Mountain Bike Season Update #7 | Healing and the Firecracker 50

For those athletes that don’t enjoy time off the bike that time tends to get mandated by circumstances out of their control. With a full fall of cycloross and a full spring of mountain biking, mid-summer is typically when I get a bit of a break.  Even then sometimes the trails are calling or the weather is just perfect and I can’t quite bring myself to stay off the bike.  This round with a cracked rib and then an unrelated course of antibiotics I found myself happily (but rather guiltily) avoiding training. 

There were still plenty of activities to partake in and as someone who generally rides and trains solo, I was very much enjoying a rare taste for the social aspect of self-propelled machines with two wheels.  I coach a local juniors program, partook in bike to work day (that counts if you are working at home, right?!), set the pace for a friend to PR our local hill climb challenge, went to see fireworks, joined “Lookout week” for ridiculously early morning laps that ended with in town coffee stops, commuted across town for further away trail head meetings with the kids, and had evening spin outs to the local breweries.
My conclusion to this week of spending time with friends while on bicycles was that I love my community and even though I’m away for a good portion of the year I’ve chosen the right place to settle down.  Further proof was found when I finally addressed the abscessed tooth from my broken face crash a few years back.  I never took care of the tooth because it wasn’t an outwardly obvious issue (my dentists would care to disagree) and the exuberant costs of getting it fixed.  Even with insurance the cost was daunting but I determined the time was finally here as I was becoming increasingly aware of something not right going on in my face.  The specialty dentist I was referred to chatted me up about his bike riding stating he was one of the slow guys that had a go at the Lookout climb a few times a week and did I know his friend (my neighbor).  Irony has it that we had become better acquainted just that week and when I mentioned after how the appointment had went and that the cost was a shock even to my being prepared for it, I was the recipient of a phone call from the dental office telling me they were going to forgive the cost of the visit.  I view money as a necessary evil, I don’t have an abundance of it as a professional bike racer but to reduce the stress on me of how I was going to manage to cover that cost is huge.  

After about a month of unfocused riding and well into my root canal induced course of antibiotics I jumped in for the women’s duo at the fourth of July tradition Firecracker 50 race in Breckenridge.  The race went okay, I wasn’t too far behind the leader in my wave during the first lap but I sure couldn’t put out the watts to make magic happen.   This frustration was sidelined by the relief at feeling comfortable handling the bike on the trails again after some time of recoiling from the use of any body part connected to the broken rib (read: most of them).  Personally the team format race is a much more enjoyable concept in mountain bike racing as it adds the urgency and desire to do your best not just for yourself but for your partner and your collective result.  We managed a podium which I am grateful for but I am even more grateful to get my enthusiasm to train back. 

North Star Grand Prix Success

Photo Credit: Dean Warren

The Elevate-KHS Pro Cycling Team had a fantastic campaign at the 2017 North Star Grand Prix. With 6 stages spanning 5 days, this PRT event is one of the most challenging on the calendar. Beyond the intensity of the event is the challenge of the technical aspects the courses boast.

Beginning with a 5 mile time trial, the general classification was set with Cory Lockwood and Innokenty Zavyalov 7th & 8th going into stage 2. The St. Paul Criterium was on a different course this year and the excitement increased as the race was restarted with just a few laps remaining. The team remained focused and Alfredo Rodriguez sprinted to an impressive victory ahead of Justin Williams – Cylance and Ty Magner from Hincapie.
The Menomonie Road Race, stage 3,  found the Elevate-KHS riders at the front of the peloton, with the height of excitement coming from a late day breakaway of power houses Connor Brown and Cory Lockwood. With over 2 minutes on the field with 40K remaining, the duo committed to going 100% which forced the other teams to chase. Although they were caught before the finishing circuits, their efforts allowed Alfredo Rodriguez to sprint for another podium, finishing 3rd on the day. Connor Brown was also awarded the Most Aggressive Rider Jersey at the end of the stage.



