This race has been the opener for a couple of years and these guys manage to absolutely kill it every year. I think this race is a really really strong point on the calendar. If you missed it this year you should reconsider your life choices.
A few Big things happened.
1. Team Relay
This was a huge sucess. Numerous people remarked that this was one of the most fun events out there. It also showed which teams were really interested in the team overalls.
Most notably DII powerhouse (this year) Clarkson opted out of racing, giving there closest competition RIT a chance to put a solid chunck of point up on the board, totally uncontested.
Little Suprise that UVM, NU and UNH all posted teams for the race. UNH managed to field two teams, making them win the event overall.
The exchanges and number of riders were pretty diferent between the teams. NU chose to have DH/DS/STXC superstar Sam Mellon Rock the first three of six laps then have Maggie S. Close the final three. This strategy was preetty different than others. UNH had three riders, and would each only do one lap befor handing off. UVM also had three riders but would each do all of there laps at once.
NU prevailed and Angus of UNH had the ride of his life to hold of Chris Hamlin of UVM to give UNH the seccond place.
2. Lack of UVM Riders
The rest of the ECCC saw what it is like for UVM to be mortal. With only seven riders in attendence the Green and Gold kids, while not without success, were slaugthered. One of there lowest placings at an ECCC race in probably close to a decade. Current President Lee Peters Call all of the Kids who remained in Burlington, " a bunch of inbred Sally Wagons"
3. Flats and Mechanicals
These were the real stars of the Lehigh xc. While all of the MC and WB racers were able to finish. The second wave of starts MB, MA and WA were plagued by both of these. I think this was actually because of the super dry riding on saturday. The course was rolling a lot faster, so people were carrying a lot more speed into the rock gardens. The mens' a field was expecially depressing, as just as many people dnfd as finished.
4. NU Riders givin' it for the team.
This might have been more evident to me because of the selfishness and sloth of my old teammates (not the ones who went to the race of course). I am not sure if it has been for team or for self, but the last two weeks we have seen Sam Mellon racing out of his discipline in the stxc races and managing nothing lower than 4rth place. Definately not something that I could envision many A dh'rs doing. This weekend it was a huge boon to his NU team, pulling in a third place finish. Had he raced in the xc, Nu might have taken over the season overall lead, who is to say though.
Not only this, but the teams' president Maggie S raced five times for NU, probably a third of the points that NU scored are dirrectly linked to her. If you ask her what she thinks about beating UVM last weekend, you will get to see just how excited she is about her team. Together these two tackeled the team rellay, something that was originally designed for three people, none the less they managed to win it.
As I was officiating and scoring the end of the DH later that day it was pretty clear that both of them were tired during their dh runs. Sam only won by two secconds, much less than the thirty he won by the first race. In response to his teammates jab that he was getting closer, Sam replied, 'you didn't get third in the shortrack this morning did you, or win the TR an hour ago."
This is a really cool thing about collegiate. you will see people race out of their element and out of their skin for the teams, that they love. Something UVM used to know a thing or two about. We will see if the backlash from this weekend results in higher turnout this weekend.
This weekend we saw Maggie Sullivan of NU struggle with mechanical issues in her Xc and stxc races, preform excellently in the Cluster Huck (catching a C racer who will remain unnamed), taking a jubuliant win with Sam Mellon in the Team Relay and taking an exhausted run in the DH course. None the less with the abssene of Rose Long she was able to extend her lead to a huge margin in the overall and sneak into the lead in gravity and xc as well. Her teammate Andrea Kelchin was able to leapfrog Rose as well. If Rose wants any of the jerseys back she will have to be very very dominant and hope for bad luck for the other ladies these next two weekends.
A race that is incredibly interesting. Billy of UNH in his basketball shorts and silly t=shirts. He is one of the few folks who are really racing the overall this year. Consistant placing in both sets of racing have pushed him into third. Sam Mellon held the gap to chris Hamlin. This weekends shortrack confirmed that he is pretty boss in the discipline. If he can continue to place well in three races a week as opposed to chris Hamlin's two wins a weekend it wouldn't suprise me to see sam catch and pass chris in the next week or two. Hamlin has continued to be undefeated in the Xc/stxc categories. Not many chances left for people to knock him down.