Georgia Tech Conference Championships
The team raced the last race of the conference season this past weekend at Georgia Tech. With the return of Brendan Rhim and Charlie Hough, this truly was an exciting weekend of racing.
Racing started up saturday morning with our own Danielle Clark in the Women's A road race. This course was flat to rolling for the majority of the seven and one third mile loop with a tough kick up to the finish. For the first several laps, attacks went but were quickly brought back. Around mile 30, Danielle followed an attack and found herself in a breakaway of five with just over two laps remaining. This group would stay away with a considerable gap and finish in a bunch sprint up the roughly 600 meter long finish climb. Danielle finished a strong fourth place and showed that she is learning how to implement attacking, following, and breakaway tactics. Next up was the Men's A race, a ten lap event. On lap two, Brian Suto launched a solo flyer. A small group of chasers rolled off the front and caught him. While much of the field, including the Milligan team, thought this move was harmless, it was the move of the day. While the gap varied between a three minute split and about five seconds at one point mid race, this move would stay away. With Milligan missing the move, the rest of the Furman riders got to sit back and get a free ride from Milligan's efforts to chase. With the laps counting down, it was clear that it would be a bunch sprint. With the exception of two riders who had broken away from the pack during an agreed upon moment between a few teams to allow riders who needed to use the bathroom to catch back onto the field, the field stayed together until the last climb. In the break, Matt Zimmer of Lees Mcrae once again showcased his solo skills and rode away from the breakaway, with Brian Suto finishing on the podium from the break for fifth. Brendan Rhim and Nate Morse followed Milligan's leadout up the final climb and pounced with roughly 150 meters to the line and would go one-two in the bunch sprint for eighth and ninth place.
After a short rest period and some lunch, it was time for the team time-trial, This week's team consisted of Brendan Rhim, Nate Morse, Richard Rainville, and Nolan McQueen. With the course just one lap of the road race loop, it was sure to be a short and brutal effort. The guys started out strong and kept the pace high. Nolan McQueen, making his Furman TTT debut, showed he has what it takes to ride in a blazingly fast rotation. The guys crossed the line in just over fifteen minutes and fifty seconds, which was fifty five seconds faster than the second place team. Furman has been undefeated in all contested TTT's for this season.
Sunday came with a major thunderstorm and allegedly a nearby tornado warning. Steady rain and gusts of wind added an additional level of intensity. Danielle's race was first for us. It was a quick race with many breakaway attempts, but came down to a bunch sprint. Showing that her crit skills and sprint are ready for nationals, Danielle finished fifth. As the rain continued, the men took the course for an hour of chaotic racing in the rain. Nate flatted on a speed bump on lap two, but was luckily able to borrow a spare wheel at the pit. The conditions and uphill back section of the course quickly thinned out the pack, leaving a group of hitters. Attacks flew left and right from Furman, Milligan, Brevard, Lindsey Wilson, and Lees Mcrae. Late in the race, Charlie Hough launched a powerful counterattack, to which the other teams looked at each other to chase. Nick Jowsey of Brevard made an impressive bridge to Charlie over the next few laps. While it looked like these two would stay away, Milligan chased hard and eventually pulled the break back. As the laps wound down, tensions rose as it was clear the race would come to a bunch sprint. Breaking the tension, Richard Rainville launched a solo move with three to go and kept the pace high. As effort was spent to bring him back, the other Furman riders moved into perfect position for the sprint. With one lap to go, Charlie, Brendan, and Nate were all in a row in the top five or six riders. Coming out of the last corner the Furman train launched for the line. While it looked like Furman would pull off a podium sweep, a misshift on the borrowed ten-speed equipped wheel would cost Nate the wheel of Charlie and Brendan in the dash for the line. Uncontested and with a several bike-length gap separating them from the pack, Charlie Hough and Brendan Rhim came in for another incredible Furman one-two. Nate rolled in for sixth in the sprint with Brian Suto close behind in seventh.
With Nationals up next, things are looking very bright for all the guys and girls on the Furman team. Thanks for reading!
-The Furman Cycling Team
UTC Backwoods Classic
This past weekend the team made the trip to Chattanooga, Tennessee for the UTC Backwoods Classic. In the week before the event, the team was excited upon reading the course description. Hard, technical, hilly, and bad pavement are all things that make a race interesting. Additionally, the cold mornings on the weekend forecast were sure to make dressing properly tough.
