News & Events
MHC Cycling Takes 6th Place at Nationals
In its first team trip to national competition, Mars Hill College Cycling went up against institutions with long-standing cycling traditions, and despite some bad luck with flat tires, still came out 6th among 46 colleges from across the nation, one place short of the podium.
According to coach Hugh Moran, flat tires, soaking rain and cold temperatures plagued all riders at the Division II Nationals Cycling competition, held in Madison, Wisconsin, May 7-9, but bad luck seemed especially tenacious in dogging the MHC Lions.
“Good luck, bad luck: that’s bike racing, and we had our share of the latter in the road race,” Moran said. “Despite the bad luck, which in our case was a slew of flat tires that affected our best riders at the worst times possible, everyone can be proud of the way in which the team responded to adversity: with unwavering determination and with personal sacrifice in the name of the greater good of the team.”
According to Moran, the road race took place on a challenging course that climbed over 8,ooo feet in 72 miles, with temperatures in the 40′s and a constant, soaking rain. The rain made the road surface’s tiny sharp pieces stick to tires for enough revolutions to dig into tires and puncture inner tubes. Approximately 50 of the riders in the road race experienced flat tires.
Matt Willing was in position to compete for a top three finish in the men’s road race but had a flat tire on the last lap, finally finishing 16th. Paul Webb, who had placed first among Division II riders in the Southeastern conference, also had a flat during the race and finished 28th.
Klara Rossouw was considered a real contender in the women’s road race after her first place finish in the southeast region, but she had two flat tires during the race, riding ten miles on the first before she could get a spare.
The damp, cold conditions caused a different problem for Kyle Knott and Francisco Fuster, who completed the race despite showing signs of hypothermia. Both needed assistance afterward but recovered quickly.
Conditions were only slightly better for the criterium and team time trial, where the Lions performed well, but not well enough to reach the podium. In addition to those mentioned above, riders who competed at nationals included Nikola Milanovic, Melissa Holloway and Yolanda Colon.
“The short of it is that we placed 6th out of 46 schools who competed at nationals and our ranking places us amongst some of the elite colleges and universities in the country, both academically and from a cycling perspective,” Moran said.
According to Moran, the teams that finished above Mars Hill, and many that finished below, have long-standing cycling traditions at their respective institutions, while the Lion’s tradition is only in its second year.
“Putting it all in perspective and context, we did awesome. But to finish one step off of the five-step podium was indeed a disappointment, especially when the absence of some extreme bad luck would have placed us on that podium.” Moran said.
Here is the ranking of the first 20 teams from nationals competition:
2. Mesa State College
3. Massachusetts Institute of Technology
4. Dartmouth College
5. Western Washington University
6. Mars Hill College
7. Yale University
8. University of Wisconsin-Platteville
9. Minnesota State University
10. Depauw University
11. Duke University
12. Furman University
13. College of William and Mary
14. University of Denver
15. University of Wisconsin-Whitewater
16. Seattle Pacific University
17. Brevard College
18. US Air Force Academy
19. University of Montana
20. Bucknell University
Moran and the MHC Lions Cycling team are especially grateful to the “green team” sponsors who have made the year of competition and the trip to nationals possible. They are: First Light Solar, Organic Shopper Magazine, The Organic Mechanic, Donald J Dixon Scholarship, The French Broad Food Coop, Home Energy Partners, Blue Ridge Biofuels, Raw Revolution Energy Bars, Ion Sports Nutrition, Asheville Bicycle Racing Club, Asheville Fitness Club, Hearn’s Cycling and Fitness, Hincapie Sportswear, DeFeet International, Neo Burrito, Jack of the Wood, Asheville Pizza Company, Organic Athlete, Mountain Sports Festival, El Dorado Latin Grill.
(May 13, 2010)