Hardwick Gregg taking the win in Men's 60-64 at 2014 Nationals. © Steve Anderson

Hardwick Gregg taking the win in Men’s 60-64 at 2014 Nationals. © Steve Anderson

Alabama native Hardwick Gregg (the name sounds backwards, but it’s accurate!) didn’t expect to win. “I got 28th last year in the 55-59 race,” he told us, looking shell-shocked at the finish. But the course was suited for him, and despite Doug Long’s early lead and close chase, Gregg (Birmingham Velo) took the win in a commanding fashion ahead of Long, with Charles Townsend in third.

“I slid out on the corner coming into the start in the first lap,” Long explained, “and that’s where he passed me.” Still, Long was all smiles with his second place finish.

“I went down real hard on that corner up there,” Long went on to explain. “I had a fairly good lead and went down. You know these guys came up and it was all a good battle. I’m not hurt at all. I can’t even tell you what I landed on. When you’re going that fast and you land on ice you just slide. My only downfall was that ice patch up there.”

And while Gregg seemed to be racing with ease, it was no picnic in the front. “I did the industry race yesterday and it was brutal,” Gregg laughed. “This was more my speed.” The course was icy and melting in sections, and the highly technical laps were taking the leaders roughly 10:15.

In the 65-69 race, which started a minute later than 60-64 but quickly melded together as front-runners passed the slower but younger racers. Lewis Rollins took the holeshot, but Phillip Bannister (Putney Bicycle Club) quickly took charge of the race and never looked back. Behind him, local Robert Ogren chased, along with Rollins, Allan Marvin and John Ruger.

Bannister took the win with plenty of time to celebrate.

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