Seasons End Party

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Come celebrate with us at Ms.Roses as we celebrate a phenomenal 2014 season! 6:00pm on November 1st, show up on time as the free food will go fast! Happy Hour drink prices all night, see you there. Friends and family welcome!

SRS Asheville

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The French Broad Cycling Classic is one of our favorite races every season. Even though this year it was being hijacked under the SRS Asheville moniker and the road race course was significantly changed, we were excited to get to the mountains. We were also excited to see and stay with some of our favorite hosts, with the best pets and most delicious coffee we’ll likely ever encounter.

After getting in late Friday night, we unfortunately awoke to the sound of rain. We had breakfast and a few french presses of the aforementioned coffee and kept an eye on the radar, hoping the skies would clear in the afternoon for the crit. We’ve done French Broad…excuse me, SRS Asheville, 4 years now, and the crit course has been different each year, but none less exciting and more mundane than what awaited us at the Mellowdrome. To put it simply, the Mellowdrome is a paved, 1/3rd of a mile circle. There is one left turn that starts when the official blows his whistle and ends when the race is over.

Having never seen the course before, we were relieved when we arrived to see it wasn’t as bad as we envisioned. We were excited to see the skies beginning to clear, and even more excited when we saw Mitch finish 7th in the Cat 4 race, in the rain, without any crashes! The day was looking up. Myles and Ken were very active on the front of their race, but with the course how it was there was little chance of any moves slipping away, and had no matches left (along with highly impaired wheelspray vision) to contest the sprint for the win. WIth 4 guys in the Pro1/2 race, we had high hopes of a good result. The track was drying up, the whistle blew, and the field began turning left at 30 mph for 75 minutes. Each of the guys tried their hand dancing off the front of the field, but to no avail. There was one last breakaway attempt to reel in before the sprint, so the guys amassed on the front of the field. Alex all but single-handedly brought back the break and Zack sprinted to 13th place.

With the crit safely behind us and a long, hilly road race the next morning, there was only one thing a big group of bike racers wanted to do: EAT. A table for 9 at our favorite Weaverville pizza joint was the scene of the next few hours, where we had a couple beers and definitely impressed our waitress that scoffed at us when we ordered 5 large pizzas.

The road race Sunday morning was different than usual, but not any less difficult. A 14-mile circuit with a steep 1 mile climb at over 7% gradient each lap, before a fast descent and winding river valley road back to the foot of the climb, to be repeated many times. At 8 am, Zack, Justin, Alex, and Kellen were off. After a few laps and trips up the climb at undesirable paces, the race was blown to bits and in groups all over the road. Out of contention, Kellen gladly abandoned in the feed zone on the 4th lap to hand out bottles to the guys still with a chance on the last 2 laps. Justin finished the day in 26th, and Alex finished with a very admirable 20th place and in the money. The plan of the day for the 3′s race was to ride hard and get Ken in the moves while Myles played the role of uber-teammate. Myles drove the pace on the climb each lap to make attacking nearly impossible while others huffed and puffed behind him, with the exception of Ken who was probably chatting about nothing in particular and making many enemies. On the last lap it was down to a group of about 10 riders. Ken launched a great sprint, but just a touch too early, getting passed by a handful of riders and bike-thrown by another in the final meters to finish 7th. Mitch also had a good ride, and made great use of some mountain riding trips with Barrett in the Spring to eek out a top 15.

RIP Alley Cat

Double Down

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The grills hot and the dogs are sizzling. The vibe is relaxed and calm halfway through the day at the Double Down circuit challenge. We’ve just been dubbed (for better or worse) the frat bros of cycling, and despite some mild morning misfortune, everyone seems ready to re-kit and jump back in for another round of racing.

But first, Round 1:
In his first racing appearance Ryan McClenny missed his start time and Jay Brown got caught behind poor Stephen Loadholt getting crashed out. Ken’s general crazy race tactics backfired after a good stint off the front, but Mitch and Barrett were able to salvage some decent results pulling out 12th and 19th respectively. The elite guys decided to race the hard way, missing out on ohhh… all the breakaways, forcing them to pull each and every one back. The foolish racing made it difficult, but brawn outclassed brains on this day and Zack ended up in 2nd, just narrowly losing out in the sprint of a late 4 man breakaway.

Round 2:
Ryan pulls a karate kid in his first crit ever, waxing some solid 4/5′s and finishing 8th! The perfect start to a lifelong supply of pain and suffering, courtesy of cycling. Greg Jones and Cody Mann elevated their tactical game and as a result set up Ken for a well deserved 8th place finish. The elite guys also raced much smarter, and in a field sprint Zack ended up 4th on the day with Alex narrowly missing out on the top ten.

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!