Our TN rider Chris Brown came out swinging at the 21st Annual Highland Rim Omnium last weekend in McMinnville, TN, winning both the criterium and the 112 mile road race! You won’t believe the details.
The Highland Rim Omnium has been one of the premier races in the southeast for years. For 2012, the race was moved up a week on the racing schedule which caused it to conflict with other races in the region, that combined with some small changes to the promotion of the event, led to a bit smaller field than normal. But hey, a race is a race and Chris was ready!
The criterium was up first on a very fast and very short 4/10 of a mile course. Chris lined up against riders from FSG Cycling, Tria Market, Texas Roadhouse, Krystal and Sonic cycling teams. Knowing it was a short course Chris had to be very attentive as he expected a small group of riders were for sure going to breakaway and lap the field at some point. What Chris didn’t know was that he would end up off the front and lapping the field solo! Yes, from the start Sonic and FSG set the tempo with some small attacks going free. Chris and Brian Toone from the Tria Market team (very strong rider that Chris really had to keep a close eye on throughout the weekend) both had gone with a couple of early moves that were brought back. Then Chris launched a hard attack about twenty minutes in and got a good gap with Brian Toone chasing solo and the group chasing behind Brian. The race stayed this way for about ten minutes before Brian threw in the towel and went back to the group, at that point the group eased up a bit but Chris kept rolling till he had caught and lapped the field! The last twenty minutes of the race Chris sat safely in the group and came across with the victory! Chris is not scared to suffer that is for sure – what an animal! Good work Chris!
Next up was the 112.5 mile legendary Highland Rim road race featuring two 55 mile laps with lots of rollers and one 2 mile climb that comes 20 miles into the lap. A lot goes on in this long of a race so we will try to condense the action. Basically the Friends of the Great Smokies team attacked throughout the day because they had more riders than any other team, there goal was to wear down Chris and the other teams that would have to chase. At one point John Hart from FGS team got three minutes and thirty seconds ahead of the chase group that Chris was in but the group figured John would probably use up his energy and they would catch him on the climb on the 2nd lap, which did end up happening. Chris, Brian Toone, Brad Spears from Sonic and two strong Texas Road House riders worked well together to keep most anything that got up the road in check, knowing that in this long of a race you have to be smart to conserve your energy and not attack to early.
With about 25 miles to go, Jeff McGrane with FGS attacked solo and Chris, Brian and Texas Road House worked to keep him in a safe distance. Jeff was caught with about 8 miles to go and Chris attacked immediately hoping Jeff couldn’t get onto the small group, but he was able to just catch on. Chris’s goal was to get away solo but after he attacked a couple more times it was just not going to happen as Brian Toone was able to get on Chris’s wheel and somehow Jeff had a bit of energy left to catch on one last time and actually launch an attack himself that Chris then sprung from and Brian went with…so into the finishing ½ mile hill and towards the finish they raced with Chris sprinting to the win with Brian 2nd and Jeff 3rd. It was a long day! 23mph average for four hours and fifty four minutes. This win, combined with his criterium win the day before, gave Chris the overall omnium win as well! 3 wins in one weekend for Chris!!!
Next up, the Berry Peddler in Dayton TN featuring three cat. 2 climbs, wish us luck!