Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Georgia Cup #3 - Chattanooga, TN

Karel Sumbal made the 12 hour drive from Tampa up to Chattanooga to take part in the 3rd stop of the Georgia Cup series. He was alone and up against a stacked field of Pros and elite amateurs, but still managed to unleash his fast finish in his favorite event...the criterium.

Our European cycling phenom "Czechs" in with his report below.

"Last week I went to Chattanooga for the GA cup race. It was 3 stages race. In TT I got my usual bad result 65th out of 75 riders. But in the night crit I did better. There was over 90 guys on the start line and they were announcing all the "big guys" names and saying that it is the most competitive field in the GA cup this year so far. Among the regulars there were 8 guys from Toshiba with Frank Travieso and Mark Hekman (last year Athen's winner) and Keith Noris (National Champ U-23) leading the squad. The Inferno Team with Jeff Hopkins had lots of guys too. The DLP racing, Team Type1, Jittery Joe's and BMC were presented as well.

The race started very fast and stayed like that until the end. The loop was pretty technical with 6 corners and long wide open straight road up to the finish line. There was several breaks but nothing stayed away for very long so the main field was getting ready for the last sprint. Toshiba started their lead up train with 5 laps to go and they really push very hard pace to avoid any jumps from the field and secure their sprinters. I was trying to get to the end of their train where Frank Travieso was sitting but everybody else wanted exactly the same thing so it was very scary elbow to elbow. One second I was almost there next second I was 15 places deeper in the field. But in the last lap I manage to get right on the Travieso's wheel in the last corner. The sprint was pretty long and I was sprinting with few other guys head to head. Frank won, Jeff Hopkins get second Chris Scott got 3rd, Oscar Henao got 4th and I got 5th. I was happy with my place in that competitive field but at the same time I was a bit disappointed because I was so close to be on the podium!!! Oh well maybe next time...

The road race was pretty hard too. Again the field close to 100 guys and pretty challenging terrain in Chattanooga hills in front of us. We did 92 miles (4 loops). First 3 of the 4 loops were OK. There was some break at the front but Toshiba team kept it with in 1min to secure Travieso's over all lead. In the last loop the break got back to the field and the real race started. It was very windy and the field stretched to a single file. After several hard moves the field started splitting and I was in the second group. I tried very hard to bridge back to the front group but it was very hard. I got help from other 4 guys but we still couldn't close it for several miles. We were very close but couldn't quite close that gap. Than when we got close for few bike lengths I jumped across and got back there but I was pretty much done. I gave everything I had in that moment and need some time to recover. Unfortunately in the next hill one guy from BMC launched very hard attack and split the field again this time into many small groups. My vision was pretty blurry and I was just hanging on some wheel in front of me. I had no idea on what position I am. After few miles we formed into a bigger group and were heading to the finish. Somebody said that there is like 30 guys in the front group and that we are racing for 30ish place. I decide to sprint anyway and got 3rd from the main field. After the results came up I realized that there was only 10 guys and I got 13th out of almost 100 guys who started. Frank Travieso won again, Mark Hekman got second and Tod Dullin from DLP racing gets 3rd place. My over all place wasn't that great because of my TT time. In the crit everybody gets the same time and so did the guys who were in my group in the road race so I got 32nd place over all."

-Karel Sumbal