The Cotton Patch Classic was a huge success for SMU Cycling. The city of Greenville Tx is very supportive of the event, sponsored by the PACC cycling club. One of the city Councilmen, Dan Perkins, is an SMU alum and his daughter is a current legacy student.
The event started with the road race, where Nicky rolled in with the P1/2 pack, putting in the miles after his fabulous crit victory on Thursday. Frank also had a solid ride in the Cat 3 road race. Jeff's last weekend as a cat 4 saw him win the slightly uphill drag to the finish, winning with a margin that allowed him to throw his hands up in victory. His team mate for Metro VW and the TCU cycling team, Alex Gibson, finished a few metres back. Buzz, stuck with a 13 cog on his SRAM cassette, needs just a bit more bite on the wheel, but finished an impressive 3rd in the cat 5 race. He earned much needed points in the omnium. Caryn's race saw the Cat 4 woman play cat and mouse for 67 miles, only to have an exciting finish that resembled Thor Hushovd and Robbie MacEwan's famous head butting battles in the Tour. Caryn was squeezed and even had a Sidi buckle ripped off in the argy-bargy. Her 4th was insignificant in light of her staying up and unharmed.
The evening Time Trial was delayed 45 minutes, probably because the Greenville volunteers and police set up what seemed like 500,000 cones on the 8 mile course. Our students spent the day studying for numerous tests on Monday.
Buzz, Nicky and Frank turned in solid times, all top 10 (Jeff was on his road bike, no aero bars) and Jeff's Metro team mate Alex Gibson followed Jeff's road race win with a TT win in the Cat 4's. Caryn was nervous, starting just in front of the always formidible Cindi Philippi. Fearful the Cindi might catch her, Caryn went out fast and maintained her form to the end, winning the woman's 4 race by over a minute.
After the TT, Jeff, Buzz, Frank and Caryn were in omnium contention (at least Caryn thought she was, not preregistering for the omnium, she was actually not eligible despite having the most points.) If she had known she wasn't eligible for the omnium, she would not have shown up for the crit on Sunday.
The crit course was very challenging, with a bridge in the middle which added a climb on every lap, not quite Elk Hill, but a significant challenge when attacked every lap. Nicky was feeling the effects of a long race week and this race was not a high priority like TxTough was, so he used it to get in race miles. Frank's crit saw him finish top 20, and Buzz did just enough to secure the omnium win with three third places on the weekend.
Caryn asked Nicky where to start the sprint and he layed out a strategy that had Caryn's heart racing with nervousness, it wasn't a simple 250 meters out then go, but a plan that involved a concerted strategy from the start to finish. Nicky said to get a gap, that the gap would not seem too large but an attack before the hill starts would give her enough space to hold off everyone. Caryn saw that the climb over the bridge was taxing everyone, and that the last corner saw everyone fight for the small bit of smooth pavement. Hit that first and she knew she could get a gap before the finish. She knew her legs were not fresh enough to sprint it out with Tara and Kathy, so this was a doo or die move, and it worked to perfection.
Caryn's two first place results (her first victories of the season,) Jeff's Road race triumph and Buzz's omnium win culminated a great week for SMU cyclists.