By Justin Sanak
The Southeast Collegiate Cycling Conference began its season with a race in sunny Gainesville, Florida, on Saturday and Sunday.
The race started with individual and team time trials on an open, straight and flat out-and back course. The individual test was eight miles, the TTT was 14 miles.) On the return leg the riders were hammered with a brutal 15 mph headwind and gusts of up to 35 mph.
Ben Zawacki (Clemson) took first in the men’s A time trial with a time of 19:52, followed by Spencer Beamer (Furman) and Kyle Rohan (Florida). Behind Satterfield in the B’s were Daniel Broshar (Georgia State) and Jack Tomasetti (Florida State). The C’s were led by Chris Riggins (Clemson), Nathan Michael (Florida) and Brooks Bostick (College of Charleston).
Jackie Crowell (Florida) won the women’s A time trial with a time of 23:27, with Jackie Kurth (Marion) close behind at 23:30. Klara Rossouw finished a distant third at 26:17. In the women’s B, Kirstin Donahue (Florida) beat her teammate Alexis Dabroski and Jacquie Spoon (Clemson).
Furman surprisingly beat Florida’s teams in the men’s team time trial event with a time of 27:55 to Florida 1’s 28:09 and Florida 2’s 29:08. Florida’s women’s team, however, won their division over Clemson with a time of 37:06.
The criterium course the next day featured two rough brick sections with several potholes that shook up carbon wheels and threw many riders off-balance. Thankfully, though, the only two collegiate crashes happened at the beginning of the C race.
The weather also dropped far below Florida’s typically balmy temperatures to 42 degrees, where it stayed for most of the morning. This caused a small panic for some as they scrambled to improvise their clothing situation. As one rider from Furman put it, they came to Florida to escape the winter temperatures, not race in them.
The men’s A, B, and C races were fairly uneventful without any significant breakaways. All three ended in bunch sprints.
Furman took first place in the A’s with Spencer, followed closely by Zawacki and Cody Johnson (FSU). Satterfield won the B’s, with Jimmy Mitchell (Furman) and Broshar following. The C’s were won by Pete Jones (Florida), Bostick and Matthew Gentry (Georgia Southern).
The women’s race turned out to be more dramatic. Three riders, Dabroski , Kurth, and Rossouw, broke away from the pack in the second lap, with Crowell joining after a few laps.
Dabroski attacked the group a bit after Crowell joined and went ahead unchallenged. She continued on a solo breakaway for the rest of the race and finished half a lap in front of the pack.
“In the beginning, Jackie Crowell and I were talking strategy,” said Dabroski. “She’s kind of our team leader, and she told me to keep attacking because Jackie Kurth, her main competitor, would be watching her instead of me. After Jackie Kurth pulled I figured it would be a good time to attack and try to bring her with me, so Jackie Crowell could counterattack her. So I took off — and no one ever chased me.”
Dabroski won the race on the same course last year in a similar manner. She jumped off the front on the first lap and was never followed, so she completed — and won — the entire race on her own.
After Dabroski pulled off, the other women rejoined the pack. Near the end, Crowell and Kurth, who were separated by just three seconds the day before, broke away from the pack and dueled it to the line, with Kurth narrowly edging out Crowell for second place.
– Justin Sanak is a sophomore journalism major and captain of the cycling team at the University of Central Florida. He races category 4 and collegiate B road.