Breakaway at The Esplanade: The 2016 Harbor Master Criterium

(Thanks to Murat Celebi for all the killer photos!)

The sun was only just beginning to crest over The Esplanade mall as crews from the Semi-Tough Cycling Club, Yeah You Ride, and LAMBRA arrived to set up the course for the 2016 Harbor Master Criterium. Operations staff from the Esplanade Mall were there to make sure the course was ready for racing, and before long our title sponsor Bergeron Automotive rolled up with a fleet of trucks and tents, setting up a veritable mobile showroom on the race infield. By the time a sleepy-eyed racer emerged from his mobile home on the course infield, the sun had risen and a beautiful blue-sky day of bicycle racing action had started.

A new location for the race this year meant big changes for the race course and the race experience. Gone was the twisting and technical South Shore Harbor, and in its place the more straightforward and typical box-shaped criterium course. Where finesses and savvy were paramount in 2014 and 2015, speed was the name of the game this year. Racers and spectators alike also benefitted from a food court, a coffee shop, and indoor bathrooms – all thanks to the race’s proximity to The Esplanade Mall.

A generous purse of $2000 (plus $600 in lap primes!) provided with help from our sponsors Bergeron Automotive, Bike Law Louisiana, Person-Huff CPA, Medical Rehab Accident Injury Center, Attorney Kevin Christensen & Associates and Peloton Magazine, sweetened with a bevy of prizes from Peloton Magazine, Raw Republic Juice and Pagoda Café, and topped with free beer from Urban South Brewery brought racers from around the region and beyond to participate.

WOMEN’S 1/2/3/4/5 RACE

There has been only one name on the list of winners of the Women’s race at the Harbor Master Criterium, and the smart money was on Stephanie Smith to keep it that way again this year. Though she had a solid challenge early in the race from Katie Duncan, Stephanie predictably opened an insurmountable lead over the second half of the race and cruised to a solo victory. Katie brought it home for an easy second place, with Tiffany Landry (who some will remember for her outstanding DSGP ‘cross performances) out sprinting newcomer Emily Gass for the final step on the podium.

MASTERS 40+ 1/2/3/4/5 RACE

Another big Masters field lined up to duke it out for top honors this year. With the entire podium from 2015, including defending champ Ed Novak, taking the year off from the event, the race was wide open with no clear favorite at the gun. To no one’s surprise, the race started with Kenny Bellau’s patented #firstlapflyer, but quickly came back together as Kenny settled in for the 40 minute race. A move off the front by veteran racers Kevin Landry and Rob Konrad, and spirited  Cat 5 racer Antonio Del Valle gained momentum as the race wore on, and with a handful of laps remaining it was clear the podium would be decided from amongst that selection. Antonio put in the ride of the day to stay with the break – taking his share of tugs at the front and winning over the crowd in the process – but in spite of a spur-of-the-moment $100 victory prime offered by race announcer,Wes McWhorter of Rouler Cycling,  he couldn’t hang with the final lap move, and Rob and Kevin dueled it out to the line with Kevin taking the honors by a comfortable bike length.

CAT 4 RACE

A generous field of new riders (including riders from 9 different states) meant that of the 30 riders who lined up in the Cat 4 race this year, only a handful were repeat entries from the year before. The field was big, and the racing was FAST and furious from the start. Our race announcer, Wes McWhorter, pulled a Superman and donned his skin suit and hit the course to race – promptly making his presence known with a #wattbazooka off the front of the field on lap one. Knowing the move was more sizzle than steak, he cheekily raised his arms as he crossed the line “winning “ the first lap by a country mile, before heading back into the pack for a Sunday stroll. The race stayed mostly together for the duration with Jason Funderburk, the eventual winner gaining and keeping a small gap over the last few laps. Behind Jason, it was a pack sprint with Beau Dennis out-sprinting Bronson Breaux for second. Beau’s onboard camera shows the kind of effort the pack was putting out; 30+ mph and 200+ BPM on the final lap of the race.

