Brevard, N.C.- The Brevard College cycling team played host to schools from across the Southeast in a major two-day race weekend event held in Brevard and Rosman.
“This was important,” BC Cycling Coach Brian Sheedy said. “It gave our team a chance to test itself against the big boys, like Florida and Alabama, from the Southeastern Conference.”
Saturday’s events, both held in Rosman, were a 15.52 mile individual and team time trial that kicked off at 8:30 a.m., and afternoon road races on a 15.67 mile loop that featured three men’s and two women’s classes.
On Sunday, Brevard hosted five exciting races called criteriums, or crits, downtown on Broad Street and Highway 276. Crits, which have become the most common type of bike racing in the U.S., are also great for the spectators. They are usually held on a short course, usually less than a mile, and run on closed city streets.
A crit generally lasts for an hour or so, as opposed to road races, which can last for several hours. Also, a crit is much more intense than a road race, featuring speeds that are much higher, and demanding superb technical skills. The ability to corner rapidly and smoothly, while continuing to “hold your line” on the road is the first demand, but riders must also ride safely in a pack and be able to “attack” other riders with quick sprints and, repeatedly, accelerate hard out of turns.
“This weekend put a real strain on our team,” Tornado Coach Brian Sheedy said. “In addition to competing, everyone had to volunteer in various ways to make the event a success. It was great to see the positive results of all of that hard work.”
Those results included what Sheedy called “the best road racing weekend we’ve ever had as a team.” In the men’s A Road Race, BC’s Nick Jowsey finished 4th, Caleb Welborn 5th, Wyatt Briggs 14th and Brandon Milet 25th. Tornado Lewis Gaffney was in a four-man breakaway for the first half of the race, but was forced out, first by mechanical problems, and then by a punctured tire.
BC’s Erica Zaveta was badly outnumbered, but fought her way to a second place finish in the Women’s A Road Race. Spencer Lowden paced the Tornado’s first team win of the road season by winning the Men’s C Road Race with a blazing sprint finish. BC’s Blake Stephenson won the sprint in the next group, taking 6th place.
Nicole Miranda had exciting sprint finishes in the Women’s B Road Race and the criterium, finishing in 3rd place in both races. “She is new to road racing, and her performance was just awesome,’ Sheedy said. He added that the Men’s A Criterium also featured fierce competition and was amazing to watch. Tornado Welborn placed 3rd, Gaffney 7th, Jowsey 9th, Milet 11th and Briggs 20th.
If you want to see exciting race video taking by the University of Florida Cycling Team, go to http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DZvcnPTvB2E
Tornado cyclists are in action again at Virginia Intermont in Bristol, Va. April 6-7, will compete in the South Atlantic Conference Championships in Clemson, S.C. April 13-14, are at Boone-Roubaix in Boone, N.C. April 20 and cap their season at the Collegiate Road National Championships in Ogden, Utah May 3-5.