The Uptown Critierum, Stage 4, saw the team commit to leading Alfredo out for each Sprint Lap as well as gathering up as many of the remaining sprint points as possible. These efforts helped to ensure his lead in the Jacks Linxs Sprinter Jersey was secure for another stage. Ultimately, Alfredo placed 4th and Connor Brown was again awarded the Most Aggressive Rider jersey for the night.
The North Mankato Road Race proved to be challenging from the start. With Brian McCulloch working hard in multiple breakaways, this allowed Alfredo and Cory Lockwood to stay protected until the finish. As the group dwindled on the challenging finishing circuits, Cory Lockwood and Connor Brown held their own, finishing in the front group and ensuring Cory retained his top 10 GC, and Alfredo the sprint jersey.
Closing out the event with the Stillwater Criterium is always a tough day on the bike. With an 18% climb each lap, the team had their work cut out for them. They led the peloton to set Alfredo up to receive maximum sprint points which meant he would win the Sprint Leaders Jersey for the event. While the field continued to thin out, Cory Lockwood stayed in the front group and with his top 20 finish he was able to move up to 5th place overall for the event. This is a break through performance for him which is very exciting heading into US Professional Road Championships this weekend.
Photo Credit: Dean Warren
Through the commitment of the whole team from staff to riders, after the week of racing the team had received 2 Most Aggressive rider jerseys; 1 stage win; 3rd place on a stage; the Overall Sprint Leaders Jersey; and 5th overall. Congratulations!

The Elevate-KHS Pro Cycling Team 2017 Partners: 

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Tulsa Tough – 2nd Overall for Rodriguez

Photo Credit: Danny Munson

The Elevate-KHS Pro Cycling Team had a great campaign at Tulsa Tough this past weekend. Covering three days, the criterium omnium is one of the favorite within the country. Each course is unique with technical aspects and the added incentives for racers of large primes and prize purses. Friday night hosted the first event of the weekend, the Blue Dome Criterium. The promotors ran the course in the opposite direction than previous years and with over 150 pro men in the field, the tight course and nerves of the peloton came together to create not one but two crashed large enough to neutralize the field. As the the minutes ticked by and our athletes stayed out of the fray, it was apparent the finale would come down to a sprint.

Photo Credit: Danny Munson

Alfredo Rodriguez was able to sprint to a close second at the end of the 60 minutes of racing. This placed him 2nd overall in the Omnium Points going into the second stage on Saturday.

Photo Credit: Danny Munson

The Brady Arts District Criterium took place Saturday evening with a bit more day light than the day prior. The festivities around the course had been going on all day, so the fans were at their peak of excitement to cheer on the racers as they climbed the hill past the infamous Sound Pony Bar. The team worked hard to keep Alfredo safe, cover any threatening moves that could potentially gain traction up the road, and ultimately set him up for the final sprint.

Photo Credit: Danny Munson

At the end of the 80 minutes of racing, Alfredo finished 3rd and maintained his second place overall in the Omnium, thanks to the hard work and commitment of the entire team.

Photo Credit: Danny Munson

Cry Baby Hill on Sunday was the final race of the event and it is always a favorite of the riders. With a punishing climb each lap up Cry Baby Hill, the threat of rain, and over-partied fans, the stage never disappoints. Going into the race, Alfredo maintained his 2nd place overall and the team committed to making the race as hard as possible as it would take a break of wills to move into 1st place at the end of the 80 minutes of racing.

Photo Credit: Danny Munson

Connor Brown and Nick Torraca animated the race from the gun, landing in this solid 3 man breakaway that remained a threat through the middle of the race. As they were reeled in the team was ready to pounce and countered with Brian McCulloch represented in the next move. The race is one of attrition and the field was beginning to dwindle. Groups of one and two kept attempting to break free of the peloton and as the final laps were ticking down, one rider got free solo. He went on to win the race and Alfredo finished 4th in the final sprint to take 5th on the day. This performance solidified his 2nd Place Overall for the omnium weekend.

Photo Credit: Danny Munson

The Elevate-KHS Pro Cycling Team 2017 Partners: 

Follow Elevate-KHS Pro Cycling On Our Social Media!

