Monday, September 21, 2009

Dual Conference Domination


This weekend was hosted by Appalachian State University, who partnered with their neighboring school, Lees McRae to put on a dual conference with ACCC and SECCC.
The weekend started out with the cross country. They ran a shortened version of the Collegiate Nationals course from the previous 2 years, and just like then, recent rain had the course muddy. Mens C and Womens B started first, and we noticed that while there was a large MC squad, it was mostly racers from VT, and not many from the SECCC. They did 2 laps.
While they were racing, a few of us went to the dual slalom course with Zerbe to try and get some tips to knock off some time. The course was muddy and very slick. On Chad’s second run, he wiped out re-taco’ing his front wheel. Back at the cars Ian had a spare for him. I decided to steal Chad’s Maxxis Ignitor tire and swap out my CrossMark front, and added more Stan’s. Thanks Ian!
The 2nd session of racing started with a huge field of Mens A numbering close to 50, more than half were from SECCC. The womens A field had about 20, dominated by SECCC. And starting 3rd was Mens B pretty evenly mixed.
The fields started 2minutes apart. Within 10minutes of starting half of the WA field was caught by the lead MB riders lead by a very fast ASU rider with Ryan Post sitting in 2nd. The course was extremely muddy and favored WVU riders immensely. Having that Ignitor tire was crucial as I was able to control my steering, while the CrossMark rear was able to slide very well around turns, but still provided plenty of climbing traction while I sat and spun up hills that most of the SECCC riders were pushing.
The course was never flat, constantly climbing or descending with many turns and dips. Roots abound, with 2 narrow wooden bridges. The cherry on top was a long rocky descent through a creek with spectators cheering you on from high on a bank every lap.
I was fighting an unmarked jersey and Martin from ASU for the first 2 laps, but Martin picked up a large nail in his tire, and the unmarked jersey tired near the end of the 3rd lap. After the descent on the 3rd lap, I attemped to hop a hole, but while my head said jump, my legs said “what?”. I noticed my tire was flat as I made my turn at the bottom of the hill. A quick CO2 pop, while Ian passed me, and I saw the unmarked jersey (3rd place). I quickly passed him again and continued the last lap, passing many MA riders (especially Univ of Florida) who were walking up hills. I was also being passed by some seriously fast MA riders from the SECCC, Lees McRae and Warren Wilson most notably.
Lots of riders DNF’d. I’d guess probably 1/3 of them.
On the last run of the descent, I again blasted the big hole, and again flatted. Although I had another CO2, I opted to ride out the 1/2mi of gravel road to finish on a flat. I wasn’t passed but David Henry of VT came in about a minute behind me carrying his bike with his chain magically wrapped around his wheel in such a way it was pinned between spokes and was lacerating his tire.
Results aren’t yet posted, but Ian was likely around 7th/50, Ryan 2nd/38, Chad top 15/38. Emily thought she resprained her ankle, but still finished.


The next event was Dual Slalom, and the course had dried up from the morning slip and slide. Riders were now able to launch 10’ into the air, but WVU opted to keep their wheels firmly on the ground. There isn’t much to say about DS, except that it started at 2:30, and wasn’t over before darkness fell.
There were 56 A riders who did a qualifying run. None of our As qualified in the top 32. Zerbe was seriously bummed. The highlight on our team was a new C rider, Mike, who won his first bracket and took 5th, we think. David Henry, the Legend, out done only by Chuck Norris himself, qualified 4th in MB, wearing blue jeans and cowboy boots. He did roll up his right pant leg at the suggestion from a WVU rider. For sure, the highlight of the ACCC, as we all got smoked by those SECCC acrobatisists.

That Night

I can’t say, Emily and I fell asleep on the couch at like 9:30, despite Beer Pong, Football, random people (including girls), and a drum set.

Next Morning

I woke up, and decided to try to get some homework done while everyone else slept. Zerbe got up, asked when things started, to which I informed him , “30min ago”. He got up, grabbed Tyler, and they headed to the DH. The rest of us had pretty much given up after the slaughter on the DS course by the SECCC. After a slow packup, we headed out, only to have Zerbe call us and tell us the DH was canceled. (We were pretty happy). Headed to a cafĂ© to kill 4hours before the Short Track. We got to the course and hung out under VT’s tent, chatted and talked trash on each other. (They had far more riders to back their ‘trash’ up.)

Short Track

The short track was a variation of the Nationals ST course, and we hoped the mud would fare well for us again like it did on the XC. We had hoped that schools would tuck tail and head home after the DH was canceled, but sadly…there were like 40 on the Mens A starting line. The start was ridiculously fast, lead by a bunch of SECCC. Ian was mid pack, and the fastest VT rider, who may be the fastest in the conference, near the very end as the course narrowed. Ian managed to move up into the top 10.
The Woman’s A field had about 20 racers, and was actually kind of exciting for the first lap before I had to get ready for my race.
The Mens B field was about 25 strong with 20 or so from the ACCC. We considered running the “Fun train” but after yesterday, all bets were off. I managed to quickly take the lead, taking advantage of my lockout, but forgetting about it as I tried to jump across the road at nearly 25mph, put me nose diving into the other back with 1 foot unclipped. The crowd cheered as I barely kept the bike up, but I lost momentum and dropped back to around 6th. While I was able to make up some ground on people who couldn’t ride mud, Chuck Norris’s illegitimate son, David Henry, lit a fire in the mud and burned us all. I got 4th.
Mike pulled a 2nd in the MC field.


It was so nice that LMC had hoses and showers for us to use. Even though there were girls in the guys locker room.
And remember kids, reset those Lefty needle bearings. And grease them too!

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