This blog entry is very simple... A visual guide to help you dress as it gets cold. Check the Store for items you may need but enjoy this useful reference guide regardless.
Ride the Unknown Bike & Brew Time Trial Challenge - a Strava Event
This is not a race, but a challenge against the clock for charity and prizes. You ride your bike on real roads, but scored by your Strava result at the end of the event window. This course uses part of the popular airport loop, has no left turns and uses the traffic circle for 10 awesome miles of time trial fun out on real roads - with so many events going virtual - this is a real ride on real roads with real prizes. You can sign up for $10, make an additional donation on the Unknown Cycling website, or sign up and not ride to donate. But what is the fun in that?
Ride the course alone at your convenience Aug 10-16, 2020.
Podium Awards for the following challenge categories:
18 Payouts - Cash Guaranteed!!!
Overall Male/Female $50/20/10 cash+prizes+available money
Overall Eddy Merckx Male/Female $50/20/10 cash+prizes+available money
Masters 45+ Male/Female $50/20/10 cash+prizes+available money
This is the “Tri Unknown 10mi TT” segment that you need to ride to be counted:
Can appear under hidden segments - Show Hidden Segments then click the “Unhide” button
To Be Eligible:
You can see the Start and End points on the road. When approaching the start on West Blvd pass Yorkmont and you will see the marking at the first driveway after the light. Keep going, rolling start is best. For the finish look for the markings and if you can see the stop sign you are done.
After you finish, please tag or post on Unknown Bike & Brew Facebook and post on social media #unknownTTchallenge with a picture.
Q. Where do I park?
A. You should park at Unknown Brewery 1327 S Mint Street and warm up on the ride from S Mint Street to West Blvd to the start. You can also park anywhere and ride to the start or you can park at the start using the lot right next to the start (see map below park in P area ONLY at 4800 West Blvd Charlotte NC). Be careful to allow your Garmin to make sure you start prior to the start line when you intend to start. Keep in mind your GPS can start you on the segment anywhere there are green dots.
Q. What is Eddy Merckx?
A. Eddy Merck time trial format for a TT where a standard road/gravel bike is used. In this way more people can participate without special, and sometimes expensive, specialized time trial aero equipment. So sign up and use your regular bike.
Q. Who do I contact with questions?
Q. I was on the course and was slowed down by a car, traffic light (there's only one at right turn) , bird, plane, whatever. What do I do?
A. Poo poo happens - you're a cyclist; be safe. You can ride the course more than once.start again now or before the deadline. You choose. Or just keep going.... Persevere.
Q. How do you register more than one person?
A. Check out with extra Qty and then email firstname.lastname@example.org with the names of the additional rider. Make sure they also complete the other requirements listed above.
Q. I am just a beginner, why should I do this?
A. As a beginner you should be doing this. The 10 mile TT is a classic way to keep track of training and fitness growth. By riding the course you will get a good baseline for your training. Each month you can ride the course again to see how much progress you have made. Also, TTs are way more technical and challenging than you think and making improvements to your bike and technique will keep you engaged in the sport - like perfecting a golf swing.
Q. Who do I contact with questions?
Q. What charities does this ride support?
A. Over the Edge Cycling Club is a 501c3 so the $10 fee is going to a charity that supports a range of cycling programs and fundraising in the Charlotte area. But we are also taking proceeds from this event and giving them directly to the Bike MS September event and the Alzheimer's Association via the David Moore Foundation. The amount depends on participation so please encourage others to join the Challenge. More info on this website. If you have any questions, let us know.at email@example.com
Communication and Results
Event Communique 4
- The course is closed!
- THANK YOU for making this a success we will have $500 to donate to Bike MS September event.
- Interim results have been posted as of 8/16 9PM; PDF link below
- 59:59 means your time has not registered or we can't find the Strava record. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org with questions. omissions or errors in the results including a link to your Strava ride if you have an issue. We tried to find your latest/fasted time; let us know if we did not.
- These are preliminary final results - protest window closes at 3PM Monday 8/17
- Prizes will be available for pickup at Unknown - details to follow
Event Communique 3
- Ride at your convenience Saturday or Sunday 8/11-8/16
- You can still sign up, click on the tickets link
- Interim results have been posted as of 8/15 8AM; link below
- 59:59 means your time has not registered or we can't find the Strava record; please email email@example.com with questions. omissions or errors in the results including a link to your Strava ride if you have an issue.
- If your Strava name does not match your NAME, please email and help us match the two
- Monday Preliminary Final Results will be posted with a 12 hour protest window; Final results available by Sunday 9PM
- Prizes will be available for pickup at Unknown - details to follow
- THANK YOU for making this a success
Sometimes life gives you setbacks and, yes, they can really suck, but you have them. They make you feel as if you are not the best you can be. You think, "Have I wasted my time should I even do this any more?" You feel the weight and pressure on your shoulders. With this, you start to get into your own head and that can affect performance. It can be frustrating...
