Brian's Big A Debut

Remember Bri Bri? Well, he's off making a name for himself in yet another region of cycling, this time Collegiate. He's finishing up his second semester at Lees-McRae, and between classes, he has somehow found time to crush some races. Here's his latest report from the weekend.

Photo courtesy of Tom Reed

Had my big debut racing in the A's at Clemson!

We did an 8mi TTT that featured a very tight turn around and a very long roller climb on the way back. My fitness was unbelievable and my smoothness was top notch. We ended up dropping one teammate on the climb and came in with a perfect sprint finish 3 wide.

Later that day was the 3 lap 60mi RR with a lot of rollers and crosswinds. The same climb that was in the TTT was in the RR about 2mi from the S/F. An early break of 6 went up the road on the first lap. We only had one guy in it. I felt we should have brought it back right away but the team captain let the gap build to 3.5min. On the second lap we came through the feed zone where our coach instructed us to begin chasing. Pain face. We had 7 men at the front hammering. After a lap and a half the gap came down to 55sec. The break surged and opened it back up to 1.5min. Coming through the feed again we found out that our teammate wasn't taking any pulls and was still fresh and the chase was called off. However a break of 5 moved up the road with not LMC present. We were all gassed from chasing. My next objective was to attack at smart times and cause Mars Hill and Cumberland to chase me down. I was finding holes very well and countering my attacks. Mars Hill, mainly Sebastian, had to chase me down several times at 35mph. I was then tasked with protecting the sprinter from the crosswinds because everyone was being guttered and the road changed directions too often to form echelons. He ran out of water and I relinquished my last bottle of Gatorade to Zac, the sprinter. With about 2/3 lap to go, Zac got into a break with Sebastian from Mars Hill and one Cumberland racer. Sebastian is Zac's nemesis who has raced for the German National Team so this was big. They go up the road and I stay in with the peleton which has dwindled to only about 10 riders. There were a total of 11 men in the lead group then and 3 men chasing. Everyone else was shelled off of the back. We get to that final climb and I knew that if I was in the back of the group I would have a very hard time staying in contact. I moved up to the front and hit the hill with good momentum and paced the climb. When we get to the top I realize that that brought the pack down to about 6 men. My teammate Joe launched a flyer with a mile to go while everyone was drinking water. He was never brought back. Cumberland sent a flyer a little later. I got a leadout but was dropped off too soon with about 500m to go. I accelerated in the seat and stood up and hammered with about 300m. I was gaining quickly on the Cumberland flyer but ran out of race as a Mars Hill squeaked past me at the line. After I finished I found out that our one man from the early break won the sprint easily and that Zac had dropped Sebastian on the climb.

Sunday was the crit. 60+2min on a four corner course. My objective was to chase down moves and not pull through on them. I ended up in about ten different moves. It was extremely painful to have to go again and again and again but I did it. With 2 to go I was very close to the front when two riders from King College went up the road. I saw them coming and hopped on their wheel. I did not pull through and we were caught. However, I was burning my final matches and struggled to get back into the single file pack. Should have let them go. I found my way back into the top half of the line. Between turns 2 and 3 on the final lap and elite group pulled away featuring our winner from yesterday Jake, Zac, and Sebastian. When I saw this I jumped HARD to get up to them but to also not bring anyone up with me. I got stuck in no mans land and was able to finish 9th, Jake got 5th, and Zac took 'er home beating Sebastian once again.

I earned a spot to race Conference this weekend at Brevard. The head coach says that if I raced like I did at Clemson again, then I will be flying to Utah for Nationals to race the crit! Walk-on B team Freshman to Nationals Team in under one season!

Watch out for him in the Midwest this summer! Looks like Bri's learned a thing or two this school year!