Team DeMaine hosted the Domestiquesports Criterium in Greenville, South Carolina. The course is a smooth slightly oblong loop with a short kicker to the finish line. Although this very short incline only required riders to shift down one or two gears, this little incline was tackled numerous times on a half-mile course, slowly draining the energy from the racers. Another factor in today’s race was the oppressive heat. Forward thinking riders arrived at the line with at least two full bottles.
The women got the day of racing started, but they didn’t get that much relief from the heat. The exposed course and black asphalt reflected the heat back into the racers. Their race was 40 minutes in duration but combined with the rising temperatures and short hill it wore down the peloton.
The women’s race was described as being active with teams entering the event with a strategy. One squad with a plan was Team Kenda.
“We wanted to hold off until the midway point and let the race develop,” said Kenda rider Catherine James. “After that we wanted to form a break.”
And that’s what they did. With teammate Nicole Johnson they attacked up the road. The ladies realized that this was too dangerous a break to go unchecked so they were brought back. The next move was from Hannah Coughlin (Carolina Flyers). James knew that Couglin was a strong rider so she bridged up to cover the move.
Charging hard to catch the hard working duo was the peloton led by former triathlete, recent convert to road racing and first time criterium racer Cristina Lindsey (DeMaine Cycling).
“I could feel them on our heels,” said James.
However the chase came up short as Coughlin took the win over the Kenda rider with Lindsey taking the field sprint for third.
The men’s 1/2/3 race started off in the full heat of the day and after just a few laps five riders slipped off the front. Working together the break quickly lapped the unmotivated chase group.
DeMaine rider and first year category 2 Cabra saw the move and reacted.
“I knew that was going to be the breakaway and no one was going to bring it back.”
With 15 minutes remaining it became a race of attrition. For many this was their second race of the day and of the five riders in the break, three had contested the Masters category race just an hour previous.
With only single digits laps remaining in the race, there was no cohesive peloton. It was small groups of two and three riders working together the best they could. In the final two laps a group of three – Julian Cabra (DeMaine Cycling), Ben Miller (Globalbike p/b Catoma), and Jim Cunningham (Team Ville) got a slight gap on the group. Coming into the final corner and kicking hard for the finish was Cabra taking the win with enough space between him and second place to post up a victory salute. Cleve Blackwell took the group sprint for fourth.
After the race Cabra explained his strategy for the day.
“Once we lapped the group I just kept checking on the other four guys (from the break) and go with them. But I was just trying to conserve as much energy as I could.”
As a new category 2 racer Cabra is leaving the Domestiquesports Criterium with some cash in his pocket but also some race wisdom.
“I learned that I have to save energy so I can sprint at the end.”
1. Hannah Coughlin (Carolina Flyers)
2. Catherine James (Team Kenda)
3. Cristina Lindsey (DeMaine Cycling)
1.Julian Cabra (DeMaine Cycling)
2. Ben Miller (Globalbike p/b Catoma)
3. James Cunningham (Team Ville)