A Time for Thanks

12 10 2011

We want to take a moment to thank our sponsors and supporters. The team has been going full speed ahead since fall semester started; this last weekend was our first “off” weekend of the year. So far this semester we traveled to two track events (including the national championships) and three mountain bike events (including one we hosted). The awesome support we receive makes it possible for us to stay so busy, so we want to thank the following:

This marks the third year that First Light Solar has supported the team. They have directly supported our operations budget by writing the team some fat checks, which is amazing in this economic context, especially since First Light Solar is a relatively new company. Thanks to the entire First Light Solar team, many of whom are very active cyclists, for supporting us, but special thanks to Grant who used to work at Mars Hill and started the school’s cycling club before moving on to First Light. It’s a meaningful connection, one made all the more relevant by the solar panels that FLS installed atop residence halls and the cafeteria on campus. Give them a call and put some panels on your roof! Thanks a bunch, First Light!

Organic Mechanic has also supported the team for three years by generously donating to our operations budget. OM is an original member of our “green” team of sponsors, and Asheville recently voted them the best vehicle repair shop in WNC for the sixth straight year! I think it’s because they’re so thorough in their work and inspections. If you go in for an oil change, they inspect your car from front to back and let you know about any issues so you can plan your maintenance schedule. With winter approaching, now is a great time to get your vehicle checked out. And if you mention Mars Hill Cycling, they will give you a $10 discount on any repair, and you can use this discount every time you visit. How cool is that? Thank you Charley, Nicki, and the entire OM team!

Hearn’s is probably the oldest bike shop in the country, and they have some very cool antique bikes to prove it. Since the beginning, Clark and the team at Hearn’s have been there whenever we needed, no matter how big or small our needs. They help our riders with repairs and have helped get more than a few on new bikes. The most recent cool thing they did for the team? They supplied three of our riders with gravity bikes so they could compete in downhill, dual slalom, and four cross events in preparation for upcoming Collegiate Mountain Bike Nationals. They are officially the sponsor of Mar Hill’s growing gravity team, and we thank them for their generosity. Go visit Hearn’s at 28 Asheland Ave in downtown Asheville. Thanks Hearn’s!

BioWheels is one of our newer sponsors. Our team is fortunate to have more than one bike shop sponsor, which is exceedingly rare for a cycling team and speaks to the overall tenor of Asheville’s cycling community. BioWheels stepped up to offer the team support this year, and are a great fit for our “green” team. They’ve hosted a mechanics workshop for the team, have loaned out tools when need, and have helped our women’s mountain bike team get on new bikes. Now’s a good time to check out their line of cyclocross bikes. Visit them at 81 Coxe Ave in downtown Asheville. Thank you Eric, Matt and the entire staff at BioWheels!

Spin-Tech Training is the cycling performance center in town. They also do repairs and are now an official BMC dealer. They’ve provided our team with a travel trailer and have made a substantial cash donation to the team. The Mars Hill team has already been in twice this year for power testing, and so far every cyclist has improved their 20 minute power. What can be measured, can be improved, and it’s exciting and motivating for our riders to see that their training is indeed making them faster. Spin-Tech also offers blood lactate, VO2 max, and metabolic testing. They are THE cycling performance center in town, and we highly recommend reserving your time on a CompuTrainer now that cooler/wetter weather is on the way. Drop by any day, and you’ll likely see a Mars Hill rider or two getting some intervals in. Thanks O’Neil, Frank, Matt, and Jay for making us faster!

Raw Revolution is another original member of our “green” team. Their bars are, as the name indicates, made of completely raw ingredients, meaning that nutrients make it into your blood stream much quicker than your typical cooked bar that places additional tax on your digestive system. They’re easy to eat and easy for the body to assimilate, and they taste great. Raw Rev has been a big supporter of all the events the team has promoted as well. Thank you very much for keeping us fueled. You can find Raw Rev locally at Earth Fare and Green Life. Thanks to Brian and the team at Raw Rev for your unwavering support!

Ion Sports Nutrition continues its support of the team for the third year in a row. ISN provides the team with two drink mixes: the Competition Endurance formula, and the Ignition Sprint formula. Riders on the team have grown to love the product and have made it their go-to beverage for both training and racing. Ask your local shop about carrying ISN. Thanks to Eric and the folks at ISN for fueling us to our fist national championships last spring!

Asheville Bicycle Racing Club has been a tremendous partner for the last two years. Not only do they donate cash, but they also assist with our race promotion, trail building, and provide opportunities for our athletes to compete outside of collegiate racing. ABRC supports not just us, but also three other local collegiate programs, and we really appreciate all their efforts to support collegiate cycling and to continue to develop bike racing opportunities for everyone in the Asheville area. Thank you Marios and the 100+ membership of ABRC!

