RALEIGH, N.C. -- The Lees-McRae Bobcat Cycling Team had great success over the weekend competing in the Wolfpack Cycling Classic at North Carolina State in Raleigh. The races held were a combination of USA Cycling races and collegiate races.
The Bobcats started their road season clawing and kicking just like they ended it in 2008. The team had a major presence at the race with 24 riders competing. Their collective teamwork and dominating performances were really what made the team shine though. With a number of professional teams in attendance the Bobcats still managed to earn several top awards.
Head coach Brian Sheedy said, "In the history of Lees-McRae cycling we have never had such a strong and cohesive women's team. Jo Markham, Ally Stacher and Carla Swart are racing together for their third consecutive year and their strength and confidence are undeniable. This year the trio is joined by Kira Shoemaker and Lily Martinez, which fortifies their strength even more. With Lily's sprinting prowess and Kira's climbing and time trialing strength our women will surely be the setting the bar higher than ever."
The pro women's road race on Saturday was a hilly 54 miles. The Lady Bobcats worked together and achieved a stellar second place with Stacher. Shoemaker, Martinez and Markham made a great team effort, and Ally honored their hard work with this top placing. Swart raced with the collegiate B men earlier in the day.
When the Lady Bobcats started racing in the pro women's criterium on Sunday they made it look like they were just stretching their legs the day before when they absolutely dominated the competition.
Coming off of yesterday's strong performance Stacher attacked from the gun and put the competition on the defense. With all of the other teams chasing hard, the team was able to sit in the pack and wait, ready to pounce if Stacher were to get chased down. Sure enough, after about 15 laps Stacher was caught, and then Markham took her turn attacking the field. The Lady Bobcats took turns attacking the field; their teamwork and strength had the other ladies so battered and tired that they handily swept first, second and third.
"If our girls keep working together like this, then they are
going to set collegiate cycling on fire for 2009," Sheedy said.
On the men's side, notable performances came from Joseph Welsh, John Doyle, and Scott Jackson with their relentless attacks in the Pro men's races this weekend.
Peter Haile and Sondre Thorbergsen showed impressive form as they cut their teeth in their first collegiate A races.
The Pro and A men didn't take any top placing for the weekend, but their efforts will pay off and success is sure to come.
In the collegiate B race, Brad Perley rode off the front of the criterium and finished well in front of the field for his first victory of the season. Nic Dale, Diego Ramirez, Mike Rozelle, Ben Corbalis, Jake Lewis and Nate Trimble were also very aggressive and helped protect Perley's lead.
"It was a great team effort, capped by Brad's superman performance," Sheedy said.
Nate Larson raced strong in the men's category 3 race.
"For the first race of the season Larson showed a lot of promise and he is destined for great results," Sheedy said.
The "Hero of the Weekend" award goes to Daryl Cady and his family for their generosity in hosting the entire team in their house Friday and Saturday.
"He has the courage and skill to feed a small army, and we are all very grateful for his gracious hospitality," Sheedy said.
This weekend the team travels to Greenville, S.C. for more racing action.