The KHS-Maxxis-JLVelo Cycling Team traveled to Phoenix, AZ for the Valley of The Sun Stage Race. The event consisted of a 14 mile time trial, 94 mile road race, and was capped off with a 70 minute criterium. The team fielded a full roster with David Santos, Brian McCulloch, Chris Barton, Fabrizio Von Nacher, Sergio Escutia, Shawn Wayland, Shawn Daurelio and guest rider Ulises Alfredo. The event posed as a great arena for the team to work on tactics, execution of the plan, and finishing on the podium. And that they did!
Chris Barton had a great weekend of racing, placing 2nd in the time trial and winning the downtown Phoenix criterium on Sunday. Below is his recount of a great weekend of racing and teamwork:
Time Trial: 14 Miles
Going into the first time trial of the year, I was a good combination of excited and nervous. Lot’s of hours on the time trial bike this winter gave me confidence that I had prepared correctly, but it is still nerve-racking to have my fitness tested for the first time in a while.
I knew the first half of the course was slightly uphill, so I rode it a bit harder than usual. It’s easier to gain time riding uphill than it is downhill. The last half of the course was the most painful, though. There was more headwind than I had anticipated and I was really feeling the extra effort from the start. The last 3km, I was all but seeing cross-eyed and I crossed the finish line happy knowing that, regardless of my result, I had timed my effort correctly and given 100%.
Fortunately, that meant a great start to the season with 2nd place, just 14 seconds out of the lead, and the icing on the cake was having my teammate, Fabrizio Von Nacher, 15 seconds behind me in 3rd.
Criterium: 70 Minutes
The Valley of the Sun criterium was the most fun of the three days. The plan was to launch a lead out train on the last lap for our sprinter Fabrizio Von Nacher, and for all 8 of us to work on riding together and communicating. These are two key elements to bike racing that we are always striving to improve.
We did an exceptional job of this during the criterium. We were always together and everyone did an amazing job of keeping our sprinter, Fabrizio Von Nacher, out of the wind and protected from the other racers.
With 10 laps to go, we moved toward the front and prepared to launch our lead-out for Fabrizio. With 1 lap to go it was time to go and we executed the lead out perfectly; each of the guys pulling until they couldn’t maintain the high pace and pulling off to allow the next rider to take his turn.
Due to a slight moment of chaos, I came out of the last corner with a slight gap and I knew I had to go. The legs were really working and I ended up crossing the finish line first with Fabrizio just behind taking second. It is an amazing feeling to have eight teammates execute a plan well and have that plan work.
Having not raced last year, I couldn’t be happier to be back racing with a group of riders and staff I have the privilege to call my friends. Once again, today’s result was only possible because it was 100% a team effort including the riders, staff, and out sponsors.
The team would like to say a special thank you to Kate Mills and Linda Bush from JLVelo. They both made the long drive out to Arizona with our new skin suits and speed suits which we all truly loved racing in. It is great to have sponsors so committed to our success and excited to see us achieve. In the above photo, Linda is on the righ wearing the hat, just as excited as we were to finish 1-2. Thank you!
Thank you to our sponsors: KHS Bicycles, Maxxis Tires, JLVelo, Serfas, Shimano, Velo Saddles, Praxis Works, Xpedo Pedals, Kali Protectives, NDXSports, Bike Religion, Bicycle Blue Book, WD-40 BIKE, Chamois Butt’r, Cycling Illustrated, Rennie & Associates, Kramp Krushers, Ultra Cycle, and Q2.
Photos courtesy Michael Ratcliff, Action Media, LLC
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