Race 1 - 2011 North Mecklenburg Cyclocross Series

Huntersville NC.  Written by Jon Clark

The North Meck Cyclocross Series kicked off Tuesday night in Huntersville with great weather and a fast dry course for the opening round.  For the fourth year of this USAC sanctioned training series, promoter Neal Boyd used a similar course setup from previous years- featuring traditional barriers, wooden stair- step run-ups, and a short gravel section near one of the softball fields.  The course winds through several flat grassy areas, but takes advantage of some sidehills and off-camber sections as well.  North Meck Park has lights for the softball and soccer fields, and the course is well-lit for night racing.

The series is well supported by three local bike shops- Cool Breeze Cyclery/ Trek Bicycle Store, Queen City Bicycles, and Carolina Bicycle Company- and all three had team riders on the podium throughout the evening. 

The first race had two groups starting at 6pm- CX Masters 35+ followed one minute later by CX4.

Race 2 - 2011 North Mecklenburg Cyclocross Series

November 8 2011, Huntersville NC - By Jon Clark

Charlotte area racers were treated to a tight, technical course for round 2 of the North Meck Cyclocross Series on Tuesday night.  The race management crew from Charlotte Sports Cycling added a spiral section, several off-camber turns, and reversed the course direction from last week- providing a good challenge and a much different feel from last week’s course. 

A large field enjoyed warm weather and dry conditions, and also generously supported the Stauffer family’s charitable efforts to gather donations for Statesville’s Fifth Street Ministries.  For the second year in a row, the Stauffers have provided free fresh-cooked waffles and drinks in return for donations of food, clothing, household items, and cash for the Ministry.  The donation box was full by the end of the night, and two races remain to help out even more.

Race 4 - 2011 North Mecklenburg Cyclocross Series

Race #4- November 29 2011, Huntersville NC - By Jon Clark

Proper cyclocross weather finally came to the Carolinas for the last round of the North Meck Cyclocross Series on Tuesday night. Racers were challenged with a wet, windy course and temperatures in the high 30’s.  Afternoon rain tapered off before registration opened, but the course got slick and muddy as the night went on.  Promoter Neal Boyd setup a slightly less technical course for the conditions, and DeFeet provided some nice prizes for the final round podium finishers.

Mike Kelly (Carolina Bicycle Company) continued his winning ways in CX Masters 35+, getting off to a fast start with Bob Pugh (Fiets Mann) and John Koury close behind.  Bruce Stauffer (Cool Breeze Cyclery/Trek Bicycle Store) caught Pugh for third, but lost traction in a muddy corner on lap 2 costing him several positions. As Kelly eased away on the front, Koury picked up the pace and began to chase the leader down. Darren Fuller caught and passed Pugh as Jason Wilson was bunny-hopping the barriers on his mountain bike in fifth place.  Kelly held off the charging Koury to sweep the series with four wins, followed by Fuller, Pugh, and Wilson.

Erica Dillon of the Giordana-Clif Bar-Brica team was the only CX Women’s entry, running the 30 minute race along with CX4.

2011 Ion Smack Down - Charleston, South Carolina

4/16/11   Tracy and I headed to Charleston, SC for a weekend of criterium racing.  We left on Friday, April 15th after going for a 25 mile ride in Mooresville.  We arrived in Charleston around 6:30 and Leah and Neal arrived shortly thereafter.   We all went to dinner and celebrated Tracy and Neal’s birthdays. 

I woke up early (5AM) Saturday morning to help Neal set up the crit course. We arrived at the venue around 5:45AM and started unloading his trailer to get the stage and truss setup.  Things were pretty nervous as the forecast was for major winds and rain.  We got everything setup with 15 minutes to spare.  The good news was that the rain held off and the course started drying up. 

Leah (Giordana-Clif-Bar-Brica) raced the Cat 3/4 race and took her first road bike race win!!  Congratulations.

After the race, Leah headed back to the house with me.  Tracy, Leah and I jumped on our bikes for a ride and headed down the coast.  We ended up at Fort Multrie.  Turns out this weekend was the 150th anniversary of the start of the Civil War.  We were treated to volunteers in authentic Civil War era clothing and a musket demonstration. 

2011 South Carolina State Criterium Championships


Sunday morning started much like Saturday, early.  Neal and I left the house right at 5:30AM to get to the crit course held in Hampton Park next to the Citadel in Charleston, SC.  We stopped, got coffee and headed down I17.  There was a full moon and it seemed like we were going to drive right up to.  One of the coolest moon sets I’ve seen.

We managed to get the Start/Finish Truss and stage set up in record time.  The SC Criterium Championship is held on a flat course with two real turns.  It’s a super fast 1 mile course.  

Today I was racing the 35+ Masters bike race because it was much earlier than the Cat 3/4 criterium.  Tracy and I wanted to do some site seeing so this made sense.  I was kind of nervous about this race as I also struggled in this race last year. 

I managed to get a good start and hung around the top 10-15 for most of the race.  Gary Moore (Giordana-Clif-Bar-Brica) was riding strong.  He was in the top 5 for the first 10 minutes of the race.  Because this course isn’t challenging with turns or hills, the group stays together for most of the race.

The POA team from South Carolina took control of the race about 15 minutes in and started sending riders off the front.  The main group would real in the attack and the next POA team member took off.  It was fun.  We never seemed to slow down and were constantly surging.

