2018 Cardinal Cup Recap

The Cardinal Cup is a mountain bike race organized the by mountain bike team at the university of Louisville.

The dust has settled and we’re proud to have wrapped up an exciting weekend hosting the 2nd annual Cardinal Cup earlier this month on September 8 and 9!

This year’s event followed a similar format as last year– Cross Country and Downhill races went on Saturday at the legendary Ft. Duffield in West Point, Ky, the longest-lasting earthen fortification remaining from the Civil War, while the Short Track races were held on Sunday at Eva Bandman Park, the venue that hosted the 2013 UCI World Cyclocross Championships and several editions of the USGP Derby City Cup cyclocross race.

XCO and DH at Ft. Duffield

Saturday morning started out with the cross-country event. Despite the threat of rain, the weather held up and the trails ended up in spectacular condition. Beginners were faced with one lap of the technical 5-mile loop, while advanced riders faced a 15-mile, three lap race. Ft. Duffield features quad-killing climbs, log features, a tricky climb up a mossy creek bed, and rewarding descents. 

At first, we were getting complaints that the race would be too short, but the difficulty of the course made the short distance a sweet spot for intense racing. Everyone– beginners through advanced riders– said the course was perfect.

The Elite/A categories were dominated by the Swartzes, with Caleb and Emma taking resounding wins for Marian University. The rest of the Elite/A podium was replete with top-notch talent like Bradyn Lange, Anders Nystrom, and KK Santos. Being professional riders, it was great to have them at our race and give positive reviews of the course. Ben King entered the race for UofL and aboard his singlespeed rocketship managed to take 6th place in the stacked Men’s A field.

After a quick break following the XC race, the custom-fabricated UofL downhill shuttle (#KalemFettersIsMyHero) began taking riders up to the top of the fort for the start of the downhill run. The course had two distinct sections- a fast, jump-heavy section at the top culminating in the legendary creek gap, and a technical skill-fest towards the bottom that took the riders through a rocky creek bed.

Rain began to fall right as the first runs started, making for epic conditions. Our very own James Francisco took a commanding win in the Elite men’s DH race, while a solitary second separated winner Bailee Enlow and second-place finisher KK Santos in the women’s Elite DH race.

STXC at Eva Bandman

The rain that began to fall at the beginning of the DH race continued through the night, so when our volunteer team arrived to set up the Short Track course early Sunday morning at Eva Bandman, they found that half of the planned course was getting overrun by the Ohio River. Together we were able to quickly improvise a fast, fun, and more importantly, dry course that included a massive death spiral and a heckle hill. Racing went off without a hitch with some thrilling battles taking place throughout the day. Caleb Swartz pulled off the double with a win over teammate Hayden Johnson and Lindenwood rider Bradyn Lang after a last-corner attack. In the Women’s race, KK Santos dug deep and won the race handily.

All things considered, this year’s event was a resounding success for the team and for the Midwest Cycling Conference with over 120 entries from 9 collegiate teams.

We’re already working out plans to improve it for next year so that more local non-collegiate riders have a chance to experience it.

That being said, see you next year!

-John Francisco, Race Director


Full video race highlights on our Instagram Story Highlights.

See the full results on USA Cycling.