Natchez native shines at Road Race Championship
Published 12:00 am Sunday, June 20, 2010
NATCHEZ — Daniel Wisner had June 5 and 6 circled on his calendar.
The Natchez native, who currently lives in Metairie, La., knew the LAMBRA Road Race Championship was coming up at Natchez State Park, and he was determined to win.
“Obviously, it being my hometown it’s a big race for me, and also because it’s the Road Race Championship,” Wisner said.
And Wisner rose to the challenge, finishing first in the Category 3 road race in front of family that came out to the park to watch him race.
“It’s always exciting to win, but this was the first time I had ever gotten into a break and won, and also the first time I soloed and won, since we usually come in at a sprint finish,” Wisner said.
“Some of my family was there to congratulate me, and it was nice to see my teammate (from Tiger Cycling Foundation) Francis Asprodites, coming in second behind me.”
Allen Richard, president of the Natchez Bicycle, which organized the event, said Wisner moved up several classifications this past season.
“Daniel raced in the 4s last year, and I didn’t find out until afterwards that he circled this on his calendar. He really wanted to win, and to his credit, he did decisively,” Richard said.
“At the end, he probably had 100 yards on the No. 2 guy, and having bike length on someone is considered decisive. He definitely wanted it and worked hard to get it.”
The difference came on the final lap, when the pack hit the hard right turn going out of the park. Wisner and Asprodites were able to separate from the rest of the riders, and Wisner said he was locked in after that.
“I pretty much went into tunnel vision and hammered it as hard as I could,” Wisner said.
Last year’s Road Race Championship happened in September, but Richard said they had to do it in June this year because of a scheduling issue with LAMBRA.
“It was just a matter of trying to fit it in, because there’s races all over Mississippi and Louisiana, and all over the country,” he said.
And Richard credited the many volunteers that worked hard to make the event a reality.
“We kept them on food and water while out there, and we had people out there from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and the same on Sunday,” Richard said.
“We had a monsoon Saturday morning, and it got balmy Saturday afternoon after the sun came out, and it was just hot all day Sunday. They worked their butts off, and I can’t do enough to show our appreciation. All we can do is give them a T-shirt and feed them, and a T-shirt and food is not an adequate payment for these guys and girls.”
Richard said LAMBRA keeps bringing the event to Natchez because the riders enjoy the course so much. Wisner said he understands why it’s so highly thought of.
“The course is awesome. It’s such a challenge with the hills on the front side. You don’t think you’re climbing hills after those, but it’s a false flat, and then it’s all downhill at the end,” Wisner said.
“It’s one of the courses I look forward to every year.”