The Elevate-KHS Pro Cycling Team officially kicked off their race calendar at the Pace Bend Weekend in Texas. Hosted by team partner Boneshaker Project, this double-header event is a cornerstone of the race season and one we wouldn’t miss. After a great 10 day training camp in San Diego, the team amassed in Texas to tackle the two days of racing. With Director Sportif Heath Blackgrove at the helm, local Texan Nick Torraca was joined with new additions to the squad Scott Law, George Simpson and fellow Texan Kevin Girkins.
In dramatic fashion, Nick Torraca won the Saturday race of the Pace Bend Weekend in front of his home crowd! We connected with him after his victory to get a quick recap of the day and how it played out:
Elevate-KHS: This was your first team race of the season, and also your first win of the season! How did it feel to win at home in Texas on a course you have raced many times?
Nick Torraca: Being able to win at home in Texas always feels amazing!! Pace Bend especially because it was also one of the first races I ever did back when I was a junior. The last 4 or so years our team has been able to win here and to keep that streak alive, even winning myself, makes it that much more exciting and special for me.
Elevate-KHS: Winning Saturday was fantastic, and you backed that performance up with a 3rd place on Sunday behind teammate George Simpson taking the win. How is the team coming together here after a solid training camp in San Diego and the first team races on the road?
NT: Training camp really set the stage for our team coming together heading into the race weekend in Pace Bend. The team winning both days really solidified the hard work we did over the two weeks in California together. After hours and hours of riding and living in the team house together, we really got to know our strengths and weaknesses as individuals and teammates. We took a small roster here to Texas and for us to be able to win both days sets the season off in the right direction. Looking forward, we look to build on that next weekend in another of Texas’ spring openers at La Primavera Lago Vista.
Elevate-KHS: The Pace Bend Weekend is sponsored by one of the teams partners, Boneshaker Project. Tell us some about their initiatives and how important it was to win back to back days where they sponsored the event?
NT: Boneshaker Project is a non-profit foundation here in Austin headed by Todd Reed that has a huge influence on getting kids active in the local school districts. Whether thats riding bikes or running, Boneshaker helps run these programs and gets thousands of kids to live a more active and healthy life. “Do what moves you” and “shake your bones” is their mantra. Todd and Boneshaker put this Road Race on every year and being partners with the team makes it that much more important for us to win. It sort of feels like our teams own race and we can’t lose. The added pressure definitely gets the pre-race jitters up. The course is amazing and we are so lucky to be able to race in such a beautiful state park. Thank you Boneshaker!!
Im very happy to be able to capitalize on rolling back to back days in the break with Big George. Love that we even switched the wins between the two of us and came away with a multiple podium weekend. We set the bar high for our first team race together and are looking to raise it higher as we progress into the season.
Congratulations Nick and team! Leading into Sunday, the team had aspirations to take the top step again, which played out with young recruit George Simpson taking top honors. Welcome to the team George and congratulations on your first win of the season! Here is his recap of the weekend:
Elevate-KHS: This was your first race of the season, and with the team. What were your expectations going into the 2 day event at Pace Bend?
George Simpson: With the team having strong roots in Texas, there had been a lot of people passing through team camp this past week that knew the races well and were eager to tell me what to expect. I came into the weekend anticipating a strong field with good early season fitness. It was great to finish training camp before heading down here. Even though it was my first race with the guys, we were already in sync.
Elevate-KHS: Saturday Nick won the race and you finished 4th. You backed that strong performance up with a commanding win on Sunday where Nick placed 3rd. How did that race pan out so that you were able to sprint to your first win of the season?
GS: It was a challenging race for the team! With no shortage of strong teams in the field, and they worked hard to keep us on the back foot all day. After a lot of reshuffling and regroupings in the field, Nick and I made it into move late in the race that ultimately stayed away until the finish. Nick set things up with 1 km to go, attacking hard with me on his wheel. He opened a gap to the other riders and I queued off that, jumping from there to ride the last kilometer alone.
Elevate-KHS: Now that you have spent a few weeks with the team being at training camp in San Diego and now racing with the team in Texas, how are you feeling about the upcoming season?
GS: I’m really excited have the opportunity to be a part of the program this year. The new team is awesome, and I had a great time getting to know everyone involved at training camp. I’m itching to get the season rolling and see what we can do out there this year.
All Photos Credit: Brooks Bixler
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