ACCC Navy Recap – April 9-10
LOTHIAN/ANNAPOLIS, MD – This past weekend the ACCC made its way to Maryland for the U.S. Naval Academy race weekend. Originally racers were slotted to compete in a road race and team time trial (TTT) on Saturday and a criterium on Sunday. Saturdayâ€™s road race and TTT was placed on a rolling course in Lothian, MD. The race course was designed along country roads on a rolling seven mile clockwise loop of Polling House and Bayard Roads with the start/finish off the loop, which would hopefully lead to a spectacular sprint finish.
On Saturday, racers arrived in Lothian, MD to wind, rain, snow, sleet and hail. With a short break in the weather, Menâ€™s C and D riders hit the course, for a slated, 43 mile race. After a lap and a half and the less than ideal weather returning, officials made the decision to stop the race and turn the riders around to head back to the cars. After seeing the level of pain the racers were in from riding in the cold and wet conditions, ACCC conference leadership organized everyone for a group meeting. After looking at the forecast and conversing with riders and officials, a decision was made to cancel the rest of the dayâ€™s events in the interest of rider safety.
Mother Nature was more kind to riders and spectators on Sunday at the Naval Academy campus, where it was cold and windy but, dry. Sundayâ€™s Hospital Point Criterium, was placed on the campus on the Naval Academy, on the Chesapeake Bay in Annapolis, MD. The very technical crit course guaranteed difficult and tactical races all day. The course started off with racers heading straight on a flat road that ran alongside the Bay, causing winds to factor in to the riders tactical decisions. Riders continued on until hitting the first turn, of greater than 90 degrees, into an uphill section. After riders crested the short yet punchy hill, they headed downhill into a hair pin turn, causing most riders to come to, almost, a complete stop. Racers then went on to the finishing stretch on the flat road they began on.
Womanâ€™s A riders hit the difficult course at 1:00 pm for a 45 minute race. Nine riders lined up at the start line, with Navy having a solid chunk of the field with four riders. The hair pin turn formed gaps in the field every lap, putting a hurt on the riders. At the first prime, Virginia Tech rider, Kathleen Oâ€™Neil, attacked to take the points dragging three Navy riders with her to form a break. At the second prime, Oâ€™Neil, again, attacked to get the points and form a solo break. She would stay away, solo, for around three laps before being caught by Navy rider, Gabriella Gonzalez. Oâ€™Neil and Gonzalez would work together for the rest of the race to stay away from the field. On the final lap, Gonzalez was forced to lead Oâ€™Neil around the final turn towards the finishing line. After completing the final turn, Oâ€™Neil began her sprint, just beating Gonzalez, by a half a wheel, at the line.
After the Womenâ€™s A race, the Menâ€™s A crew rolled up to the start line in anticipation for their one hour race beginning at 2:00 pm. The field was well sized with a little over 20 riders starting the race. The men hit the course hard with a fast pace and many attacks straight off the line. After a couple unsuccessful attacks, a group of six, two from Navy, two VT riders and two from Duke, formed a gap on the field. The breakaway riders worked together to keep a sizable lead from the peloton. The group stayed away for a handful of laps before it whittled down to two Navy riders, one from VT and one from Duke. Virginia Tech did not like their numbers up the road. They proceeded to form up and pull back the break, dropping riders off the back every lap. At the half-way mark, in the race, everyone was back together and a couple of lull laps allowed for riders to catch their breath, as everyone looked at each other to make a move. For the rest of the race, riders would take their turns throwing attacks yet, nothing would stick. With five laps to go, Virginia Tech headed to the front of the field to set the pace for what would be a field sprint. Navy rider, Ty Mechling, played his cards well, infiltrating the VT train to take the win in the field sprint.
Next week, the ACCC heads to North Carolina for the App State race weekend. The forecast is currently calling for warmer and sunny weather. Our hopes are high that we will be able to race both days this coming weekend.