Saturday morning started early with the Men's C race, in which we had our own Matthew Cowell take the line for his second race ever. It was sunny but a mere thirty-three degrees for the start. Matthew was riding a strong race on the incredibly hilly course, but his rear derailleur was torn off, ending his race prematurely. Next to start was the Men's and Women's A fields. We had Brendan Rhim, Charlie Hough, Brian Suto, Richard Rainville, and Nate Morse start for the men, and a lone Danielle Clark for the women. While temperature had risen a few degrees, it was still quite cold for these races. The Men's A race was set for ten laps of a six mile loop with about 1,000 feet of climbing per lap, So yes, this was going to be a hard race. Regardless, the field wasted no time in getting the race underway. Things got shaken up on the back section of the course, which consisted of bad pavement and several consecutive short and steep walls. The group was quickly pared down to a select group of about fifteen riders with a long and strung out pack chasing. While things came back together on the decent into the finish climb, things blew apart even more the second lap. Near the beginning of the back section of the course on lap two, Nate rolled his momentum up and over one of the walls and got a gap on the field. He was joined by a chasing Nolan Tankersley (Milligan), and the two began to ride, hoping they would be joined by the select group from the previous lap by the end of the lap. Part way up the finish climb, the two were joined by that exact group. Over the next few laps, the lead group continued to lose riders and the pack diminished. After several attempts to attack, Brendan was able to solo away from the group between laps three and four, and would win by upwards of three minutes. With the group shattered and no pack chasing, it became a race of attrition for the remainder of the riders. Unfortunately, Charlie was forced to pull out with one to go due to sickness. Nate rode the last six laps alone and would go on to finish sixth, catching two riders on the final finishing climb. There were only twenty-two finishers in this race, due to the difficulty of the course, the number of laps, and crashes on the rough and loose road surfaces. Brian was unfortunately caught in a crash in the gravel turn before the back section of the courss and was unable to finish. In the Women's A race, Danielle raced a brilliant race. Knowing a hard and hilly course suited her strengths, Danielle was aiming to get into a break early on. Not long into the seven lap race, she made it up the road with Milligan's Lauretta Hanson. Danielle and Lauretta continued to push the pace and increase their gap on the field for the remainder of the race until the last lap when Lauretta attacked on the technical flatter section before the finish climb. While Lauretta was able to hold the gap to the line, Danielle rode strongly to her best finish in a collegiate A race. This was a truly impressive result, as she has been racing for little over a year.
The afternoon saw Richard Rainville, motivated to do well after the morning's race, take the start in the Men's ITT. Richard put in an incredible lap and won by a large margin. The TTT team of Rhim, Hough, Suto, and Morse unfortunately sat this week out due to an injury from Suto's road race crash.
Sunday's criterium used part of the previous day's road course, so a hard grade to the finish and fast downhill back stretch were featured. Danielle went off with the A women for our first race of the day. Just three short laps into the race, Lauretta Hanson launched a massive attack on the finish hill. Danielle was the only rider able to follow the attack, and the two broke away. After several laps together, Lauretta launched another attack and was able to separate herself once again from Danielle. With about forty minutes left in the race, it was going to be a solo effort. Danielle's incredible climbing strength payed off on this course however, allowing her to put more and more time into the main pack every lap. Having ample space back to the field, Danielle was able to put her focus forward into catching Lauretta. With just a few laps to go, Lauretta lapped the main pack, but was less than a minute in-front of Danielle. Coming into the bell lap, Danielle got a flat tire, but was able to safely ride in for an incredible second place because the field had been lapped. This was Danielle's best criterium finish to date as well!
In the Men's A race, a break of eight riders went away very early. Richard made the break, but Milligan did not have any riders in it. With the break rolling away, Milligan was put under pressure to chase it down. After many fruitless attempts for Milligan to bridge throughout the race, it seemed as if the break would stay away. With about twenty minutes left however, ten riders from the main pack were able to form a selection and caught the breakaway. At this point all of our guys were in this group, but Matthew Zimmer from Lees-McRae had been away solo long before this catch was made. It was clear that he was too far ahead to catch, so it became a race for second place. In the closing laps, Brendan was able to get away from the group with Milligan's Johnny Mitchell. Brendan would beat Johnny in the finish for second. The rest of the group saw a very negative last few laps after some highly aggressive "maneuvers" caused some tension between teams. Charlie, who has proven himself to be the field sprint king this season, was able to take it for fourth place.
