Aaron’s presents the 2010 Georgia State Championships at the Grant Park Criterium.
As we are nearing the end of the cycling season, this time of year can be quite interesting as numerous teams and riders are just now entering their burn out phases, where others are landing squarely in the middle of what we refer to as Form. On the heals of an exceptional Masters Nationals campaign, we were feeling a little bit closer to reaching the big F instead of falling down the backside of it.
First up, the Masters criterium featuring around 45-50 racers. The Litespeed-BMW team had Benjy Coil, who already won the Georgia Masters state road race jersey this year, Chris Brown who finished 4th and 6th at Masters Nationals and has a TN state jersey from this year of his own, Chad Madan who finished 3rd and 10th at Masters Nationals and Colby Millen the ever active helper who sacrifices himself for the team week in and week out.
No doubt, a Southeastern Elite Masters Team if there ever was one! Case in point, we came to win the race and win a jersey. From the gun the race was very fast and Colby was active from the gun getting in several moves while the other guys sat tight. On one of Colby’s moves, as it was being brought back, Chris Brown attacked like a mad man on the hill and got away for a prime. In the process, evergreen strongman Tony Scott of the Peachtree Bikes team was caught in between the field and Brown, so Brown sat up to wait for Tony, knowing that he’s a few years longer in the tooth in the 40+ age group, a hell of a break partner and would not affect the GA state jersey race (since Brown is from TN he cannot win a GA jersey). So off Tony and Chris went, slowly building up to over a minute lead on the field thanks to Chad, Benjy and Colby keeping moves from going. With one lap to go, Brown drops the hammer on the final hill heading into the finish to take the win.
That’s the Win that we came for.
Then, Benjy, Chad and Colby did a phenomenal job in setting up the sprint for 3rd with Benjy winning the field sprint and taking the GA state Criterium jersey and Chad pulling down 5th in the field sprint, 8th overall and 3rd in the state!
That was the State Championship Jersey we came for.
Later that afternoon, the Cateogry 1/2 criterium was up with about 50 riders starting. Again our Litespeed-BMW team featured the same “A” team from the Masters race and the addition of Chris “KOTGR” Chotas, Doug Ollerenshaw, Troy Adams, Hank Beaver and Wes Parrish. The field was stacked with large strong teams from Team Type 1, Mountain Khakis, Jamis Sutter Home, Locos Grill and Ion-United Health Care, so the guys knew the race as going to be very fast and aggressive. From the gun, Troy Adams was leading the field keeping the pace high to try to thwart teams from attacking, our guys were attentive to be near the front and be ready to go with moves, after all this is the state championships! But moves started coming and our guys did what they could to be in them with Troy, Doug, Hank and Chris Chotas in several, but with none of them really getting any steam. Then the first significant break of five formed with Locos, Mountain Kakis, Team Type 1 and Litespeed-BMW represented, which to no big surprise, Chris Brown was our guy there. This lead group built up to a 25 second lead on the field but the teams starting infighting a bit in the break and were not working well together so the field was getting close and at this time Hank bridged across with a couple of other riders and what a perfect scenario that would have been…two Litespeed-BMW riders in the break with Hank being GA resident and able to win a jersey! But those dreams came to an end as the field pulled that break back into the fold.
Again attacks came and our guys continued to stay active at the front, but two riders had gotten a 10 second lead and this was cause for concern as they were very strong and had good teams. Naturally, Brown attacks on the hill to bridge to them and at this time Frank Travieso of Jamis/Sutter Home bridges to Chris and they get across to the leaders in no time. The Litespeed-BMW crew in the field did a great job to ward off counter attacks so that no one else could bridge to the break. That break of four riders was set and Brown knew that two of the riders he was racing in the break were full time professionals, the other was from South Carolina, therefore our guys in the field still had a chance at a state jersey, so again a great scenario.
With three to go the break got very close to lapping the field and Brown knew that the three riders with him in the break are all VERY fast sprinters and that he needed to get away from them in order to possibly win the race. So on the last lap and into turn 3 and onto the hill for the final time Brown attacks hard hoping to solo in…but the riders were ready for his move and were able to catch him heading into the final straight. Brown was a bit gassed from his effort to get away so he watched as the three sprinted for the win. Chris rolled the dice for the win and this is always better than not trying . Unfortunately, a small secondary breakaway had gotten away near the end and Litespeed-BMW had Doug Ollerenshaw in this move, but bad luck struck as Doug got a flat tire and had to cruise around the final laps just to finish the race on the flat. So the field was left sprinting for 11th and Benjy was able to get in there again for 5th in the sprint, 15th in the race for 3rd in the state! Hank was also just behind Benjy so 3 riders in the top 20, nice work guys!
Next up, the epic climbing race River Gorge Omniun in Chattanooga TN! Look for a full report next week.