Sunday I headed over to Gainesville to check out the criterium portion of the Georgia Cup Series. There was also a time trial and road race as part of the Gainesville stop. Since the criterium followed a short route around the town square, it was the most spectator friendly of the events, and also looked to be the best choice for getting some good photos. I parked at Greg Whites old apartment complex and rode the Peugeot to the site. I was way early, and right away I ran into Hodge from Addictive Cycles. The Addictive crew had plenty of presence at the race providing neutral support and working the wheel pit but interestingly I didn’t see anyone racing for them. The wheel pit was something new to me…it was a specified area where everyone stashed their extra wheels in case they had a mechanical during the race.
I tooled around early on looking for places I thought might provide some good shots, and ran into this graphic on the side of a Regions Bank.
The pits were a beehive of activity. The most organized crew I saw was Frazier Cycling, representing lots of younger riders. They had their pop up shelter up and everyone on the team was doing warm ups using stationary trainers, with a coach directing them as far as output level. Pretty serious. Bikespotting in the pit area was ridiculous. You name it, it was there…carbon, ti, steel aluminum, crazy exoticwheel set-ups, lots of people running the rear hub/computer combo that calculates power output in watts…there was easily alf a million dollars worth of bikes on the scene. You know I dug that. Suprisingly, a lot of people seemed to dig the Peugeot. All day people were passing by going “nice ride man”, and “whoa vintage!”…I was pretty happy about that. One of the simpler but cool rides I saw all day was this custom Steve Rex…check out the cool lugged straight blade forks!
First race was the juniors. They raced for 20 mins, and were alerted at the start finish when they had a few laps to go. The announcers were cracking me up all day. There were two of them, so the commentary bounced back and forth between them. One of them had either a british or australian accent, and they both seemed to know tons of the racers by name. Very professional. Oh I have to mention that the soundtrack for the day was pretty interesting too. When I got there they were playing some dub, and two songs later it was Telefon el Aviv. During the races they played some suprisingly tatsteful 4/4 techno interpersed with some downtempo beats during the portions between races. Whoever was controlling the music didn’t treat it as an afterthought, which made the whole thing come off more polished and show-like, a real treat for the spectators.
When the juniors finished they all had to take their bikes to be “rolled out”, which was were an official checked their gearing to make sure they weren’t using a gear inch combo that didn’t fit within the rules. This was another thing about road bike racing I learned on the day.
As the day progressed, the age classes went up ad so did the speeds.
The ladies crew represented with sick amounts of speed. Also, during the ladies races was the first time I heard the announcers call for a MAR lap, which means Most Aggressive Rider. I assume that when the MAR lap is called the first rider to cross the line gets a points bonus. There may be a tally for most aggressive rider that follows the whole series, I don’t know.
This girl won her class…it was funny because I’m pretty sure the announcers knew her name, but they kept calling her Advil
The fellas kept ramping up the speed all day. There was no shortage of entries either…the field was pretty deep
During one of the mens races, which was incredibly fast, there were a few wrecks. I caught this one at the first turn.
It doesn’t look -too- bad, because by the time I snapped the photo, a few of the guys who fell had already gotten up and continued. It was pretty gnarly.
This guy was freakin pissed and cussed at the rider who caused the wreck before bringing his bike over to the sideline, where another fellah who was taking pics helped him out by holding the bike up so he could get the chain back on. They were having trouble, and eventually figured out that one of the guys bladed spokes were broken so he couldn’t continue. I felt pretty bad for him because he was shouting about being number two in the oer all for the WHOLE SERIES in his class. Watchingthis whole thing unfold taught me a lot about how road riders really stress the need to know how to ride as a pack. This guys day was ruined by no fault f his own.
Even though I hustled around the course to several different locations, I seemed to only be able to get decent shots from the first turn. There was a lot of trouble with the camera. It seems t like it sunny rather than overcast, and my manual settings are sort of limited. Still had fun and learned a bunch about shooting.
This guy in the red absolutely blazed his class.
By this time, the batteries in the camera were begging forgiveness. I shot 156 pics and 3 movies.
It seemed like a good time to go to lunch and decide if I was going to stay and watch the mens pro class, which was slated to start after 6. Honestly, I didn’t know the event was going to run all day or I’d have brought extra batteries and may not have shown up so early. As I said, the whole road bike race thing is a learning experience for me. I decided to call it a day. The event was awesome though, and by the time I left there were tons of spectators lining the course, lots of folks ringing cowbells to urge the racers on, and it was a great time for everyone. I’m glad I went, and next year if they do it in the square again I am going to bring a few friends who need to experience this kind of racing.