Tuesday, October 5, 2010

'Bout that time, eh? Righty oh!

So, BamaCross is upon us once more. And this means more photog fun to be had. If you are friends with me on Facebook, then you've already seen all the Cooper Green pics. Facebook is nice in that it displays medium sized pics which upload very quickly. Blogger, however, is slower but you do get the original full res image. So for this year, I will just be uploading to Blogger the "best of the best" if you will. Images that are striking & uniquely BamaCross. Hope you enjoy.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Aflac Games Road Race - Pine Mtn. Valley, GA

The VeloCity "Road Warriors" arrived late in Phenix City, AL after the 4 hr drive from Mobile, ready for some much needed rest. Unfortunately, with the race being in Georgia this meant it would be on Eastern Time, so our recovery was cut even shorter as a result. Blast!

Early the next morning we rolled out to the start of the road race which was being held at chicken processing plant. The aroma... Well, let me just say, its not the sort of thing you wish to smell first thing in the morning before a hard effort! The race loop was around 17 miles & would be taking us up and over nearby Pine Mountain. While the ascent was not particularly steep, there was plenty of climbing to be done that would progressively sap the strength of the racer's legs. Frank's race was set to do 3 laps, while myself & Preston had 4 laps on tap.

As Preston & I rolled out with the other Elite Men, the pace was sedate with the peloton aware of the task that lay before them. As we crested the first serious ramp of the climb on the first lap, one of the strangest things I have ever witnessed occurred. A deer ran out from the trees straight into the peloton, t-boning a rider in the process! Fortunately, the rider was not seriously injured. However, his bike did not fair so well as the impact sheared his fork! Good thing we were only doing about 10mph at the time.

As the laps wore on, the lead group steadily shrunk. Preston & I tried to economize our efforts as much as possible, so we would have something left for the last lap. A compounding factor was now it was very hot (road temp was about 105 F) and we were starting to run low on water.

With about 10 miles left to race, I followed a small move by one rider. I pulled through, pushed for about 15 seconds & looked back. The rider who had started the move had sat up & I now had around a small gap over the group. Sensing an opportunity, I took off. Pushing as hard as I dared, I quickly opened a large gap. However coming off of the mountain, I was now being broiled by the midday sun & driving solo into a headwind. To make it worse, I now had no water & was starting to cramp! A quick glance back confirmed my fears - seven chasers were gaining inexorably. With the run-in to the finish being a long uphill drag, I tried to hold my tempo but it was not to be & I was swamped by the chasers within sight of the finish line. Argh! 1k too far! Oh well, 8th place was still a good result though. Preston hung tough to come in 10th, suffering cramps the entire last lap. Frank also did well, finishing 14th (I think) in his race.

The drive home was long & hot, but we were very glad to be back. We both repeatedly cramped in the car which was hilarious for the non-crampee - until the tables were turned. Now, its time for a little recovery and then starting to built towards our next events in mid June.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Tour De Health Criterium

With Mobile hosting the State Criterium Championships, VeloCity brought a full complement of athletes to the Infirmary Tour De Health. In fact, we had a representative in EVERY race over the course of the day. The crit was a basic 4 corner lap, mostly flat with a slight uphill drag up to the start/finish line.

The juniors kicked things off first with Charlie Snead racing for us. Charlie smartly capitalized on the smaller field size, rode hard & came away with the gold medal & state championship for his efforts. A great start & it would be a sign of things to come throughout the day for the team.

Beth Hollingsworth raced in the Women's Cat. 4's field. Beth has been coming on by leaps & bounds this year and its showing in her results. Befitting her talents, Beth nabbed a mid-race prime with a well timed sprint & uncorked another solid sprint finish to take the silver medal. Two for two!

In the Men's Cat. 4's, Tim Haskew, Todd Hollingsworth, Frank Martin & Skip Snead toed the start line. With the temperature & humidity now well into the 90's, each event was quickly becoming a race of attrition. The guys rode smartly, working together, with Frank doing some monster turns on the front towards the end. Todd was able to save some precious energy as a result and unleashed an impressive sprint to take the bronze. Frank finished 4th, with Tim in 8th & Skip in 10th. Super team work all around! Three for three!!