This was how most of the Sunbelt Rentals p/b Craft Ginger Ale team felt at the first team race at Tour of the Southern Highlands (TOSH) in Woodstock, Georgia. This is a junior selection race - so definitely not the best one to have a "bad day", to say the least. With a great day, you can be selected for the National team. The National team is designed to be a collection of the best junior racers in the USA and represents the country in Europe later in the year. So yes, this race was important since it opens doors for young racers and gives them a chance to don the red, white, and blue kit.
A stage race has multiple parts or stages, like the Tour de France, where the lowest total time wins and there are chances for time bonuses based on sprint and KOM points in the stages, just like the Tour. The first stage at TOSH is the Individual Time Trial (ITT), the second stage is the Criterium, third is the circuit race, and fourth is the 75-mile hilly Road Race. The Road Race is really the main selection race since it has big climbs, long distance, and time lost can be counted in minutes, when compared to seconds lost or gained in the ITT or Criterium. During every stage, we discovered how good the other national talent is and discovered it was just really hard to race at this level. Soon, into the stages, we learned more about each other, ourselves, and the competitors. This was a great learning experience, but at one point, we did have to lower our own expectations and just resign ourselves to finish - which by itself was a very big goal given how many kids were dropping out.
The craziest of the days was the final day - the road race, stage four. The race started at 8:15 AM and with a thirty-minute drive, we were up at 6:00 AM - we need to check the bike, eat, stay warm, get dressed, do I have all my gear, and then sign in. Oh, and yes it was very cold and I mean like -5C degrees! We arrived at the start, warmed up as best we could given the ice on the windows, and then worked our way to the start line; hopeful for a better result. The race started; we were hopeful. As the group began to hit the first climbs on the day it immediately got very hard - and I was wondering how or if I was going to finish the race - especially this being the 1st of four long laps. Teammate David had a problem I would later find out that he had his chain drop, equipment failure… oh, cycling can be tough. The climbing continues, I must go on... for myself for the team. In the end I did finish. I met my revised goal. I didn't win but only 1 of 120 did.
So, yes the weekend results were not as we hoped… but what I learned recently is that you most take the good with the bad. You must use your failures as inspiration to do so much better in the future. It makes you want to do better even more than before, it puts fuel in the fire. The bad is what makes the good times seem so great and fun. It gives us something to compare it to. So you must look at the bad as just part of the process in life, cycling, or whatever you do. This is so very much a big part of cycling, the sport brings let downs, these let downs are what we must fight through. If we can make it through the bad parts of the sport, we know we truly like it for what it is. We don’t just like it because we are good at it. You must think to yourself, am I doing something just because I am good at it or do I truly love it. And how can I help my teammates and myself achieve?
You must also be on top of your self mentally. You must have your head in the game and focus. You can’t worry too much about the other people you race, but you need to respect their capabilities and adjust. You need to race-your-race as if you don”t know the other people at all, dig deep and pedal harder. And you must race to win!
I have learned a lot from this trip and while I didn’t get the results I had wanted, I did get something just as useful. I got the experience and that was priceless; I learned so many new things about my team, the sport, and most importantly myself. I learned what I need to do to better myself on and off the bike. I also got to know my new teammates better and what it takes to be part of a team. For now, back to family, training, and school - the three things that matter the most to me as I prepare for the next race.
Written by Ethan Lee - a junior on the Sunbelt Rentals p/b Craft Ginger Ale team
Daily, it seems like I hear a story of a cyclist getting hit by a car. According to People for Bikes between 2010 and 2016, fatalities of cyclists struck by vehicles rose by 35 percent, up to 840 souls, in 2016. That increase, supposedly, doesn’t indicate a growing risk, but rather the overall growth of cycling. With that - fatal automobile accidents due to distracted driving have also skyrocketed during that same period. The NHTSA estimates that on any given day, some 660,000 people are using cell phones while they drive (I think it's WAY higher). This distraction is creating additional risk for all road users and especially cyclists/pedestrians as distractions increase the likelihood of a car/bike/person collisions. Here's a stat - 100% of the people hit by a car were hit by a car. If you are the one injured or killed the statistics mean nothing. Your injuries will likely change the course of your life and your recovery can take years; assuming you survive.
But drivers are killing themselves and other drivers and passengers as well. There are over 30,000 vehicle related deaths each year. Safer cars have helped reduce those deaths from over 40,000 in the 70s, 80s, and 90s - though it's like having a better helmet in football - it just makes you feel safer and hit harder. Regardless, that is about 11 car-related deaths per 100,000 in the general population. If you translate the 840 cycling deaths in 2016 to the supposed 47.8 million people who "participate in cycling" - then 1.8 cyclists per 100,000 cyclists are killed. The problem with that is of the cycling participants some rode 1x in the year and others potentially hundreds of times and everything in between. But with that simple analysis you are probably safer cycling than driving – that is unless you cycle all of the time and then the probability of having a car/bike collision instinctively has to go up since you are simply on the road so much more. And when there is an incident the consequences are severe. Earl Gillon from NC was known as an experienced safe rider and covering over 20,000 miles a year - many times over 100 miles in a day. He retired from his career and then, while riding alone on a sunny day in NC at age 64, was hit from behind and is now dead in an instant. Pro cyclist Seth Jones, preparing to leave for his racing season in Europe, was riding alone and hit from behind by a distracted driver who drifted over into the right side white line. Seth barely survived since it happened in front of a firehouse so he was able to get immediate aid and was transported to a local trauma center to stop brain bleeding that would have otherwise killed him.
