Mercer Cycling team to host regional cycling championship

%28Alex+Lockwood+%2F+Cluster+Staff%29++Mercer+Cycling+aims+to+finish+high+atop+the+standings+during+this+coming+weekend%E2%80%99s+Southeastern+Collegiate+Cycling+Championship+to+be+held+in+Macon.+Saturday+afternoon%2C+the+criterium+event+will+be+held+around+Tattnall+Square+Park+with+racing+starting+at+12+p.m.+The+championship+will+be+the+final+collegiate+race+for+Andrew+Lockwood+%28second+from+left%29+and+Elizabeth+Lee+%28far+right%29+while+youngsters+Kevin+Roberts+%28far+left%29+and+Gabe+Denes+%28second+from+right%29+will+vie+top+finishes+to+build+on+for+next+season.
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Mercer Cycling team to host regional cycling championship

(Alex Lockwood / Cluster Staff)  Mercer Cycling aims to finish high atop the standings during this coming weekend’s Southeastern Collegiate Cycling Championship to be held in Macon. Saturday afternoon, the criterium event will be held around Tattnall Square Park with racing starting at 12 p.m. The championship will be the final collegiate race for Andrew Lockwood (second from left) and Elizabeth Lee (far right) while youngsters Kevin Roberts (far left) and Gabe Denes (second from right) will vie top finishes to build on for next season.

(Alex Lockwood / Cluster Staff) Mercer Cycling aims to finish high atop the standings during this coming weekend’s Southeastern Collegiate Cycling Championship to be held in Macon. Saturday afternoon, the criterium event will be held around Tattnall Square Park with racing starting at 12 p.m. The championship will be the final collegiate race for Andrew Lockwood (second from left) and Elizabeth Lee (far right) while youngsters Kevin Roberts (far left) and Gabe Denes (second from right) will vie top finishes to build on for next season.

(Alex Lockwood / Cluster Staff) Mercer Cycling aims to finish high atop the standings during this coming weekend’s Southeastern Collegiate Cycling Championship to be held in Macon. Saturday afternoon, the criterium event will be held around Tattnall Square Park with racing starting at 12 p.m. The championship will be the final collegiate race for Andrew Lockwood (second from left) and Elizabeth Lee (far right) while youngsters Kevin Roberts (far left) and Gabe Denes (second from right) will vie top finishes to build on for next season.

(Alex Lockwood / Cluster Staff) Mercer Cycling aims to finish high atop the standings during this coming weekend’s Southeastern Collegiate Cycling Championship to be held in Macon. Saturday afternoon, the criterium event will be held around Tattnall Square Park with racing starting at 12 p.m. The championship will be the final collegiate race for Andrew Lockwood (second from left) and Elizabeth Lee (far right) while youngsters Kevin Roberts (far left) and Gabe Denes (second from right) will vie top finishes to build on for next season.

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(Alex Lockwood / Cluster Staff) Mercer Cycling aims to finish high atop the standings during this coming weekend’s Southeastern Collegiate Cycling Championship to be held in Macon. Saturday afternoon, the criterium event will be held around Tattnall Square Park with racing starting at 12 p.m. The championship will be the final collegiate race for Andrew Lockwood (second from left) and Elizabeth Lee (far right) while youngsters Kevin Roberts (far left) and Gabe Denes (second from right) will vie top finishes to build on for next season.

Growth comes slowly. The Mercer Cycling team will be the first to tell you that. The upcoming weekend, the culmination of their hard work and training efforts will come to a head in Macon as they host this year’s edition of the 2011 Southeastern Collegiate Cycling (SECCC) Championship.

The championship events, like all other regular season events, is comprised of a time trial, criterium, and road race. SECCC Commissioner Nathan Haslick expects 150-200 cyclists to travel to Macon, the geographic center of the 34 team conference to compete in the three events over the weekend. The race, along with the Macon State Criterium Championships to be held on May 7, will be the largest cycling race to come to middle Georgia since the Tour de Georgia last visited in 2008.

“This race is huge for us,” said team president Kevin Roberts. “We’ve been planning along with BearStock to make this coming Saturday a memorable one in Tattnall Square Park,” Roberts added.

The criterium, an event that consists of riders racing around a circuit race course, will take place from 12 p.m. to approximatley 6 p.m. around Tattnall Square Park, while the BearStock Music Festival cranks up at noon.

Likened to NASCAR, criteriums are often the most spectator friendly cycling event with epic crashes, sprint finishes, drafting, and riders constantly jockeying for position. Six seperate races, four for the male cyclists (A, B, C, and D) and two for the female cyclists (A, B) take place within each event with the more advanced category of racers going for longer distances.

Criterium events are given time limits for each race with the final lap countdown determined by race officials based on the pace of the race rather than a predetermined mileage like that of a time trial or road race.

Saturday morning’s time trial and Sunday morning’s road race will both start at the same location about 15 miles east of Macon at the intersection of Hammock Road and Antioch Church road.

Most of Mercer’s cycling team will participate in three events over the weekend as they’ve prepped for the race all season long. Gabe Denes is Mercer’s hottest rider of late, ripping off a criterium win at Dalton before moving up to Category 3 (Collegiate B). Kevin Roberts is sidelined with a knee injury, but will be helping administer the race while Category B team member Andrew Lockwood will look to team up with Denes in the criterium and road race events. Austin Sholly, Charles Weaving, Dustin Prater, and Evan Ayoub all may make appearances in the Category C races while Elizabeth Lee will look to return to Collegiate Nationals in Wisconsin with a strong performance this weekend.

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