This was the first year that the KHS-Maxxis-JLVelo Cycling Team competed in the OKC Pro Am Classic, and we are sure to be back next year! The event hosted three days of fast paced criterium racing with crowds nearing the 50,000 mark through out the weekend. Having two riders at the event was challenging, but a task that Ulises Castillo and Alfredo Rodriguez excitedly took on. It was a great bonus to have team director Paul Abrahams there through out the event so that he could work closely with the riders and tactics, technique and execution.
The first event took place at 9PM in Downtown Oklahoma City and Ulises found himself in the winning breakaway as the lap cards were coming down. The cat and mouse game of the breakaway however, took it’s toll on Ulises and with the slow pace of the group coming out of the final turn, he was caught on the back foot and narrowly missed 1st place in the sprint finish. Alfredo finished close behind in the charging field for a solid 8th place.
The second day of racing put the racers on an 8 corner course for 75 minutes. With their impressive results thus far this season, both Ulises and Alfredo found it very challenging to get in moves as well as to find other riders willing to work with them. This sounds like it could be frustrating, but both riders – with the assistance of Paul on the sidelines – were able to capitalize on these tactics and find new ways to race and be successful.
On this stage, Ulises again found himself in a breakaway that looked as if it could stay away from the field for the finish. However, with motivated riders in the pack wanting to grab up as much prize money as possible, the break was caught in the final turns. Ulises was able to hold on for 3rd place on the day.
The final day of racing was held on Automobile Alley where the riders again would race for 75 minutes. With the laps winding down, Ulises and Alfredo found themselves both in the breakaway. This was the best-case scenario for the duo as it would give them an advantage going into the final as they would have the opportunity to set one another up for the sprint. Ultimately, Alfredo would narrowly miss being the first cross the finish line as the positioning going into the final turn was paramount for success. It was a very short dash to the line, and being second wheel coming out the turn did not allot him enough time to sprint past the one rider ahead of him.
The event provided our new rider, Alfredo, a unique opportunity to work closely with Paul and Ulises and have a quick “baptism by fire” weekend of learning the ins and outs of what makes our KHS-Maxxis-JLVelo team so great. This weekend of racing will prove invaluable for the days of racing ahead, and we can’t wait to see how the lessons learned will be translated into race podiums and victories in the near future.
Thank you to our sponsors: KHS Bicycles, Maxxis Tires, JLVelo, Serfas, Shimano, Velo Saddles, Praxis Works, Xpedo Pedals, Kali Protectives, Infinit Nutrition, Bicycle Blue Book, WD-40 BIKE, Chamois Butt’r, Cycling Illustrated, Rennie & Associates, 4iiii, Big Wheel Coaching, Ultra Cycle, and Q2.
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