Cyclocross Racing Takes Roanoke and Blacksburg by Storm

Racers navigate deep sand during the Roanoke race on Saturday.
Racers navigate deep sand during the Roanoke race on Saturday.
Racers navigate deep sand during the Roanoke race on Saturday.

This weekend cyclists from across the ACCC (Atlantic Collegiate Cycling Conference) and Virginia’s cycling community came out to the Virginia Tech Cycling Team’s annual cyclocross races.

Each cyclocross race consists of a pre-marked course containing varied terrain: pavement, grass, gravel sand and mud have all been seen during races. Each lap cyclists are forced to dismount from their bikes and jump over barriers at high speeds. These races last from 30 to 60 minutes and test coordination, strength, and cycling skill more than any other type of racing.

Saturday evening marked the return of Tech Cross to the Virginia Tech campus. Spectators came out to watch the four hours of races take place in the dark and saw Ronald Glowczynski, a Roanoke native, lap the field of 43 riders and win his Men 45+ race in a course lit up by floodlights and Christmas lights.

Collegiate riders from the Virginia Tech Cycling Team and other teams such as Appalachian State, and North Carolina State University competed for points in the ACCC. The Saturday course proved to be tricky with a log run-up and slick and off camber turns. (As well as a heckling section enhancing the fun that was had by all!)

The racing continued Sunday at Roanoke’s very own Fallon Park, where the GO Cross race was recently held in mid- October. This year round cyclocross course, complete with sandpit and another log run-up, was the perfect complement to Saturday’s night races.

Mark Zhu, a resident of Blacksburg, won his second Men’s 4/5 race of the weekend after fierce competition from other Virginians. Owen Nielson of Roanoke was just edged off of the top step of the podium by Reid Beloni of (Boone, NC after a close 60 minute race in the Men’s Pro/1/2/3 race. Gary Roach of Roanoke watched his son place 3rd in the Men’s ¾ race, and his daughter compete in the Kid’s race, and then went on to win his own Men’s 45+ race.

Roach was followed through the finish line by two other Roanoke residents, Troy Lenderking and Ronald Glowczynski.  Nina Laughlin (Appalachian State) won her second race of the weekend against the largest field of Collegiate Women’s A racers seen in at least two years.

The competition was stiff during the Collegiate Men’s A race but Stephen Vogel (Wake Forest University) triumphed over the large field of 18. There was some great support and lots of cheering fans from the Roanoke area to watch the races at Fallon Park unfold Sunday afternoon.

With the event growing substantially every year it is clear that the return of Tech Cross to the Roanoke area in 2014  is greatly anticipated.

– Rebecca Stimson