SRS Montgomery – Snatching Another Podium

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After some frustration in the last few weeks I can finally put pen to paper, so to speak with some positive news! The team headed down south to Montgomery for the next round of the South East Regional Series.

 

The race weekend followed the usual format with the crit on the Saturday afternoon and road race on Sunday.

 

The crit course was fantastic; it was set in downtown Montgomery around the capitol building and had some nasty drags in it. Perfect! It really lent itself to a break going and I think that everyone was so attentive to this that the race ended up staying together. Our cracks off the front did bear some fruit as I had managed to snatch the mid race prime and DZ took a cash prime late on. The boys did follow anything that looked dangerous, as well as initiate a few moves of our own but as the laps ticked on by we knew we would need to get the train running into the finale.

 

Brian and J.Lo got on the front in the closing laps and really drove the pace, ensuring that no one would want to try and attack. They dropped Junior Mint and I off perfectly in the last corner as we kicked in the final 300m up to the line. JM went long and held the preying vultures off to take the win, as I came around the Project 706 boys to grab second, with Winston David rounding out the podium. It was a fantastic day for the team with J.Lo also retaining his lead in the sprinters jersey.

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Come Sunday morning we were eager to repeat the previous day’s results. The road race took place on a slightly rolling circuit with a touch of wind. Again the attacks came but nothing seemed to be sticking. DZ and Brian got stuck into the Stan’s KOM competition and both grabbed some points.

 

With 2 laps of the 6 lap race left to go, we missed a dangerous move that seemed to shoot off the front of the race really quickly. We got the boys organised on the front and with the help of a few individual riders managed to ride the gap down from 1.30 to ten seconds. It was that sort of weird moment where none of the teams wanted to close the last part, as they knew the counter would come, but we all knew we needed to shut it down.

 

Ultimately at the end of the day the 9 riders managed to stay clear by a frustratingly close 3 seconds! I took 4th in a mistimed sprint in the bunch to get 13th on the day.

 

All in all it was a great weekend of racing in Montgomery put on by Start Smart Cycling. Personally it was great for the morale to get the results behind my name after a frustrating few weeks where I know my numbers have been good, but they haven’t translated into the results I would have liked. That is how it goes in the cycling world I guess.

 

On Monday I drove up to Chicago, or Chi-Town with Dilly. We spent a great evening with friends of his Joel and Ashleigh feasting on some delicious pork barbeque which Joel had smoked himself! On Tuesday morning we did the last 3 hour stint up to Fon Du Lac where we will be based for the rest of the week as we take on the Tour of America’s Dairyland which started yesterday and we race though until Saturday.

 

Another saffa reunion is on the cards as I will be racing with Jos and Christiaan! Looking forward to it! Until next time, arrive derci!

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All Images Credot: Ash Smit

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St Francis Tulsa Tough

Often following a race which didn’t go quite as planned, the motivation to write about it, is as you can imagine, not high. Last weekend we had to sit in a car for a ridiculously long time to get to our destination and racing venue for the weekend, Tulsa.

 

Tulsa is a pretty bad ass city I might add. We managed to explore a bit of the city on our morning leg loosener spins on the numerous bike paths. We also found not one, but two awesome coffee shops! Something I can’t say happens often on our travels.

 

IMG_20130606_193003 Exploring the city on the awesome bike paths.

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A great coffee in an interesting mug….

Another highlight of the trip was catching up with a good friend from back home, Jos Le Roux. Jos has been riding on the Get Crackin team out of California this year. Our friendship goes back a few years, to my first year at University in fact. I think our trip up to Vanderbijlpark for the annual SASSU Student Tour cemented our friendship and over the years we have spent many hours together riding our bikes all over South Africa, Belgium and now the USA.

 

So the racing part, personally I didn’t get the results I aspired to over the weekend. A few weeks ago I wrote about that, sometimes when the racing doesn’t quite go the way in which you want it to, I have found that you need to take a step back and look at the bigger perspective. It can also help in looking at what maybe went wrong. There were a couple of things that looking back on the weekend I can now say: “Ya maybe we could have done that a bit better, and that wasn’t quite right”. We live and learn don’t we.

 cry baby hillCry Baby Hill Craziness!

Image Credit: Danny Munson/Cycling Illustrated

blue dome critBlue Dome Criterium

Image Credit: Cycling Illustrated

I must say that the organisers of the Tulsa Tough and the city of Tulsa put on an absolutely fantastic event! The Tulsa Tough is a sort of ‘stage race’ of criteriums running from Friday night to Sunday afternoon. Each of the 3 races was so well supported by spectators that it was an absolute privilege to be able to race in front of them. They created an electric atmosphere and perhaps this is why I was a bit more disappointed than usual. I had heard about the famous “Cry Baby Hill” and the crazy spectators, it was all and more than I can imagine. My words won’t do it justice, take a few seconds a check out the YouTube clips (It’s worth waiting for the video to buffer even if you have super slow internet!)

