by Trish Albert
DOUGLASVILE, Ga.– It was another fall race day in Georgia at Boundary Waters Park CX in Douglasville with bright, sunny skies and temperatures in the 80s. The Smyrna Bicycles and Toyota Forklift teams put together a very fast course.
The course started with a flat section though a field and a set of barriers. After a downhill into the woods, riders climbed up a steep hill and came behind the baseball fields in the grass.
In the Masters 35-44 race, a group formed in the first lap with a number of riders including Ian Prunier (Smyrna Bicycles), Daryl Sawyer (Toyota Forklifts), Grayson Tudor (Round Here Racing) and Michael Schmid (Reality Bikes).
With one and a half laps to go, the accelerations went on the run up. The leaders stayed together until the grass when Prunier broke free. Tudor put some distance on Patterson to finish second and third respectively.
Even while the government shutdown continued, elderly gentlemen (Masters 45+) awaited the signal to throw themselves into a battle of physical ability, skill and mental fortitude.
The go was given with lightning responses from the old legs of Toyota Forklifts teammates Alan Burton and Dub Smith. Bobby Thrash (Adventure Cycles) took to the lead while Tom Butler (Smyrna Bicycles/BMW) covered wheels.
With the threat covered and the reply swift, Smith and Burton charged the quad-killing-low-gear-ride-it-if-you-can hill, leaving the pack adrift. Once on the grass and off the gas teammate Richard Mauney joined. The trio then rode off into the sunset, somewhat, albeit temporarily.
Dreams of individual glory, podium girls, and bragging rights lay aside as the lead steadily built but the bell finally tolled ant the “let’s race” edict was agreed upon.
It was “trio compacto” for the final hill sprint with the day’s efforts taking Mauney off the pace. Burton would let no wheel escape and tacked on before deftly inserting the knife as the group hit the final paved chicane for the victory. In the end it was a podium sweep for the Toyota Forklifts team.
Five members of Frazier Cycling rolled up for the start of the junior 15-18 race. Thomas Pettit crossed the line first followed by teammates Parker Haney and Blake Wilson. In the junior 10-14 race, David Banyon (Frazier Cycling) won with the Junior Flyers’ Waine twins Troy and Leon in second and third.
The Women’s Cat 4 race saw another large field. Several riders started so quickly that the pack was strung out before the barriers.
On the second lap, Junior Flyers teammates Salma Haque and Sophia Broadwell went off the front. Haque held on for the win with Broadwell in second and Lisa Bongiorno (Frazier Cycling) rounding out the podium. Haque is looking forward to moving up to Cat 3 for the next race.
The Elite Women sprinted off the line, kicked up plenty of dust, and stayed together until the barriers. By the end of the first lap, Lisa Randall (Sorella Cycling) began to establish a gap and catch the Cat 3 Men. Kim Sawyer (Toyota Forklifts) and Lori Palmer (MACC Racing) began the fight for third. They traded places throughout the race but Sawyer was a little stronger and got second. Palmer was third.
In the Men’s Cat 3 race Mclean Harris (Smyrna Bicycles) went off the front immediately. No one followed since it was too early; there was plenty of time to catch him. Little did they know how strong he was on his home course.
Tudor, who placed second in the 35-44 race, along with Jim Bilotto (L5 Flyers), Calvin Cheung (College Park Bicycles) and two Reality Bikes riders formed a chase group.
The group started attacking each other early and began to splinter. In the end Cheung went clear for second while Tudor held on for the final podium step.
The Cat 4 Men’s race drew a very large field with more than 45 entries. By the start of the race the cool temperatures had vanished and the course was dusty and hot. The mud holes had firmed up to a bubble gum consistency and the wind had kicked up in the open areas.
After the start, the initial chicanes and barriers stretched the field but the rubber band did not break until the group hit the run up on the first lap. The crowd and steep grade worked together to shatter the field and the head of the spear, made up of about seven strong riders, sailed free.
The race came down to a battle between a handful of fairly evenly matched riders. Scott Morris (Village Volkswagen) showed superior strength in the end taking the win with Ben Braxley and Greg Bryant (Cherry St. Cycles) taking second and third respectively.
The small Men’s Cat 1/2/3 field was competitive with the battles coming for second through seventh. Thomas Turner (Jamis Bicycles) left everyone in the dust from the start. Crit specialist Frank Travieso (Smart Stop) finished on the second step of the podium and Nicholas VanWinkle (Litespeed-BMW) took the third step.
Boundary Waters Park was a great single speed course with its flat profile and one big hill. Harris, fresh off of his Cat 3 win and Series Leader David Marbut (Toyota Forklift) separated themselves from everyone else early in the race. Bike mechanic Mclean was, ironically, taken out with a mechanical. Clay Benoit (Smyrna Bicycles) and Mikey “Dick Lane Velodrome Track Rider of the Year” Waine (Junior Flyers) battled for the remainder of the prizes.
When they reached the grass behind the baseball fields on the final lap Waine waved goodbye to the more senior rider and turned loose those track legs to lock up the second podium step. Benoit was third.