riders, Nate & Charlie, along beside Nolan from Milligan. I think these guys will do well at CX D2 Collegiate Nats this year in Colorado.

 Here's our boy Casey. He was the only A rider we had until I coaxed Joe to get back at it. Joe graduated from Lees McRae and is now at ETSU in the nursing program getting another degree.
Behind Casey is a meeting of the minds... myself in the ETSU kit (fatty) Dwayne (VI coach) Hugh (Mars Hill coach) and the infamous beady eyed Brian Sheedy (Brevard coach)

 Here are a couple pictures of Casey getting his cross on. We'd like to thank King University for training him to beat them. Casey is a graduate from King working on his masters in Accounting here at ETSU.
 Who says USAC refs don't have a sense of humor? The east Tennessee ones do.... not so sure about the rest of the state though... cough cough. Mr. Rutters and Mr. Linnen at their best. Thanks for doing a great job guys... well except for the A race. (que cricket chirping in the background)

 Below: This is the current D2 Men's A National Collegiate CX Champion, Corey Rimmer. He's got his work cut out for him this year though. It's tough having a target on your back. Corey has strung a bunch of 3rd-5th place finishes together when racing the Milligan, King and Furman riders this season so far.

 Below is Will, from England and Corey's teammate at VI, he had to borrow a bike during his A race - it didn't look that nice when he gave it back to the guy he borrowed it from. Virginia Intermont is so lucky to have Dwayne as a head coach. Most of the team would not have bikes if it wasn't for his generosity and huge heart that gets the community to help him support his team.

My B race at King:
I was actually hoping to do better than normal at this race. Derek was going to throw his hat in the ring for this to help us get points for conference. He's NEVER raced a cx race before and he placed 5th at Collegiate Nats in DH this October. SO - a downhiller racing cross? Yes, and he managed a 9th place just behind me where I finished 8th. Our 3 guys managed a 8-9-10 out of 16 riders with Blair, a newcomer to ETSU also racing, finishing in the 10th spot.
I rode out last with these kids hoping that what little endurance I have would pay off. All the collegiate whipper-snappers are 18-21yrs of age. I keep telling myself this through every race as not to go out too fast and explode within 1 lap. I think I was up to 5th at one time because of a couple riders having mechanicals but on the last lap a lone LMC rider bridged a gap from one of my teammates (I hope he didn't help him!) and latched onto me. He attacked me on the last lap but my out of shape arse couldn't respond so I settled with 8th. I did, however, look back to see little Derek putting a good effort in on his last lap making up ground on me. Great job D!


What do you do when you don't have a big campus like King does? You make the best with what ya got. This was the most twisty turny course I have EVER ridden. Dwayne made the most with what he had for his race. Not one of my favorite courses but I rode for the points. I hardly ever do well the second day of racing on a 2 day event though. I just pedaled around the whole course trying to stay warm. That garnered me a 5the for the day out of 7. I will admit that on the last lap I tried to catch Derek and run him down for 4th but I waited too long and this course was right up his alley with all those short straights and tight turns. Afterwards I sat I the toaster and watched most of the A race before heading home to get out of the cold.

Since we, the B class, were the first ones on the course at 9am with a 21 degree start temp it was somewhat difficult to follow the course. I ran into the tape on more than one occasion because the grass had not been worn down yet. I need glasses? I have contacts and my eyes were watering badly with the frigid temps so it looked as if I was crying throughout my race.

 A couple of UF riders came up from Florida for our races. The first day one of the UF riders crashed and broke his collar bone. Luckily he had a team member with him from the sunshine state.

 The hardest part of the course was this steep run-up. There were a few of the A riders actually riding this. Casey, above, finished just out of the top ten Sunday.
The pic above is of Justin. He's one of the few University of South Carolina team riders. The funny part is his last name, it's the same of the town we're racing in this weekend. He was harmlessly harassed all weekend about his last name.

(Photo Credits go to Mama J and the Tanks)
Our second place finisher of the weekend was Drew from King. 
So that's how the collegiate cx season has started here at ETSU. This weekend I think we're traveling down to Loudon, Tn for Turkey Cross to keep the teams legs racing before Mars Hill the following weekend.
LAter G............................

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