ACCC WVU Recap – April 2-3
BOBTOWN, PA – This past weekend, country roads took the ACCC to where we belong, West Virginia, for the WVU race weekend. Actually, the races were held just over the West Virginia line in Pennsylvania. Saturday was slated to be a difficult road race with a team time trial (TTT) to follow. Saturday’s Mountaineer Road Race and TTT courses were placed in Bobtown, PA. Racers brought their climbing legs for this 6.9 mile 3 turn lollypop style loop road race. After descending the final climb, the course continued through the feed zone on Holbert Stretch and downhill to the base of the 1.5 mile Dilliner Hill. Then it took a right on to Bobtown Rd. where it met some rollers before turning back to the loop. After the last lap, the course took a left and finishes at the top of Bobtown Hill. After the challenging road race, riders lined up to work as teams in a grueling race against the clock, the TTT. The Team Time Trial embodies the true strength and skill of the team that takes it on. It began with a fast downhill on Bald Hill Church Rd that runs into the flats continuing straight on Pigeon Hill Rd. where it turns around at the intersection of Bunner Hill Rd and Hunters Ridge to finish back atop at a local elementary school.
The Women’s A field began staging for their 45.2 mile Road Race on Saturday combined with the Men’s B field at 10:30am. They began their race with a neutral rollout down the starting hill, in the officials’ response to crashes on that section earlier in the day. As soon as the neutral rollout came to an end, Men’s B riders started to attack. As the peloton hit a section of rollers on the course Women’s A riders we put in the red, as the group started to make a selection of stronger riders. Virginia Tech rider, Kate Buss, was able to stick with in the field. Buss continued to ride with the group for a lap and a half before attacking the field for a solo break. She would stay away, solo, for a little over a lap before being caught by a group of three Men’s B riders. Buss would stick with the Men’s B riders and roll in for the Women’s A victory.
Men’s A riders took the start line in Bobtown for their turn on the road race course at 10:40am, shortly after the Women’s A race. They would do nine laps of the hilly course, totaling in 65.5 miles. The race began and Virginia Tech rider, Gavin Kline, attacked the field. Navy quickly organized in an attempt to pull the solo Virginia Tech rider back, which they did in two laps. Both with five and four laps to go, Navy attacked on the hill, resulting in a split in the field. With two laps to go, Virginia Tech rider, Nathaniel Hall, produced a surge that no rider could match. Hall would continue powering on, creating a gap of about five minutes at one point. He would stay away to take the solo win, with small select groups of riders finishing behind him.
After the road race, riders grouped up in their respective teams to tackle the TTT. For the Men’s A race Virginia Tech was able to win with the fastest time, just beating the Navy squad. For the Women’s A race, a team of two Virginia Tech riders displayed their strength by winning their race in commanding fashion.
Sunday came quickly, but not before a small amount of snow would fall in the area over night. As the morning approached, the sun would melt all the snow and the Mountaineer Criterium, in Smithfield, PA, would go on without delay. The course was a 1.25 mile lap with 2 corners, and a punchy hill. It started on a straight flat section, before making a left hand bend and descending to the first 90 degree corner and into a 65 ft hill. It bent back around flat to the 2nd corner where it came back around to the finish.
The Women’s A field staged at the start line at noon. They were slated to race for 45 minutes. The field began together but, that would change quickly. After multiple hard attacks, a select group of three, two Virginia Tech and one Navy rider, would emerge at the front of the race. That group of three would work together for a while before one of the Virginia Tech riders, Kate Buss, attacked. In Buss’s attempt to go solo, she dropped her teammate making it a two person with Navy rider, Gabriella Gonzalez, able to stick Buss’s wheel. The two would continue on to the finish with Gonzalez out sprinting Buss for the win.
After the Women were finished, the Men’s A field hit the start for one hour of racing. With a small field in attendance it was difficult for anything to get away. Virginia Tech, Navy and Duke all did a good job of keeping the field together. There was contests for prime points yet still, nothing could get away from the field. With two laps to go Virginia Tech rider and Saturdays Road Race winner, Nathaniel Hall, was able to breakaway to form a gap on the peloton. Hall sustained his power to take, again, the solo victory.
Thank you to WVU cycling for putting on a wonderful and extremely challenging race weekend. Next weekend, the ACCC heads to Maryland for the Navy race weekend where we hope to continue our ways of difficult yet fun racing.