Alex Ryan reports: The last weekend in April always marks a busy weekend of racing. Kicking off the road Speed Week series is the Athens Twilight Criterium one of the biggest and fastest races in the country. Athens has done a great job in past years building the crit into a cycling festival with charity rides and also road races for all categories. For the mountain bikers they have the Fat Tire Crit, where competitors race in front of 30,000 spectators on mountain bikes. There are slight restrictions such as slick, skinny tires and to keep racers from riding road bikes, but most participants rode mountain bikes with regular mountain bike tires. Using this race as a warm up for the regional SERC race the next day, Tristan followed moves early on and worked his way into the race winning breakaway. After pulling away from the main field the breakaway started attacking each other. Tristan tried to cover the attacks but one rider eventually slipped away with one lap to go. After making a last ditched effort to bring him back Tristan rolled in for fourth on the day. Sunday was the South East Regional Championship race in Ft. Yargo, just down the road from the Athens races. Last year this race started smooth and tacky from overnight rains and low hanging cloud cover. This year was a polar opposite, warm early morning temperatures and a week of dry weather left the trails fast and very dry. Similar to Tsali, the Ft. Yargo race does not have a big climb or technical area where it separates the field so it was fast and tight the entire race. The lead group started with eight to ten riders and then got whittled down to a select group of three. On the last climb Tristan passed one of the riders but couldn’t stop the hard charging leader from winning. Second by a bike length is a tough way to miss the win but a great time for the spectators.
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