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SB&T bike races in downtown Albany on Saturday a success

Cyclists head for the finish during the opening race of Saturday’s SB&T Criterium Bike Road Race in downtown Albany. (joe.bellacomo@albanyherald.com)

Cyclists head for the finish during the opening race of Saturday’s SB&T Criterium Bike Road Race in downtown Albany. (joe.bellacomo@albanyherald.com)

ALBANY — The 2013 Southern Bank and Trust Bike Race took off early Saturday morning in downtown Albany to the delight of dozens of cycling teams and their families. This year marked the first time the race was a part of the Southeast Regional Series and also was held on its own and not in conjunction with the Albany Marathon.

The weekend started with the 17-18 year old boys’ division, which was won easily by Josh Detwiler, who traveled to Albany with his Colavita Racing Team out of Orlando, Fla.

Saturday’s races were all timed — the distance road races will ensue today — and competitors were excited about Albany’s wide lanes and easily navigable course.

“I really liked the track,” Detwiler said. “It was my first time here, but I’m definitely coming back for next year.”

Granted, they might have been a little biased, but many of the winners had great things to say about the downtown course.

“It’s a beautiful course for a big guy like myself,” said Chris Mojock, a Ph.D kinesiology student at Florida State who won the men’s three-quarter-mile category race with a time of 49:13.

Competitors came from a variety of backgrounds. In addition to the junior regions, comprised of kids from the ages of 10-14 and 15-18, there were heats for cyclists over the ages of 35 and 50 as well.

Brian Davis, of Orlando, Fla., riding for Treasure Coast Racing, spoke of the benefits of cycling.

“It’s a great way to stay fit and challenge yourself,” he said. “The beauty of cycling is to let yourself know that you can keep going.”

While there were racers who came from out of town, some had their own ties to the area. Women’s Pro Heat winner Arden Stelly, currently residing in Anderson, S.C., is originally an Americus native.

“It’s always nice to come back home, I haven’t been back around in about a year, so it’s great to see how it’s changed,” she said. “I’ve been riding for about two years now, and it’s cool to see Albany put together an event like this.”