Rain, wind and climbs : Fayetteville had it all. This past weekend was the University of Arkansas' first time to host a collegiate race weekend for the SCCCC and it will not be its last. Danielle Teese, UofA cycling club president, said, "Every year after this, hopefully we will have one." To organize the event, she said the team went off "what they liked and didn't like from other races" and from there it was just coordinating with USA Cycling and the officials.
Though Saturday morning's road races began with small fields and a lot of rain, the 20 mile loop was quite a change from many in the SCCCC. Nestled in the Ozarks, the course was filled with plenty of rollers and a few fair sized hills, but it was the "Hell's Kitchen" climb that really blew up the pelotons. Located half way through the loop, most fields would ascend the climb twice during their 40 mile races and with a 17.5% grade in spots, this would be the defining factor in most of the races.
Midwestern State's Tony Baca, a two time MTB junior national champion, was right at home on the climbs in Arkansas. Baca was able to ride into another victory, but not far ahead of teammate Cory Scott and University of Texas' first time A racer Robert Chrisman. Jessica Prinner, in a solo effort after the climb, rode to another win for MSU in the women's A race.
Sunday's crit began cold, but the sun was shining for the men's A and the combined men's B and women's A races. With 12 turns, the course was fast and technical. Baylor University's Danielle Bradley beat out Prinner in a sprint finish for the women's A race. The men's A race was one of slim numbers, but the guys made the best of it. JAKROO Leaders Jersey holder Tony Baca, again, was in gold on the podium followed by teammates Cory Scott and Evan Bybee.
Next week, a very special weekend, the SCCCC is traveling to Kansas State for a dual conference race with the NCCCC.