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North Carolina Grand Prix #1, Hendersonville - C2
Hendersonville, North Carolina, USA, November 19, 2005
Ross and Hamblen win inaugural UCI race in Hendersonville
By Janet Trubey
On a bright sunny day in the high 40s, spectators were treated to a full day of racing at Jackson Park in Hendersonville, NC. As part of the North Carolina and Georgia cyclocross series, the North Carolina Grand Prix (UCI / C2) was well attended by over 200 racers. Nestled in the southern Appalachian Mountains, Jackson Park was a very spectator friendly course with over 90 percent of the 3km course in full view. Dotted with many off camber sections, a steep "wall" ride/run up, barriers on a hill, and a set of double natural step-ups, the course was a fast track that held everyone's attention.
In the women's elite field, an immediate strong start from Tara Ross, who was riding for the title sponsor of the race, Diet Cheerwine, had the field strung out immediately. In hot pursuit were Laura Bowles (Diet Cheerwine), Samantha Williams (Alan Factory), and Kim Sawyer (Travel Girl). While those three faded over the next few laps, Betsy Schauer (Fort - GPOA!) took over the chase. In a late race charge, Cara McCauley (CCA/Kona) and Melanie Swartz (Squadra Coppi) eventually made contact with Schauer. While, Swartz struggled with a few crashes, and Schauer dropped a chain, McCauley capitalised on her chances to take the second spot on the podium.
While the women were separated for the majority of the race, the 50 men in the elite field rode in groups of six and ten for the majority of the race. Nearly the entire field was together after a fast uphill start, but after the first trip into the woods, the selection was made with a front group of eight men: Jon Hamblen (Fiordifrutta), Bart Gillespie (Biogen Idec), Jed Schneider (Alan Factory), Michael Cody (Fiordifrutta), Tristan Schouten (Trek/VW), Brent Bookwalter (Easton/Kona), Charlie Storm (Inland Construction), and Jason Tullous (Voodoo). Throughout most of the race there were many attacks, but all were brought back quickly until one and a half laps to go. Knowing that no one wanted to be in the wind on the long stretch of grass going past the pits or the road section plagued by a headwind, Hamblen timed his attack well, picking that section to make the decisive move. With the rest of the lead pack not quick enough to respond, Hamblen maintained his gap and eventually stretched it to 25 seconds by the end. The chasing group of seven set themselves up to treat the spectators to a series of very close sprint finishes in pairs, separated only by seconds.
Other winners from the day include: Danny Marquardt in Men's B, Janet Trubey in Women's B, Edward Dickinson in Masters 35+, Randy Shields in Masters 45+, Christian Parrett in Juniors 17-18, Kyle Cochran in Juniors 10-16, and Geoff Pendry in Men's C.
Racers will return to Jackson Park, on Sunday November 20, 2005 for round two of the UCI (C2) North Carolina Grand Prix.
For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here
Images by Janet Trubey
Elite men 1 Jon Hamblen 2 Bart Gillespie 3 Jed Schneider 4 Michael Cody 5 Tristan Schouten 6 Brent Bookwalter 7 Charlie Storm 8 Jason Tullous 9 Russ Tiles 10 Dan Timmerman Elite women 1 Tara Ross 2 Cara McCauley 3 Betsy Schauer 4 Melanie Swartz 5 Samantha Williams 6 Laura Bowles 7 Mandy Lozano 8 Kim Sawyer 9 Lauren Trull 10 Susan Wilson