The Shippensburg University campus welcomed bike racers from 40 other schools — as close as Messiah College near Harrisburg and as far away as the University of New Hampshire and Queen’s University in Ontario, Canada — on Saturday morning for the first event of the inaugural Shippensburg Scurry.
Hosted by the SU Cycling Club, the Shippensburg Scurry on April 6-7 was part of the Eastern Collegiate Cycling Conference spring schedule. The Scurry included a campus criterium and a hill climb on Saturday and a road race on Sunday, all with various divisions based on racers’ past results.
About 250 riders participated in the criterium, in which they raced multiple times around a 0.7-mile loop on campus, according to Nathan Goates, assistant professor in the management/marketing department and cycling club adviser. A slightly fewer number did Saturday afternoon’s South Mountain Hill Climb, a seven-mile climb from Southampton Township Park on the outskirts of Shippensburg to the top of Big Flat, which has a maximum gradient of 12.5 percent.
The criterium races began at 8 a.m. with different race categories following the same loop starting in front of the Ceddia Union Building. The racers followed Cumberland Drive toward Naugle Hall then turned onto Adams Drive and looped behind campus before passing in front of Luhrs Performing Arts Center and returning to the front of the CUB. Spectators lined the short but steep climb to cheer the riders as they passed.
Fans also lined the steepest parts of Horse Killer Road near Shippensburg on Sunday to cheer the more than 300 collegiate and non-collegiate riders who tackled the Horse Killer Road Race. Participants raced as many as five times around a 13.5-mile loop highlighted by a climb up Horse Killer that has an average grade of 7.6 percent and a maximum of 20 percent.
Kevin Griffin and Lori Incitti captured wins for SU. Griffin took first place in the Men’s D, Division II, category of the road race, and Incitti won the Women’s Intro category in both the criterium and the road race. Several other SU riders also raced.
“Overall I think the weekend went really well,” said club member and race organizer Alan Royek. “We got a lot of comments from other teams saying that it was the best weekend this year.”
“I was exceptionally pleased with the feedback I heard from participants,” Goates said. “All seemed to love the campus course, as well as the race courses off campus. I was also very pleased with the accommodation of the university community. The campus police and the CUB administration were particularly helpful, willing to overlook our foibles, and in the end helped the students organize a first-class event. “Kudos to all of the students of the SU Cycling Club for putting on such an event,” Goates added. “The initiative and planning was all theirs. It was an education within an education for the student organizers — exactly the sort of thing that I believe a university experience should facilitate.”