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Tuesday Night Crit Champs - Round 11
Columbia, SC, June 17, 2003
By Henry Corley
The Devils Triangle of Williams Brice Stadium, The Shop Rd. Landfill and the Bluff Rd. Office Park was in strange motion this evening , timing the transition from clear blue skies to Congo monsoon just after Eric "Superstar" Christopherson put it to the locals in the mid-race prime to take home a new Vetta Razzo saddle.
But the TNCWC crowd are no lillies, and the racing continued through curb-obscuring pools. Aerodynamics be damned, is was Hydrodynamics that would determine the winner of this Round, as riders struggled to stay in the "splash groove" created by the wheel ahead.
The first half began like any other local Tuesday night crit, albeit with more looks and talent. Swanson was itching to get a clear view of the turns and his move set the game in motion. Outspokin was again riding strong, with SC State Master’s silver medalist and shop owner Brian Curran sending riders up the road, looking for that right combo.
The most promising move containing Wilson, Iwinski, Bluemle and Charles was caught by Sunday and Powell as Bluemle and Wilson decided to return to the field. With new legs, the break continued to make a go of it, but were finally swept up in preparation for the prime sprint. As the bell rang, "prime specialist" Christopherson could almost feel that nice new saddle on his cheeks, and with a vicious dispatching of Series leader Oglesby and Powell, he made it so. Oglesby and Powell claimed 2nd and 3rd place points, respectively.
The fist raindrops were excused as spit and sweat, but when the field rounded turn 2 and saw the wall of water, reality set in. Plunging into the rain, riders scrambled to de-fog glasses, and during the confusion, a split occurred in the middle of the field that would ultimately never close. Those caught out chased in the driving wind and rain shortly before finally going a lap down, while the 20 remaining riders on the lead lap barely eased the pace. As the gutters began to overflow and conditions deteriorated, 3 to go was called. The bell lap saw a small group try to escape, but the wind favored a crowd and it was all back together inside the red kite of 1km.
Into the last turn, Scott Royce was cleaning the curb in 4 inches of water when a nudge sent him on a tour of the median. Tom Simpson he is not, but nevertheless, we will observe a moment of silence in the "Scott Royce Memorial Turn 4" during the neutral lap next round. For those that didn't see (or hear) Scott do his thing, visit http://www.gatorboats.com/new_page_1.htm for details... there are also a number of photos posted there.
In the confusion, it was the climber Karl Kyzer that put up the best fight against the storming Series leader Oglesby, and even though Kyzer was seen donning special "race socks" before the start, he came up just inches short of the win, but still a strong showing for a climber in a sprint, and a good indication of his form leading into next weeks hilly RR edition of the TNCWC. The sprint was rounded out by Jeff, Brandon and Bluemle.
As soon as the sprint concluded, the mojo lifted, the rain stopped and riders gathered around Royce, looking like a victim of a sod farm explosion, to hear a story.
Remember: Round 12 (June 24th) will be a RR edition in the Mt. Elon area. Details are on the way.
Prime (3,2,1 pts and Vetta Saddle) - Eric Christopherson, Ken Oglesby, Lang Powell Finish (5,4,3,2,1 pts) - Ken Oglesby, Karl Kyzer, Jeff, Brandon McKeever, Brian Bluemle Overall Standings after Round 11 1 - 48 pts - Ken Oglesby (Cycle Center) 2 - 24 pts - Tom Sunday (Cycle Center) 3 - 23 pts - Brian Bluemle (Cycle Center) 4 - 21 pts - James Wilson (USC) 5 - 20 pts - Lang Powell (Outspokin) 6 - 16 pts - Brandon McKeever (Earth Fare) 7 - 13 pts - John Neal (USC), Karl Kyzer (Outspokin) 8 - 12 pts - Brian Curran (Outspokin) 9 - 11 pts - Eric Christopherson (Outspokin) 10 - 10 pts - Chip Mosteller (Veloshoppe) 11 - 9 pts - Perry McLeod (Cycle Center) 12 - 6 pts - Jeremiah Swanson (Outspokin), Scott Royce (Outspokin), Rob Reed (Outspokin), Keith Iwinski (Outspokin), Jeff 14 - 5 pts - Jay Charles (Cycle Center), Tim Woolford (Earth Fare) 15 - 4 pts - Matt, Mike 16 - 3 pts - Paul Harrell (Harrells) 17 - 2 pts - Tyler 18 - 1 pt - Damon Little (Harrells)