Albany, GA. The home town of Paula Deen, perched deep in the Georgia country side, was no small trek to get to. 7 brave souls made the trip from Charleston, hoping it would secure them a solid start to the Southeast Regional Series. Little did they know, that as they were making the arduous journey down, Alex and Justin were having their way with the Friday night fights crit in Gaffney. Alex got the win and secured his Cat 1 upgrade while Justin came in just behind finishing high up in the sprint.
In downtown Albany the crit course passed by a local “art park”, filled with graffiti and overflowing with dubstep. It set the scene as Everett and Erik Engstrom joined forces in the Cat 4 race, throwing multiple attacks throughout. Their brotherly bond finally broke in the last few laps as the pace became just a bit too much. Next up Ken took a stab at the world of Cat 3 racing with trusty teammate Myles along to show him the ropes. The Cat 2 guys watched anxiously, munching on delicious pre-race fuel comprised primarily of donut-burgers, as apprentice almost became master. Ken played it smart sitting in most of the race while Myles tried his luck in a couple breaks. In the end Myles barely out sprinted Ken to the line as they both grabbed solid finishes in 11th and 12th. With John back on the east coast and Kellen now a Cat 2, the team was rolling 3 deep in the P/1/2 field. We ended up needing everyone, as the giant field shelled many of it’s riders throughout the 75-minutes of pain. The donut-burgers paid off though, with a final effort in the uphill sprint seeing Zack finish up 8th, with an added bonus of 5 points for a mid-race sprint.
Exhaustion. Tired legs. Showers. Some ‘za. Bed. Early Morning Wake Up.
Everyone always loves a good road race, I don’t really understand why, but they do. Despite our complaints on the previous days slightly bumpy crit, the road course was a good one. Smooth pavement, slight undulating hills and pretty much zero traffic. It’s amazing how easy 30 mph can be when you’ve got 70 some haus cyclists in front of you, towing your rear end around. That’s exactly where we found ourselves around 8:00 am for the 1/2 race. Amazingly a break did form in the last of 3 laps. First with 5 riders, then 12, then 22, then 27. They never got more than a minute gap but in the end that’s all they needed. The team was represented in the group with Zack making the original 12 and so we were happy to watch the break succeed. In another uphill finish Zack finished 9th giving him a solid position in the overall. Just about that time the temperature really started to rise, giving an extra level of difficulty to the 3′s and 4′s who were just getting started. A couple 4′s tried frivolous attacks but inevitably it was coming down to a sprint. That is until about 1 km to go when Erik pulled out his man legs and started smashing pedals. A solo flyer from 1k out is no joke but Erik was clipping the meters off, 600m to go, 400m, 200…. and then the whole peloton went flying by. It was a valiant effort but it wasn’t to be rewarded. Last up Myles and Ken’s race. I’m sort of fuzzy on the details at this point (sorry gents) but I’m sure Myles attacked a whole bunch, and Ken’s face muscles got sore from all his “smiling”. Needless to say, you could watch the sprint from a good bit out as a spectator. Those guys were already sprinting from over a k out and it never let up. The guys didn’t have a chance and I don’t blame ‘em. You could almost see their black lycra underneath all the white salt caked on from the days sweat. Some days just aren’t meant for you.
A solid start to the series and were looking forward to Alabama next month. We’ll be sure to post overall results once they come out.
As a final note, Ken wanted to tell everyone that he has 40 pts AT LEAST for the series and he’ll be going for 40 more in June. Watch out all you Cat 3′s!