CAT 1/2/3 RACE

Time constraints meant that we ran the Cat 1/2 and the Cat 3 races together this year, but because the categories had separate payouts, there was plenty of prize money on the line for the 24 racers who lined up for the start of the race. Stephen Mire, winner of the 2014 race, was looking for redemption after failing to defend his title last year when he rolled a tyre on the last lap of the race and crashed out. Stephen’s team, La S’port Elite Racing, contributed five of the eight starters in the 1/2 field, and their numbers made the possibility of a win for Stephen look promising. But it was Stephen’s teammate Matt Davis who got out in an early break with Dustin Drewes of 4D Racing along with Cat 3 racer Alex Habbit of Acadiana Bicycle Racing. For a time, it looked like those three would stay away with Matt and Dustin fighting for the 1/2 win and Alex taking the 3’s from the break. But with two laps to go, Alex was dropped from the break, and La’Sport’s numbers in the pack helped them pull Alex back into the pack, and set up their own Cat 3 entrant, Lance Abshire, to win the 3s from a pack sprint. Ben Spain and John Mooney rounded out the 3s podium. Meanwhile back at the front of the race, in the most exciting action of the day, Matt and Dustin went wheel to wheel for the final two laps of the race, sprinting for a finish that was too close to call by the naked eye. The finish photo revealed Matt the victor by the width of his front tyre. Stephen Mire, won the field sprint for the 1/2s, rounding out the podium and putting an exclamation point on La’Sport’s domination of the race.

JUNIOR RACE

Of all the improvements in the race this year, the fact that we saw a junior field of eight racers (including two junior girls) was perhaps the most promising for the growth of the race and the future of bike racing in the region. From the gun, McAben Prince from Mississippi led the charge, with the 5-man strong Nth Degree Racing team racing hard but struggling to organize the chase behind. The wind had picked by the mid-day start of the junior race, and without the cover of a peloton individual riders were pummeled by the steady 15-20 mph breezes. Behind, in the girls end of the race, Sarah Myers and Madison Felker worked well together for much of the race, until a small surge by Madison on the windy back straight created a small separation between the two, the wind doing the rest to pop Sarah off the back for good. Up front McAben Prince consolidated his lead throughout the race and rode to a comfortable victory, followed by Bryce Leblanc and Rudy Horvath in second and third. There were smiles all around from the winded riders after the race, and we suspect that they’ll be back for plenty more over the years to come.

CAT 5 RACE

As has been the case each year the biggest field of the day was the Cat 5 race – this year with 36 starters. The de facto home team of Urban South Racing contributed ten racers to the field, allowing them to control the pack and putting five riders in the top ten at the end of the race. Some confusion with pulled riders exiting the course led several of the leaders to take a brief detour off course midway through the race, possibly costing some a chance at the win, while others were able to get back on course quickly and rejoin the pack. Travis Berger, Will Buquoi and Jonathan Toups made it off the front with several laps to go and stayed away, with Travis out sprinting Will for the win and Jonathan rounding out the podium. Andrew Do won the pack sprint, taking  Ross Lunz at the line for 4th and 5th respectively.

A big thanks goes out to the many rockstar volunteers and to the generous underwriters that made this event possible: Bergeron Automotive, Bike Law, Person Huff CPA Group, Medical Rehab Accident Injury Center, Urban South Brewery, Peloton Magazine, Kevin Christiansen & Associates, Pagoda Cafe, Raw Republic. Many thanks to The Esplanade for being a gracious host and the City of Kenner for welcoming us. We can’t wait to do it again next year!

Keep spinnin’!

Townsend & Boedi

Results are here! 

All photos by Murat Celebi

Urban South at Rouge Roubaix 18 by Murat Celebi

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The Semi-Tough Cycling Club rolled out their new team, Urban South, at the 2016 Rouge Roubaix. Murat Celebi, who was sidelined with injury, was out there to document the stylish new kits and the agony post race. Kudos to all who raced and extra kudos to all of those kicking off their racing career at Rouge Roubaix!

Keep Spinnin’
Yeah You Ride

 

Gallery after the jump. All photos by Murat Celebi. Please credit and source when appropriate.

Continue reading “Urban South at Rouge Roubaix 18 by Murat Celebi”

Cyclocross Nationals 2016 by Rhea Aldridge

It’s February and we are still posting ‘cross content. Aren’t you lucky?! Thanks to Rhea for sharing some of her great shots from the 2016 Cyclocross Nationals in Asheville, North Carolina. Killer as always.

Annnnd, if you are in the LA/MS area and are still itching to race that cyclocross bike one more time, don’t forget about Mardi Cross this Sunday in New Orleans. Reg and more details here: https://www.bikereg.com/mardi-cross

Keep Spinnin’
Boedi

Flashback Friday – Give Me Some Sugar CX 2015

With cross nats approaching, and the DSGP all wrapped up, I thought I’d post some content that hadn’t yet made it to the site.

