Clemson race recaps

11 03 2015

Three of our riders who have blogs wrote about racing at Clemson last weekend. Enjoy!

Alex Christofalos

John Croom

Corey Davis

#RoadtoAsheville Begins with Partnerships

9 03 2015

MHU Cycling’s collegiate road season began over the weekend with intense racing at Clemson University, an important step on the #RoadtoAsheville and road nationals, which is only two months away. We’re proud to be a part of hosting USA Cycling’s Collegiate Road National Championships in nearby Asheville and Marshall on May 8-10. More on Clemson racing action in a subsequent race report. First, we’d like to announce the team’s new and continuing sponsors for 2015 who make it all possible.

Kask Helmets joins our partnership team and will provide the team with both road and time trial helmets. Kask is well known for their international successes, including Grand Tour and World Championship victories, with ProTour teams like Team Sky. We love Kask’s attention to light weight, aerodynamics, innovation, and Italian panache. And the red helmets they’ve supplied bring the team added visibility, which is critical for both team riders and spectators.

Hammer Nutrition has been a longtime sponsor of MHU Cycling events, including mountain bike, road, and cyclocross races and camps we’ve put on. The team now joins Hammer’s exclusive cadre of sponsored teams. After having used their products for years at our events, we couldn’t be more excited to take the next step in our partnership with Hammer Nutrition. Fuel right, feel great.

CycleOps, along with Saris and PowerTap, has also been a longtime supporter of MHU Cycling events, and now they too step up to supply the team with trainers and rollers. If you’re not warming up and and cooling down properly, then you’re wasting your race. Cycleops makes race prep and recovery easy for team riders.

Our goal in creating partnerships is simple: we want them to last forever. We realize that forever is a long time, and we’re proud to recognize the following partners that continue with us after many years of support. Without such strong support from local organizations and the cycling industry, we wouldn’t be able to provide the lifetime experiences that we give our athletes, nor would we be in a position to podium and win at national championships in five disciplines: Road, Track, Cyclocross, Mountain Bike, and BMX. For all of the the support we receive, we are more grateful than a blog post can express. Mars Hill Cycling loves you!

Beer City Bicycles
Spin-Tech Training
Hearn’s Cycling and Fitness
Industry Nine Componentry
Hincapie Sportswear
DeFeet International
ProGold Lubricants
Kenda Tires
Neo Burrito
Raw Revolution
Madison County TDA
Kolo Bike Park
Smith Optics
The Gear Attic
Asheville Pizza Company
Roots Hummus
Trips for Kids WNC
Madison County Parks and Rec


Cavin Heaton joins team for fall

3 03 2015

We are pleased to announce that Cavin Heaton has committed to Mars Hill University for this Fall 2015. Cavin joins the team from Blue Springs, Missouri.

Cavin started racing BMX at the age of seven and worked hard to win nationals as an intermediate. He continued to push through the competitiveness of being an expert and won a Disney Cup by age twelve. In 2010, he decided to take a break from the bike to pursue football but soon missed racing bikes and returned to BMX in 2012 with the goal of returning to top form.

After completing the 2014 season with a number of top finishes, Cavin is ready to take on the challenging class of 17-18 expert in 2015 and join Mars Hill’s growing BMX team. Cavin is also eager to compete in other collegiate cycling disciplines. Most important, however, Cavin is focused on academic performance. He will study accounting and is sure to be one of the team’s future Academic All-Stars.

Welcome to the team, Cavin!

Nathan Hake commits to MHU Cycling

2 02 2015

We are very pleased to announce Nathan Hake’s commitment to attend MHU in the fall. Nathan is from Mount Wolf, Pennsylvania, where he’s raced for the Mason Dixon Velo/Cycle Works team. Nathan will primarily race on MHU’s mountain bike and cyclocross teams, to which he brings considerable experience and results after picking up mountain biking in 2011.

Nathan won the overall category 3 title in the Mid-Atlantic Super Series as well as 2nd place in the junior 15-18 at XC Nationals in 2013. Last he year moved up a category, placing 13th at XC Nationals in the junior 15-18 category 2 event. Nathan will race in the A collegiate category for MHU in mountain biking and cyclocross and is eager branch out to road and track and become a well-rounded student-cyclist.

Welcome to the team, Nate!

Austin CX Nats

15 01 2015

By Jack Drake

This year’s cyclocross national championships in Austin combined every category racing, from the youngest juniors up to the elites as well as the collegiate championship and even single speed. Mars Hill riders raced in four events during the week, claiming a number of top results including a podium in the team relay.

For someone who has had a predominantly track and criterium based background, the prospect of racing CX was always appealing and luckily enough there was room on the Mars Hill squad for me to ride. The team consisting of myself, Hunter, Barry, Alex, Paige, Rachael and Erich all piled on the team bus Sunday evening after the UCI Kingsport race for the long journey from East Tennessee down to Austin, Texas.

After a late night layover in Chattanooga, we woke up early on Monday to continue the drive. Along the way we stopped at a national park in Jackson, Mississippi to do a short gravel ride and flush out our legs as sitting the on the bus was definitely turning us all stir crazy! After driving into the night once again and another layover, this time in Shreveport, we arrived in Austin excited and ready to test out the course.

Even for the more experienced riders the 2015 CX Nationals course proved to be quite challenging, with some very technical off camber turns as well as two treacherous sets of limestone stairs. A very fast top half of the course, which many riders were calling a grass crit, promised to provide a fast-paced race across all categories. We got a few pre-ride sessions in over the next few days and the whole team was feeling good and quite confident on the course. However, the weather forecast of freezing rain promised changing conditions.