Race 2 - 2011 Charlotte Motor Speedway Time Trial Series

May 11th, 2011 was the 2nd race of the Charlotte Motor Speedway Time Trial Series held at the Charlotte Motor Speedway.    I met Jasen at his house, loaded up his car with our time trial bikes and headed down to the Charlotte Motor Speedway.  My start time for the time trial was 7:45pm so I had plenty of time to warm up.  I put my Cervelo P3 together, pasted my number on my speedsuit and managed to get about 5 laps on the track before it was closed for the race. 

I was feeling pretty good.  I had been doing some interval training with a buddy on the road and had just finished up two 8 week trainer sessions with Sarah at Cool Breeze Cyclery.  I don’t have a lot of miles on my legs but was feeling strong for a short effort.

I felt like I had a good warm-up as I was able to ride for about an hour before my time trial started.  I rolled up to the line right at 7:45PM.  I knew that the wind had picked up so I decided not to go out too hard.  I didn’t dig too deep right from the start and tried to slowly ramp up my speed.  I felt like I was going well and was able to keep my head clear as I finished my first lap. Usually my mind is starting to play games with me pretty quickly, but tonight everything felt in control. 

What is Keirin Racing

Keirin (ケイリン?) is a track cycling event in which racing cyclists sprint for victory. Keirin originated in Japan in 1948; the first Olympic competitions in the sport occurred in 2000.

A keirin race is a mass-start race with 6-9[citation needed] sprinters riders and a paced start. Riders draw lots to determine starting positions and start as the pacer (usually a motorcycle, a derny, or a tandem bicycle) approaches. The riders are required to remain behind the pacer, which starts at the deliberately slow speed of about 25 km/h, gradually increases in speed and leaves the track approximately 600–700 meters before the end, at a speed of about 50 km/h. The first cyclist to finish the race is the winner (sometimes finishing at 70 km/h). Keirin races are about 2 kilometers in length (eight laps on a 250m track, six laps on a 333m track, and five laps on a 400m track).

In competitions, this event is often conducted in several rounds in order to reduce the number of competitors to one "final" round of 6–9 riders. Eliminated cyclists may get the opportunity to try again in the repechages (Repechage is a practice amongst ladder competitions that allows participants that failed to meet qualifying standards by a small margin to continue to the next round).

Typical Kerin Race

Shootout on Anglers Ridge

Andy Good and I headed up to the 'Shootout on Angler's Ridge' on March 13th.  Andy raced in the Sport 50+ class and I raced in the Sport 40+ class.

My race had about 25 people in the class and it was good to see some familiar faces in the lineup.  I was on the front row of our group which seemed like a good place to be until the Race Director called 'role'. By the time my name was called, I was on the 3rd row for the start of the race.

Thankfully there was about a 1/4 mile dirt road to start the race so I was confident I could move up before we hit the singletrack.  Thankfully I was correct.  At the end of the road we made a U-turn and started a climb.  I was in about 7th or 8th when we started the climb and made it up to 5th place when we hit the singletrack.

The rider (Josh) on the front one the previous weeks race so we were content to follow his wheel.  The pace was easy and the trail was about as twisty as it could be.  Total fun. If you get a chance to get to Danville and ride, I recommend it.

We followed Josh for almost half the lap when we hit graveyard hill.  It was about an 8th of a mile long and very steep.  Two guys in front of me attacked and I went with them.  The pace was significantly higher from then on. I stayed with them until we hit some lapped traffic.  I lost a little time to the racer in 2nd place.

2012 Brushy Mountain Training Ride 5

4/4/12    Andy and I made it up to Brushy Mountain yesterday.  It was my 5th time to Brushy this season.  It's always fun to start the season of with a bunch of trips to Brushy to get into shape.  I set a PR on the last trip and this weeks trip was just a steady state ride, especially with a VO2 test on Friday and the 6 Hours of Warrior Creek on Saturday.

The weather was perfect.  Not a cloud in the sky and temps around 65.  The views at the top were as clear as I have seen them and we saw Mark P and Ken P on their way up as we were finishing.  Good times!

What's cool is looking at my Garmin Download.  I did the backside of Brushy in 27:35 and my average HR was 149.  To put that into perspecitive, my first time up Brushy this year, I kept my HR at 150 and it took me 30 minutes!  That's a pretty big improvement.  Thanks to Cool Breeze Coaching for getting me into shape!

I'm looking forward to crushing a few laps at Warrior Creek this weekend with my teammate Layla.  We have 10 team members heading up to Warrior Creek this weekend and have prime real estate reserved for our team.  Come up to Wilkesboro and say hang out and root us on if you can.

Race 1 - 2012 Charlotte Winter Short Track Series

Sunday was the first race of the Charlotte Winter Short Track Series hosted by Charlotte Sports Cycling.  Everyone was fearing cold weather but somehow Neal ordered a beautiful January day.

My race was at 12 but I arrived early to set up the Cool Breeze/Trek Bike Store Team tent with Sarah.  My first race of the day was the Sport 40+ class.  I lined up on the 2nd row feeling confident that I could get a good start.  I was joking with my buddy Wayne when the race started.  I usually don't have a problem getting clicked in but missed my pedal but managed to keep my momentum and eventually get clicked in before the first turn.

I entered the turn 1 and used some of my road experience to pass 4 or 5 guys.  I took a small risk and entered the woods in about 5th place.  The first lap was uneventful and I did my best to keep my heart rate under control.

I don't remember if it was the first or 2nd lap, but coming through the start/finish line, I felt pretty good and attacked.  It was too early, but I was thinkingCool Breeze/Trek Bike Store Rider Mike Byrd at Winter Short Track SerShortinter that I'd catch some lapped traffic and be able to get some time on the group.  TJ from Giordana followed me and we managed to pull a good lead.  TJ took the lead from there and I did everything I could to keep up with him.