French Broad Classic, 2013

Brent Fulton was at the French Broad Classic this weekend with two of RVR’s Juniors, Casey Fulton and Chris Lloyd. Here is his race report from this weekend’s race:

Here is a summary of the French Broad Classic that Casey and Chris competed in this weekend. The race is considered the East Coast Championship for Juniors. There were Juniors competing from as far North as Boston, and south to Tallahassee, FL. Big Junior Development Teams sent riders including Hincapie, Garmin, and the local DIY Music.

TT was a 10 mile course 6 miles out and 4 miles back. The first mile had two steep rollers and then leveled out to a false flat out to the turn around. The course followed the river. Chris finished 6th in 15-16 with a finishing time of 25:43 and Casey competing in the 10-12 finished 2nd with a 31:11.

Road Race on sat was a very tough 17 mile course with 15 miles of the course climbing. Course started out in Marshall, NC and climbed up to Mars Hill. The course included 4 category 5 climbs and a Mountain Top Finish with a 3 mile category 2 climb.

Link to the course:

All the Juniors started out in one field behind a neutral roll out car. After a half mile the neutral roll out car pulled off and the field picked up speed and stayed together over a few rolling hills. The peloton turned left on to US 213 and hit the first Cat 5 climb and the older kids moved to the front and ramped up the pace to shed the younger riders. Most of the 10-14 year olds were dropped on this first climb due to the acceleration by front field including Casey. Chris matched the pace. On the 2nd cat 5 climb Chris put in a major attack on the field. He was brought back and DIY immediately marked Chris as threat. They purposely boxed him in and sent riders up the road. Once Chris reached the base of the final cat 2 climb, he was chasing and hammered the final climb and caught every DIY rider except two finishing 3rd. 10-12 group was shattered due to all the climbing and all of them riding solo except the lead rider who had a 13 year old to pace with. Casey finished the last climb very strong and finished 2nd at the end of the day.

Going into the Crit Chris was tied for 3rd with 49 points and 4 other riders tied for 4th with 46 points and to make matters even worse they were all DIY riders. With no team mates Chris was a marked man. Casey sat in 2nd going in and a healthy point spread to work with. DIY had a team meeting and I happened to be walking by at the time, so I stopped and listened in to part of it. All they talked about was how to knock Rogue off the podium. Most of the discussion was how to work Chris. Their coach realized that they couldn’t knock Casey off the overall, but wanted to keep him off the Crit podium and wanted them to work together against Casey too.

First Crit was 10-14 and the field broke up as most Junior races do at that level. Casey was 4th on the road with 3 DIY twelve year olds up the road on him. Casey spent most of the Crit chasing the DIY kids. He finally caught one and he immediately moved onto Casey’s wheel. They went out of sight and I moved to a point to tell Casey not to let the kid just ride your wheel. I didn’t need to say anything as Casey dropped him on the one hill on the course. Casey finished solo and even lapped one rider in his field on the last lap. Casey finished 3rd on the Podium for the Crit.

Now came the 15-18 year old field. It was quite obvious that Chris was the only rider they cared about. A breakaway was established on the 3rd lap of two riders. The overall leader and a Garmin rider that wasn’t competing for the overall. They stayed away the whole race with Garmin rider taking the win. Back in the main field Chris made a few attacks at 70% saving a little to be able to counter attack. DIY never countered, so Chris started to attack harder. Every time Chris was pulled back by DIY and they kept him on the front, so Chris just slowed the field to recover or had to go wide in a turn and hit the brakes to get off the front. At one point a DIY kid told a team mate to slow down and he responded with “If I slow down Rogue will attack again”. There was a crash in the final 180 turn and Chris ended up 4th across the line putting him 6th place on the Crit.

Casey finished 2nd on the 10-12 Overall Podium and Chris ended up 4th. He was tied in points and the tiebreaker was decided by his Crit finishing position.

Now that I look back at this post, I didn’t intend for it to be this long. The boys raced amazing and I was the only one their to see it. I thought I would capture the highlights for the team, I’m very proud of both boys. Casey road his best TT to date on the hardest TT courses so far. Watching him climb on that road race was awesome. I have to say watching Chris race over the last 3 years, this was by far the best I have seen him race. 7 out of the top 10 were on the same team and all gunning for him. He had to race using his head, just as much as his legs.

The cycling camp and the racing was a great experience and I hope next year more juniors can do it. I know two that can’t wait to do it again.