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ACCC | November 18, 2016

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ACCC: Appalachian State Road Race Weekend

Will Massey

WILKESBORO, NC — Nearly 200 cyclists from about a dozen southeastern colleges and universities converged on Wilkes County this weekend for two days of Atlantic Collegiate Cycling Conference (ACCC) racing. Most of the cyclists participated in all three of the weekend’s events: the Windy Gap Road Race in the Little Brushy Mountain community Saturday morning, the Time Trial on a 9.5-mile out and back course on Wilkes-Yadkin Road Saturday afternoon and a criterium in downtown North Wilkesboro on Sunday.

There were four races for men and one for women, ranging from two laps (20 miles) in the class to six laps (60 miles) on a 10-mile loop in the Windy Gap Road Race. The course included sections of Old U.S. 421/Speedway Road, Windy Gap Road, Cling Johnson Road, Little Brushy Mountain Road, Mount Sinai Road and Fishing Creek Road. Matt Bruner of Davidson, a member of the North Carolina State University team, won the 60-mile-long men’s Class A race after sprinting to the front on the third lap and holding that lead until the finish. The NCSU senior said he stayed with the lead group of racers but intentionally held back to conserve energy until making his move in the third lap. He said it helped him to know the course from riding it several times. The Time Trial was moved from its original route on Old Highway 60 east due to concerns about dogs after a member of the Appalachian State University team was bitten Thursday while making a trial run. The cyclist wasn’t seriously injured, but elected to take rabies shots as a precaution.

Sunday’s North Wilkesboro Criterium included four races for men and two for women, all on a course with sharp turns on downtown streets. Cyclists made as many laps as possible on the same course within set times, ranging from 20 minutes to an hour. Justin Lowe of Clemson, S.C., a senior member of the Lindsey Wilson College cycling team in Kentucky, won the criterium. Lowe was 2011 South Carolina Road Race State Champion and a fourth place finisher in the South Carolina State Criterium Championships. Similar to Bruner’s strategy, Lowe let other cyclists battle it out for the lead for most of the race while remaining within striking distance so he could sprint ahead to win near the end. Lowe and other cyclists said that with its hills and other features, downtown North Wilkesboro was a great place for a criterium.

Despite the rain, several hundred people lined the streets to watch. Two downtown businesses, Talia’s Espresso on Main Street and Brushy Mountain Cycling on 10th Street, opened Sunday because of the races. With slick conditions caused by rain, the criterium route was altered to remove one sharp turn as a precaution. Two different mishaps occurred where cyclists turned from Main Street onto Seventh Street, which is a short street between Main Street and the CBD Loop. One accident resulted from two members of the U.S. Naval Academy team colliding. Wilkes Emergency Medical Services took both to Wilkes Regional Medical Center for treatment for abrasions. A member of the Appalachian cycling team was slightly injured in the other accident and was taken to WRMC by Wilkes EMS.

The criterium started and ended in front of the North Wilkesboro Police Station on Main Street. From the start, it went east on Main Street, right on Seventh Street, right on the alleyway directly behind buildings on the south side of Main, right on Ninth Street, left on Main, right on 10th Street and right on C Street, right on Ninth Street and then right on Main Street to complete the route. Final team results weren’t yet known Monday morning, but the 15-member Appalachian State team appeared to have accumulated enough points in the different races to either win or finish second.

Appalachian consistently has one of the top teams in the ACCC. Miles Hubbard of Wilkesboro was the top male finisher from Appalachian in the Windy Gap Road Race and the North Wilkesboro Criterium. Hubbard, a junior, finished sixth in Men’s Class A of the road race and fifth in Men’s Class A of the criterium. Among women from Appalachian, Nina Laughlin won class A of the criterium and was second in women’s class A of the Brushy Mountain Road Race on Saturday, Danielle Romack won class C of the criterium and Anna Gannett finished fifth in the Women’s class B of the criterium.

Full results for the event are at

The Appalachian team organized and hosted the event. A team spokesman expressed gratitude for the assistance and presence of the Wilkes Sheriff’s Department on Saturday and the North Wilkesboro Police Department, North Wilkesboro Fire Department and Wilkes EMS on Sunday. The spokesman also thanked the Town of North Wilkesboro and the Wilkes Chamber of Commerce for helping to promote the race. The town’s efforts included having a banner made to welcome racers. The N.C. Department of Transportation and county government also assisted.

USA Cycling sanctioned races both days.

Story Credits
Written by Jule Hubbard and originally posted on Wilkes Journal-Patriot (Wilkes County’s Local Newspaper).

Atlantic Collegiate Cycling Conference
The Atlantic Collegiate Cycling Conference (ACCC) is a collection of cycling clubs representing colleges and universities from Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia and North Carolina. We are one of eleven conferences that make up the collegiate program of USA Cycling, the national governing body of cycling in the United States. Our athletes compete in road, mountain, and cyclocross racing throughout the academic year at the conference level with hopes of qualifying for the USA Cycling Collegiate National Championships. For more information, please check out the ACCC website.