The Elevate-KHS Pro Cycling Team enjoyed their time in the city of Knoxville, TN to race The US Professional Road Race Championship Time Trial and Road Race. Topping the teams performance in the Individual Time Trial was Cory Lockwood, finishing in 16th place, just seconds out of a top ten placement.
Sunday six riders from the team lined up to contest the Stars and Stripes Jersey. On a course that covered 14 laps equalling 110 miles with over 9,000 ft of climbing, the team was ready for the action. As the race unfolded, both Cory Lockwood and Alex Hoehn remained the lead group on the road. Ultimately, Alex Hoehn finished 22nd on the day.
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.
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!
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Last week the Elevate KHS Pro cycling team went to Minneapolis, MN for the North Star Bicycle Festival, and left a BIG foot print at the race! Alfredo Rodriguez once again come out strong and won the opening stage.
He kept the legs hot and took 3rd on the second stage which also put him into the lead for the JACK LINKS BEEF JERKY Sprint Jersey and teammate Connor Brown took over the Most Aggressive Rider Jersey, which he kept for two days.
Alfredo was able to keep the field off and hold onto the Sprint jersey for the overall. The team road great and are now off to the Knoxville, TN for the US Pro Time Trail and Road Race, good luck guys!!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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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.
What an amazing race this years Tulsa Tough stage race was! the Elevate KHS pro cycling team was there to race and they finished with a podium every day, including getting team rider Alfredo Rodriguez to 2nd over all! Next stop is the North Star Bicycle Festival, good luck guys!
Alfredo took 2nd on day one of Tulsa tough
On day two Alfredo finished in 3rd place.
The team finished the 3 day race by getting Alfredo into 2nd place overall.