Video Credit: John Doe

Lastly, a huge thank you to our fantastic host house over the weekend: Stephany and Jeff. They had gone so far into welcoming us into our home, that Stephany had checked our bio pages on the team site and saw what our favourite meals were and cooked them for us on Sunday evening. Junior Mint and I were both blown away!

 

This weekend we are off to Winston Salem for the Winston Salem Classic which comprises of a criterium on Saturday and road race on Sunday. We still have a busy month of racing coming up with the next SRS race next weekend in Albany which follows the same crit – road race format before we head north to Wisconsin for four days of the Tour of America’s Dairyland! Exciting times ahead!

 

Until next time,

 

Ciao
Chris

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Image Credit: Ash Smit

SRAM Neutral Support at Athens Twilight

The Tulsa Tough blog is coming, soon I promise!

 

Thanks to Kristi June from Tales on Two Wheels for this cool video as I returned to the peloton, after I destroyed my front wheel at Athens Twilight. Another rider had put his rear derailleur into my front wheel and ripped out a whole whack of spokes. I remember having to run through a crowd of drunk college students to get back to the pit as quickly as possible. The wheel was so totaled it wouldn’t move through the front forks!

 

Friday Night Fights and the race to the Jazz Criterium

When I told my parents over the phone last week that I was doing a criterium on Friday night called: Friday Night Fights it sounded pretty bad ass, like I was going to a boxing match, let alone a bike race! ‘Skinny, leg shaven, lycra clad cyclists’ and ‘Friday Night Fights’ are not two terms that you would often hear in one sentence, yet it all happened in downtown Gaffney last Friday night.

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Come to think of it, cyclists are actually pretty hardcore!

 

The race was an aggressive one and that was perfect as I was using the race as training for the upcoming Tulsa Tough this weekend. Tulsa will present us with 3 days of NCC level crits (AKA racing with the big boys) and ends off this coming Sunday racing on a course with a climb in it called: Cry Baby Hill. Pretty intimidating so I wanted to make sure I was ready!

 

Anyway, back to Friday Night Fights. The drag up the home stretch made matters hard which I liked. The run in to the finish was a lot about positioning or rather whoever had the biggest balls going into turn 3, off the downhill section of the course. From there it was a kick to the line, I came from pretty deep, from 4th place in last corner, and felt I kicked well to take 2nd on the evening. Ben Renkema (Global Bike) took the win and was just a bit too far ahead for me. Junior Mint also had a good evening of racing taking the Gamblers Prime (a prime on the second last lap of the race).

 

I was stoked to finally get on another podium; it really has been a while since my first race in the States. A couple of top ten’s along the way have been solid but I still aspire to go one better and the drive to that is deeply motivated at the moment.

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With another race in the legs we were back in the car and on our way to Cheraw on Saturday for the Jazz Criterium. At least we were on our way to Cheraw after I double checked the race flyer on Saturday Afternoon, an hour before our planned 2 hour drive to Columbia. We had got the wrong address and after realising that we now had a 3hr drive, the car was packed in ten minutes and we were on our way. The trusty Garmin said we would arrive at 6.22pm, a good 38 minutes before our start, it would be tight…

 

The race to the race was going just fine until we encountered traffic as the result of a motor car accident while going past Charlotte. As we sat in bumper to bumper traffic inching forward our arrival time went up minute by minute… Fortunately, we eventually got past the accident and were on our way again. Parker had managed to register for us and had our numbers, the question was would we still make it on time.

 

6.46pm drive into race parking lot, jump out car, put on kit, get bikes and bottles, find Parkers car and pin up! We even had 5 minutes to get in a quick warm up in! No stress!

 

We were racing another 4 corner crit course although tonight would be pan flat. With a lot of attacks the speed was high, but the right combination was not forming and hence nothing would stick. As the peloton realised this, a sort of stale mate was reached as guys started thinking about the sprint.

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Coming into the last laps, I found Junior Mint’s wheel and we held positioning well at the head of affairs. The run in was looking good and I was motivated to go one better than the previous night, until Junior Mint came crashing down on the first corner of the last lap.

 

Somehow, once again I just managed to squeeze past and not go down, but had to kick hard to get back into the front mix. I managed to get onto 6th wheel into the last corner but it was too far back to get where I wanted to be and had to settle for 5th on the evening.

 

All in all it was a good weekend of bike racing. I’m looking forward to Tulsa Tough this weekend and hoping I can carry some of this form through there. Check out info on the race here, hopefully I’ll have something bad ass to report on, from what I’ve heard I will!

 

Until next week,

 

Ciao

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All racing images credit: Ash Smit