Photo courtesy of Sammy Croft
BANNER ELK, N.C. - The Lees-McRae College cycling teams will hit the hills yet again this weekend (Sept. 8-9) when they take on Brevard College's mountain bike event at Reeb Ranch in Hendersonville, N.C.
Reeb Ranch - Hendersonville, N.C. - "We're looking forward to going back to the Reeb Ranch," said head coach Tim Hall. "It's a nice venue with good courses, and the riders all enjoy being at that particular place."
Assistant Coach Brian Jorgensen never raced at this venue in his LMC career, so this will be a new experience for him as well as the new riders that LMC brings in.
"They changed up the slalom course a little bit this year, so that will be different," said Jorgensen. "The downhill race has a bit of a climb in it so that is going to definitely benefit the faster riders in the event."
Last Time Out - The teams competed at King University's mountain bike event in Bristol, Tenn. last weekend (Sept. 1-2), and had some great success both as a team and individually. The teams recorded eight total victories in the two-day event, as well as several other podium finishes. The victories included a team relay victory by the B team of James Kreuzburg, Joseph Penley, Marla Cline and Kiley Krasley, Nolan VanderZwaag's first career mountain bike win in the men's A short track, a B short track win for Kreuzburg, a men's C short track win by Zach Ross, a women's dual slalom A win by Veronica Laughton, a men's B cross-country win by David Kahn, a men's C cross-country win by Ross, and a win by David Kahn in the men's A downhill race.
As a result of success at King's event, four riders upgraded their level in David Kahn, Ross, Cline and Krasley.
"We're excited to see them and what they can do at that level," said Hall. "We want them to grow and hopefully be able to make an impact at nationals this year."
Event preview - "We expect there to be more teams that show up to this event because of the location and venue," said Hall. "It will also be our first overnight weekend, which is always a different experience than when we commute."
Coach Hall also mentioned that absent at this race will be those riders across the Southeastern Collegiate Cycling Conference (SECCC) participating in the UCI Mountain Bike World Championships.
"It's not going to be the best of the best at this event, but the competition level will be quite high," said Hall. "This will be a good weekend for us to carry the momentum forward and then have two weeks off to be ready for our home race here on campus when we do expect all of those world championship-caliber riders to be here to raise the level of competition."
Coach Jorgensen mentioned that he worked specifically with the women's riders on slaloms this week, preparing for this course.
"We hope to see some good results in that event," said Jorgensen.
Hall backed up the importance of Jorgensen's work with the women's team.
"Coach Jorgensen did good work this week helping our women to be prepared for the track at Brevard," said Hall. "Last year we did have a good weekend at this venue, so we're looking forward to see if the kids can carry that momentum through this weekend and all throughout the season."