The team’s race schedule kicked off on Wednesday as Alex rode to an impressive 19th in the open women’s single speed race. Next up was the collegiate fair on Friday where we got a chance to meet and speak to a host of prospective students and tell them about the team.

That afternoon started the collegiate races with the team relay, a highly exciting and crowd friendly four lap dash around the course. The four laps were to be completed by at least two female laps and two male laps, not consecutively. The Mars Hill entry consisted of Hunter, Paige, Alex and the final lap again by Hunter. All three riders gave it everything and rode out of their skin to place 5th and onto the podium. A very impressive effort.

Saturday was game day for the team and everyone woke up raring to go after openers the day before. Unfortunately, overnight rain and a number of races had turned the course into an absolute mud bath. With such slippery conditions we were all forced to run a good chunk of the course especially the off camber turns. This made for many mistimed dismounts and some hilarious viewing. To add to this a slight drizzle and freezing temperatures made for a testing day of racing. As competitors we were all kept on our toes the entire race as the slightest misjudgment meant sliding out almost immediately. Despite this the entire team rode very solid rides with the girls placing 10th (Paige),  16th (Alex), and 32nd (Rachael).


The boy’s race started with a chaotic sprint for the hole shot and Hunter handled it well starting out in the top 10. From then on the field split to pieces with many mechanicals and riders being pulled early on. Luckily enough Hunter navigated the course without major troubles, a testament to how hard he has worked this season. For myself, a flat early on the second lap put a dampener on proceedings, but thanks to the pit crew I was back in the race with minimal hassle. Unfortunately Barry was caught behind a crash entering the hole shot, but managed to ride through the early setback and powered on. All in all the boys rode to solid finishes, notably Hunter with a 7th place finish. I finished in 23rd and Barry finished 46th.

We all can’t thank the sponsors enough as we were kitted out in some new gear and looked and felt the goods on race day. Brand new Kask Infinity helmets along with new Defeet socks, gloves, and warmers kept us warm in the frigid conditions, and the latest Smith Optics kept the mud out of our eyes. All of our sponsors played a role in supporting our efforts. Finally, I think I speak for the team when I say our biggest thanks goes to coaches Hugh and Matt who worked incredibly hard all week doing numerous jobs to make our lives easier. We all appreciate it so much and could not have got it done on the day without you guys.

[A few of these photos are credited to photographers who shared their work with Mars Hill riders. Sorry but don’t know your names, but thank you!]


CX Racing Update from Alex

23 12 2014

Reports on SECCC Championships at Clemson University and the UCI North Carolina Grand Prix from team rider Alex Christofalos:

Alex and Paige at NCGP

Alex and Paige at NCGP

Building for the future at MTB Nats

5 11 2014

During the last weekend of October, the team traveled up to nearby Beech Mountain for USA Cycling’s Collegiate Mountain Bike Nationals. With half the team freshmen, our goal was to simply give our best efforts, gain experience, and build for the future. We did have one very experienced rider, Alan Hudson, who we pinned hopes on for a medal in the dual slalom. Here are some of the highlights:

The course for Friday’s short track was rather one dimensional: straight up a ski slope road, climbing grades up to 20%, and then a bermed descent back down. With all time to be gained on the steep climb and no way to make up time on the descent, this was one for the climbers. Hunter Resek, a great climber and cross racer, was primed for success here, but a collision with another rider at the start damaged his pedal and he was unable to clip in for the entire event. He would eventually finish 32nd. In the women’s short track, Alex Christofalos and Rachael Freeman got solid starts. Alex was 12th after the first lap, moving up to 9th by the finish. Rachael road a strong and steady race to finish 21st.

Saturday’s cross country course featured the same climb from the short track, just about twice as long. At the top the course went into fairly non-technical singletrack before descending the back to the start on the bermed descents. This course favored the exact same riders as the short track and every race saw the winners from the short track repeat their wins in the cross country. In the men’s event, Hunter finished 32nd again. For Mars Hill’s women, Alex finished a solid 12th, just outside of the top 10. After the dual slalom, she would finish in 10th overall. Rachael had another solid and steady cross country race and finished 21st again. Watch for these women in the future; they will be podium contenders next year.

Sunday racing included the team relay and dual slalom. The team relay is a coed event of four laps of the short track course with a different rider racing each lap. We were in 3rd with one lap to go but got caught by a few on the steepest part of the climb and eventually finished 7th. The dual slalom was a highlight. In women’s qualifying, Alex finished a solid 16th in her first dual slalom event ever and moved on to the afternoon finals. Alan Hudson finished a very strong 5th in men’s qualifying. Alex was out early after having to race the number one seed in her first matchup and finished 16th.

Alan made quick work of his first two opponents and moved into the top eight. His third opponent was quicker though, and although Alan had the lead in the first of two runs, a slight bobble near the bottom had him finish .26 seconds behind. In the second run, Alan would have to win by .26 to advance to the semis. He crossed the line ahead, winning by .21, just a few hundreths of a second slower than needed. So close! Alan would finish 5th overall, his first individual podium at a collegiate nationals. After bad crashes and protested DQ’s at previous dual slalom nationals, Alan’s medal was long overdue and very well earned. Watch out for him at next April’s BMX nationals in Atlanta.

Overall, it was a great weekend with five top tens, a podium, and lots of confidence built for the future. Thanks to all our sponsors and supporters for helping make these lifetime experiences possible. And to photo ace Weldon Weaver for a couple of these pics. See more of his pics from nats HERE.