UofL Cycling Wins MTB Conference Championships

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UofL Cycling capped off their best season ever this weekend at the regional championships, hosted by Marian University. Over the course of the season, the team earned 21 podium finishes (8 in the A’s), hosted a race weekend, and won the Conference Championships in the Club Division.

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James Francisco catching some air on the Short Track course.

Saturday’s races were at the Indy Cycloplex venue, with short track in the morning. The course was really fun, with a flowy descent and a mellow climb back up. Josh Smithson started the day off with an impressive 4th place finish in the Men’s B race. John Francisco followed that up with another 4th place in the Men’s A race, with James Francisco rolling in with 10th place.

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John Francisco en route to 4th in Men’s A Short Track.

The Four Cross event was that afternoon. The course was Marian’s BMX track, which has many small rollers and medium sized doubles. Josh decided to enter the Men’s B race at the last minute and pulled off a stellar silver medal finish.

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Josh Smithson warming up for the Four Cross race.

After a rainy night of camping, Josh, James, and Eric Smith took on the Cross-Country race at Southwestway Park. The course featured lots of climbs and long straightaways. Eric pulled off a 9th place finish in the Men’s A race, with James rolling in with 14th. Josh made his way around the course to earn a 6th place finish in Men’s B.

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James Francisco takes a corner on the cross country course.

That afternoon was the downhill race, with Mark Renn making his final collegiate cycling appearance. The course was very fast and smooth, with a few sendable jumps and lots of pedaling. James took the bronze medal in Men’s A field, with Mark bringing home 8th place and Eric rolling in with 12th. Charlie Hamilton had an exceptional performance in the B race, bringing home the win in a competitive field of racers.

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Mark Renn in his final collegiate mountain bike race.

The team earned enough points over the weekend to give them their first ever Conference Championship in the Club Division! Michigan Tech and University of Wisconsin- Whitewater rounded out the podium in 2nd and 3rd, respectively. In addition, Josh Smithson won the omnium for Men’s B. Overall, it was a fantastic season with a total of 21 podium appearances, 8 of which were in the A’s.

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Charlie Hamilton won the Men’s B Downhill Regional Championships.
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Lindsey Wilson Race Report

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James Francisco navigates the start of the Men’s A Short Track race

On 9/30 and 10/1, the team ventured down south to test our skills at Lindsey Wilson College.

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Josh Smithson leads up the climb in the Men’s B Short Track race

As we’ve come to expect, the short track course was among the best around. The course features a tough climb, a fun descent, and always makes for fun racing. Josh Smithson started off the day with a solid 8th place in the Men’s B race. James finished 16th in the Men’s A event against a stacked field.

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Mark Renn warming up for Dual Slalom

That afternoon, Mark Renn and Charlie Hamilton represented the team well in the Dual Slalom event. Mark finished 12th in Men’s A and Charlie finished 14th in Men’s B.

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Charlie Hamilton showing off for the crowd in the Downhill race

On Sunday, Charlie finished 9th in the Men’s B Downhill race. In the Men’s A race, Mark finished 13th closely followed by James in 16th by just 3 seconds.

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James Francisco takes the A line on the Short Track course

 

MWCCC Whitewater Race Recap

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James Francisco takes on the Men’s A short track field in Whitewater, WI

Last weekend, the team competed in the 3rd race weekend of the Mid-West Collegiate Cycling Conference mountain bike calendar in Whitewater, WI.

Saturday’s Cross Country event featured a technically challenging course and temperatures in the 90’s. Josh Smithson battled through the heat to finish 7th in the Men’s B XC race. Later in the day, James Francisco managed 15th in a very competitive Men’s A race that saw many other riders drop out due to the heat and the challenging course.

Sunday’s Short Track and Downhill races saw better temperatures than the day before. Josh Smithson earned an impressive 3rd place in the Men’s B event. In the next wave, James Francisco finished 6th in the Men’s A race.

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Charlie Hamilton en route to 1st place in Men’s C downhill

In the Downhill event,  Charlie Hamilton handily won the Men’s C race. James Francisco made in on the podium with 3rd in the Men’s A event, closely followed by Mark Renn in 5th place.

The MWCCC calendar concludes this weekend with the conference championships at Marian University.

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.

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

Downhill

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
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Charlie Hamilton sending it at Ft. Duffield
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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.

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

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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

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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.

Registration!

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

Gather the troops and register at UofLcycling.com/CardinalCup.

Journal: Why the Cardinal Cup is Different

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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 UofLcycling.com/CardinalCup.