Cardinal Cup Recap

The team had a great weekend of racing over Labor Day weekend at the Cardinal Cup. In addition to doing all the work involved with hosting a race, they also managed to bring home an impressive set of results, including 1st place overall in the team competition.

Cross Country

The Cross Country event took place at Ft. Duffield on Saturday morning. The already technical course was made more so by slippery roots and some muddy sections from rain the day before. These challenging conditions made for an intense morning of racing. In the Men’s C race, Daniel Sweet brought home 2nd place. James Francisco, Elijah Eisert, and Josh Smithson swept the podium in the Men’s B race. John Francisco and Eric Smith capped off the morning with 3rd and 4th, respectively, in the Men’s A race.

The Men’s A field tackles the steep road start to the Cross Country race
The camera was struggling to keep pace with James Francisco during the Cross Country race


The Downhill race took place Saturday afternoon, after the conclusion of the Cross Country Race. Riders navigated a slightly muddy track featuring jumps, rocks, a wall ride, and the infamous creek gap. In the Men’s C race, John Francisco narrowly edged out Charlie Hamilton for the top step of the podium. Daniel Sweet completed UofL’s podium sweep with 3rd place. UofL also swept the Men’s A race. James Francisco took the top honors, holding off gravity specialist Mark Renn in 2nd and Eric Smith in 3rd.

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Mark Renn getting sideways over the creek gap
Charlie Hamilton sending it at Ft. Duffield
UofL’s own Kalem Fetters built this custom trailer to shuttle the downhill event.

Short Track

The Short Track event took place on a technical course at Eva Bandman Park on Sunday morning. Riders were faced with wide straightaways, two optional jumps, and an off camber climb to the finish. Daniel Sweet started the day with a 2nd place in the Men’s C race. In the same wave, Alison Mundell earned 1st place in the Women’s B event. In the Men’s B race, James Francisco raced his way to 3rd against a 1-2 punch from Marian University. The Men’s A race played out similarly, with John Francisco and Ben King taking 3rd and 4th, respectively, against a duo from Marian. The team capped off the day with a win in the nail-biting team relay, with the team of Josh Smithson, Alison Mundell, and John Francisco narrowly edging out Team Louisville.

Fast company toeing the start line at Eva Bandman Park
It was all focus and no fooling around from Kelsey Voit in the Women’s Cat 3 race
Alison Mundell dropping some watts en route to UofL’s win in the team relay competition
Charlie Hamilton liked the course so much he decided to give Short Track racing a try
Charlie Hamilton checking out one of the jumps on the Short Track course
James Francisco sharing the Men’s B podium with some fast company at Eva Bandman Park

Cardinal Cup Course Report: Eva Bandman

Following a great day of racing at Ft. Duffield today, we’re busy getting things ready for tomorrow’s Short Track events at Eva Bandman Park. Due to some standing water in the low sections of the park, the existing course has been modified to keep tomorrow’s races fast and dry. There was still some light mud on a few sections as of 6 PM Friday, but we expect that to have tacked up by mid-morning on Sunday. Overall, you can expect a reasonably dry course utilizing many of this park’s great features.

With a high of 81F and sunny skies, it should be a great day of racing. If you didn’t pre-register and want to get in on the fun, day-of registration is available for all categories with only a $5 late fee.

We will also have burgers available on-site if you just want to hang out and watch the races.

See you out there tomorrow!

#CardinalCup weather and course update Mid-Day, Sept 1

Hurricane Harvey, which brought unprecedented amounts of rainfall throughout the southern region of the country, has hit the Ohio River valley. Forecasts are calling for up to 6″ of rain throughout Friday, Sept 1st.

At the time of writing, the Cardinal Cup, with its Cross Country and Downhill Courses at Ft. Duffield in West Point, Ky and Short Track races at Eva Bandman Park in the heart of Louisville, is still scheduled to operate as planned on Saturday Sept. 2-3.

This decision to race has not been taken lightly. The Student Cycling Coalition has been in contact with various parties, including the trail managers and builders, track managers at Derby City BMX (for updates regarding Derby City Nationals BMX race), MWCCC conference officials, and various conference team representatives to assess the weather, course conditions, and safety of the athletes participating.

Because Ft. Duffiled is a hilly, old, and seldom-used trail system, the soil drains exceptionally and has seen minimal wear. The Cross Country course will be in excellent shape despite the rain. The downhill course will not see any usage during the cross country races and will be rerouted as needed away from any running water.