Web: www.elevate-khsprocycling.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/elevatekhscycling/

Instagram: @elevatekhsprocycling

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Mountain Bike Season Update #6 | GoPro Mountain Games

The core of being an endurance athlete, or really any type of dedicated athlete is the need to do your best.  There is a lot of preparation that goes into any event and any number of factors that can result in an abrupt change of plans, adjustment to your pre-race timeline, and a consequent wave of terror when an unexpected issue comes into play.  The goal would be to be prepared for all of these and have contingency plans to accommodate accordingly but regardless of planning things do go wrong.  I’ve been lost on the way to races, caught in non-moving traffic, suffered flats on the start line, or even forgotten a key piece of gear upon arrival to the venue.  Fortunately I’ve mostly steered clear of pre-race injuries or accidents but this round I wasn’t so lucky. 

I had a minor crash earlier in the week; I was goofing off doing wheelies and toppling over backwards likely left a crack in my number eleven rib.  After a morning of getting ready for the GoPro Mountain Games cross country event I was leaning forward over the bed in the van…..and sneezed.  Anticlimactic as it was, it put me on the floor unable to move with pain.  The way it was described to me, in that position – leaning forward with my weight on my elbows spreading the ribs out to their max was the perfect storm to apply pressure from the inside and result in a break. 

It’s fairly anxiety inducing to not be able to commit to your pre-race routine as the plan is regimented to fit the timeline you have available.  Wake up, wash up, eat food, prep equipment, social media, warm up, head to start line, none of these things really leave time for “break a rib.”  There was just a little over an hour left before I was to begin my warmup.  Frustration was a looming emotion, how time consuming it was to pull on clothes, how difficult it was to think through what I would need during the race, how I was going to warm up when I couldn’t even swing my leg over the top tube, all on top of the regular concerns of where I would want my feed, did I want to carry a tube, and how much pressure I wanted in my tires.

I sacrificed my warm up to get dressed, warming up was a joke, I couldn’t put any power into the pedals so I opted to spin to the start line. My plan was to get there and see how I was feeling as, well, why not. And once I was on the start line I figured I may as well start and once we started I figured I may as well race. 

The start line in this venue is straight up the ski slope and the accompanying altitude made for a lot of immediate redlining.  Ironically my soft pedal start kept me nicely in pace with the back end of the field and I just tagged along and even moved up in the field as I could.  I stuck it out even though I likely shouldn’t have.  I was told later that an untimely crash could have sent the broken rib into my lung causing more serious issues so it’s fortunate I wasn’t taking any big chances.  I definitely lost the ability to use my hips to control the bike and by the end of the race a number of other body parts screamed in defense of being used to protect the broken bits.  Regardless I finished the race, survived, and was back at it a few days later well wrapped in tape leaving with the knowledge that no matter what I know I can stick it out when the going gets rough.  

Oklahoma City Pro Am Classic

Photo Credit: Lee McDaniel

The Elevate-KHS Pro Cycling Team spent last weekend racing in Oklahoma City at the Oklahoma City Pro Am Classic. The event consisted of 3 dynamic criteriums snaking through the OKC downtown. Steady rain and heat did not deter the racers as they battled for top honors each day. Ultimately, Alfredo Rodriguez finished 3rd at Saturday’s Film Row Criterium, and Cory Williams placed 3rd on Sunday at the finale of the event, Automobile Alley.






The Elevate-KHS Pro Cycling Team 2017 Partners: 

Follow Elevate-KHS Pro Cycling On Our Social Media!

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Facebook: www.facebook.com/elevatekhscycling/

Instagram: @elevatekhsprocycling

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PezCycling Feature: Tour de Taiwan with Brian McCulloch

Thanks to longtime partner Xpedo Pedals, athlete Brian McCulloch’s experience racing at the Tour de Taiwan this sprint was featured on PezCyclingnews.com! It was fantastic to have the chance to share the experience and the team is excited to go back next year to race in Taiwan again! To read Brian’s full report, follow this link: Xpedo Rider Diary: Brian McCulloch in Taiwan!

The Elevate-KHS Pro Cycling Team 2017 Partners: 

Follow Elevate-KHS Pro Cycling On Our Social Media!

Web: www.elevate-khsprocycling.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/elevatekhscycling/

Instagram: @elevatekhsprocycling

#elevatekhs

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