Tom Gee Wins 2013 Tennessee

State Championship Track Jersey!!

Last weekend I had the opportunity to race two very different bicycle races in two very different venues. On Saturday August 10, I made the long drive to Atlanta and the Dick Lane Velodrome to participate in the Georgia and Tennessee State Championship Meet. I regularly rode the track throughout the 1980’s when we still did a Tennessee Championship but this died out when roadies took over the District leadership around 1992. The Tennessee Championship was re-instituted last year and was held along with Georgia again this year. Run as an Omnium riders are able to race a full program of a TT, Pursuit, Match Sprint, Points Race and a Scratch Race. Each event tests the riders in a different way. The 60+ category only contests two events, the 500m TT and the 2000m Pursuit. In the first event I was still rusty from having raced track only one other time in the past 20 years. A rider from Georgia beat me by 2 seconds but I was the fastest from Tennessee. In the second event, the pursuit, I was very much back in the groove and rode a sub 3 minute time for the overall victory. The Georgia rider was third with Fran Rudy from Tennessee second giving me a two point win for the Omnium. My pursuit time was good enough for a top 10 finish at Nationals and Atlanta is a slow track so i may consider trying that next year. I hoped to stay and ride the massed start events but I had to get back the the Tour of Paris to officiate.

Tour de Paris Stage Race Report

When I returned to Paris the first stage of the Tour of Paris had been held in a driving rain storm but only 32 riders had shown up. Due to the low numbers the Elite and Master’s fields were combined for Stage 2 on Sunday. Since they had plenty officials I jumped into the race with only 30 minutes to get ready for an 80 mile fairly hilly event. While the event had only 35 riders for Sunday, it was a quality field with very few riders being dropped despite a very hard pace. The course went down the main lake highway into the middle of Paris and back out past Kentucky Lake to the town of Dover and back into Paris Landing State Park. There was a rolling enclosure the entire way with great police escorts and support. The elite riders really drove the pace early as attacks occurred on every hill going into Paris. Eventually a five man field of four category 1-2, one cat 4 and one 40 year old master stayed away. The pace held on the return to Paris Landing when another small group of riders attacked on a long grade climb and shelled me off the back with three other master’s riders. Somehow I kept my pace over the hill dropping the others in the process. On the descent the peleton began to ease up as the instigating group of four got off the front. Somehow and motored through the caravan and caught back on the main group. Going into Dover I began to feel pretty good and was climbing the hills pretty well. At the turnaround the peleton was behind the leaders by almost 10 minutes and the chase group by 5 minutes. Heading back to Paris Landing on the steepest grade I was agin dropped with Robert Gregory. Again, keeping my pace consistent I crested the climb without Robert and rode hard catching the peleton for the second time on the final climb before the descent to Paris Landing. In the sprint I was fairly cooked but ended as the 8th 40+ master. We covered the 80 miles of hilly riding with and average speed of 23 mph. which was pretty impressive to me. I felt good just to come back twice from being dropped. Both times the caravan was long past me before I clawed my way back. Really is fun to blow by the officials who had left you for dead! The event is supposed to happen again next year and all of the riders were impressed with how well it actually came off. Unfortunately, the promoters just did not get the word out on the event. Maybe next year will be better. Every rider just about went away with at least $100 in cash.

by Tom Gee