Mars Hill Cycling raced to strong results at Georgia Tech mountain bike races over the weekend, including short track and dual slalom events on Saturday and a cross country event on Sunday. Centrally located in the Southeastern Conference, the Georgia Tech races drew riders from across the conference for a well-attended and competitive weekend of racing. Both days were held outside of Conyers, GA, at the Georgia International Horse Park, which hosted events for the 1996 Atlanta Olympics in equestrian, modern pentathlon, and mountain biking.
The short track was held on a figure eight style course that included a flat, grassy starting stretch that narrowed to wooded single track before looping back around on hard-packed grass. The B men’s short track gave Mars Hill its first victory of the season. Maitland Jones infiltrated the lead group and demonstrated that he was the strongest by fending off a last lap attack and coming across the line unchallenged. Jones will now move up to the A category. Mars Hill’s Chad Capobianco rode to a strong 10th after starting last and fighting his way through the field the entire race.
Mikey Keith, Tim Jenkinson, and Corey Davis represented Mars Hill in the men’s A race. Jenkinson got the best start, and after a big effort, made his way into the leading group of four. Keith soon bridged up to give Mars Hill two riders in the lead group of five. The race exploded on the last lap when previous efforts took their toll. Keith and Jenkinson finished in 4th and 5th. Davis claimed a top 15.
The A women’s race developed in a similar way with four riders in the lead group including Mars Hill’s Klara Rossouw. That number was reduced to three when Rachel Millsop, last year’s D2 individual omnium national champion, crashed in the single track. The three carried on with Rossouw sitting second wheel and looking strong. Millsop chased but never regained contact with the leaders. With one lap to go Rossouw lost contact but still managed to hold on to a strong 3rd place.
Laura Rice represented Mars Hill in the B women’s race and looked strong from the beginning by taking the hole shot into the first section of single track. In her first bike race ever, Rice showed determination by fighting all the way to the end and earning a spot on the podium in 3rd.
Later in the afternoon, Rossouw, Davis, and Marco Liubenov competed in the dual slalom. Rossouw looked to be the fastest of the A women but settled for 2nd after a bobble in the last race. Liubenov set the 3rd fastest qualifying time among the B men and won his first heat before being knocked out in the next heat by a crash. Davis, in his first gravity race as an A, failed to qualify after misjudging the finish line.
In Sunday’s cross country racing, Mars Hill suffered from too many mishaps and mechanicals to name but still had strong finishes from Keith (6th, A men), Rossouw (4th, A women), and Rice (6th, B women).
Next up for the team is Collegiate National Track Championships in Indianapolis this week on September 15-17. We return to mountain bike action on October 1-2 for home races the the team will host at Alexander Mountain Bike Park.
For more photos of the Georgia Tech races see our Facebook page.