The Lees-McRae Bobcat Cycling Team headed to Nashville to try to capture their first Division I Road Conference Title. Although they won the Division II ConferenceTitle the last three years, winning the DI title would be a big step up for the team. However, the team was ready for the challenge.
The Bobcats held a very strong hold on the title after their home race, but in cycling everyone knows anything can happen. The weekend started out with a long and hot road race. The team raced very well despite the heat. The course, though not as mountainous as what they would like, still had some good climbs and a number of rolling roads. In the Women's B Race Olivia Maurey took second and Chloe Jackson finished seventh. In the Men's B Race Sean Condron finished second, Chris Consorto finished fifth, Eric Jackson eighth, Diego Ramirez 13th and Paul Davis 14th. The Women's A Race came down to a four person sprint with Monique Hein beating out Kacey Mandefield at the finish to take the win. Monique finished fourth, Jo Markham finished eighth, Kristi Henne 11th and Clara Beard brought in 12th. A group of four in Men's A Race got away the entire race. Will Hoffarth was a part of that group. Ken Holldber was in the chase group that worked hard to try and catch them. In the end Will finished fourth, Kevin sixth and Carson Worts 11th.
The afternoon saw the Team Time Trial Race. The LMC women finished with a strong first place. The men's team was still feeling the effect of a hard 80 mile race in the heat but still came in with a fifth place finish.
Sunday brought the Criterium. This is where the Bobcats have been their strongest this year. In the Women's B Race Chloe Jackson and Olivia Maurey did an excellent job working with each other and racing a final sprint together with Chloe taking the win and Olivia finishing second. In the Men's B Race Sean Condron lapped the field with the exception of Diego Ramirez, who rode a great race just behind Sean. The team dominated the race with Sean finishing first, Diego second, Paul Davis fourth, Chris Consorto seventh, Eric Jackson 11th and Gonzalo Escobar 13th. The women also dominated the A Race with Monique Hein lapping the field and then helping her teammate Kacey Mandefield out at the finish. Mo finished first, Kacey third, Kristi Henne sixth and Jo Markham ninth. In the Men's A Race Kevin Holldber showed why he has become one of the top riders on the squad this year. After a group of three got away, Kevin worked hard with a chase group that also broke away from the pack. In the final sprint Kevin rode away from everyone to finish fourth, with Ed Buress finishing hard to gain the tenth spot.
The Bobcats secured their first Division I Road Conference Title. In individual honors Kacey Mandefield finished first and Monique Hein third in the Women's A Overall Div I Honors. Sean Condron finished first and Diego Ramirez third in the Men's B Div I Conference Honors. In the Women's B Div I Conference Honors, Olivia Maurey finished first while Chloe Jackson snagged second.
The team now takes a well deserved break as they finish up exams
and prepare for the trip to Lawrence, Kansas for Road Nationals May