Finding Stride at Clemson MTB

30 09 2013

This past weekend the team headed down to South Carolina for our 2nd weekend of SECCC MTB racing hosted by Clemson University.

First race of the weekend was Men’s A STXC. The course required a fast start if one wanted to be a contender due to the 400m track length and two 180 degree singletrack switchbacks. It was a pile-up waiting to happen. Fortunately, two of our riders, Mikey Keith and Tim Jenkinson, made it just ahead of the pile-up and missed the action. Hunter Resek bounced of riders but missed the pile-up as well. After the first lap, a large portion of the field was pulled and from there on out it became a race to not give away a second because once a second was lost there was very little opportunity to make it back. In the end, Keith finished as the top MHU rider with Jenkinson not far behind. Resek put in a solid ride to finish strong ahead of most of the pack.

Next up were the A women with MHU’s Sarah Felpel and Addy Albershardt representing. Addy made her debut in mountain biking on a borrowed bike and performed well for a roadie! She finished a solid 6th on a track that required quick thinking and quicker reactions. Katie Baker (B women) rode in her second MTB race ever on a cyclocross bike, which may have hindered her performance, but she battled through to the finish and refused to give up. That’s the MHU spirit! A new addition to the team, cross country running star Cesar Reyes, raced in the Men’s C and unfortunately gave up a precious second in the last lap to finish 2nd in his race. It definitely left him hungry for more.

Up next was dual slalom on a brand new course that looked more slopestyle/dirt jump than a race course. Alan “Hotpants” Hudson was our favourite and qualified fourth against a strong field but was unfortunately knocked out in the second round. Keith and Jenkinson both qualified but were knocked out in the first round. I guess that happens when you pit XC racers against the gravity boys.

Sunday morning broke to a long XC race on a challenging but ultimately epic course. Men’s A raced 30miles (3x 10mile loop) and the stars of the race were Jenkinson with his first top ten of the season (a solid 8th) and Resek with 11th. A fantastic result from a bona fide self proclaimed roadie! Sarah Felpel repped the girls but the day was just not hers in the end. She was happy with her technical riding though and looks forward to showing what she’s made of in the coming weeks. Cesar Reyes was hungry for a result after Saturday but unfortunately all he found was a crash over the bars and broken helmet. Luckily he walked away without any major injuries, which we are all glad for, and still managed a respectable 4th.

The weekend was a mixed bag of results, but we can walk away with some lessons before Nationals, and all of us are looking forward to our home race to be hosted in Kolo Bike Park in West Asheville next weekend. See you there!

–Mikey Keith



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