Last weekend marked the 19th Annual Highland Rim Cycling Classic, in McMinnville, TN. Obviously, 19 years worth of obvious, this race has been running in our region for a very long time and year after year, it has served as an important calendar race for any of the area cyclists that wish to prove their worth on the road. It takes place just south of Nashville, in, on and around the beautiful Cumberland Plateau. The race format is an omnium, where the Pro 1/2 field takes two laps around the Road Race circuit, meaning two 2 mile climbs up the plateau, a 2.5 mile and 100% uphill time trial and finally, a criterium.
This year, the race would also serve as the Tennessee State Road Race Championships.
Despite being one of the best races around, we only had one guy with a clear enough schedule to be able to make it over that way for the race; the infamous Chris Brown, running solo as our lone LITESPEED-BMW mercenary. Coming off some great training whilst setting the course record at the 3 State 3 Mtn century a few weeks back, Brown headed over with high expectations, but also a little bit of nerves, as the field was pretty stacked.
Saturday May 15th – 110 mile Pro 1/2 Road Race
First up, the 110 mile two lap Road Race featuring numerous hills and one 2 mile climb. The field featured riders from Team Type 1, KENDA Pro Cycling, GlobalBike Racing, Waste Management, Subaru/Gary Fisher Cycling, Krystal Elite, Texas Road House, Ouch-Bahati Foundation, and many others included multi time national and world champion Michael Olheiser.
Sound like fun to you?
Brown’s plan was to be smart on keeping calories in his body (made possible thanks Cytomax, MRM and Clif Bar) and to make sure to be at the front heading into the climb each lap, knowing that the separation would happen there. On the first lap Brown executed his plan perfectly, getting over the climb with a small group of eight. Unfortunately, three riders ended up crashing out of the break and then one rider over-cooked a corner and crashed (and yes, all of them professionals?) so the break dropped to only four in a matter of minutes. Additionally, Team Type 1 had missed the move, as had many others, so Brown’s group was drug back to the peloton.
2nd lap of the 110 mile race and Brown makes sure to be in great position,again, to hit the climb at the front, again, and gets over the climb with a group, again, most all the teams had riders and the move was gone. As the miles went by it was obvious that over half the riders in the move were just sitting on and were tired, so Brown attacked a couple of times to try to get away from them, working with Brown and Tim Henry of Team Type 1 getting away from the group of 12…then Dirk Pohlmann of Texas Road House bridges up and that is it. They motored up to Mike O, who had been off the front on his own for 20 miles, and the Brown group stuck to the finish. Unfortunately, there was still one rider that was off the front from earlier in the race who held on to win. Brown sprinted it out to 3rd out of his group and 4th for the day, which was good enough for top Tennessee honors and the TN state Road Race championship!
Correct. Chris Brown is the Tennesee State Category 2 Road Race Champion!
Thanks to Litespeed for making such an aerodynamic and stable bike in the amazing C1, as Chris was pleased with how much energy he had at the end of 110 miles, which had to come not only from his energy food and drink choices but also his bike choice. This is the 3rd year in a row that Brown has come away with a jersey, so whatever he’s doing, we just hope he keeps it up.
After the great result from the road race Chris was excited for the afternoons 2.5 mile time trial up one of the beautiful mountains near McMinnville, however Mother Nature had other plans and the severe weather caused the promoter to have to cancel the TT. Bummer, but it was the a wise choice by the promoter.
Sunday May 16th – McMinnville Criterium Pro, 1, 2
The rain that had hit the day before was still around for the very technical criterium which would determine the overall winner for the weekend. Only 21 brave (or dumb) Pro 1/22 riders showed up for the start of this rainy, technical crit and two of the riders in contention for the overall win bailed (no pun intended) right before the crit – Michael Ohleiser and Dirk Pohlmann. Brown wanted to be safe (seriously) so he went from the gun and stayed near the front the entire race to avoid any crashes…before long there were only nine riders left in the race, as riders were either dropped or not able to handle the technical course in the conditions. The GlobalBike team was not working with any moves that Tim Henry of Team Type 1 or Chris Brown tried so it came down to a small group sprint…with four corners to go A.J. Meyer of Subaru/Gary Fisher drills it into a corner and the Globalbike guys can’t make the corner and go down…Brown was sitting right where he needed to be and raced in for fourth; beating Tim Henry and thinking he had won the overall. Only to find out that A.J. Meyer’s crit win propelled him to the overall victory for the weekend but all things consider it was a great weekend for the Litespeed-BMW Cycling team.
Enormous congratulastions to Chris Brown on his State Championship and an enormous thanks to our generous sponsors the help us get there.
Thanks for reading!