An open weekend in the DSGP scheduled allowed my teammates Christine, Kimmie, Rhea and me to head to Houston for two days of racing at Give Me Some Sugar CX. This is the third year I’ve gone to Houston to race and the second I’ve done Sugar CX. Held on an old golf course (very similar to the NOLA CX set-up), the track is flat with a few minor rollers and sand traps here and there. The big element that the organizers, Kolo Promo, built was a massive fly-over. While the course was dry, dusty and fast last year, it was anything but this year. The ground was super saturated with rain and by the time the W4’s race was almost finished, the rain came again making the course super sticky and slow.

DAY 1

Continue reading “Flashback Friday – Give Me Some Sugar CX 2015”

DSGP 2015 Round 1 – New Orleans

Hashtags are no joke.

I don’t think I could come up with enough hyperbolic statements that could accurately describe what happened this past Sunday. There was mud like I’ve never seen before. Mud of all types: slick, thick, greasy, sticky, salty. When one wasn’t bogged down in the goop, you were splashing through hub-deep ponds of water where flotillas of fire ants were waiting for a ride on your muddied skin, thanking you with nasty bites. And it rained. And rained. And rained. Until the last race of the day, the skies gave up their bounty as wished by the sadist Delta States Grand Prix race director, Wes McWhorter. However, he knew his masochistic crowd, who ate it up and had a damn good time. Check out Rhea Aldridge’s fantastic gallery below for evidence:

Rolling Along

With each year, the Delta States Grand Prix continues to grow and change for the better. Now in it’s third year, DSGP 2015 opened with the same amount of crossers as it did in 2014. That’s pretty cool considering the conditions Sunday. This year, the women of DSGP are racing on their own as their numbers continue to grow. An incremental process that is very important thanks to grassroots efforts of practices and clinic held months leading up to the beginning of the season. The pre-reg for the women’s field was 14, the highest pre-reg yet. With one day-of registration, Sunday’s field was the biggest Women’s field in DSGP history! The Cat 5’s are riding solo this year, which created a more robust and largest to date cat 4’s field.  (This should also make those 4-3 upgrade calculations a bit easier).  A Juniors category was added that saw seven youngsters tow the line. I’m very excited that this race was added to the program and can’t wait to see them progress.

Results of the race can be found here. Next up is two days in Monroe. Reg here and here.

Thanks to the Wes and the LAMBRA crew for puttin’ on a good show! Kudos to everyone who crossed the finish line, that was a doozy!

Keep Spinnin’
Boedi

Remember, if you choose to grab an image from this site, CREDIT the photographer!

Bamacross – Brookside

As I was careening down a grass hill around 26mph into sweeping right turn for the 5th time, my hands tired from maxing out the brakes, I thought to myself, “Man, NOW I get the disc brake hype!”

The Bamacross course at Brookside was tough. I feel like after every cross race I exclaim something about how that course was the hardest one I’ve ridden. It was definitely true last weekend. Really technical sections were balanced out with sand and multiple off camber turns with a few good climbs that zapped everything from my legs.  It’s always awesome to see crossers racing out of their region and a decent sized crew of NOLA CX’ers and DSGP regulars made the trek. Kudos to all!

The BAMACROSS series has a separate W4 category that my teammate (and very frequent contributor to this blog) Rhea Aldridge would be competing in. Rhea does a lot for our scene with her amazing photo coverage. However, being the one behind the lens means you rarely getting any photos taken while you shred the course. (And come on, WHO doesn’t love have rad riding pics?). Since she was racing first, it worked out perfectly that I could pay back Rhea with a little lens love.

 

Many thanks to Jason Lackey and Stewart Miller for putting on such a great race at an awesome venue. Also, did I mention there were cash payouts in the 3’s?! This was my first time winning money racing cross bikes. I could get used to that.

I have to give a huge shout-out to Sean and Danielle Williamson for being our gracious hosts. Not only did they have no problem with four people taking over their cool house, they even made sure we were fed and caffeinated each morning! Also, their dog Vishnu is pretty rad. Cross is BAWSE!

Don’t forget, DSGP #1 kicks off this Sunday. BE THERE!

Keep Spinnin’
Boedi