Tuesday, October 6, 2009

  Pathfinder of West Virginia Would Like to Congratulate the WVU Cycling Team on a Job Well Done. After 10 Years, WVU is Still Number One!

WVU Cycling, A Decade, A Dynasty?
By: Members of WVU Cycling
   Every weekend of this past September for the West Virginia University Cycling team has been spent traveling to other schools in the Atlantic Central Cycling Conference to race mountain bikes. What you probably did not know was that for the last nine consecutive years (since 2000), WVU Cycling has been the Division 1 Conference Mountain Bike Champions against teams like North Carolina State University and Virginia Tech. Few wins come easy, most are hard earned, but as far back as any current member of the team remembers, none of the last nine seasons have ever been this hard fought. WVU has been wheel to wheel with Virginia Tech all season, entering this weekend's conference championships race knowing they would have to win key victories for their five home races if they wanted a tenth championship.

   Saturday's races were held at Big Bear Lake near Bruceton Mills, WV and consisted of three races in the cross-country discipline: Short Track, Time Trial, and Cross-Country. In Men's A Short Track, WVU dominated, taking top three with Robert Loehr, Ian Beckner, and Balaji Seward, respectively. In Men's B WVU's Brock Dennis sprinted for first while Jacob Brown took third. Emily Moy rode away to first in Women's A, and Anne Walker second in Women's B. The Time Trial sent riders off individually in time splits on a short technical course taking riders 11-20 minutes to complete. WVU's A-squad did not let up, this time placing top four with Robert Loehr, Ian Beckner, Balaji Seward, and Duncan Oliver, respectively. Men's B was won by course designer Chet-Mun Liew, with Jacob Brown bringing in a steady fourth. New WVU member Andrew Harbert finished fourth in Men's C. Emily Moy kept the heat on with another win in Women's A, and Trisha Lewis and Anne Walker went 2-3 in Women's B. With two down and the longest to go, the cross-country race would have the riders stretch the technical trails of Big Bear out to 22 miles for Men's A, 18 miles for Men's B and Women's A, and 11 miles for Men's C and Women's B. Men's A remained strong, placing second through fifth with Ian Beckner, Robert Loehr, Dave Light, and Balaji Seward, respectively. Another solid Men's B finish for WVU brought in valuable points with Brock Denis first, Andrew Brautigam second, and Ryan Post fourth. Men's C took third with Sean Lockard, second with Andrew Harbert and fifth with Chad Lowers. Emily Moy got the hat trick, winning Women's A with Amber Smith in fourth, while Trisha Lewis placed second in Women's B once again for the Mountaineers.

   At the end of Saturday, the results were calculated and had VT winning the Short Track, and Time Trial. WVU won the XC and had a 5 point lead (1150 to 1145) over VT going into Sunday.

   Sunday's gravity races took place at Wisp Resort in McHenry, MD, first pinning racers head to head in Dual Slalom through a track of dirt jumps and banked berm turns. WVU and VT had to fight for spots among the Division 2 gravity-strong team of Appalachian State University. Jon Zerbe finished seventh in Men's A, Tyler Alokonis, Jacob Brown, and Sean Lockard finishing fifth through seventh in Men's B. New member Michael Snyder ripped the jumps and berms for an important second place in Men's C, once having to run across the finish after getting tangled with a teammate. Emily Moy finished second in Women's A, with Trisha Lewis and Laura Kelley grabbing third and fourth in Women's B. The final event is simply known as Downhill, a time trail sending riders in intervals down a fast, rocky course taking about 2-3 minutes. Once again Appalachian State was strong, but this race would end up in WVU's favor. Jon Zerbe was the fastest Mountaineer on the mountain with a third in Men's A, with Balaji Seward chasing him in fifth. Chet-Mun Liew and Jake Brown would bring in sixth and seventh in Men's B, respectively. In Men's C Chad Lowers and new member Todd Latocha would get WVU fourth and fifth, repectively. Emily Moy would get second in Women's A. Anne Walker loved the downhill so much she rolled across the line first in Women's B with Amber Smith in third.

  The hard fought season was over just like that, and WVU came out on top of Virginia Tech, squeaking out a win by little more than 5 points. WVU Cycling President Ryan Post finally was able to breathe again; VT brought over 30 riders today and most of the season, and for us to win by a margin smaller than one or two places..whew. Overall for the season, individual mentions: Robert Loehr placed first in Omnium (Cross-Country and Gravity Combined) ahead of three of his teammates : Balaji Seward, Ian Beckner, and Jon Zerbe rounding out the top four. Emily Moy also finished the season first in Women's A Omnium.

  West Virginia Cycling hopes to continue its dynasty into next season, remembering that counting to 10 has never been harder.

  WVU is also sending four riders to USA Collegiate Mountain Bike Nationals in Lake Tahoe, CA Oct. 16th -18th : Ian Beckner, Robbie Loehr, Duncan Oliver, and Jon Zerbe. If you would like to help fund them, email: wvucycling@gmail.com.

  WVU Cycling is always looking for riders and racers, especially for the upcoming road season. Go to www.wvucycling.com for details on meeting times, upcoming events, and the team forum and blog.