Not only showcasing the continued road race domination and solo-break skills by Brendan, this weekend saw breakout rides from some of our riders with their highest placings of the season. This was very exciting to see as this was the hardest course we have raced on this year. With the conference championships approaching and Nationals just over a month out, we are feeling very positive about the remainder of our season.
Thanks for reading!
UGA Spring Breakaway Race Weekend
This weekend the Furman Cycling Team headed to UGA for the third weekend of collegiate racing! The weekend kicked off with the Men’s A road race on Saturday morning, which quickly set the tone for the rest of the weekend. Although the riders (Brendan Rhim, Charlie Hough, Nate Morse, and Brian Suto) were faced with less then ideal riding conditions (40s and raining), the Paladins took advantage of the weather and came out on top. After a lap of racing Brendan Rhim attacked the field and created a breakaway that ended with a solo victory of over three minutes on the field while the other three riders shut down any attacks that were started. When the field came around, Charlie led the group over the last roller to win the field sprint and take second, soon followed by the third paladin across the line, Nate Morse. The Men’s A race was soon followed by the Men’s C (Hayden Cox), Men’s B (Nolan McQueen), and Women’s A (Danielle Clark) races. All three riders stayed with the field, covering some attacks and riding strong on the fast course.
Saturday afternoon brought some sunshine and warmer weather as well as the time trials. Despite a longer than usual individual time trial on a tough course the paladins rode hard, and it paid off. Nolan McQueen pulled off a 3rd place finish in a fast Men’s B field, and Danielle Clark rode to second place in the Women’s A’s. The individual time trial was followed by the team time trial. Despite only having 3 men due to a crash that Brian suffered earlier in the day, the Paladins still came out thirty-two seconds ahead of the second place team.
Sunday morning featured a long 1.3 mile criterium course in the city of Athens, GA. Starting the day off with the Men’s C race, Hayden Cox moved through the field and rode hard to finish with the first group of the pack. Nolan McQueen raced next in the Men’s B, and worked to chase down attacks to ride to a 5th place finish in the bunch sprint. In the Women’s A race there was a break early on, but Danielle Clark rode hard in the field to try to bring it back. Finally the Men’s A race consisted of many breakaway attempts by the Furman boys, but unfortunately Milligan and Mars Hill worked hard to bring back all of the riders, leaving the race to the field sprint. Charlie Hough rode fast to a second place finish in the sprint, and was closely followed by Brian Suto in 4th, Brendan Rhim 6th, and Nate Morse in 9th. With the results earned this weekend Furman is still holding on to a second place omnium in the conference.
The team has a week off this weekend of racing, but we’ll be heading up to Asheville to ride the National Championship course as well as taking advantage of the beautiful roads and mountains in our own backyard. We’re already looking forward to the race at UTC in two weeks, and hope to add to the success we’ve been having!
Clemson Race Weekend
On Saturday morning, Furman riders headed to Clemson University for the second collegiate road race. Riders raced a 13 mile loop, with over 1100 feet of climbing per lap. Matthew Cowell participated in his first race ever with teammate Hayden Cox in the men’s 36 mile C/D race. Bruce Hall came in 6th place in the men’s B race. In the Men's A race, Charlie Hough and Brendan Rhim managed to make it into moves on the first lap. After a long day in the breaks and chasing groups, Charlie and Brendan took second and sixth place respectively. The remainder of the pack was largely shattered, with Richard Rainville taking thirteenth place. Danielle Mullis and Danielle Clark raced 65 miles with 5600 feet of climbing in the Women's A race. The pace was fast, but both girls stayed with the pack. Lauretta Hanson (Milligan College) broke away from the field and soloed into the finish. Danielle Clark finished 7th and Danielle Mullis finished 8th.
Very soon after completing the road races, riders competed in the ITT/ TTT. Nate Morse came in second place in the men’s ITT and Danielle Clark won the women’s ITT. The ten mile TTT course was very hilly and a challenge for riders who had just completed such an exhausting road race. However, Furman riders Brendan Rhim, Charlie Hough, Brian Suto, and Richard Rainville won by over twenty seconds.
