ACCC: Mason CX Race Weekend
LURAY, VA — Hidden between the mountains that shelter the winding Shenandoah River, stands the small Virginian community of Luray. This quiet little town is centered around historical landmarks, lush farmland, and the majesty of a cavernous natural wonder, the Luray Caverns. But Luray was anything but quiet last Sunday, has it became ground zero to the annual Luray Caverns Cyclocross event featuring riders competing for VACX, MABRA, or (and for the first time) ACCC points.
Presented by Page Valley Cycling, WWVC Racing, SEAVS/Haymarket Cycling, and George Mason University, the rolling grassland of the Luray Museum, located just across from the Luray Caverns entrance, proved to be one of the most challenging courses Northern Virginians can contrive. What looked intimidating from the parking lot was a course complete with grass, gravel, asphalt, mud, hard and soft dirt, and various barriers. This course also forced riders to dismount on more than a few occasions, proving you CAN build a course that seems to all go uphill! Most of the course snaked between a number of historic buildings that had been relocated to the museum property from around the county, and allowed spectators a commanding view of all the action from a center-point that forced riders to smell good food cooking during each and every lap; just another psychological obstacle for riders to enjoy!
The collegiate action began with the Luray Caverns Collegiate CX Men’s C and Women’s C races, with USA Cycling judges allowing all collegiate groups to launch with the open category VACX and MABRA riders to (as one referee put it), “make the race experience more worth while to collegiate riders”. In the Men’s C category, Michael Levesque (Mason) captured 1st place (31:00) after Sean Malloy (VT) took a rough hit from another rider dismounting his bike directly into Malloy’s right leg. The impact wasn’t enough to remove him from the race, allowing Malloy to finish in 2nd place (35:00). Meanwhile, Perrin Falkner (UVA) in the Women’s C category raced unopposed to finish in 1st place.
The first close collegiate race of the day took place between Regan Bailey (Johns Hopkins) and Elizabeth Kessler (Mason) in the Women’s B Category. Racing for 45-minutes within the grinding sloops and corners of the Luray Caverns CX course, Kessler stayed within 10 seconds off Bailey’s back wheel until the end. In an attempt to break away from Kessler, Bailey sprinted the last part of her last lap to capture 1st place with Kessler in close 2nd. Despite all her effort, Bailey was only able to create 20-second gap between the two in a fantastic up-hill sprint finish by both riders. Although Kessler took 2nd place in this race, she now has enough points to upgrade to Women’s A in time for the ACCC Collegiate Championships in two-weeks.
The next collegiate group to ride was Merwin Davis (WVU), Sam Park (VCU), and Matt Adams (WVU) in the Men’s B Category. Davis, also on the hunt to upgrade to Men’s A, decisively took the lead placing 1st in the collegiate race (46:23), and 4th overall against the Men’s CAT 2/3 (1st Place Time: 45:38) – missed 1st place overall by 45-seconds! Park also made a strong showing against the open category riders by taking 2nd place in the collegiate race (50:00), but placing 9th overall. Adams rounding out the race in 3rd place.
The final collegiate event of the day was composed of Justin Evans (ASU), Braid Sills (ASU), Jayh Catless (UVA), and Bryan Lewis (UVA) competing in the Men’s A category, right along side the Men’s CAT 1 riders. Sills took a commanding lead right from the start taking 1st place in the collegiate event, and placing in the top five overall against the CAT 1 riders. Evens took 2nd, followed by Lewis only seconds behind to take 3rd. Unfortunately, Catless was knocked out early when he suffered one of the few collegiate mechanicals of the day – the rare “double flat” – during the first lap.
Results for the Luray Caverns CX and Collegiate CX Race are now posted to USA Cycling.
Now with Mason’s CX race completed, the final event in the ACCC Collegiate Cyclocross season is the ACCC Collegiate Championships at Appalachian State in Boone, North Carolina, on December 6-7, 2014. Following the performances from the ACCC CX Championships, collegiate riders can begin to look forward to the USA Cycling Cyclocross National Championships in Austin, Texas, on January 7-11, 2015.
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.