Salma Hugue (Junior Flyers) does the "Breakfast Club" over the barriers on her way to 2nd place. Also, she is way too young to get that reference. © Trish Albert

Salma Hugue (Junior Flyers) does the “Breakfast Club” over the barriers on her way to 2nd place. Also, she is way too young to get that reference. © Trish Albert

by Trish Albert

CONYERS, Ga. – Fall is the dry season in Georgia, but racers were treated to a week of rain and falling temperatures preceding the series finale, held at Elks Aidmore in Conyers.

Mud, cold, wet, more mud! Sunday’s weather did not disappoint. Heavy overnight rains turned Saturday’s tacky course into a peanut buttery mess for the Sunday races. Turns were slick, hills were “slidy” and there was carnage everywhere. Riders came to defend their series leads or simply to try to survive the epic conditions.

In the Masters 35+ category, Michael Schmid (Reality Bikes) took a solo victory. Daryl Sawyer (Toyota Forklifts) rode into second despite having been sick for a week. Series leader Ian Pruiner (Smyrna Bicycles) was third.

The Masters 45+ race started with a four-way battle for the holeshot between Dub Smith (Toyota Forklifts), Alan Burton (Toyota Forklifts), Greg Schisla (GTC), and Bobby Thrash (Adventure Cycles).  As the group slid their way through the downhill after the cabins, Smith remained steady on the front while Burton moved past Schisla, only to be pushed aside by a surging Thrash.  The four remained together through the lake, pool, and asphalt sections with Smith at the helm and the others continuing their jostling behind.  The peanut butter conditions through the rollers and bridges eventually broke up the group with Smith and Burton pulling away from Schisla and Thrash.  With rain now falling, Smith continued on with teammate Burton in tow over the next two laps as course conditions deteriorated.  On the third and final trip through the rollers and bridges Smith opened a gap on Burton, pulling away through the muck to take victory. Schisla came in third.

In the Juniors 15-18 race Keegan Schimmelman was the sole entrant and took the win. The Women’s Cat 4 race had been hot contest all season between Lisa Bongiorno (Frazier Cycling) and Rhys Mays (ATH CX). The buzz was that Mays would take he day’s win because of her running skills on the parts of the course that were not rideable. Bongiorno was having none of that. She took the early lead and never looked back. Mays worked her way from the middle of the pack to take second. Shannon Kimato was third in her first ever cyclocross race.

Series Leader Bongiorno and State Champion Mays were upgraded to Cat 3 on the spot and are looking forward to racing with the Women’s 1/2/3 next year. In the Juniors 10-14 race, Hunter Murray battled the mud to come out on top. Owen Braunecker (Mission Source Juniors) and Makena Gates rounded out the podium.

In the Men’s Cat 3 race Schmid was not too tired from his earlier victory in the Masters 35+ to give Mclean Harris (Smyrna Bicycles) a run for his money. Schmid stayed with him until the last lap when Harris put a few seconds between them. James Hundershott (Georgia College) was third.

In the Women’s race, mountain biker Lisa Randall (Sorella Cycling) loves the mud and it showed. She flew to the front and never looked back. Randall put several minutes on the next rider before the end of the race. In the chase pack, Kim Sawyer (Toyota Forklifts) had a bobble in the mud and was passed by Salma Hugue (Junior Flyers) and Elizabeth Lee (LG Factory). Roadie Hugue has become known for riding very well in the rain this year, and proved it by passing her older competition to take second place. Lee rolled in for third.

With several of the Cat 4 Men moving up to Cat 3, and series leader Scott Morris (Village Volkswagon) sitting out, the field was wide open. Zach Lutz has not had the best mechanical luck this year in his previous races but had no bike problems today, comming away with the win and an upgrade to Cat 3. Junior racer Davis Branyon (Frazier Cycling) was second, and Blake Bridges (Northstar) was third.

Michael Schmid (Reality Bikes) took the solo win in the Men's 35+ category. © Trish Albert

Michael Schmid (Reality Bikes) took the solo win in the Men’s 35+ category. © Trish Albert

The mud did little to separate the top riders in the Men’s Cat 1/2/3 race for the first three laps. Masters World Champion Thomas Turner (Team Jamis), Nicholas VanWinkle (Litespeed-BMW), Artur Sagat, Elliot Baring (Cycle Youth) and Frank Trevieso (Smart Stop) stayed together despite the challenging course conditions. On the third lap, Turner and VanWinkle put a small gap on the others, with Turner winning by about 15 seconds. VanWinkle was second, and Baring came in third.

Single Speeders (SS) love the mud, as they have no shifters or derailleurs to get gunked up. One gear, no fuss! SS was the David Marbut (Toyota Forklifts) show. He jumped to the front from the start line, while his teammate Smith began the Twinkie hand-ups on the second lap. Series Leader Marbut increased the gap as many of his competitors stopped to take a Twinkie, or a cupcake after the Twinkies ran out. Marbut took the win. Michael James (Prima Tapps) was on the second step of the podium with Matthew Reeves (LNC) finished third.

The biggest cheer of the day came for Salma Hugue (Junior Flyers), the lone Women’s SS entrant. She was the last rider off of the course for the 2013 Georgia Cross Season and the one with the biggest smile. Congratulations to the Georgia Cross 2013 Series Award Leaders!

2013 Georgia Cross Series Leaders:


  1. David Marbut (Toyota Forklifts)
  2. Mclean Harris (Smyrna Bicycles/BMW)
  3. Josh Frank (ATLX)


Juniors 10-14

  1. Leon Waine (Junior Flyers)
  2. Troy Waine (Junior Flyers)
  3. Davis Branyon (Frazier Cycling)


Juniors 15-18

  1. Thomas Pettit (Frazier Cycling)
  2. Kyle Ellis
  3. Blake Wilson (Frazier Cycling)


Men Cat 4

  1. Scott Morris (Village Volkswagen)
  2. Aaron Chamberlin (Faster Mustache)
  3. Harry Boxler


Women Cat 1/2/3

  1. Kim Sawyer (Toyota Forklifts)
  2. Elizabeth Lee (LG Factory Team p/b Fuji)
  3. Lisa Randall (Sorella Cycling)
  4. Amy Frank (ATLX)
  5. Salma Hugue (Junior Flyers)


Women Cat 4

  1. Lisa Bongiorno (Frazier Cycling)
  2. Rhys May (ATHCX)
  3. Lori Balistreri (ATLX)


Men Cat 1/2/3

  1. Thomas Turner (Team Jamis)
  2. Nicholas VanWinkle (Litespeed-BMW)
  3. Artur Sagat
  4. Frank Travieso (Smart Stop)
  5. Tim Barrett (EPTC)


Men Cat 3

  1. Mclean Harris (Smyrna Bicycles/BMW)
  2. Calvin Cheung (College Park Bicycles)
  3. Michael Schmid (Reality Bikes)


Masters 45+

  1. Alan Burton (Toyota Forklifts)
  2. Dub Smith (Toyota Forklifts)
  3. Tom Butler (Smyrna Bicycles/BMW)


Masters 35+

  1. Ian Prunier (Smyrna Bicycles/BMW)
  2. Michael Schmid (Reality Bikes)
  3. Daryl Sawyer (Toyota Forklifts)