By Alan Hudson
Rolling into the venue where Brevard was hosting the DH/DS/XC portion of their event, it was very clear that the Mars Hill Cycling team were in for a challenging weekend of racing. Knowing that this was to be the last conference race before heading to Angel Fire for Nationals, a tinge of caution also seemed to be in the air.
Cross country was up first and with a technical course littered with steep rooted drops, and tons of climbs sprinkled throughout, it undoubtedly gave racers a rough day. Sarah Felpel was up first in B women, and even despite a little tardiness, gave a tremendous effort and rode admirably on a course more suited for the advanced. The seemingly always sunny Laura Rice rode a very strong pace and showed that her training has been paying off. Our men’s team captain embraced that role especially this weekend, and lead the team with an extremely impressive finish of fourth in the ultra competitive men’s A cross country. Tim is most definitely looking to be in top form heading into nationals. Corey Davis came in a very respectable 10th place finish.
Dual slalom was up next, and had design and construction provided by professional gravity riders. The course offered a healthy dose of tech sections, flat turns and rollers to test pumping skills. All in all a lot of fun was had during the practice session, with the strong exclusion of me foolishly falling two runs in a row. With only Catherine Harnden qualifying to race, the rest of the team sat and spectated. She ended the day with a 4th.
Short track and Downhill were the events to be held on Sunday. The downhill course was most definitely suited for those with equipment with capabilities to maneuver the very fast and very steep terrain. Unfortunately, this weekend, we were with those with the have nots. In short track, the team faired exceptionally better. This portion of the race was held on Brevards meticulously kept campus, and featured a drawn out pebbly climb and a stair gap that I’m sure kooked a few. Tim Jenkinson followed up his fourth place with an even stronger third in the always excitable men’s A field. Tyler Hutchinson had his best conference showing with a 14th, and Corey finished just in front of him. A good weekend over all and a nice tune up for the big kahuna in just weeks time.
A big thanks to team sponsors for all the support:
Beer City Bicycles
First Light Solar
Stephen Duncan, Beverly-Hanks
Hearn’s Cycling and Fitness