Beth, Frank & Tim were still feeling fresh enough that they also raced the Women's Cat. 1, 2, 3 & Master's Category, respectively. They were rewarded for their efforts as they all finished in the money and Beth also won some killer looking shades with another mid-race prime sprint.

Myself & Preston Beasley were last up for the day in the Elite Men's race. A first lap crash split the field & that ultimately shaped the race. As the laps and the heat took its toll, racers were spread around the course either on their own or in small groups. Preston managed to nab a mid-race prime in his group and finished strongly, netting him the gold medal for the Cat. 3's. I followed Preston home for the silver medal.

The team performed beautifully today with many bringing home some hardware. For myself , Preston & Frank this was Day 1, however. The next day would bring the Aflac Games Road Race in Phenix City, AL and we still had a long drive ahead of us...

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Highland Rim

Charlie Snead (with Skip in tow), Preston & myself made the trip up to McMinnvile, TN for the Highland Rim Cycling Classic. Charlie did the Juniors road race, while Preston & I raced the Senior Cat. 3's.

We started out under sunny skies, but that would soon change as showers rolled through the area as we raced toward Baker's Mountain. With gusty winds and long straightaways prior to the climb, no breakaway was going to survive for long & thus we rolled onto the climb groupo compacto.

The steep gradients did its job & the pack quickly fragmented & I found myself in the second group on the road about 30 seconds back from the leaders over the top of the climb. Over the next five miles our group was able to reintegrate with the leaders, forming a group of fourteen. Preston was unfortunately unable to regain contact with our group and waited on a small group to ride in with.

With 30 miles to go of mostly flat & gently rolling terrain, our group cooperated well and we rode hard to the finish. In the finale, I had nothing left for the sprint to the line and rolled over the line in 11th place. Preston came in 17th.

Charlie's race was eventful. All the junior age catagories were started at the same time in one big group (about 40 kids in total) leading to a big pile-up on Lap 3. Charlie managed to avoid the wreck, but was delayed by the crash. But true to form, Charlie persevered and sprinted back to nab 5th.

The afternoon uphill TT was cancelled due to thunderstorms, but some were able to finish. Charlie had a good ride passing four riders in 2.5 miles, even though it started pouring rain on him half way up. Travis Sherman (a fellow racer from B'ham) had the privilege of being the last allowed to start the TT. He got hailed on, rained on & had a wind gust blow him from the right shoulder of the road all the way into the left lane! All while climbing a steep hill! Ouchie. I like doing TT's , but I can't say I was disappointed about missing this one.

The crit served up more of the same wet weather and crashes galore. The juniors were held at the line for a full half hour in the rain before they began. When they did finally start, attacks came thick and fast - along with the inevitable crashes. Charlie managed to avoid 3 separate wrecks and over the last couple of laps opted to back things down a bit and finished upright in 5th place (a wise move in my opinion). The men's Cat. 3's followed a similar plot with plenty of hard attacks and wipeouts on the slick pavement. Preston stayed clear of trouble (although he did graze a hay bale at one point while avoiding a fallen rider!! He had the straw stuck to his shoe cover to prove it.) and sprinted home for 6th place.

All in all a good weekend of racing for the team and everyone kept their bodies & bikes intact. Nice racing fellas!

Sunday, January 31, 2010

VeloCity Pro Cycle: 2010 Racing Team Presentation

1st row (L-R): Jim Hamner, Tim Haskew, Preston Beasley, Jason Capley, Charlie Snead, Jared Farrell, Frank Martin, Deanna Steele, Beth Hollingsworth.
2nd row (L-R): Mark Simpson, Coston Perkins, Eric Thomas, Skip Snead, Blake Gill, Dave Thomas, Ed Whitehorn, Todd Hollingsworth.