When hits with cars do happen forty percent of fatalities are from rear end collisions. We all fear/dread the notion of being struck from behind by an inattentive driver. I have to admit I tense up when cars approach from behind double checking my place on the road or shoulder. Are they paying attention? Do they see me? Are they going to move over? Second most common car-bike impact is a t-hit for 10% - like Stacy Stranick - a Charlotte NC cyclist killed while riding alone with a car illegally turning in front of her. In another post maybe we should look into the apparent lack of consequences for drivers who hit cyclists. Groups of cyclists are are hit as well. Yesterday in Townsville Australia a group of five cyclists hit and run major injuries for all. Group rides have been ploughed through on many occasions over the years recently in Davie Florida and other places where there are also fatalities and major injuries.
Another way to look at safety when compared to driving is as follows. With a reported 222M drivers on the road and estimated 47M participating cyclists - and using the known annual death rates - you can see that cycling, per user, is safer than driving or being a passenger in a car. These numbers do not take into account trips or miles per user but that is true on both the car and bike side of this comparison. This is just a per 100k estimate of death rates for known users. So, the idea is fatality rates for cycling is better than automobiles and basically safe; but not as safe as we would like it to be. Until 100% of users cycling are not struck and killed - the 1.8 per 100k cyclists can face horrible consequences doing what they love for fitness, commuting, or transportation.
The next time you are driving in a car as a passenger or have your passenger keep track of how many people are texting, distracted, or looking at their phones. In the 70s drivers used to crash when changing the radio station on their car. Now, with so many additional functions and screens in the car, and add to that the functionality of touchscreens, social media, and a smartphone - there are simply too many distractions. In a 2018 Tesla Model X crash - the driver was playing a video game while his car ploughed into a concrete barrier killing himself. People are not concentrating on driving like they should so the roads have become less safe. And we are in this awkward transition from people actually incompetently driving cars to [safer?] automated cars - that may in the end be safer and help reduce or avoid these rear impact car-bike collisions that account for 40% of cyclist deaths.
Number of participants in bicycling in the United States from 2006 to 2018
In Charlotte, NC where a number of people have been hit either from behind or t-boned some of these people have died and some have had their life altered. Is that acceptable risk of participating in the sport or transportation that we love? Only you can decide that for yourself. What some people are doing are rediscovering off-road riding like mountain biking or gravel riding where there is less interaction with vehicles. This is a form of retreat where we give up the roads for safer pass on a dirt or gravel path. Or do we fight and show up on the road and with mass-participation make it safer like in the Netherlands. After two streets in Minneapolis were converted to be more bicycle friendly, bike traffic increased 43%, total vehicle crashes decreased, traffic efficiency was maintained, and parking revenues remained consistent. So, it is possible to improve safety when advocacy is used and cities balance the needs of all users. In the chart below - you can see being hit from behind can lead to fatalities but it is important to point out that, at least in North Carolina, only 4% of incidents are "hit-from-behind" in nature. Another key point is that cyclists also crash themselves quite a bit - in fact 70% of the time - implying that only 30% of crashes actually involve a car although when it does involve a car it can be more severe and especially when from behind.
In conclusion, I take all of that as road cycling is generally safe, at least statistically, so I am not giving it up. I am more likely to be involved in an incident from a mistake rather than hit by a car. But when when riding on the road I also feel it may be safer to ride in a group and use a camera. With both - information about what happened in an incident can help me recover and reduce the likelihood of someone getting away with a hit-and-run. The new cameras record in a loop on a memory card and have crash detection so footage is kept should there be a fall or impact. Whatever you decide about riding on the road be visible with flashing lights (front and rear) and high viz clothing. Regardless, the onus is on the driver to pay attention and not hit cyclists high viz or not. As a cyclist, we can help raise support and awareness for safety by sharing our stories and being respectful to motorists and obey traffic laws. Be safe and I hope to see you on the road - and not read about you one day and vice versa.
Thoughts? Leave a comment.
Sources: Statista, People for Bikes, Outside Magazine, League of American Bicyclists, WeeklyRides.com
A few months ago we took old race/club team kits and gave them to Berhane. He is an Ethiopian national who works at the Hilton in Charlotte NC. We have become friends over the years as he has watched the Dornier Racing and Unknown Racing p/b Sunbelt Rentals juniors team get ready for race trips - when they meet at the hotel. We, since then, speak a common language of cycling together.
A few months ago, before his annual trip home, we took old team clothing and gave it to him to bring to Ethiopia where they are just not able to afford $150 club kits. They also struggle to afford bikes and, obviously, helmets. But they are smiling and now riding bikes in cycling clothing. According to Berhane, on his last trip there these old kits brought so much joy to the town of Gondar that we are already planning the same thing again for next year as well as some money for bikes/helmets. He gets new photos every few weeks thanking him. This, practically speaking, is one of the easier things we have done as a club to help - but it is becoming a favorite since it is so straightforward and directly impactful and helps our new friend.
