VI Cycling concluded its cyclo-cross season at USA Cycling Cyclo-cross Nationals in Boulder, Colorado on January 12, 2014. VI finished 12th out of 25 teams in the team omnium with only two riders in the Men’s A race – Cory Rimmer and Will Mehta.
Starting on the front row of 44 riders Rimmer was prepared to defend his national title. At the start of the race a mishap caused a gap with the leaders leaving Rimmer to chase back from 12th position to 7th. . He gave it all he had to pull it back before the end of the 60-minute race. Then, Will Mehta, in his first national race, had the dubious honor of lining up on the last row of 44 riders. Mehta rode as hard as he could on the very fast course to move up to 36th place.
In other highlights and conference racing prior to Nationals, VI finished 3rd overall in Division 2 in the SECCC. Individual results were great as well: Cory Rimmer finished 4th overall in the Men’s A field. Will Mehta finished 33rd in the Men’s A individual standings, which is quite good since he was “thrown into the fire” with Pro riders. Earlier in the season in non-collegiate races Mehta won three of the first four cross races he did. This performance raised his USAC category from Cat 5, which is the beginner category, to Cat 3 allowing him to advance to the A Men’s field in collegiate.
The standout female rider of the collegiate cross season is Alyssa Walsh. Having never raced cross, Walsh was excited by it when VI held a cross clinic back in October. After participating in the clinic, she went on to race most of the local MSG Cyclo-cross series in preparation for the collegiate season, which began in November of 2013.
“We didn’t take any of the women’s team to the first race at University of Georgia, since only one had raced cross before,” said VI Head Cycling Coach Dwayne Letterman.
However, Walsh showed her strength in cross by winning the next three races in a row which included VI’s home race on campus and the conference championship at Mars Hill University on December 8, 2013.
“Hindsight is 20/20,” Letterman said. “Had she done the first race at UGA she would have been the women’s B conference champion, missing that title by only eight points! Everyone on the team contributed by scoring points in their respective categories, and their efforts are greatly appreciated. Thank you, Annamarie Russell, Sarah Welch, and Josh Collins!”
The team focus will now shift to collegiate road season, beginning February 22 at the University of Florida. There will be five weekends of racing following UF, each weekend consisting of a road race, time trial and criterium. The last race of the season will be the conference championship at the University of Central Florida.