Francisco Wins Twice, Mountain Bike Squad Shines at Marian

By Abner Miralda

The University of Louisville mountain bike squad traveled to Indianapolis to earn nine total podium finishes including two wins by James Francisco at the Mid West Collegiate Cycling Conference race weekend hosted by Marian University.

On Saturday, freshman James Francisco powered into third place in the B’s Short Track Cross Country race, earning his first result of the weekend. He went on to earn either a podium or a win in every event he entered. Fellow freshman teammate Josh Smithson crossed behind him in 4th place.

Foregoing the cyclocross scene this weekend, Kelsey Voit competed in her first collegiate mountain bike race. She used her ‘cross skills to secure 2nd place in the B’s Short Track race, the best women’s result the mountain bike team has earned to date.

Later in the day, Francisco won the Men’s B Four-Cross, a similar event to BMX racing, edging out teammate Kalem Fetters who settled for second. In the Men’s A Mark Renn was eliminated before the final round, finishing with the 5th best time of the day.

In the Men’s C, sophomore Matt Robertson, making his collegiate debut, led the final heat but crashed out, crossing the line in 4th without injury. Freshman Charlie Hamilton saved the event for the Cardinals with a 3rd place finish.

The following day in the Cross Country race, Francisco displayed his fitness once again by earning 3rd place finish in the Men’s B category through a twisty single track course that featured a steep gravel climb with a brutal 30% grade. Teammates Smithson and Abner Miralda followed thereafter finishing 6th and 7th respectively.

Voit willed her bike down the fast, flowing descents of the course into a 3rd place finish in the Women’s B while Elijah Eisert slotted into 7th in the Men’s C category.

Francisco who has become a top rider for the Cardinals this season, finished the weekend with a win in the Men’s B Downhill.

“The [course] had some awesome jumps,” he said of the rolling, pump-heavy course. “I liked how it had some riskier options.”

He beat 2nd place finisher and teammate Kalem Fetters in the Men’s B final by four seconds with a time of 1:22. The result was only two seconds slower than teammate Mark Renn who styled his way down the trail into 5th place in the Men’s A event.

In the Men’s C race, Robertson closed his weekend with a 3rd place run of 1:32, beating 4th place finisher and teammate Hamilton by a solitary second. Eisert chased soon after, earning 5th with a time of 1:48.

Francisco credited the squad for the results. “It’s a great group of people who love fun and helping out their teammates.”

The Cardinals will race next at Lindsey Wilson College on Oct. 1&2 in a Dual-Conference event with the South Eastern Collegiate Cycling Conference.

Follow Louisville Cycling and Triathlon on all Facebook, Twitter and Instagram @UofLcycling.

 

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MTB Season Begins With Two Wins, CX is Here

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​The mountain bike and cyclocross squads successfully began their respective seasons with two wins and several podium finishes

By Abner Miralda

The Mid West Collegiate Cycling Conference kicked off the 2016 mountain bike season with a weekend of cross country, downhill and short track events hosted by the University of Wisconsin- Whitewater.

Leading the way for the Cardinals, Junior Mark Renn sped through the downhill course to a third place finish in the men’s A. “I was expecting a podium,” he admitted, but said a slight cold affected his form. “It hindered my performance in the pedaling sections of a very pedally course.”

In the Men’s B downhill, Freshman James Francisco raced his way onto the top step of the podium in his first collegiate race. The Men’s C team swept the downhill podium with Sophomore Kalem Fetters on the top step, Freshman Josh Smithson in second and Sophomore Casey Thomas in 3rd.

In the B’s short track cross country, Francisco finished 5th while Smithson finished 8th. In the cross country race they finished 5th and 10th respectively.  

The C’s cross country team saw Junior Elijah Eisert will his way onto his first podium in 3rd while Thomas raced into 10th.

“It was an amazing trip,” Mark Renn said. “We all worked together as a team.” The MTB squad will compete next at Marian University in Indianapolis on Sept. 24 & 25.

The cyclocross team began its preparation for the collegiate season at the OVCX-Lexington race in Lexington, Kentucky. 

The team was led by Rikus Van Zyl with a 4th place finish in the Men’s Cat 4, while Jacob Holtgrewe finished 20th.
Kelsey Voit pushed the pack in the women’s Cat 4 and finished 3rd, tallying her first podium of the year. 

Greg Lewis, participating in his first CX race filtered through the pack into 9th place. 

The CX team will race next at OVCX-Bloomington on Sept. 18th. 

Follow UofL Cycling on Facebook, Twitter & Instagram @uoflcycling.

OVCX at IndyCycloplex

Indianapolis, IN. On Sunday November 26, team vice-president, Abner Miralda, and outreach officer, Josh Goodman, traveled to Indianapolis to race in the first official race event for University of Louisville Cycling.  The Ohio Valley Cyclocross (OVCX) race proved to be an excellent testing ground for what is to come from the team. The race was hosted by the Marian University Cycling Team at the Indianapolis Cycloplex, a venue that seats the only velodrome in the state of Indiana, the Major Taylor Velodrome which will host the 2014 Collegiate Track National Championships.

With temperatures in the teens, the morning races proved to be a difficult challenge for the day’s racers. The difficult course featured a half-frozen winding section in the prairie, and a tough run up and muddy, windy descent on the hill next to the velodrome. In only their first and second cyclocross races, both Abner and Josh had plenty of issues to deal with. The pair raced in the Collegiate Men’s C category which was combined with the Men’s Category 4/5 race at 10:30 a.m. A race reserved for inexperienced/beginning racers.

Struggling early in the race, Abner suffered a rear wheel mechanical in only the third turn of the race, forcing him to fall behind the pack and chase for much of the race. Nearing the end of the first lap, Josh showed his lack of cyclocross experience when on the back side of the frozen hill had his wheel slip on loose rocks, sending him off the course and off his bicycle, injuring both his right hand and leg.

Despite the early and major setbacks, both riders persevered and pushed through to the end of the 30-minute race. Abner clawed his way through the field of 59 entrants up to a finish of 36th overall and 1st in Collegiate C, while Josh held on to finish the race in 40th ahead of the only other Collegiate C rider, Nicholas Hartman, a member of the Indiana University Cycling team.

Another UofL student, Owen Stone, raced against Abner and Josh for VO2 Multisport and finished in 12th overall, good for 1st place in Category 5.

Congratulations to all the riders that participated!

For more information regarding the activity of the UofL Cycling Club, follow us on Twitter @UofLCycling.