Weekly Collegiate Racing Wrap - September 11, 2012


Every week we post brief racing recaps from around the country to give you a taste of the collegiate racing scene. Want to write race recaps for your conference, in exchange for swag, glory, and a bit of resume building experience? Send us an email!

ACCC: App State Race Weekend - by Sequoya Moore

The ACCC kicked off its season at Rocky Knob Mountain Bike Park in Boone, NC this weekend. The races, hosted by Appalachian State, included an uphill TT, short track, and Super D on Saturday followed by cross country on Sunday. Most of the race courses intertwined with each other through a spider-web of rocky, twisty, climby, yet completely rideable trails which provided something for everyone to enjoy. The TT was a great warm-up for the short track and Super D which were both staged on the mountain. An open climb in the short track allowed teams to witness the pain faces of their members as well as giving them a chance to cheer them on. The short track also provided the hot topic for the weekend when WVU’s Todd Latocha lapped most of the Men’s A field, leaving only himself and two other riders in the lead lap. Afterwards, riders enjoyed the long decent to the parking area in the Super D. The cross country event on Sunday combined portions of the previous races into a 6 mile loop which Men’s C/ Women’s B raced once, Men’s B did twice, and an extended loop which Men’s A raced twice. 

Other noticeable occurrences of the weekend included a dramatic change in weather from summer heat and humidity to fall winds and rain showers overnight and an extreme lack of females. For the races on Saturday, only three brave ladies came out to race Women’s B and only one came back for Sunday. Perhaps the dramatic shift in weather encouraged them to stay home, but hopefully the numbers improve as the season goes on.

Congratulations to App State for hosting a well-organized race weekend to kick off the season and thank you to Rocky Knob for providing a great venue to welcome us back to racing.  

ECCC: Lehigh Mountaintop Classic - by Joe Kopena

ECCC mountain bike racing for 2012 followed tradition by kicking off this past weekend with Lehigh University's Mountaintop Classic.  Held immediately adjacent to Lehigh's main campus in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, the weekend featured a number of smaller schools from the southern end of the conference racing alongside the traditional MTB powerhouses from the north and their fleets of vans.  All of the racing squeaked in under perfect weather, with Saturday's predicted torrential downpours holding off until just after racing concluded.
The weekend featured Lehigh's notorious cross country course, two separate downhill races/courses, short track, team relay, and the ClusterHuck Relay.  The ClusterHuck is a Lehigh-specific team event in which riders pair up into an XC rider doing a short hill climb and tagging off with a DH rider for a gravity run, their combined time determining the outcome.  Lehigh's short track course is widely regarded as the ECCC's best, with the rain the night before rendering this year's edition extremely grippy without being muddy.  As usual, the XC course quickly sorted out those accustomed to rock gardens and switchback climbs from those unfamiliar.  Reeb Cycles pro rider and recent Middlebury College graduate Macky Franklin came by to check out the action and affirmed "This is definitely up there technically; you have to be able to ride rocks really smoothly or it's just brutal."
Nathaniel Williams (UMass-Amherst) took the season opening Men's A XC but was pipped in the closing minutes of the short track by Ben Fry (UVM) in a tight 4-way battle.  Elizabeth White (UVM) made her ECCC debut by crushing both the Women's A XC and STXC, and nearly podiumed in the Men's A STXC as well.  Michael Bateman (UVM) took the first downhill win of the season but suffered a hard wipe in the final meters of his race the next day, losing out by seconds to Sam Frey (UConn).  Jess Ernst (Lehigh) took advantage of the home court to post the best women's gravity times both days.
ECCC MTB moves on next week to Jiminy Peak and Holiday Farm, yet more traditional courses, hosted this year by Northeastern University.

SECCC: ETSU Race Weekend - by Catherine Harnden

It can be said that the most conference bonding occurs in the face of extreme weather and ridiculous climbs.  There was an abundance of all the above this weekend in the SECCC at Eastern Tennessee State University.  Endurance racers were riding downhill, gravity riders found themselves racing up hills, and there were even a few roadies in the mix who seemed confused but happy.  Saturday’s 4x was rescheduled to Sunday and a few riders decided to take advantage of the downpour by testing their inflatable dingy.  More memorable moments were provided by those Warren-Wilson College ladies who never quit in the Short Track Cross Country even after crashing into the gap jump’s trench, fondly nicknamed the alligator pit.  The Brevard gravity superhero that put on his fresh new kit for a six year old who declared him Captain America!  That Milligan rider who sang I Feel Pretty while trudging up a muddy slope in the XC race. 

Back to the racing, Brevard College had the strongest team showing, led by Erica Zaveta who dominated not one, not two, but three events.  Kara Uhl of Union College took the inside line in four-cross to hold off Erica and Catherine Harnden of Mars Hill College.  On the men’s side Alan Hudson, also of Mars Hill, put his BMX background to use. First out of the gate and across the line ahead of Brevard's Daniel Ennis, winner of the downhill event, and ETSU's own Derek Maiden. Meanwhile in the endurance races Victor Alber of University of Florida and Lewis Gaffney of Brevard locked down first and second. Victor went on to place second in the downhill with Lewis’ teammate Mac Banner in third. Spectators and racers alike were thrilled by the remade short track course, which featured rock gardens and a double.  Rumor has it a freshly minted trail network awaits the SECCC next weekend at Union College.    

Jorts are making a comeback, and while we may not be quite at the level of commitment of the ECCC in this aspect, it’s still early in the season.   

MWCCC: Michigan Tech Race Weekend - by Casey Hildebrandt

This past weekend was the second weekend of mountain bike racing in the MWCCC, hosted by Michigan Technological University.  Saturday’s events, cross-country and downhill, took place in Copper Harbor, MI on the northern tip of the Keweenaw Peninsula of Upper Michigan.  Copper Harbor is IMBA’s #7 ranked epic ride location and set up for an awesome day of racing.  

In cross country, Marian University grabbed the top three spots in the Men’s A field with Drew Dillman, the best place American junior rider at the 2012 Cyclocross World Championships, taking the win.  In the Women’s A race, Rosette Reynolds of Ripon College took the win.  Marian University riders won both the Men’s and Women’s B races.  In the Downhill race, J.D Swanguen from Lindsey Wilson College showed why he is one of the best pros in the country, winning again after a strong win last weekend at Ripon.  Last years D2 Dual Slalom National Champ, Paul Mayes of Michigan Tech., took 2nd in the downhill.  Brittany Bates of Marian University took the win in the Women’s A field.  The races were followed up by an awesome cookout provided by Michigan Tech.

On Sunday the races took place in Houghton, MI a few miles away from the Michigan Tech. campus.  On tap was short track and dual slalom.  After a three-man breakaway was established early on, the Men’s A race came down to an exciting sprint finish.  Jason Blodgett, of Marian University who took third place on Saturday in XC, won the sprint finish over Casey Hildebrandt of Ripon College, and Saturday’s XC winner Dillman finished in a strong third place for the sprint.  In the Women's A race, Hayley Olson of The University of Minnesota - Twin Cities, took another win after winning last weekend in Ripon for both XC and STXC.  In Dual Slalom, Marian also grabbed the top 3 spots in the Men’s A field, with Chase Hines taking the win.  In the Women’s A field, Saturday’s downhill winner, Brittany Bates took the win.  Next up is the University of Michigan race this coming weekend of September 15-16.

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