Berhane is from Gondar - a city in northern Ethiopia founded In 1636 by King Fasiladas, which became the country′s permanent capital for two centuries. It's now known for the walled Fasil Ghebbi fortress and palace compound, once the seat of Ethiopian emperors and the 17th-century castle of Emperor Fasilides. Another famous structure is the Debre Berhan Selassie church, with an interior of elaborate murals, including a ceiling of faces shown above. The church also houses wall murals like the one below. I could not help but draw a parallel between the wall mural of people on horses and the modern smiling faces of the cycling group on bikes loosely formed around the love of cycling and the newly acquired cycling gear.
Berhane will be going home again in December 2019 and again we will assemble some cycling clothing, and other items, to make his trip just a little more fulfilling and bring a smile to his and other faces in Gondar. Maybe someday there will be a wall mural painted for the faces of the cycling group formed around this effort. Until then we can enjoy this small project and appreciate how much we have and how even small gestures can go a long way in helping others.
GRAVEL! - usually a loud verbal warning about adverse road conditions on a road group ride, but the perfectly normal condition on a gravel ride. Introducing UNKNOWN Gravel! Road riding is still a blast but some folks are looking for new challenges - and gravel bikes can provide just that taking you to new scenic places with less traffic. At the start, common questions are "Where do I ride?", "What are the roads like?" or "What equipment do I need?" - well at the UNKNOWN Gravel! website we are going to help answer those questions - at least in the Charlotte area. For now, there are a few tested routes within an hour or two of Charlotte with info on the ride itself, parking, and GPX/TCX files to follow in your Garmin or Wahoo. Also, info on how to load a route to your Garmin. Know a great route? Let us know we'll check it out.
NEW: Unknown Gravel! event Jan 26 in Clover SC
Some basic info: Modern gravel bikes tend to have road geometries and rider fit but the frames and wheels are wider and handle bigger tires, run tubeless, and have disc brakes. To contrast, a Cyclocross bike will have a higher bottom bracket for clearing obstacles and shorter wheelbase for better handling on the demanding tight courses seen in most CX events. However, these CX bikes and even idle mountain bikes can ride gravel just fine - and certainly get you started until you are ready to make a bigger investment. Some custom gravel bikes are getting 1X11 or 1X12, referred to as "One By" shifting to simplify the design, decrease weight, and improve reliability. In a One By design there is no front derailleur and the rear derailleur is generally a mountain pedigree, has a longer cage, and what is known as a clutch to prevent chain slack when riding on bumpy surfaces although some road derailleurs are now available with a clutch. One By solutions tend to have the same gear range as a 22 or 24 speed but with fewer gears in between gears... If that matters a Two By allows for complete gear range as well as the in between gears.
Five differences between road and gravel bikes.
For the cockpit, people prefer road shifters and standard drop bars with a little flair as an option. Wheels like the Boyd Pinnacle 700c disc can be paired with tires that have just a little tread like the Specialized Sawtooth in a size of over 30mm can cover most packed gravel in the area and roll nicely when the surface is paved. As the conditions get muddy or more technical so will your choice on tire, wheels and related equipment. Some frames support both 700c and 650b wheelsets. For 650b tires can hold more volume and be 2.5 inches or more making for a more confortable ride and support more technical trails (more roots and rocks). Generally, roadies also switch to mountain or SPD pedals and shoes as they tend to stay cleaner and handle abuse when debris is encountered and dismounting is needed. Who wants to get a $300 Sidi shoe stuck in the mud/gravel anyway? SPD stays cleaner and easier to walk in at the pub after the ride or wear to a spin class when no outside riding is possible at all.
As for roads - there are an increasing number of resources for identifying good gravel routes. One is on the UNKNOWN Gravel! website. But those are just for the Charlotte area. There is also a Google map of the US with some gravel roads identified. The problem with this map is it is not complete, shows hybrid routes as gravel roads, does not have GPX/TCX files or route info, and will likely take a long time to get right. When building your own route or looking for roads - think old fire roads and rural areas. These tend to have the most gravel sections. Gravel roads also tend to drain very well after rain making this a better cycling sport than mountain biking after heavy rain. Also, Strava if you know someone who said "Hey that was the best gravel ride ever" - you may want to look at the route and then export the TCX/GPX for yourself.
In summary, there are a few things to consider when setting up a gravel bike. Some of this has already been thought through by the manufacturers and so you can buy one ready to go with some of these things in mind and at a range of prices. Regardless, if you build your own or buy one - get out and ride and have fun on the gravel surface.
Thanks to First Flight Bicycles and Boyd Cycling for the help on the current routes. Find gravel events on WeeklyRides.com and join Boyd Cycling 2/9/19 for their gravel event at Sumter National Forest. Check BikeSource, Bicycle Sport, First Flight, Cycle Haus, or favorite local bike shop for equipment if you don't have a bike configured for gravel just yet - or if you have questions about equipment.
Comments, feedback? Let us know.
