The KHS-Maxxis-JLVelo Cycling Team has enjoyed racing the Tulsa Tough criteriums since the teams inception in 2010. From the first time the riders competed in the event, it quickly became a favorite of each athlete as the racing and atmosphere is one of a kind. This year, the team had four riders competing in the events where Ulises Castillo finished 3rd overall at the end of the three days of racing.
Cory Lockwood, Duban Sanchez and Alfredo Rodriguez joined Ulises as they began the event with the Blue Dome Criterium in downtown Tulsa. Aside from racing at night, the fireworks the marked the finish of the baseball game a few blocks away make this race one for the books. With last years overall winner Daniel Holloway in attendance, the team knew the racing would be aggressive from the gun. Along with Holloway, the strong teams of Incycle, Arapahoe, Elbows and the unknown addition of the Australian team Subaru NSWIS & MS – the racing was going to be top-notch!
The race was animated from the gun, but with so many eager racers wanting to give the finishing sprint a shot, at the end of 60 minutes of racing, it came down to a sprint for the win. Alfredo Rodriguez finished 3rd to Daniel Holloway and Law of the Subaru team, with Ulises close on his heels in 5th place. Being an omnium event, every finishing spot is important for gathering overall points. Their results placed them 3rd and 5th going into day 2 of racing.
The Brady District Criterium is always exciting as the racers toe the line as the sun begins to set and the party begins to emerge from the Sound Pony and surrounding bars on backside climb of the course. The racing Saturday night was animated from the gun and it was apparent the racers were concerned about having Ulises or Alfredo in any move. These tactics brought the finale of the race down to a bunch sprint again, but this time the Australian duo of the Law brothers made a slight gap in the field with only Ulises able to stay with them to the finish where he placed 3rd. This result would move him up to 3rd overall going into the final day of the omnium event.
The River Parks Criterium, better known as Cry Baby Hill, is the final day at Tulsa Tough. The course and surrounding fanfare make for one of the hardest hours of racing on US soil, as well as one of the most exciting as the racers charge up Cry Baby Hill through hundreds of animated spectators and party goers. It was again very apparent that the peloton did not want Ulises to be in contention for the final sprint. Late in the race, a large move of 15 riders made it away from the dwindling peloton and Ulises was in the group.
Despite valiant attempts by Ulises to get away from the break or to thin the group down, his breakaway mates were unwilling to work and allow a move to get farther up the road. With 6 laps to go Ulises and Holloway were tangled in a crash along with another rider. Thankfully, this was the final lap that would allow a free lap, so Ulises was able to re-enter the race where he quickly tried his hand at splitting the group again. Again unwilling to give him any leash, the group brought him back and with one lap to go, Cory Greenberg of Incycle launched a race winning counter attack to Ulises’s move. Back with the group for the finish, Ulises was able to come in 5th, holding on to his 3rd place overall as teammate Alfredo finished 4th in the omnium.
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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