Sunday featured a fast criterium around the Sunbrella fabrics factory in Anderson, SC. The course consisted of four sweeping turns with some tractor trailers to avoid on the backside. It was a very fast course. In the women’s A race, Brevard and Milligan College launched several strong attacks, but after an hour of racing, the finish came down to a bunch sprint. Danielle Mullis came fourth place on junior gears.
The most impressive ride of the weekend was by Brendan Rhim in the men’s A criterium. Furman University riders took charge early in the race. A few laps into the race, Charlie Hough found got himself into a three man move up the road. Milligan missed the break, so they were forced to expend all of their riders in an effort to bring the National Champion back. Nate Morse and the other Furman riders covered other teams' attempts to bridge to the break as the gap hovered within striking distance. In the last quarter of the race, that three man break came back. Brendan was able to join a counter attack along with Charlie, and another three man break went up the road. With Milligan and other teams using all available resources to pull the break back, it looked as if it would stay away. However, as the race was nearing its end, smaller teams and solo riders were forced to make last ditch efforts to pull the break back. With about ten laps to go, the break finally came back together. With just six short laps to go, Brendan Rhim launched a solo attack off the front. With Milligan's team already spent from chasing, Brendan began to roll away. With one lap to go, Brendan only had about five seconds on the main field. Spectators anxiously waited, with eyes fixed on the last turn to see whether or not the gap would be held. Brendan emerged out of the last turn by himself, finishing just seconds ahead of the field. After Freshman Nolan McQueen charged a perfect lead out on the back stretch, Furman was able to sweep the podium with Charlie Hough taking the bunch sprint and Brian Suto finishing third. Nate Morse was right alongside them as well, finishing fifth.
We are looking forward to next week's race at UGA. While it will take a lot of work to replicate another result like Sunday's crit, we are hoping to have another great weekend.
Thanks for reading!
-The Furman Cycling Team
-First race weekend of the season. Gainesville, Fl.
The Furman Cycling Team kicked off the collegiate road season this past Saturday at the Swamp Classic, presented by the University of Florida. The team left after Friday’s classes finished and made the seven-hour drive down to Gainesville, FL in preparation for an early start on Saturday morning.
Freshman Hayden Cox, a new rider on the club team, competed in his first road race and ended up winning the collegiate D men’s race in a field sprint! Danielle Clark and Danielle Mullis were next up to race. Although there were many Milligan College women present in the field, Furman’s A women worked together to chase down several attacks made By Milligan. However, Lauretta Hanson and Marie Cottet (both from Milligan), broke away and claimed the first two spots of the podium. Danielle Mullis won the field sprint and Danielle Clark came in fifth place. In the collegiate men’s 62 mile road race, there were several breakaways, some made by Furman riders. Brian Suto broke away with twenty miles to go and came in fourth place. After some mid race confusion when the chasing field was neutralized, Richard Rainville attacked and soloed his way to seventh place, well ahead of the main field.
In the evening, riders competed in a time trial. Despite being tired from the road race earlier in the day, Brian Suto, Charlie Hough, Richard Rainville, and Nate Morse represented Furman University in the 20k mens a TTT (team time trial) and won by thirty seconds. All of our other riders competed in the 7 mile long Individual time trial. We had Danielle Clark and Danielle Mullis finish 2-3 in the Women's a itt along with Nolan mcqueen finishing 5th in the Men's a itt and Hayden cox finishing 4th in the men's d Itt.
On Sunday morning, riders competed in a criterium held in Downtown Gainesville. Hayden Cox finished fourth in the collegiate D race. Charlie Hough, the current D2 criterium national champion, got to break out his national championship jersey for the first time in the mens a crit. Charlie Made several attempts to break away, but riding with the target of a national championship jersey on his back, other riders would not let him get away. After an active hour of averaging almost 28 mph, the race came down to a bunch sprint. sophomore rider Nate Morse finished 3rd place.
After points have been added up, Furman University is currently sitting in 2nd place in the D2 SECCC (Southeastern Collegiate Cycling Conference) with 329 points, behind Milligan College (with 372 points). The weekend was a fun one, but also presented many learning opportunities for each rider. The team is currently training hard for the next race at Clemson University on March 7th.
Thanks for reading and Check back for more updates after the next race!
- The Furman cycling team