More info at https://www.unknowncycling.org/gravel.html
Sample wheels, tires, shoes and pedals:
Max and I were in the airport waiting for our flight to Ireland and the World Cup was playing. We stopped to watch the final moments between Croatia and Russia. It was a cracker of a game. Croatia scored to pull ahead by one with 20 minutes left, leaving Russia, the underdog, breathless and on the verge of elimination.
Through sheer will and determination, Russia, off a set play, knocked a screaming header into the back of Croatia’s net with less than five minutes left in regulation. The stadium erupted, their emotions flipped 180 degrees in the flick of a second. I turned to Max and grinned. “This is why people love sport. It is in these moments, when the odds are against you and the pressure is on, that greatness rises into view.”
While we didn’t feel pressure, the odds were stacked against the DORNIER Racing squad going into the 2018 Junior Tour of Ireland. We had a young team with plenty of inexperience in international races. On top of that, I, an experienced racer, was in a brand new role as Director. However, similar to the Croatia vs Russia game, simply because the odds are against you does not exclude anyone from the sweet taste of victory. It takes grit, skill, determination, and a little luck and any David can fell a Goliath.
For the riders the days in a stage race follow a consistent pattern. Wake up. Eat. Race. Eat. Go back to the hotel. Eat. Relax. Eat. Team meeting. Eat some more? Sleep. Myself and Alexis would take care of things like bikes and water bottles and planning for the next day.
Stage 1 was simple - a 6 kilometer rolling time trial. No tactics here, just brute strength. Seth was our highest place rider at 21st of 120 racers - around 40 seconds behind the leader but more importantly only 20 seconds from the top 5. Now the real racing could begin.
That goal for stage 2 was to stay safe and figure out where we ranked in the peloton. It would be hectic. The first stage of an international stage race always is! But it would provide us with an idea of where we stood amongst all the riders. Early on we had some crashes and flat tires but the boys kept calm and got back into the main field using the caravan. The race ended in a bunch sprint and our two strongest riders, Lance and Seth finished on the same time as the leaders. Ride of the day went to Gino who crashed heavily with 20 kilometers to go and had to ride the rest of the race with an upturned saddle!
After discussing our strengths and weaknesses, I decided with the boys that we couldn’t just sit in all race and wait for it to come to us. We had to try something. Stage 3 went up and over an exposed berg near the ocean. Seth was going to step on the gas a little and try to see if he could force any splits to start gaining time while the rest of the guys were going to try and make those splits in order to give us options on the run into the finish. Seth gave it a go but a headwind over the climb negated his efforts and the bunch rolled towards the finish as one big group. Ride of the day went to Brooks Wienke who crashed heavily with 2 kilometers remaining. When I got to him, he said he wanted to finish the stage. He courageously made it to the finish line but a broken bike and minor concussion prevented him from starting the next day - stage races can be cruel.
Stage 4 featured more climbs and more exposed coast line. The goal was for Seth to conserve his energy and for the other boys to give it a go. And we did just that. Our youngest member, Lance Davidson got into a strong 8 man breakaway. He picked up mountain points, put pressure on the leader behind, and made a name for himself riding like a hard man. With 20 kilometers to go, the break split, with Lance still in the front. Unfortunately this caused a change in the tactics behind and the breakaway was reeled in with less than 10 kilometers remaining. Another bunch sprint ensued and the status quo stayed in tact more or less. Ride of the day easily went to Lance for being aggressive and putting his nose out there going after a stage win. He also picked up quite a few KOM points! Unfortunately, in a moment of being his good natured self, Lance was passing an extra bottle he had snagged to his breakaway mates which caused him to go from 1st to 5th moments before cresting the largest climb of the day! Had he nabbed it, he would have been second overall in the Climber competition!
Stage 5 was our last opportunity to create any real time gaps in order to claw back those 20 or so seconds we needed for a top 5 overall. We were going to race for the stage win and let the GC fall into place. The goal was for Seth to be aggressive and the other guys to help him. Seth was confident in his abilities but in order to win on the final climb to the finish, he needed to be away from the leader of the race.
In the finale of stage 5, Seth was aggressive and put himself in several promising moves. The yellow jersey ended up having a flat tire causing a huge chase from behind. Several crashes and attacks over the climbs caused the race to splinter into about 10 different groups. Seth was always at the front trying to create an opportunity but was continually shut down. On the final climb, he stayed with the leaders until the last 100 meters or so when he lost the wheel. The gap to the front group was barely more than a few bike lengths but it was enough for the judges to penalize Seth with real time to the leaders instead of group time. Those 13 seconds would have lifted him from 11th overall to the top 5 like we had wanted. Ride of the day - Seth. He rode positively and aggressively when a lot of others were willing to sit back and wait for the race to come to them. After the stage I had a lot of other teams come up to me and compliment the boys on their aggressive style of racing.
The shake up from Stage 5 meant that the final stage was going to be very aggressive. The new leader’s team was an unknown and the big teams would be licking their chops. I told the guys to watch for weakness from the leader and follow the big teams. Halfway through the stage, Max Bein crashed heavily. It took a while to get his chain back on and he grimly chased for 3 laps in the caravan trying to get back while the field ahead was racing full gas. He was almost there when another crash caused the cars behind to block the road which opened one gap too many. While he never made it back on I was seriously impressed by Max’s determination and the ride of the day goes to him.