Neo Burrito makes the best burritos in town. They’ve been feeding the team for three years now, and they’re a regular stop on the way out of town to races, and then we stop again on our way back home. Their burritos are huge and their ingredients are fresh. Plus, their prices are great. And now they have a new location in South Asheville to go along with their West Asheville location. Zak, Ed and staff have been generous supporters and fun to work with. Go visit them for lunch or dinner or snack and tell them we said “Hi” and “Thanks!”

DeFeet has been keeping our arms, legs, and feet warm and looking sharp for the last three years. Yes, their socks are great, but we are a firm believer that no one on the planet has invented a better arm warmer. Plus, their stuff lasts and keeps its shape. We have socks from three years ago that have seen thousands and thousands of miles, and they’re still performing. This is not to say that we don’t desperately need more socks, DeFeet. Can one ever have enough pairs of socks? Thanks Brad and DeFeet for keeping us stocked!

Hincapie Sportswear has been our team kit supplier since the very beginning and will continue to be so for as long as we can imagine. The art department is great, the custom clothing department is so helpful, the product is unfailing, and the turnaround is surprisingly quick. We get solicited all the time by other apparel manufacturers, but we’re sticking with Hincapie because they haven’t given us a reason to leave and give us so many reasons to stay. Thanks to Rich, Scottie, Lauren and the rest of the Hincapie team!

Of course, none of this would be possible without Mars Hill College. The administration has been great about increasing our resources as we’ve grown. They made us the cover of the new Mars Hill Magazine, which is a huge honor. They also bought the team a new mini-bus. Did I mention that they nearly tripled our budget over last year? Thanks to the president and his team for recognizing our success and promoting the team’s future growth. But we would be remiss if we didn’t also include in our thanks the rest of the MHC community. Faculty and staff from all the different departments have been keen to help and quick to voice their support. And then there are the parents who have stepped in to help with recruiting, officiating, sponsorship, and fundraising. Alumni and other supporters like Donald Dixon, Jay Hirst, and Dotty Caudle have also stepped forward with generous cash support. And now that we have some graduates from the program, they’ve stepped up as young alumni to lend a hand in bike repair, graphic design, and coaching. We have a great thing going here, and we wouldn’t be on this upward trajectory without you. Thanks for everything!





Racing Returns to Alexander Park for Mars Hill Mountain Bike Weekend

7 10 2011

Crystal Kalogris flies over the final jump to win the women's four cross event. Photo courtesy of Thornhill Photography.

After a nearly decade-long hiatus from hosting races, Alexander Mountain Bike Park returned to action last week with collegiate and open racing that included both endurance and gravity events. Mars Hill College hosted the collegiate racing on Saturday and Sunday, and over 20 schools attended, including out-of-conference schools Lindsey Wilson College (MWCCC) and Appalachian State (ACCC), which made for some action-packed racing and spectating.

Saturday was crammed full of racing with three events scheduled: downhill, short track cross country, and four cross. With unseasonably cool temps blowing through the top of the park, many DH riders shivered in wait for their turn down the short but technical course. Wes Lamberson (Union) had the hottest run of the day to win the men’s A race by an impressive four seconds. In women’s A competition, Kate Weisenfluh (Brevard) was quickest but just barely; Crystal Kalogris (Lindsey Wilson) finished within a second.

Next up was the short track, which featured spectacular starts to each event as riders negotiated a patch of boulders before hitting the first single track section of the course. Lap times were fast on the short loop, which included a wider, steep finish straight and a technical single-track backside. In the men’s A race, Mars Hill’s own Tim Jenkinson took the hole shot and finished a strong 4th. Kerry Werner (Lees-McRae) won in convincing fashion, after recovering from a mid-field start. In women’s A action, Mars Hill again proved fastest at the start with Klara Rossouw taking the hole shot. After sticking with Erica Zaveta (Lees McRae) for several laps, Rossouw hung on for an excellent 3rd while Zaveta won and Eva Wilson (Warren Wilson) claimed 2nd.

Saturday’s final event was the four cross, featuring a newly built course on the site of an old dual slalom course that hadn’t been used in many years. With big berms, jumps, and vertical drops, there was plenty of action for riders and  spectators alike. In men’s A racing, Logan Collins (Lindsey Wilson) won the final heat, and his teammate Crystal Kalogris handily won the women’s A final.

After some much needed rest, racing resumed on Sunday for the cross country events. Held on flowy and technical singletrack with constant, punchy elevation changes from 2300-2800ft, racing required constant focus. Following up on their short track wins from the day before, both Werner and Zaveta proved strongest on the longer courses as well.

Full results for all categories can be found HERE.

Additional pics of the action can be found on our Facebook page.

We want to thank Asheville Bicycle Racing Club (especially Marios and Steve), Craig of Ski Country Sports, David Ross of Falcon Development, and Jon Marsden for use of their tools and equipment (from shovels to Bobcats) in helping get these courses in shape. However, we appreciate even more the sweat equity they invested in renovations made to Alexander Mountain Bike Park. Because of them and the hard work of Mars Hill College students, the park is witnessing a renaissance, so get out there and ride and see what great shape the trails are in. And let’s host more races sometime soon!








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