Eva Bandman, as it’s flanked on two sides by Beargrass Creek and the Ohio River, is under the threat of some flooding. The short track course has been designed on the elevated portions of the park and will see reroutes as needed.

Onsite registration will be available both days for those interested in racing. You may see the race flyer here.

Cardinal Cup Weather Update


We have been keeping a close eye on the weather, and are excited to say that both days of racing are still on! The remnants of Hurricane Harvey will be passing through town on Friday, but should be gone by race time on Saturday.

Due to the topography of the park and the design of the trails, Saturday’s Cross Country and Downhill courses should drain well over the next 36 hours and be race worthy by the first race on Saturday. We have been in contact with the trail manager and are confident that both courses will be rideable Saturday, and that both will be able to handle the volume of race traffic we’re expecting without sustaining significant damage.  According to the latest report from the National Weather Service, rain should clear up by 8 AM on Saturday.

With a high of 79° F and sunny skies, Sunday should be a beautiful day for the Short Track and Team Relay events at Eva Bandman Park. The course should be fast and dry, and Friday’s rain will have eliminated the dusty conditions we’ve had there the past few weeks.

If you missed pre-registration and still want to race, you can register on-site each day for only $5 more. Hope to see you out there!

I forgot to Pre-Reg but I want to race. What do I do?

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You’re in luck pal.

Pre-registration ended for the Cardinal Cup at Midnight last night, but if you still want to race mountain bikes, we won’t turn you away.

Here’s what we can do for you if you decide to race last minute.

One-Day Licenses

USA Cycling really likes mountain bikers. Because of this, they allow Cat 3 and Cat 2 riders purchase one-day licenses. This makes it easy for recreational mountain bikers to do a race without the commitment of buying an annual license. They cost $10 at registration. We take cash or card.

Annual Licenses

Are you a Cat 1 racer? Do you love USAC? Didn’t update your license before pre-reg? Don’t worry, we’ll have those on the spot too. They start at $35 for juniors, $45 for collegiate, and $70 for domestic riders.

Day-Of Registration

Day-Of Registration will be available for every event. Before participating, individuals must have an active day-of license or annual license– because liability!

Collegiate/Relay: $20/$40

Domestic XC: $35

Domestic DH: $25

Domestic STXC/Relay: $30/$45

As always, we accept cash or credit and we’re looking forward to hosting you folks this weekend!

See the race flyer here.

Course Updates and Pre-Reg Info for Cardinal Cup


It’s that time of the week! We’re into the single digits of the countdown and we’re dotting the i’s and crossing the t’s.

Course Changes

If you’ve ever raced at Ft. Duffield during the Kentucky Points Series races, get ready, because we’ve changed up the cross country course. It’s a shorter loop now, and it travels around the periphery of the fort, meaning the essence of the course is still there, just without the rocky, rooty downhill sections that will be part of the downhill course. Because the laps are shorter, you’ll do more of them, which is more fun. It’s still challenging and has everything you’ve imagined when we say “Ft. Duffield.”

The Downhill Course is cleaaan! The lips on jumps have been retouched for maximum radness, the wall ride has been hammered clean, and the berms reinvigorated. It should make for fast, pinned back racing that rewards riders that can blend power, fitness, and skill perfectly.


Closes on Midnight on Wednesday Aug 30th! Get in there before the prices rise.

Gather the troops and register at

Journal: Why the Cardinal Cup is Different


As I drove Comm. Car 2 around Cherokee Park at 45 mph during the USA Cycling Amateur Road National Championships, I got to talk with the official in the passenger’s seat. I told him that while I was in college I had been a part of a collegiate club and currently volunteer my time as a race director for the UofL team. The official responded with, “I LOVE collegiate cycling!”

He went on to explain, “It’s because even though someone may be lapped and totally out of contention, they keep on racing as hard as they can. They don’t quit. It’s because they aren’t racing for themselves, they’re racing for their team. And even if they finish last in their race, they may have earned points for their team, and that’s all that matters.”

That’s a life lesson in itself, but I’ll  spare you its depth– the Cardinal Cup copies the Collegiate model of Team Racing and applies it to non-collegiate racers. It’s all for the team, and we want to ensure that community, camaraderie, and teamwork remains intact and provides an experience we haven’t been a part of for years in the Ohio River Valley.

