VI hosted the first ever “on campus” cycling event on November 24 with the “Cobra Cross” and collegiate cyclists from around the SECCC conference in attendance. VI also collaborated with King University for their SECCC event on Saturday, November 23rd. Both days were extremely demanding for the competitors. The VI cycling team put in solid efforts all the way around, and Alyssa Walsh came out on top in both events.
The weather was cold on Saturday morning across town at the King campus. Rain from the previous day had made the two wooded sections on the King course very slick and created a mud bog about 30 feet- long. Walsh gained an advantage at the start on the first climb ascending like an angel and extended it on the second climb. Even after crashes and a dropped chain Walsh crossed the line in a solo victory! The ladies race lasted 40:00 minutes in which time they did five laps of the nearly two-mile course.
The men’s “A” race was a free-for-all of power and speed, as the men’s A-field battled around the course for 50:00 minutes and completed eight laps of the course. After the start, a lead group of cyclo-cross thoroughbreds established a gap, including Cory Rimmer fresh off his silver medal at Mountain Bike Nationals. The lead group whittled down to five, with riders attacking one another multiple times. Eventually two got away and stretched the elastic in the group. Rimmer sprinted to the line, narrowly missing out on 4th place to finish 5th out of the 30 riders.
On Sunday morning the temps were in the 20’s for the collegiate racers arriving at the VI campus. Riders were bitten by the technically demanding course requiring all their skills at cornering and climbing. The course was coiled around the campus of VI with a 30-foot run-up near the main parking lot, a section of stairs through the amphitheater, and a long grueling climb along Moore Street. After seeing the treachery of the course, Dr. Allsteadt dubbed it the “Hooded Cobra!”
Cobra Cross began with the women racing first. At the end of the first lap Alyssa Walsh once again demonstrated her climbing ability and technical bike handling skills to pull away from the rest of the women racers. Meanwhile a race developed for 3rd place between Sarah Welch and Milligan rider Jenna Carico. In a valiant effort, Welch was able to pass the Milligan rider in a technical section, but was unable to hold her lead, relinquishing 3rd place and finishing 4th. In the mean time Alyssa finished with another solo victory on her home race course.
The men’s A race exploded along Moore Street as the large field hurtled themselves up the starting climb and back down heading into the run-up. When the riders came into view halfway through the lap, a group of elite riders appeared of the front. The battle that developed was epic – from riders playing to their strengths pulling away in straight stretches and out-cornering their rivals, to riding the previously unridden steep run-up. Rimmer caught the lead group and put in a hard effort to get into the lead, finally settling into 3rd place. Over the course of the race, mainly due the hot pace and technically demanding race course, positions rotated constantly. Eventually two leaders split off the win. Rimmer battled hard for fourth, finishing for a second day in fifth.
Across the board, the VI cyclists showed solid efforts. Will Mehta, in only his 3rd race as an “A” rider, finally had a clean race without mechanical issues but got held up at the start behind a rider who missed a pedal, forcing him to chase the whole race. He was within striking distance of 14th place when he ran out of road, finishing 17th place. On Saturday, a crash forced him into the wheel pit for a bike change, only to roll the rear tire from the rim on the last lap.
For more pics of the race go to the VI Cycling Facebook Page: Virginia Intermont Cycling Team
Saturday: King University
1st Alyssa Walsh
4th Anna Russell
5th Sarah Welch
5th Cory Rimmer
29th Will Mehta
13th Josh Collins
Sunday: VI Cobra-Cross
1st Alyssa Walsh
4th Sarah Welch
5th Anna Russell
5th Cory Rimmer
17th Will Mehta
7th Josh Collins