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Lehigh Mountain Top Classic


Saturday - XC

  • Men's C
    • 17th - Tim Manzella (Flat Tire

Sunday - STXC

  • Men's C
    • 5th - Tim Manzella

Sunday - Team Relay

  • Men's/Women's A
    • 3rd - Drexel/NU/Slippery Rock

Race Report

So, the first mountain bike race report in a couple of years. Wait, you might say, we have a mountain bike team. Well, team maybe not, but rider yes. Actually, rider is a very loose term too. But I digress, on to the report.

So the weekend started with a trip to the Lehigh University's Mountain Top Campus for the Start of the Cross Country race. So after checking in, I went over to grab my number plate from Sully, which prompted the first, why the hell are you a C mountain bike, don't you do A on the road from Jess of PSU. Why yes, I might say, but I have only just begun mountain biking. So after attaching the number and receiving encouragement from Joe (said the course was easier than Belmont, he might have forgotten to mention the massive amounts of rock gardens) and Sully (you'll be lucky to make it out alive, pretty close assignment), I took to the start line. Apparently Joe and Sully got this great idea to do a Le Mon style start to the race. So I got a decent start position because my bike was on the outside of a row. After getting through the initial turn in decent position, the shout of roadie get out of the way reach my ears. Not one to take insults well, I promptly tried to floor it, into a rock garden before getting stuck behind a pileup of riders. I ended up getting behind a couple of MIT riders who were kind enough to let me pass them, and then the first of many rock garden climbs started. Somewhere on the climb I got a flat tire which I don't notice until the loose dirt decent where I couldn't figure out why I was having handling problems until I looked down. Luckily I listened to Joe and pack tools for fixing up the bike during the race. Though I did a horribly slow time replacing the tube due to the adrenaline running through the system, I got the new tube in and inflated it. I was about to put it on when I noticed that half the tire on the opposite side I was working on was off the rim. So I had to deflate the tire and quickly fix the problem. By this point not only had all of the Men riders pass me but also the women races that started after us. Eventually I got myself back together and tucked away the tube and took off to finish the race. A short while afterwards I passed a Lehigh rider walking back with his bike on his shoulder having broken some part of this bike. I guess I wasn't the only one that had the rock gardens take revenge on my bike for running over them. I ended up passing the women's field on the first ascent and ended up catching some of the men races too. I ended up coming to the final climb with a PSU rider in the distance but wasn't able to catch up to him with all of the rock gardens that littered the climb. I made it too the top and pedalled it in for 17th place, about 20 minutes behind the leader. I figure I probably lost about 10-12 minutes with the flat fix and not having anyone to pace off of, which would have put me in the top 10.

The next day was the Short Track and Team Relay. The STXC course suited my developing skills nicely because there was a nice fire road climb and then single track that only had one small rock garden. After finally figuring out where the course was, Joe turning on the sound system helped, I took a couple of laps of the course and figured out when to change gears. I was lucky enough to get a good starting position and came into the single track in 8 wheel. I ended up passing a couple of guys the first time up the climb and stayed in the top 5 the rest of the race. Basically any time I lost in the single track or descent I was able to easily make up on the climb. I pretty much battled it out for a with 4 other riders for 4 laps with no one else insight behind us. As Joe pointed out afterwards, our lead group was kinda funny because it was comprised of a couple downhillers a roadie but no true mountain bikers. I came into the final lap behind a PSU rider but he was able to block me enough on the climb that I couldn't get pass and he was able to make the final turn better than I did so I ended up in 5th on the day behind to UVM riders, a Lehigh guy, and the PSU guy. I then got changed only to be convinced to do the Team Relay with a Women's A rider from Northeastern (Katie) and a Men's B rider from Slippery Rock (Tyler). The Team Relay was comprised of 6 laps of the STXC course and every rider had to do at least 1 lap. We decided that everyone would do two laps consecutively with Katie going first, me second, and Tyler last. It ended up working well because Katie held her own against the men the first two laps so that Tyler and I didn't have too much ground to make up. I ended lapping a couple of teams on my laps and Tyler lapped a couple more and prevent us from getting lapped by UVM. We ended up in 3rd place out of 8 or so teams, with the top 3 teams being the only ones to finish on the same lap.

So now its onto Vermont's race next weekend, which is suppose to feature a lot less rock gardens. With any luck I'll do decent enough to move up to B's for the final race weekend. I figure I could probably hang in the STXC right now but might need some work on XC.

-Tim Manzella

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Page last modified on September 29, 2010, at 02:23 PM