ACCC App State Recap – April 16-17
COLLETTSVILLE, NC – This past weekend the ACCC headed to the hills of North Carolina for what is always an exciting weekend presented by Appalachian State University. Racers planned to race a difficult road race in Collettsville, NC, on Saturday and an eight turn crit in downtown North Wilkesboro, NC on Sunday.
Saturday, collegiate and open riders alike, arrived in Collettsville, NC for the Caldwell County Road Race. After weeks of racing in the cold, Mother Nature was finally kind, greeting us with warm temperatures and sunny skies. The road race course was in a lollipop shape. Riders started out on the stick, which was about 5 miles of moderately flat terrain. Before, hitting the loop section of the course, where they would be forced to battle around 700 feet of climbing on every 11 mile lap. After completing their respective number of laps, racers headed back down the lollipop stick to the finish.
Men’s A riders, hit the course at 11:35am for a 79 mile race, or 6 laps. The ACCC was happy to welcome some out of conference teams this weekend, including Lees-McRae College and Brevard College, adding another dynamic to the race. As soon as the men hit the course, attacks flew, making the first lap of the race very difficult. After multiple unsuccessful attacks from many different teams, an App State rider was finally able to put a gap on the field and get out of sight. Once the break was established, the field was content to let it stay at a minute to a minute and a half, and everyone calmed down. With three to go the one man break was caught, after cresting the large hill on the course. Not much happen for two laps with teams like Virginia Tech, Duke, App State and Lees-McRae, keeping a steady, fast tempo. On the final lap a couple of riders were able to sneak away and get out of sight. Going into the final climb, the small break had around a minute and a half gap on the peloton. Just when it looked the break might stick it out for the rest of the race, Lees-McRae hit the front on the base of the final big climb, 12 miles from the finish. They were able to pull back the break, on the three mile climb, very quickly, and dropping everyone who was in survival mode at that point. As the peloton rolled down the stick back to the finish, a flurry of unsuccessful attacks, kept the pace high. Finally, right at the end, Virginia Tech hit the front to secure first and second place with Blane Maddox and Luis Leme respectively, with Lees-McRae’s Jake Jones rounding out the podium.
After the Men finished their race, it was time for the Women’s A riders to tackle the roads of Collettsville. The Woman began their race with the Men’s B field at 3:00pm for 55 grueling miles. On the first lap of the race, the women hit the climb and field seemingly blew up. A select four riders, two from Navy, one from VT, and one from Lees-McRae, were chosen and rode the next couple laps as the front group. On the final lap, the two Navy girls, Gabriella Gonzalez and Erin Thamm, were able to work together and ride away from their fellow racers to take first and second place.
Sunday was another beautiful day in North Carolina as riders headed to North Wilkesboro for an eight turn crit. This 8 turn,1 kilometer criterium course featured excellent spectating opportunities and a hill to challenge the best. Excellent pavement and sweeping turns promised to make it an exciting crit race.
At 11:30am, Men’s A riders hit the course for a one hour race. Virginia Tech rider, Luke Woodard, almost straight from the gun, went off the front and established a gap on the field. The technical course and high speeds made it difficult for riders to move up, causing riders at the back to be dropped every lap. After around 40 minutes off the front, the field was finally able to pull back the lone VT rider, Woodard. A couple of attacks, which never amounted to much, kept the pace high to the finish. With two laps to go, the pink jersey, Nathaniel Hall (Virginia Tech), was at the front setting a blazing fast tempo when, unfortunately, he slid out on one of the corners, ending his race. The peloton went on, racing to the line. App State rider, Zachary Felpel, was able to sprint to take the win on his home course.
At 12:45pm, it was the Women’s A riders’ turn to hit the course. The women rode hard straight off the line. With the race being very hard and fast, a select group of three formed at the front of the race. The group was made up of a Navy, a Virginia Tech and a Lees-McRae rider. The group was able to lap the entire field. With the pink jersey, Virginia Tech rider, Kathleen O’Neil, in the group everyone figured she had the win on lockdown. O’Neil has showed her strength time and time again in the sprints this season. Going into the final corner, O’Neil looked well placed, with Navy rider, Erin Thamm, leading her out. Thamm was able to shock everyone with a monster sprint that no one could match, giving her the win.
The ACCC had a wonderful time full of fun and exciting races at App State this past weekend. Next weekend we head to North Carolina State University for conference championships, the final race weekend of the year. With double points on the line we are sure it will be a very exciting weekend of racing.