This is the fourth year I've done at least some of the GA Cycling Gran Prix races - this year the road race and time trial. It's a great event, and we're lucky to have a 5 day (almost) stage race in Georgia. It has six total races, and they have changed slightly through the years. This year:
Wed - Road Atlanta Evening Circuit/Crit
Thurs - Gwinnett Arena Evening Crit
Fri - Oxford Road Race
Sat AM - Time Trial
Sat PM - Circuit Race
Sun - Circuit Race
I've only done the entire race once, and it was a great, difficult, tiring, rewarding experience. I intend to do the entire thing again at some point. I remember being really tired of bars and gels by the end.
These races are quite well run. The courses are well marked - two turn signs for every turn, 3KM, 2KM, 1KM, 200m, 100m, 50m signs as well. It really helps when the course is marked like that, and makes the racing more pleasurable. Registration was a breeze. I have a feeling that was due to many of the racers using the same numbers/chips day after day, but I appreciate it nonetheless. The porta potties were clean, and there was even a portable hand washing station. The Cat 3 race started about 20mins late. Kinda annoying, but not unusual.
I watched the end of the Cat 4/5 race, and it was quite chaotic. One racer had attacked, and a tow truck was slowly moving through the start/finish line. He had to attack around it for the win. Then the tow truck stopped over the finish line, along with another car ahead of it, so instead of having the full road at 200m to go, the charging peloton had only the left lane at the finish line. It was crazy! I can't believe there were no crashes.
The cat 3 race was good. I thought the pace was relatively tame, despite some attacks. The peloton probably only dropped 4 or so racers. Heading into the final KM I was working to lead one of my teammates to the front of the peloton and hold him there. At about 600m to go, apparently a racer moved up on his own and was trying to take a wheel, and with all the banging around he caused a crash. Unfortunately my teammate was tangled up in it. I was gassed, and could only hold onto 12th off the back of the front group.
The TT had a Merckx advantage option - if you raced with non-aero gear, you received a minute off your time. The course was only 7miles long, so around a 15min effort. My teammates and I spent lots of time discussing which to do, and figured that if aero gear gives you a 2mph advantage, then it's a wash. I was def going to use aero gear, because my main goal was a final test/tune up for the State Championship TT and TTT the next weekend.
The TT course was well marked, and everything went off without a hitch. Races are so complicated to pull off, I think when things simply go without any issues, it's quite a success!
And with that, RACE BIKES!!!!!