While cross season still feels as though it was mere moments away, a few weeks off the bike and some solid R&R at home in the flat light and monotone colors of a dry January left me more than ready to head south. The mid-February cult gathering of mountain bikers seeking relief from winter climates in the Tucson desert sold out in just over seven hours this year. Around 1,800 racers and over 3,500 people set up camp just outside of Oracle, AZ ready to see who could turn the most laps on a cactus shrouded 16.1 mile course in the Sonoran desert.
This year I was invited to join the five-person co-ed team led by Enduro Bites founder Brian. We had a few shuffles for team members as most races with registrations six months earlier then the event but managed to secure the fifth and final team member with just days remaining before the race. I enjoyed a peaceful drive down with an overnight in the El Malpais National Monument. I imagine you aren’t supposed to spend a night parked there but there aren’t many visitors and the ease in which you can hide a large white van between a 3.8 million year old lava flow and chalk cliffs is well worth the effort.
The skies opened up as the weekend drew nearer and the bone jarring, pothole ridden, dusty, 11 mile drive off the highway to 24 Hour Town transformed into a quagmire of greasy mud, axle deep ruts, entrenched cars, and an exceptionally slow-moving line of traffic inching their way towards the weekends destination.
The 2018 Elevate-KHS Pro Cycling Team Camp begins this week in San Diego, CA. With camp on the horizon, our team riders have began to arrive in SoCal to enjoy the great weather while getting the chance to get quality training days in alongside their teammates, as well as fine-tune their racing with the team. Local strongmen Brian McCulloch and Cory Williams were joined at the Roger Millikan Criterium this past Sunday by Texan’s Nick Torraca and Kevin Girkins, and Canadian James Piccoli.
The race spanned 75 minutes on a fast and smooth course that soon proved to be ideal for a sprint finale. With the five riders on hand, this created an excellent opportunity for the team to work on tactics and the leadout. With 5 laps to go, the team assembled and began the process of controlling the field while ensuring Cory Williams was protected and perfectly placed for the finish.
Not one to disappoint, Cory delivered in commanding fashion to solidify his 4th win of the season. This win brings the teams tally to 6 wins and 8 podiums so far for the 2018 season. The team’s energy and excitement was palpable and it is apparent that this will be an exciting season with a charismatic cast of athletes comprising the roster.
All photos courtesy Danny Munson Dmunsonphoto.com
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The 2018 season for the Elevate-KHS Pro Cycling Team has started where we left off last season, with multiple wins and podiums! From Southern California to Texas and Mexico, the team has garnered 5 race wins with 7 total podium appearances. With team camp just around the corner, the motivation is high for both riders and staff as they put the finishing touches on of teamwork and cohesion before officially beginning their race calendar.
In Southern California, Brian McCulloch and Cory Williams have been taking the local criterium scene by storm. Winning the first 3 opening races in dramatic fashion at the Ontario Grand Prix, California Bicycle Racing (CBR) #1, and CBR #2. These are hotly contested races with great prize purses, primes, and motivated racers making the team work for every inch they have gained on the road.
In Mexico, Alfredo Rodriguez won the Thunders Criterium on January 28th, while new team addition Kevin Girkins won the Texas Chainsaw Massacre the day prior by a commanding margin.
With team camp beginning February 14th in San Diego, athletes are beginning to arrive for a few extra days of training in 80F before joining their teammates at camp. James Piccoli made the trip from Montreal and has not been disappointed by both the training and the chance to try his hand at his first Southern California Criterium.
James played an integral part in the teams win on Sunday, helping to strategically place Cory Williams in the right spot to win the final sprint.
With camp beginning next Wednesday, stay tuned to our social media outlets for updates from the road as the team, partners, and characters of the 2018 season come…