At the end of the race we didn’t win anything. We didn’t get a top 10 in the GC or a top 5 overall. But the results sheet doesn’t show everything. The boys raced hard, they raced aggressively, they raced like they wanted it. They also honed their racing craft, using the caravan, feeding from the cars, paying attention to the wind, arriving to dinner on time. And I’m incredibly proud of them for the efforts that they put forth. Bike racing doesn’t always work out in your favor but they weren’t scared of a huge international race and gave it a go. That’s the biggest win in my book. (The End)
For a video of the 2018 Junior Tour of Ireland click here:
Author: Alder Martz
Photos: Susan Wienke
Thanks to Alder and Alexis for managing the team on the ground in Ireland. Thanks to the sponsors and the people of the Junior Tour of Ireland, especially Alice, for putting on a great race trying to thank you all for a sometimes thankless effort. Special thanks to our sponsors without which we could not participate in such a world class event:
Freedom Financial Solutions
B-LINE Natural Energy
Unknown Bike & Brew
DOS Ruedas Coffee
The Winston Salem Cycling Classic is a Memorial Day weekend cycling event complete with bike racing, concerts, Gears and Guitars, Gran Fondos, celebrity bike rides, and retired-pro-mini-celebrity Phil Gaimon chasing KOMs (while eating cookies and riding with locals wearing jean shorts). This was a huge weekend for the DORNIER Racing Women and their Domestic Elite status - which allows them to be invited to big events. And the WSCC Pro Crit and Road Race are big events.
The Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) is the world governing body for cycling and is manages most of the largest global bike events, fondos, and races (Except the Tour de France run by ASO). This weekend in Winston-Salem DORNIER Racing had the opportunity to race in the UCI Winston-Salem Cycling Classic. This UCI 1.1 race is very popular and has become one of the most exciting weekends of bike racing in the Southeast. Teams from all over the world come to compete in a crit and on a nine mile circuit through the closed roads of Winston-Salem. The DORNIER Racing Women faced off against continental and world tour teams like Astana, Rally, TIBCO, Hagens Berman, and UHC, to name a few. These are teams that make full-time jobs out of racing bikes while our women are at work in professional jobs like accounting and teaching.
In order to participate in these races a number of things have to happen. One, you need a team of strong domestic elite women; two, you need a budget and invitation to enter the race; three, you need all the other surrounding items that help you get to the start line and compete - including bikes, mechanics, and cars. To make those three things happen you need to have sponsors and management. This weekend the team, on and off the course, were fantastic in assembling all the things needed to get to the start and compete fairly and competitively. In the end, we didn't win and Lily Williams of Hagens Berman did - a top racer from a top team. Along the way, the experience was great for the DORNIER women; and everyone learned a lot - further establishing the Women as a serious team with big goals.
Now, to the race. The nine mile circuit is a rolling course through the city and surrounding neighborhoods of WS with a lot of turns, curbs, and traffic furniture. A key feature is the final climb where splits always happen. This famed Pilot View climb rises 130 vertical feet at an inconvenient pitch of 10-15% over .3 of a mile. Racers in the women’s field see that hill eight times and like a paper cut it hurts more and more and causes more cumulative damage at each cut or ascent. On this day, the threat of rain persisted throughout the forecast prior to the race but in the end a few showers appeared but didn't materially affect the race.
The women - Theresa O’Sullivan, Austin Thompson, Emma Langley, Danielle Clark, and guest riders Kristina Vrouwenvelder (Colorado USA) and Edwige Pitel (France) - all rolled to the line to start the race. Behind them in Car 11 DS Alder Martz, Driver Ben Turits, and Mechanic Bryan Dubuc. In the feed zone Merrill Thierman, out with illness, and friends of the team Jeff Montgomerie and Ben Spain. Success and challenges in this race can be measured in more than one way. For example, showing up, starting, laps completed, KOM points, TV time, winning, finishing with the field, or some other team-inspired measure like helping a teammate or getting into a breakaway.
In the end Emma Langley had the best overall finishing place - surviving the long war of attrition over three hours and 80 miles finishing with the field in place 70/120 - ahead of a number of big team professionals and known badasses; many of whom did not finish. Kristina 85/120, Theresa 89/120, Danielle 97/120, and Austin 111/120. So we are super proud of those results even though it’s not 1, 2, or 3… The team they pedaled hard, took bottles from the feed zone, churned out "laps", rolled back to the car for bottles, talked on the radios, and rode until the officials told them to stop trying - like real bike racers do. That effort is all that we can ask against this caliber of racer and teams. Ride to make themselves and others proud - and that is the case here. Team inspired goals for sure.
As for TV time - Emma won the day working the back of the field for the first half of the race where the only in-race camera on the USACrits.tv broadcast was working - and she owned the screen and dialog for a better part of an hour while riders shuffled back behind her getting dropped from the field at a rate of 10-15 per lap. Great results for sponsors, Emma, and the rest of the team.
See you next time as this now UCI raced team comes out more experienced and in search of even more impressive races and results. Next up is Tour of America's Dairylands (TOAD) the largest competitive road cycling series in the US. It hosts 11 straight days of racing throughout Southeast Wisconsin. And then the Junior Tour of Ireland for the Juniors.
