The Magnet Crit

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Excited to announce our late year race is happening! This year it’s just one race on Wednesday (NOT Tuesday) Sept. 17th at Academic Magnet. Check out all the info here

Blythewood (Summer “Soulstice”) State Criteriums

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There was a ridiculous amount of people that came out and raced for the state crit titles from LCR a few weekends ago (yeah, we’re still way behind). Don’t you people think about me, all alone sitting here late at night, endlessly typing away at the keyboard writing about your achievements. The nerve. In all seriousness though, the lovely dialect and narration that y’all have become so used to (if I may say so myself), is going to get a bit choppy on this write up. Think more statistician than playwright. My apologies, but here we go.

Cade and Ken narrowly missed out on a podiums in the juniors and 3′s respectively. The Steven’s both pulled out bronze metals, Brown in the 5′s, Hall in the 4′s. Rob Ruff rode an inspired race for bronze in the Masters 45-49 race with Glenn Allison right on his heels. Solid results from Robby Bennett in the 4′s as well landing a top 5 finish in the state. In the P/1/2 Zack followed the days pattern pulling out bronze, with J.Lo rounding out the top ten.

On Sunday, Cade got one of his most impressive finishes of the year, finishing 7th well ahead of some seriously fast men and narrowly beating out teammate Steve Brown. Robby and Erik also finished top ten in their respective races.

I guess that wasn’t so bad. I promise to capture your imagination in the next adventure at Double Down and re-prove my worth as a linguist. Until then…

P.S. Just in the off chance that your reading this Mr.Sunday. You put on a great race but please, please, please get rid of the awful name and change it back to “Blythewood”. Thanks!

SRS Huntsville… Sorry we’re late

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18 total hours of driving. What were we thinking?!

The second event of the Southeast Regional Series had the boys heading to Huntsville, Alabama, just a scant 9 hours away.

After a late arrival, pizza, GT6, and sleep, it was finally time to race. As normal for the SRS series, the criterium was up first on Saturday. The technical 7 corner course was flanked by curbs and had short straights which put a premium on position. The Cat 3′s, Myles and Ken, were up first. The Category 3 race was marred by accident after accident, requiring multiple breaks and restarts in the action. Myles took a flyer and had built up a healthy lead until both a flat and another crash robbed him of his position and potentially a good finish. Ken did not crash and that was all the satisfaction he needed after an ugly race. The Pro 1/2 race managed to avoid the chaotic precedent set earlier. Alex fell early to the heat as did many others. Kellen was looking solid but got caught out after a series of attacks. A group got away near the end but Justin was able to set up Zack for a bridge, putting him in great position to gain ground in the overall competition. An overcooked turn near the finish cost Zack precious momentum though and he had to settle for 12th, only a few positions ahead of his rivals.

After another restorative night of pizza, GT6, and sleep the road race featured a category 3 climb at the end of each lap. It stretched out over 2k in length at an 8% grade. As always mix in our good friend oppressive heat and you’ve got some tough conditions. Hydration was going to be critical and luckily we had good teammates that could help each other out. Alex had another day of poor luck with a broken shifter. Kellen looked strong, continuing to improve every weekend, and managed to complete 3 of the 4 brutal laps. Zack and Justin did well to stick with the front group, coming in at 15th and 16th on a day that was really meant for climbers. In the 3 race Myles ramped up the speed leading into the base of the climb. Ken continued the pace up the first half of the climb ripping the race apart. After more bad luck Myles flatted out leaving only 10 guys in the front group. The group worked well together until the finishing climb which saw Ken come in as the 7th best climber of the day. (He promptly collapsed off his bike and we got one of our favorite pictures of the year, above).

Tuesday’s

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Our new favorite night of the week? Had a blast with almost 20 cyclists showing up last night. What a difference a month makes. Only 6 more days till we get to do it all over again!

Johnson City

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I’m sweating a bunch. I’ve already drank through my 2 bottles. We’re only 30 miles into the “easy” section of the 55 miles of road race. I’m begging teammates, random riders, elderly spectators if they have any potable liquid to spare. Kellen apparently had a problem big ringing it up steep climbs at 20 mph and I was growing more concerned about sticking with the group by the minute. Everyone else looked fresh. Easy. I don’t hate on the Low Country often, but it definitely hadn’t prepared us for this. Thank goodness Alex seemed right at home, unaffected by the undulations in elevation that we find so foreign. Even with some serious competition Alex finished 11th bolstering his already concrete pedal biker status. Meanwhile, Ken and Myles felt at home in their race. Unhindered by the gravity that had clawed at us, they slowly picked riders off, ascended the lengthy climb up Roan Mountain at a quantified steady pace. A sloppy move by another rider broke a spoke on Myles front wheel,but a little break rub never killed anyone and the guys, as is becoming their trademark now a days, finished next to each other. Ken narrowly beating out Myles who rounded out the top 10.

