Sept. 7, 2012. The Fourth Annual Abby Construction Cyclocross Series kicked off at the Boone Fairgrounds on Tuesday, Sept. 4, and continues every week until Oct. 16. For the first round of races Sean Leader (Kona Grassroots – Knox, Tenn.) and Mackenzie Filippi (Lees-McRae Cycling – Cary, N.C.) won the 30 minute “B” race, and Robert Marion (American Classic Pro CX Team – Mt. Airy, N.C.) took first in the 45 minute “A” race.
Despite clear conditions during the race, rainy weather for the 48 hours leading up to the race resulted in a slippery conditions, challenging many competitors to maintain momentum or just remain upright on the serpentine course. A big crowd of spectators, including several dozen students from Lees-McRae College in nearby Banner Elk, alternately cheered and taunted competitors as they rode at their limit hopping barriers and scrambling up a brutally steep running section that punctuates the otherwise flat course.
In the “B” Race, current North Carolina Junior champion Joe Wiswell (Pirate Race Productions – Boone, N.C.) set a blistering pace from the gun that immediately fractured the field. Only eventual winner Sean Leader was able to hold his wheel through the first three laps of the race, until he took the lead when Wiswell misjudged his dismount going into the barriers and dropped his chain. Wiswell quickly recovered, but lost ground to his taller competitor on the steep run-up each of the remaining three laps. Mackenzie Filippi continued her dominance of the Abby Construction series for the second consecutive year, and clearly demonstrated even better form than last season.
In the “A” Race, the crowd of local elite racers and a sizable chunk of the Lees-McRae team was put to the test by Robert Marion and fellow member of the American Classic Pro CX Team, Chase Dickens (Mt. Airy) who used the race as a warm up for the UCI season opener this weekend in Rochester, N.Y. Two laps into the nine lap race, they established a 30 second lead over Benn Stover (Tradewinds Energy Cycling Team – Lawrence, Kan.) and Noah Niwinski (Abby Design & Construction – Boone, N.C.) and held it all night. Stover and Niwinski went back-and-forth for the next five laps, before Stover, a Lees-McRae student, successfully put distance between himself and Niwinski, an alumnus of the 2008 and 2009 Appalachian State University national champion squads, gaining the final podium spot. There were no women competing in the “A” Race. View complete results here:
The Abby Construction Cyclocross Series resumes at the Boone Fairgrounds next Tuesday, and continues every week until Oct. 16. The last race of the season, the Abby Construction Cyclocross Spectacular!, will take place on Wednesday, Oct. 24, and feature cash prizes for the A race, Blowing Rock Ale, a DJ and more. For information about the series, go to www.HighCountryCX.com or visit the High Country Cyclocross page on Facebook.
Photos by Jamie Williams