Thanks to the UCI, USA Cycling, The City of WS, police, volunteers, and residents of Winston-Salem, and the sponsors who made this possible:
American DORNIER, Keffer Mazda, Keffer VW, Charlotte Knights, Freedom Financial Solutions, Unknown Brewery, Unknown Bike & Brew, Hincapie Sportswear, BikeSource Charlotte, B-LINE Natural Energy, Weldon Weaver, and Veristor Systems. And finally, Sterling Swain and Alexis Batista for getting the team invited to the event.
2017 was very special for the American DORNIER Racing team in that the season brought an invite to the Junior Tour of Ireland. This race has been going on for 40 years put on a by a terrific group of volunteers and professionals. It is the largest event of its kind in Ireland and much bigger than any of the races the team had been involved with in the states. It turns out that it's somewhat hard to put on bike races even in Europe - the home of competitive cycling. We were honored to be a part of it this year. Below is a copy of the day-by-day results for the six stage race originally shared on the Facebook team page for followers of the Team. Please click on and like the Team page stay up-to-date.
Stage 1 Results - 113 racers started the Time Trial including some of the best junior time trlalists in the world separated by under 2 minutes. The winner traveled at 50kph over the 6.2km rolling course. That is fast. The best placing for the team was Hugo in 49th followed by 66, 75, and 76 for Mark, Alastair, and Giovanni. 110km Stage 2 tomorrow covering some beautiful countryside.
Stage 2 Results - When the best riders in the world get together they go fast - and they don't let up. That is what happened today in stage 2. Attacks started at the gun, continued, and the race eventually broke into six groups leaving a lead peloton of about 40 riders including Mark and Alastair. The rest of the field scattered about the road including a few crashes that caused a split for Giovanni Vasta (Gino). On the famed Castle Hill climb, Alastair got gapped from the main group late leaving Mark Yaroshevsky to salvage a 24th place finish with Alastair, Gino, and Hugo coming in the following groups but ahead of the looming time cuts. Tomorrow the Team regroups and faces the Cliffs of Moher a picturesque course along the most famous cliffs in Ireland.
Stage 3 Results - Stage racing is unforgiving and the chaos is hard to explain. On today’s stage, at 8km, in there was a major crash involving cars and affecting over 20 riders including Hugo Schreur and Giovanni Vasta. Gino bounced back up, put himself together, and rolled away - only to find he had lost both his water bottles on impact - at the beginning of a 100km stage! At the same time, the road was covered with cars, bikes, ambulances, mechanics, wheels, traffic… It all started when the “rolling enclosure” left a few cars sticking out on the narrow road. One of the young riders clipped a mirror causing the chain reaction crash. In Ireland, they generally don’t neutralize (slow) road races so the race continues. So when the DORNIER team car came up on this event there were people running in every direction taking stock of what happened. As we made our way to the front we finally found Hugo with a cracked bike frame and bloody. It was at that point we thought the race was over for Hugo. But instead, the mechanic from Hincapie Juniors squad volunteered a bike to Hugo to get him on his way. As the race continued the speed picked up, the rain started and then the attacks began. None other than the yellow jersey and green jersey attacking. At this point, the peloton is flying through coastal towns with a caravan of 40 cars and motorcycles leading and following them zig-zagging around tourists and the buses that carry them. The rain started again. The racing was on as they approached the big climb of the day. Alastair gave his water to Gino since the support car couldn’t work forward in the confusion - great teamwork. On this climb, more attacks and a 20mph [side] wind off of the ocean. This combination of rain, wind, attacks, and hill proved to be too much for Gino and others so they dropped back to form a second and third group. The pressure was on. Mark Yaroshevsky and Alastair Pounder survived that picturesque hill - at the Cliffs of Moher - and kept up with the main group. There is now 20km to go and it is raining and the technical descents on blind curved narrow unfamiliar roads. Remember to “stay left” as these are open roads in Ireland. The race continues to the final roundabout with Mark and Alastair working together fighting for position in the remaining group of 30. In the sprint Alastair gets 13th and Mark 23rd separated by a few seconds. The team’s first points of the race! A few minutes later Gino rolls in. Hugo, after being unable to continue due to wrist pain, is picked up by the support vehicle and returns to the finish medical staff. Not ideal his race is done, Mark sits in the GC at 36th place and three boys will start the hilly stage 4 tomorrow. Great effort today.
Stage 4 Results - Today’s stage involved a transfer from the home base hotel Treacys West County in Ennis to the Coastal town of Ballyvaughan. In this stage, there is a Category climb at the 12km mark followed by three more Cat climbs and finally a fast descent to the finish. Of note today was the 20mph steady cross-tail wind along the final 20km of the race. The start rolled and the team was strong through the first category climb of the day. On the second climb - the famed “Corkscrew Hill” the pressure was too much and the field split. Mark Yaroshevsky and Alastair Pounder in the front group and Giovanni Vasta in the second. As the race rolled on there was the obligatory crash this time involving a rider in between the team cars - he got up. Over the next climbs, the race stayed that way with a lead group and a second group. As the race approached the final stretch of road the attacks started. From none other than the yellow jersey (The race leader). That attack split the lead group into four smaller groups. Why attack as the yellow jersey? Because you can and to do so assert yourself as the strongest person in the race. This really frustrated In the riders. It worked. In the end, Mark and Alastair finished just behind the leader and the break - and well enough to move Mark into 26th and Alastair into 46th place in the GC. More racing in stage 5 tomorrow covering fast flat roads and then Gallows HIll - the biggest and longest climb of the Tour.
