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.
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.
KING UNIVERSITY SATURDAY
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.
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)
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!
VIRGINIA INTERMONT SUNDAY
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.
(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.