Later that day we hopped back on the bike and Alex did a TT in under 8 minutes. Which is boss, but also very boring to write and read about. Moving on.

Downtown Johnson City set the backdrop for a technical 7 turn crit. Ten minutes in and Ken and Myles are making weird faces in our direction. Both can be seen falling off the back at multiple points during the race. We yell at them, and they respond. Find a wheel and hide. When it was all said and done Myles sprinted for 14 with guess who right behind in 15th. Not much to report on the 1/2 crit other than Kellen almost squeezed into the top 20 while Zack was busy wrecking himself out. Better luck next weekend. Until then…

Oh June

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June is crazy. After 2 weekends off to finish May, the month of June supplies multiple options of racing for almost every weekend. Just because there are options though, doesn’t necessarily mean there are fun ones. Case in point: State Road Race and the Johnson City Omnium.

State Road Race is the same every year. It’s hot. It’s humid. There’s basically no payout. Yet everyone who is crazy enough to show up is willing to rip their legs off in order to be the state champ. David Epstein went up to defend his title as 55+ champion and brought with him a small, but worthy, band of riders including Mr.Flesher, the Bennet’s, and Mitch. The Cat 4’s came down to the usual group sprint where Mitch (cleverly disguised as a skinny climber) shocked the field with a commendable burst to finish fourth. Cade continued on his streak of solid finishes sprinting to 6th in the junior’s race.

But what about Epstein? Was he able to defend that coveted State Champ title? Now I wasn’t there personally, but based on the tale Mr. Epstein wove during our brief encounter this week, I kind of wish I had been. 3 teams brought almost ten men to the race. Poor David out there all alone, against such stacked odds. If only there was some sort of underdog story to embody the kind of situation he was in, like a David vs. Something. A giant perhaps, it would be biblical! If only. Alas, attacks occurred often and early, with Scott and a couple others leaking off the front. David worked well with a few others eventually bringing the break back, leading to the inevitable…. you guessed it, group sprint. Local rider Scott Miner took the overall and David came in fourth, comfortably giving him the win in his category. Congrats Mr. State Champions.

So if state road race is so brutal, it’s an easy choice. Drive the extra couple of hours and you’re in a much better race, right? Well let me answer a question with a question. Have you ever raced your bike into a Goliath sized hair dryer?
Johnson City recap to come…

SRS Albany, GA

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Albany, GA. The home town of Paula Deen, perched deep in the Georgia country side, was no small trek to get to. 7 brave souls made the trip from Charleston, hoping it would secure them a solid start to the Southeast Regional Series. Little did they know, that as they were making the arduous journey down, Alex and Justin were having their way with the Friday night fights crit in Gaffney. Alex got the win and secured his Cat 1 upgrade while Justin came in just behind finishing high up in the sprint.

In downtown Albany the crit course passed by a local “art park”, filled with graffiti and overflowing with dubstep. It set the scene as Everett and Erik Engstrom joined forces in the Cat 4 race, throwing multiple attacks throughout. Their brotherly bond finally broke in the last few laps as the pace became just a bit too much. Next up Ken took a stab at the world of Cat 3 racing with trusty teammate Myles along to show him the ropes. The Cat 2 guys watched anxiously, munching on delicious pre-race fuel comprised primarily of donut-burgers, as apprentice almost became master. Ken played it smart sitting in most of the race while Myles tried his luck in a couple breaks. In the end Myles barely out sprinted Ken to the line as they both grabbed solid finishes in 11th and 12th. With John back on the east coast and Kellen now a Cat 2, the team was rolling 3 deep in the P/1/2 field. We ended up needing everyone, as the giant field shelled many of it’s riders throughout the 75-minutes of pain. The donut-burgers paid off though, with a final effort in the uphill sprint seeing Zack finish up 8th, with an added bonus of 5 points for a mid-race sprint.

Exhaustion. Tired legs. Showers. Some ‘za. Bed. Early Morning Wake Up.