The Cardinal Cup rewards deep teams. Those that have a collection of beginners, intermediate, and advanced riders. The variety of events in the Cardinal Cup will result in people trying out new disciplines they otherwise wouldn’t go out of their way to do.

We hope that this model of racing will result in more fun, strategic, and passionate racing from top to bottom. If this first run is successful, we’d love to have you along the ride for many more years to come and help make cycling a more inclusive sport for all levels.

View the flyer with team rules and register for the Cardinal Cup at


Course Prep for Inaugural Cardinal Cup

The team had a busy weekend, putting in two days of trail maintenance at Ft. Duffield and Eva Bandman Park ahead of the inaugural Cardinal Cup on September 2nd and 3rd. The downhill course at Ft. Duffield received repairs to numerous lips and berms, in addition to reinforcements to steep banks and modifications to rock gardens.

“It is always great to be able to maintain and improve the trails we use,” said Elijah Eisert. Eisert spent the summer building trails and teaching mountain biking in Colorado, and is aiming to qualify for Cross Country Nationals in Missoula, MT this October.

Construction of a jump on the downhill course at Ft. Duffield

“We were able to put together a course that will be both challenging and fun for experienced gravity riders, and still safely rideable for beginners,” said John Francisco, team president and one of the event’s promoters. The course makes use of a wide variety of jumps, berms, rock gardens, and a wall ride, while still having safer and slower ride-arounds for each obstacle.

The team also did work at Eva Bandman Park to repair features for the Short Track and Team Relay events. This course has been designed to promote exciting, high speed racing while also utilizing some of the park’s technical features. Features include wide grassy sections for easy passing, a few punchy climbs, a mix of wide and tight corners, two optional jumps, and an off-camber climb to the pavement finish.

The Cardinal Cup will be on September 2nd and 3rd, with Cross Country and Downhill events Saturday, 9/2 at Ft. Duffield, and Short Track and Team Relay events Sunday at Eva Bandman Park. Registration and more info at

Weather Update for #CardinalCrit

The leadership of the Student Cycling Coalition has kept a close eye on the weather for this weekend’s Cardinal Criterium. USA Cycling, Louisville Metro Parks, conference officials and the IN/KY Cycling Association have all concluded the weather will not affect the Cardinal Criterium on March 11 and 12.

Weather reports have changed nearly hourly, but as the weekend draws nearer, the forecast continues to predict progressively safer temperatures and a lower chance of precipitation. At the time of writing, the National Weather Service reported a 30% chance of precipitation.

Registration for the Cardinal Criterium is open and can be found at It closes at Midnight on Wednesday.

5 Reasons Why You Should be at the #CardinalCrit

At face value, the #CardinalCrit is just a bike race, but if you look deeper, you’ll find much much more. 

Here’s why you should either race or show to support at the Cardinal Criterium on March 11 & 12.

The First Race of the Season

It’s the kickoff. The opener. The big one. Chances are, the Cardinal Crit is the first road race anyone in Louisville has done in 2017 which means there are always fireworks. Dark horses can win, favorites crumble and it’s all done in the name of improvement. A win here is no small feat– it can be a harbinger for future success, but losing here isn’t as disappointing as it is in the summer. 

The Who’s Who of Louisville

This race has changed names over the years, but two things have remained constant: the weekend of the event and the course. It’s a community staple and everyone knows it. That’s why the fields are so big and the community comes out to be a part of it. You’ll see all the local teams: Team Louisville, Texas Roadhouse, Clarksville Schwinn and VO2 Multisport among others. Be here and you’ll get connected. 

Bike Bling

Did we mention it’s the first race of the year? This means riders are rolling out with brand new bikes, sponsors, kits and rosters. It’s so cool to see and be seen with all the glitz and glamour of new Lycra. GCN needs to stop by and do bike checks. 

Fun Atmosphere 

The #CardinalCrit isn’t quite the #SSCXWC’s but it’s a fun mixture of young and experienced cyclists. The regional reach is big, so you meet lots of folks. Oh, and did we mention the playlist received the most Kudo’s out of any race I was at in 2016? Get ready for another fire mixtape.

$15 double-ups

Was one race not enough? Did you win? Or just training for the summer? We’re not going to break your bank. We understand you’re working toward peak fitness and want to help you. That’s why we offer $15 re-entries– as long as there’s room for you in the next race. 

Convinced? Pre-register for the Cardinal Crit at