Monday, February 22, 2010
Solid Season Start for Mercer Cycling
Senior Reporter / Columnist
Mercer Cycling is certainly going from strength to strength this Spring having recorded an impressive finish in their first ever event as an official team.
Five Bears riders traveled north to Dallas, Ga. for the 8th Annual Lillie Glass Tundra Time Trial last weekend. Originally, the race was due to take place a week earlier but inclement weather forced a delay.
The 12 mile route on the famous Silver Comet Trail serves as an early season warm-up for many cycling teams in the southeast and is known for its brutally tough conditions.
And tough it was as temperatures hovered in the mid 30s as all five Mercer riders set-off in the early morning.
Despite this, Mercer swept the collegiate category podium en-route to a strong finish. Kevin Roberts notched the fastest time on the course in the collegiate category, averaging 22.87 mph while Andrew Lockwood had the second fastest category time, pacing his bike at 22.0 mph.
Newcomer Evan Ayoub clinched third in the collegiate field followed by Gabe Denes and Loren Sumner in the Category 5 field. The 1-2-3 finish for the Bears proved they can be a force over the course of the coming season.
“It was no doubt the coldest race I've ever been a part of,” said Mercer team captain Andrew Lockwood after the race. “It was a great first showing by our team and while we swept the podium, we still know there’s plenty of work to do to get to where we want to be by the end of the season. The times were down a bit from what I expected, but then again we don't often train in these kinds of brutal conditions all the time. It certainly does a number on your lungs when you go all out for half an hour.”
Indeed, if Mercer had been awarded an afternoon start, when temperatures hovered in the 50s, then the times would have undoubtedly have been faster.
“I thought our team did outstanding given the circumstances,” said Kevin Roberts after his first career time trial victory. “Especially with the cold, I'm excited to see us place where we did and I'm excited about our upcoming season.”
Mercer Cycling now hits the road to the southeast as they travel to Georgia Southern for next week’s collegiate race. Don’t forget to pick up the next edition of The Cluster, Mercer's student newspaper, for all the news and views from the event.