Everyone always loves a good road race, I don’t really understand why, but they do. Despite our complaints on the previous days slightly bumpy crit, the road course was a good one. Smooth pavement, slight undulating hills and pretty much zero traffic. It’s amazing how easy 30 mph can be when you’ve got 70 some haus cyclists in front of you, towing your rear end around. That’s exactly where we found ourselves around 8:00 am for the 1/2 race. Amazingly a break did form in the last of 3 laps. First with 5 riders, then 12, then 22, then 27. They never got more than a minute gap but in the end that’s all they needed. The team was represented in the group with Zack making the original 12 and so we were happy to watch the break succeed. In another uphill finish Zack finished 9th giving him a solid position in the overall. Just about that time the temperature really started to rise, giving an extra level of difficulty to the 3′s and 4′s who were just getting started. A couple 4′s tried frivolous attacks but inevitably it was coming down to a sprint. That is until about 1 km to go when Erik pulled out his man legs and started smashing pedals. A solo flyer from 1k out is no joke but Erik was clipping the meters off, 600m to go, 400m, 200…. and then the whole peloton went flying by. It was a valiant effort but it wasn’t to be rewarded. Last up Myles and Ken’s race. I’m sort of fuzzy on the details at this point (sorry gents) but I’m sure Myles attacked a whole bunch, and Ken’s face muscles got sore from all his “smiling”. Needless to say, you could watch the sprint from a good bit out as a spectator. Those guys were already sprinting from over a k out and it never let up. The guys didn’t have a chance and I don’t blame ‘em. You could almost see their black lycra underneath all the white salt caked on from the days sweat. Some days just aren’t meant for you.

A solid start to the series and were looking forward to Alabama next month. We’ll be sure to post overall results once they come out.

As a final note, Ken wanted to tell everyone that he has 40 pts AT LEAST for the series and he’ll be going for 40 more in June. Watch out all you Cat 3′s!

Speed Week Pt.2 + NoDa = Upgrades!

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So the infamous downtown, short speedy Spartanburg crit loomed ahead as the long weekend approached. All were confident and in good spirit. Ken and Stephen tried their luck first. Stephen found out that a cx bike in a crit isn’t ideal, while Ken with his massive watts/kg and those calves finally found a spot on the podium. Kellen and Zack just held on, both happy to simply finish.

Cody joined up with the guys Saturday for what ended up being a relatively uneventful day in Gaffney. With lacking crowds and little left in the legs, Ken again pulled out the top finish of the day in fifth. The end of speed week was bitter sweet for sure, but with a great race like NoDa on Sunday there was little time to reflect.

Sunday we had an even bigger Chucktown crew show up. The boys from CBC were out in full force and Steve Brown came out and mixed it up in the very difficult Masters 35+ race. Cody learned the hard way that a solid starting spot is important at the GP, weaving his way up the broken field it was a hard fought battle just to get into the top half of finishers. Without Ken to guarantee a solid placing the pressure was on for Kellen and Zack. A week filled with unbelievable levels of pain shooting from every muscle fiber in your being, followed by intense crying for your mother and begging for the attacks to stop, to then drowning yourself in gels trying to get every last bit of energy to turn into forward propulsion, had paid off. All of a sudden the racing was accessible. Kellen was in a break of four by the fourth turn of the first lap. Zack was off on a solo break 15 minutes into the race. The guys raced admirably. Kellen’s group lapped the field and he ended up 3rd. Zack got eventually got caught by 2 others, but attacked a couple laps out to ride in solo, for the win.

NoDa wasn’t the only active spot for the team on Sunday. A few members made it up to Harbison for the SC state mountain bike championships. Luke Wilson proved tough with a top ten in the Cat 1 race. Glenn and Robby followed suit with top tens as well, Glenn narrowly missing out on that final podium spot. Cade overcooked the start a bit but had solid enough form to pull out 3rd overall in the juniors Cat 2 state omnium after another top ten finish.

All this success didn’t go unnoticed. Congrats to Ken and Kellen who both got their upgrades the following week. Ken is now a 3 and Kellen a 2.

Speed Week

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Trainers, Call Ups, Cat 5 Team Tactics, Podiums and a Win to top it all off. My goodness what a week.

Athens; it’s unbelievable. I want to talk about it all day, everyday, for the rest of my life. Too bad no one wants to hear my crappy reporting when Manual for Speed already covered it with their silky sweet journalism. Check it out if you haven’t already: “American Criteriums: Athens”.

Roswell, a great race as always, was just hard to get excited about after the previous days explosion of emotions. Myles pulled out a top ten, slighted out of payout by one spot (in very typical Myles fashion) and Zack got a top 5. Alex wrecked and got 2 flats but left fairly unscathed if not a bit dejected.

LCR must have been Walterboro’s top demographic on Wednesday night. We had guys in every race. We had guys that came just to watch, drink beer and eat some of Chucktown’s finest pizza courtesy of our great pal Mr. D’Allesandro. We had Ned Stribling and Tornado Tom representing. We had non cycling females come to the race! What? If that’s not crazy enough the team used tactics in the 4/5 race. 3 top tens and Greg Jones, bad back and all, slipped into the final podium spot.

Part 2 to come… I’m tired and there’s so much more to cover

Walterboro Tomorrow

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We always have a great showing at Walterboro for LCR. Looking forward to seeing everyone there tomorrow night! Fingers crossed for no rain…