Thursday, February 22, 2018

SCCCC 2018 Road Season Opener

By: Austin Montalvo, University of Louisiana at Lafayette

The SCCC conference kicked off their first cycling race this past weekend in College Station, TX with the Aggieland Omnium. This race was hosted by Texas’ own Texas A&M, and Rice University. This is not their first rodeo hosting a SCCC race and veteran cyclists always expect a great time here.

First on the agenda was the “Tunis Roubaix” road race. The course was set as a 9.3-mile loop featuring 200 feet of elevation gain. The most note worthy section of this course was the 1 mile stretch of gravel that riders had to hit on every loop.  The weather gave nerve-wrecking clouds at first but then the sky opened up into sunshine and gave the racers a great relief, as they would be starting the race dry. Eventually the weather did turn back cloudy but the rain held out for the most part. Texas’ fast boys took first place in this race when Brady Reed (A&M) and Collin Noe (Rice) crossed the finish line before others in their A and B groups respectively. Oklahoma State University however had the highlight when C rider Zachery Spier (OSU) and D rider Joshua Spiers (OSU) finished out front of their categories. When it came time for the women to show off; Amy Floyd (MSU) in A group, Angelica Rigsby (A&M) in B group, and Abby Biedenbach (OSU) in C group all placed first in their divisions. Watching these determined athletes race was incredible and they did not disappoint in providing an encompassing event.
Later Saturday afternoon the weather was not so kind to racers for the “Rock Prairie TT” (Time Trial). It was very misty and sprinkling rain from time to time. The course was an “out” course of 6.2 miles for all racers. The time trial course passed beautiful ranches with no shortage of cows cheering riders on. The women really pulled out the rocket boosters on this event when Amy Floyd (MSU) placed 1st in A group with a time of 15:44. She was followed by Christina Rigbsy (A&M) and Brissa Montalvo (MSU). Sarah Starz (UNT) took first in the B group with a time of 17:49. C group was dominated by Abby Biedenbach (OSU) with a time of 17:11. Multiple riders said the best part of the TT was “crusin” back 6.2 miles to the starting line in the misting rain. It provided a better chance to observe the beautiful Texas terrain without trying to attempt to achieve warp speed.
Sunday morning the weather was equally as nasty for the last event of the weekend, “Heritage Funding Crit”. This criterium was a 1.1 mile course held on Texas A&M’s campus near Research Park. Between the previous nights rain and the mornings’ wet misty fog, the entire course was slick and nasty despite top notch clean up efforts. This did not intimidate the riders what so ever as they sped around each wet corner with maximum precision. This event is a favorite to fans as they watch riders reach top speeds while cornering around tight sharp corners in attempt to pass up each other. Highlighted was the mens’ D group because when asked “who here has never raced crit before?”, a good 75% of the racers (including myself) raised their hands. There were many laughs amongst riders and fans because everyone knows crit can be one of the funnest, most dangerous events during the weekend. Joshua Spiers (OSU) put out the work needed to take first in the D group. He was followed by Patrick Howard (UTA) and Nicholas Wong (UTA). Only one rider fell and it was not too serious so there was a sigh of relief by many when the results were in for the D group. I myself with others got pulled from the race for being a bit behind but it provided a great view to see these fast guys blow by the finish line.
All in all, this was a great season opener for the SCCC racers and they truly enjoyed their time in Texas despite not so ideal weather conditions. Texas A&M and Rice University made sure everyone was comfortable and put together an extremely great race. Special kudos went out to Bike Barn bike shop for having a tent with all the supplies necessary for last minute emergency repairs. The race directors did a great job of keeping everything moving on time and did a great job of providing answers for all questions. The riders look forward to the races to come as they chase each other in hopes of claiming top spots in their conferences category.