GACX underway and having fun. © Trish Albert
by Trish Albert/Southeasterncycling.com
Cyclocross temperatures instead of the usual 85 degree first-race-weather greeted riders at the Old Grey Barn Cyclocross in Rocky Face, Georgia. A private farm provided a picturesque backdrop for the day’s course and partying. The course featured two barrier sections in the front cow pasture as well as two big climbs and the infamous Rocky Descent. The third dismount was a set of steps in a drainage culvert following a fast downhill. OGBCX partnered with the Wounded Warrior Project to raise money for injured service members. Those that donated were entered into a drawing for a six month training plan from Vantaggio Fitness. For 2013, Georgia Cross made some changes to the schedule. First up are the Masters Cat. 1/2/3. In the 35+, old rivalries were renewed. Just as they have done in seasons past, Shey Linder (C Town Bikes) and Bob Kuhn (HUP United) battled it out for the top spots. This week Shey took the win. In the 45+, Michael Schmid (Deeds Publishing) continued where he left off last year, on the top step of the podium. John Phelan (ACC) was second.
The second race of the day was the Juniors and Women Cat. 4. In the Juniors 10-14, Davis Branyon (Frazier Cycling Juniors) took off early and never looked back. One half of the “cyclocross twins,” Leon Waine (Junior Flyers) took second. The Juniors 15-18 saw a large group of 17 riders take the line including several Junior girls. Elliot Baring (Cycle Youth), Fletcher Lydick (Frazier Cycling), and Nicholas Ray (Alpha Bikes) formed a group early. Elliot would hold on for the win with Fletcher and Nicholas rounding out the podium. In the Cat. 4 Women’s field, there were several first time racers. With the top racers from last year moving up a Category, the Women’s 4 field is wide open. Amanda Green (US Stove-Vantaggio) won with Susie Stanfield in second.
This year the Men Cat. 3 have a choice to do the Cat. 3 race, the 1/2/3, or both. Thirty opted to start in the Cat. 3 race. Ryan Murray (Nouveau Velo) took the top step of the podium with Hutch Zimmerman, and Fletcher Lydick in the other two spots. Meanwhile in the middle of the pack, Richard Tolletson (Sfatto) and other riders were busier taking bacon handups than racing. Kym Flynn, winner of many of the Women’s 1/2/3 races last year, will be absent from much of the series this year. The Women’s 1/2/3 field may crown a new queen. Shannon Greenhill (Peachtree Bikes) won with Paula Burks (US Stove-Vantaggio) 2nd.
The fourth race of the day is the Cat. 4 and the newly formed Cat. 4 Masters. With the growth the last few years in the series, Georgia Cross decided to split the Cat. 4 race into two fields. There were almost 60 racers in the combined field. In the Cat. 4, Michael Weigand (Stomach of Anger) took the win over Jake Morman. In the Masters Cat. 4, Kenneth Fischer (Reality Bikes) won, and Chanel Riveria was 2nd.
The Men’s 1/2/3 started off very fast with several riders going to the front to push the pace. Last year’s silver medalist at Masters Worlds and perennial Georgia Cross race winner Thomas Turner (Team Jamis) and the bronze medalist in the same Masters Worlds race Andy Reardon (Bob’s Red Mill Cyclocross) took off at the starting line and never looked back. They traded off the lead for the first lap and a half. Using is mountain bike skills on the descent on the backside of the course, Thomas pulled away from Andy. He built up a sizable lead that he would hold until the finish. Towards the middle of the pack, specators were getting restless and began doing beer and dollar bill handups. PBR was the choice for most of the handups while the good beer was reserved for after racing when it could be properly enjoyed.
The Single Speeders had all day to decide what gear to run to try to get up the two big hills on the course. Aaron Pyle (Augusta Cross Coalition) chose well and won the SS race. Ryan Allen (Hub Endurance Chattanooga) was second.