Samantha Schneider has always loved racing in the Beaufort Memorial Cycling Classic.
But the 21-year-old didn't think she would get the opportunity to compete this year, as she and the rest of Team TIBCO/To the Top were busy traveling to the Lowcountry from Fayetteville, Ark., where they took part in the Joe Martin Stage Race.
It wasn't a matter of time that was keeping the team from getting on the bikes. It was the long ride they had just finished -- all 1,000 miles of it -- that had the group concerned.
"You're not sure how your legs are going to feel after that," she said.
But the team eventually decided on the long haul over that they would compete. And they certainly didn't regret that decision after Schneider crossed the finish line of the 50-lap race with a time of 1:14:38.5.
"On the drive over, we were kind of debating whether we should race," Schneider recalled. "They didn't want us racing until (Wednesday). ... We were like, 'Beaufort, Beaufort, we love that race. How could we not do it if we're there?' "
Schneider, who also captured the third stage of the Joe Martin Stage Race, edged Kristen Lasasso of Mellow Mushroom/Rose Bandit Racing for the victory. The Wisconsin native bested Lasasso by 2.5 seconds after the two were neck-and-neck over the final portion of the race. The pair blew away from the rest of the field, as they held a 31 second lead over the pack with more than 10 laps to go.
"I thought, 'OK, maybe I can get off with (Lasasso) for a little bit and kind of warm up a bit," Schneider said. "I ended up sticking to the end. So it's pretty exciting."
Schneider, who arrived in Beaufort with her team around 3 p.m. Tuesday, said she took advantage of her sprinting ability on the final lap to overtake Lasasso, who is more of a power cyclist.
The men's race proved to be even tighter, as Frank Travieso of Team Coco's beat out Carlos Alzate of Team Energy by a nose to claim the win, as the pair both finished with a time of 1:36:25 in the 75-lap race. Travieso said he thought Alzate slowed up "before the line," which allowed the 32-year-old to take the victory.
"I never celebrate until I cross the line," he said.
Actually, the Havana native didn't think he would be doing any celebrating at first.
"I thought I was going to get second," he said, laughing.
The pair were joined by Thomas Brown of Team Mountain Khakis/SmartStop as the class of the race. The trio nearly lapped the field -- they held a 52-second lead with five laps to go -- before finishing in a scrum at the end. Brown finished just a tenth of a second behind Travieso and Alzate to claim third place.
Sixth-annual Beaufort Memorial Cycling Classic
For full results, visit www.usacrits.com/speedweek
Men's Top 10
Frank Travieso, Team Coco's
Carlos Alzate, Team Exergy
Thomas Brown, Team Mountain Khakis/SmartStop
Kevin Mullervy, Team Exergy
Bobby Lea, Pure Energy Cycling-ProAirHFA
Luke Keough, Team Mountain Khakis/SmartStop
Yosmani Pol, Team Coco's
Ben Chaddock, Team Exergy
Rafael Meran, CRCA/Foundation
Isaac Howe, Kenda/5-Hour Energy p/b MOTOREX
Women's Top 10
Samantha Schneider, Team TIBCO/To the Top
Kristen Lasasso, Mellow Mushroom/Rose Bandit Racing
Sarah Fader, Pepper Palace/Spin-Tech Training
Laura Van Gilder Mellow Mushroom/Rose Bandit Racing
Erica Allar, RideClean/PatentIt.com
Lenore Pipes, RideClean/PatentIt.com
Carrie Cash, Pedal to the Cause
Alexis Ryan, Team TIBCO/To the Top
Lindsay Bayer, XO COMMUNICATIONS p/b CISCO
Vanessa Drigo, Vanderkitten-Focus