Stage 5 Results - Yaro cracks the Top 10 on Gallows Hill! Today’s hilltop finish was hard - and it came after three other category climbs. Let’s go to the beginning of the stage where a fast flat start led to early attacks and speeds averaging almost 30 mph. In the first climb of the day, the field was back together and Alastair was crashed by a rider - got up, crashes feel normal now. In the ensuing climbs the field kept dropping riders; but not our team. In the Team car, the narrow roads made the descents nerve-racking as there was not enough room to zoom past dropped riders at speeds over 60kmh. “Bi-Roads” in Ireland are single lane roads that leave room for only one car. These dynamics appear to be normal for the locals. Much of this stage was on these narrow roads including the last big climb of the day a hill-top finish with 6% grade and 500 final vertical feet to the line. You can see in the pictures the riders out of the saddle pushing. With Mark Yaroshevsky grabbing 10th he achieved the best result of the race for the Team so far. Seconds later, Alastair Pounder and Giovanni Vasta crossed the line for a field result. Stage 6 is Sunday - the last stage - a seven lap circuit with two climbs and a really fast finish.
Results for Stage 6 - Giovanni Vasta goes on the attack! The plan for the final day was to give Gino a shot on a course that suited him. The race was a rolling circuit for 7 laps totaling 75km. Gino was told to attack the group 1X and "see what result he got"... And he did attack on lap 2 gaining 10 seconds... and again on lap 2... and again on lap 3 trying to perfect the craft... Super aggressive attempts to challenge some of the best junior riders forcing the other team’s top riders to chase. The moves didn’t stick but certainly showed that he belonged in the race and that he had the endurance and staying power to face the six tough stages - and then on the last day put on meaningful attacks. Alastair also went on the attack on the famed and team-named “Spaceship Hill” (Peak of the climb marked by a spaceship looking water tower). But in the end, none of the attacks on the day from any of the big teams, like Hot Tubes and Hincapie, worked as The Irish National team covered them all protecting their race leader. The race then ended in a bunch sprint with the Irish national team winning that sprint and then awarding Ben Wolf the overall yellow jersey. In the final GC, Mark Yaroshevsky achieved 24th, Alastair Pounder 44th, and Gino 75th and Mark collecting prize money for the GC rewarding his day-to-day consistency! This was a great week in Ennis Ireland and while we didn't win - the Team grew from the experience. More details, photos, and videos to come later via a blog post. For now REST… Racing begins again soon. Thanks for following along this wonderful event in Ireland.
Stage 6 and complete results can be found here.
Why this picture ???
Why on this day???
There is a picture in this picture - Elisa painted a tribute to the Unknown Bike & Brew Club and gave it to Steve "Foxy" Fox on this day - the two year celebration party. But why did we choose this picture when there are so many others throughout the year?
Unknown Bike & Brew started as a training ride for people who were going to do the bigger MS rides but needed a place to train. From that ride we made it a weekly ride. From that weekly ride we started raising money for MS and other causes like 24 Hours of Booty, Alzheimer's Association, Bike Luck, Bike2DC, Cystic Fibrosis. The Unknown Bike & Brew weekly ride is free so people started showing up. The fact that the Unknown Brewery gives $1 to MS for every rider makes the free ride a great way to give to charity simply by showing up. After the launch - each week more people showed up and now 40-100 people come out each week and ride at 2:30PM each Saturday. And some stay after the ride to drink a beer and tell stories. We like that too.
But why this picture? First of all Foxy - he is the leader of the ride and the volunteers. Each ride they get direction from Foxy and lead out a 10, 25 and 35 mile marked route. The great thing about these routes is they overlap each other so support and sweep happens naturally. Have a flat? Someone will help you out. New to biking? Ride the 10 mile route with Liz and Christine they will show you the way. Getting better? Jonathan and Skinny will take you on the 25 mile route. In over your head? There's a secret 18 mile option to get you back sooner. Starting to go farther and faster? The 35 mile route will challenge even the strongest racers and riders.
Back to the photo. Also in this photo is Elisa - she is new to the club. Any club needs new people and she is the greatest kind of new person in that she rides her bike, likes beer, and gives back. By painting the picture taking the time and thought to give back to the Club she personifies what makes the Club great. Did we mention the Club is free too?
What is missing form this picture is an actual bike. And that is because the Club has become more than just about a bike ride. It's about people - like the two in this picture - the oldest and newest members of the Club. Thanks for being part of it on this day - the day we celebrate and recognize two years of fundraising and over $115,000 raised with our partners the Unknown Brewing Company and American Dornier. THANKS