Monday, September 8, 2008

App State Home Mountain Race - Day 2

Sunday morning saw another day of action at Dark Mountain, hosted by the Appalachian State Cycling Team. Short track kicked off the day with a short loop from the start of the XC course run in reverse. A steep jeep trail climb followed by heinous uphill switchbacks created separation among riders who tried to keep any lead gained through the fast, flowing downhill back to the start. In Men's C action, Zach Parker created an early lead that only grew bigger over the 20 minute race. By the end he was a few minutes ahead of his closest rival and took home a big win to counter his mechanical in the prior day's XC race. Kyle Dubois was looking good on the course, too, but the tight and fast downhill on the back side of the course got the better of him, and he had to abandon after a close encounter with a large pine tree. In Men's B, Noah Niwinski was the big story, using his well honed handling skills from cyclocross to weave through the course, winning with little effort. Dan Wendover came up big again, taking fourth. They both upgraded to As after the Men's B short track and raced the A race as well, where Noah was able to bring in a respectable seventh, even after having just raced the B race. Alex Ryan again shot off the starting line and again made it into the woods first, just like the day before. After trading pulls with Matt Rotroff of NC State, Alex came up the strongest and brought home first place. Ryan Fawley, resident XXC guru, showed he wasn't afraid of a little intensity, taking fourth place in the 25 minute effort, with Michael Koballa and Alex Hannah bringing in fifth and sixth just behind.

On the gravity side of things, Appalachian again hosted a downhill event utilizing part of the XC course along with a few sections specific to the downhill course. In Men's C, newcomer Robert Sztukowski put in the fastest time of the field at 1:45.02. Thatcher Hurt exchanged his cross country bike for something a little beefier, taking fouth in his first gravity event with a respectable time of 1:46.09. In Men's A, domination was once again the name of the game. Craig Folsom upgraded to Men's A overnight after his win in Dual Slalom and took seventh place in the field. Daniel Sapp had a good starting run and was looking fast through the rock garden before a flat tire slowed him down, but not enough to keep him from getting sixth place. Of course, the last three riders to go off - Mike Thomas, Steven Trottier, and Andrew Mueller - ended up the fastest of the day. The three finished one, two, three on Saturday in Dual Slalom, and sure enough repeated the feat and in the same order. Mike Thomas set the fastest time at 1:25.64 with Steven Trottier barely edging out Andrew Mueller with times of 1:29.64 and 1:30.93, respectively.

Overall, Appalachian was by far the best team of the weekend, scoring the most points and winning just about every event we entered. As such we're solidly in the lead for conference, a position we plan to hold all the way until Nationals. Check back next weekend for more stories of glory from the Appalachian State Cycling Team!

Saturday, September 6, 2008

App State Home Mountain Race - Day 1

The Appalachian State cycling team hosted the opening race of mountain season today, running cross country and dual slalom races. Racing at the Dark Mountain trail system at Kerr Scott Dam in Wilksboro, with beautiful weather, Appalachian opened the season in dominate fashion, setting an excellent tone for things to come.

Cross Country kicked off early in the day. Rebecca Tomaszewski graced us with her 24hour National Champion presence and easily dominated the Women's A field. In Women's B, Amanda Gilbert made her mountain bike debut. She clearly didn't ride like a novice, as she took first place, and senior Mae Beeler finished close behind in second. Similarly, Brendan Murray came out for his first mountain bike race and took the win in the Men's C field, with veteran Martin Wadewitz taking second and Kyle Dubois taking third. In Men's B action, Dan Wendover took a dominate win reminiscent of his first place finish last year, with Jacob Florence coming in second, outsprinting a Virginia Tech rider. Noah Niwinski and Thatcher Hurt started off second and third in the woods, looking very promising, but mechanicals meant this just wasn't their race. The big story of the endurance races today, however, was the Men's A race. Alex Ryan and Alex Hannah both came in strong off of very successful summer seasons, ready to lay their foundation for a National Championship run. Alex Ryan took off the starting line like a rocket, the first rider into the woods with a large gap. It wasn't meant to be, though, as Alex Hannah made up time and at the start of the second lap had establish a multi-minute gap on Alex Ryan. Alex Hannah finished for the win with Alex Ryan taking second and Ryan Fawley taking third. Honorable mention goes to Michael Koballa who flatted on the start line but fought back tooth and nail for eight, having to pass the entire Men's B field.

In the afternoon everyone's attention turned to the first gravity event of the season with Dual Slalom. Rebecca Tomaszewski and Amanda Gilbert won Women's A and B, respectively. Craig Folsom and Will Washam made their debut taking first and third in Men's B, showing up big in their first collegiate race. The big boys came out to play, though, in Men's A. There was no contest between Appalachian State and any other school. Andrew Mueller was just barely edged out and took third for the day, while Mike Thomas and Steven Trottier went head to head to determine the gravity winner. In two close rounds, the two riders flew down the course in a fashion otherwise unseen for the day - nobody else came close to riding the course as our top three guys. In complete control and pushing hard, Mike Thomas was able to come out on top over Steven Trottier, even if just barely.

Check back as tomorrow we will have race recaps for short track and downhill, where Appalachian will certainly dominate the field again.