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SECCC Race Weekend #1: University of FL (Gainesville)

Day 1: Collegiate A Circuit Race – 60min, 1.1mi Loop

Ah, the first race of the 2011 collegiate season, and thankfully it was far away from the wintery weather up here in North Carolina. After a solid 9-hour trek down from Mars Hill to Gainesville, and getting into bed around 1:00am, I was a little bit worried about getting so little sleep before the race.

Arriving at the race site the following morning, situated in a small business park, I had enough pre-race nerves setting in that any lack of sleep I may have had was not an issue! Only three of us from the team attended the race: Stephanie Bunnett in the women’s A’s, and myself and Maitland Jones in the mens A’s. Though it was no surprise because I had been checking the weather so frequently, both of our races were on wet roads in the rain. Luckily, the course only had one sharp turn so the rain really wasn’t an issue.

After a good 30min warmup, I was ready to get the race going! Heading into the staging area Maitland and I both scoped out the competition and made note of who to watch out for. Because there was only two of us in the field, we had to pick which breakaways to go with carefully, and do as little work as possible. Some schools such as University of FL and Cumberland had a good number of guys in the field, so we could be almost certain that they’d have at least one person in the breaks.

The attacks started from the blow of the whistle, and the pace stayed pretty high in the first few laps. I was able to get myself situated towards the front of the pack, so I felt comfortable in the beginning of the race. Attack after attack people kept trying to start the breaks. Maitland and I both went up with some of the hopeful breaks, but none of them lasted much more than a lap. Finally about halfway through the race, a group of about five riders went off the front and the pace suddenly dropped in the main field. With several notable riders in the break, I took my chances and attacked to bridge up to the break. After successfully catching them after a good hard effort, I looked back to see that the field was still sitting up! At this point I had a good feeling that this break would stick, but I tried to stay calm about it. Lap after lap with the break we actually began to gain time! By the time it was three laps to go, I knew that we had it! At two laps to go I started trying to conserve as much energy as I could for the sprint, but kept alert in case anybody tried to make a solo break.

Going into the final turn I took my chances and attacked going into it, leaving myself out in front going into the sprint. When it was happening I was sure that I had just ruined the race! Coming out of the turn I lead out the sprint and somehow held it to take first!

Collegiate A (Postlogue) ITT – 2.2mi

Admittedly, I wasn’t too thrilled at having to do a time trial starting at around 5:30pm the same day, but with it being so short and after some success earlier I was up for it! The time trial was actually on the same course as the circuit race, and was simply two laps. In case you were wondering, yes, there were a lot of people on the course at the same time. During my time trial I had to do a lot of people dodging, but luckily not into the turns.

One new rule this year for all collegiate riders is that the use of aero equipment (disc, TT bike, aerobars, etc.) is not permitted. I am definitely not opposed to this because I don’t have a time trial bike!

From the start, I went out way to hard, and I found it really difficult to pace myself on such a short distance. After finding a decent rhythm, I felt pretty good about my performance, but as always I thought that I could’ve gone harder (doesn’t everybody?). Once the results came out after everybody had finished and it was well after dark outside and getting cold (for FL), I was happy to learn that I had won the time trial as well!

Day 2: Collegiate A Criterium – 70min

Going into the Sunday’s race, I could feel yesterday’s efforts in my legs, but was still excited to get racing! Like the day before, the roads were wet from the rain, but it had stopped raining by the time my race went off. After arriving a little bit late, neither Maitland nor I was able to get much of a warmup in, but there was no point in worrying about it.

Much like the start to yesterday’s races, the attacks went off almost instantly! With the course being a little bit more technical with a fast “snaking” section, the field was pretty strung out at times. I stayed up towards the front as much as possible and tried to go with the breaks that I thought looked strong, but nothing was sticking. Around halfway through I slipped towards the back to recovery a little bit, and right as I did so an attack went of that had both David Guttenplan and Andy Baker in it who were the two strongest riders in the field. With only a moment to respond I jumped along the outside going into the snaking section and started an hopeless bridge attempt. For almost 4 laps I buried myself to catch up to the break, and got so close several times, but just couldn’t make it all the way up. Once I realized they were gone and I basically blew up, I sat up for the main field and tried to regain myself for the upcoming final sprint. Hurting pretty bad, it was hard to try to stay towards the front, but in the last few laps riders were getting dropped left and right. I held a decent position going into the final stretch and managed to squeeze out one last effort to finish ninth.

Overall, this weekend was definitely a success for the team and we managed to place ourselves into first place in the SECCC Div. II standings with just three people! All three of us had some great finishes and Stephanie got a win for herself in Sunday’s criterium!

Team Results:

Stephanie B. : 2nd, 3rd, 1st

Michael R. : 1st, 1st, 9th

Maitland J : 11th, 4th, 8th

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One Response

  1. Nice site and race report here man! It was a great start to the year and you’ve definitely kept that going with another win at FSU.

    They did a race report on CCN (Collegiate Cycling News) and had you quoted in it, not sure if you saw it:


    Anyway, nice site here man and I think I’ll put a link up on my page, get some more traffic your way hopefully.

    P.S. I like the “my bikes section”…probably what I’ll do whenever I get another one for mtn season!

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