2016 in Review: UofL Cycling 12th in MWCCC Road Season

The 2016 Mid West Collegiate Cycling Conference road season was historic in some ways. It saw the addition of a new event, inclement weather and was the final season with divisional rankings that mixed varsity and club teams alike.  At the conclusion of the Conference Championships hosted by Purdue University, UofL cycling finished 12th of 16 teams in Div. I.

The third road season for the Cardinals featured a modest haul of results, but a key shift in participation from previous years. Four women raced for UofL and two men raced in the A category, the highest participation figures since the team’s founding. The team saw contributions from ten different athletes in four different categories, once again the most diverse group since the team’s founding.

Another point of growth for UofL Cycling is the Cardinal Criterium, the first race ever hosted by a cycling club out of the University of Louisville.

Relive each of the Cardinals’ races in the 2016 MWCCC road season:

Cardinal Criterium– March 12

The first-ever race hosted by the University of Louisville was held at Long Run Park. The race, a successful first event, drew some of the largest collegiate fields of the season.

John Francisco led the Cardinals in his only appearance of the season, finishing 12th in the Men’s A race. Ben King came in 33rd to begin his season-long ascent in the conference.

Rikus Van Zyl finished 6th in the men’s C while Evan Cruson finished 16th.

In the Men’s D, triathlon crossovers Nick Reader and Erik Seibt finished 13th and 22nd while Greg Lewis finished 52nd.

Representing UofL in the Women’s B/C field were Emma Coakley in 24th, Irina Miralda in 26th and Caroline DuPlessis, who after a mechanical was unable to finish.

Lindsey Wilson College Road RaceMarch 19 & 20

In the Women’s B race, Caroline DuPlessis and Kelsey Voit crossed the line together in 18th and 19th after completing the 25-mile wind swept course.

In the Men’s C, Rikus Van Zyl cleaned up a group sprint for 5th after a four man break attacked on the final climb. Jacob Holtgrewe ushered Van Zyl up the climb and settled in for 19th while Abner Miralda finished 26th.

Michigan State Strade Marrone & University of Michigan Criterium – April 2 & 3

A race weekend for tough athletes, it featured dirt roads, and sub-freezing temperatures accompanied by snow and sleet.

In the Individual Time Trials, Abner Miralda earned 4th place in the Men’s C category while Greg Lewis finished 7th in the Men’s D event.

The road race saw Miralda finish 12th and Lewis 28th in their respective categories.

Lewis went on to finish 21st in the D criterium while Miralda earned 9th in the Men’s C.

Notre Dame Cycling Classic – April 9 & 10

Cancelled due to heavy snow!

Lindenwood Road Extravaganza – April 16 & 17

The hilliest parcours in the MWCCC saw Ben King rise to 18th in the Men’s A race while Rikus Van Zyl rode to 7th in the Men’s C, followed by Jacob Holtgrewe in 13th.

The downtown criterium in St. Charles, MO featured a sharp turn with a long stretch of cobbles. King finished 17th in the A’s while Van Zyl raced to 9th and Holtgrewe to 25th in the Men’s C.

Purdue MWCCC Championships – April 23 & 24

In the Men’s D road race Greg Lewis finished 33rd while Rikus Van Zyl earned his best placement of the year with 4th place in the C’s. Kelsey Voit anchored the women with an 11th place in the B’s. Ben King finished 16th in the Men A’s.

In the criterium Ben King finished 32nd.

Hind sight is 20/20 and although the Cardinals failed to best 2015’s 6th place finish in Div. I with a 12th place finish, the group’s progress in diversifying and growing is promising as USA Cycling has split collegiate cycling from its past of school-size sanctioning. Starting in mid 2016, USAC moved to Varsity and Club divisions stacking up similarly resourced teams against one another.

The new alignment helps club programs, like the University of Louisville Student Cycling Coalition, stand on their own and out of the shadow of larger, better funded varsity programs.

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2016 in Review: Ben King TT’s at Road Nationals

The 2016 USA Cycling Amateur Road Nationals were in Louisville on June 30-July 1 and fittingly, the home team was represented by Ben King at the Men’s Open Time Trial.

The 34k time trial course in Taylorsville, Ky featured two gradual slopes. The first, a right hand turn onto Overlook Road with an out-and-back turn and a final ascent up little Mt. Road with a turnaround leading straight downhill to the finish line.

“I had a good pace on the uphill,” said King. “There was a little head wind on the descend so you still had to work.”

King finished the Time Trial in 64th place with a time of 50:58.68.

“It was cool to race a national championship here in Louisville,” said King.

Throughout the spring collegiate season he contributed to UofL Cycling as one of the team’s only two Category A riders, earning the squad’s best result- a 16th place finish- at the Mid-West Collegiate Cycling Conference (MWCCC) Championship hosted by Purdue University.

The 2017 USA Cycling Amateur Road National Championship will be hosted once again by Louisville from June 29th to July 2, 2017.

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Cards Finish 2016 Road Season

This year’s Mid-West Collegiate Cycling Conference (MWCCC) road season came to a close in West Lafayette, Ind. Strong performances at Lindenwood last week and solid finishes this week helped UofL stay afloat in the conference rankings.

Ben Fast
Ben King at the Lindenwood Criterium in downtown St. Charles, Mo.

By Abner Miralda

Last week, the hilly Lindenwood road parcours outside St. Louis, Mo. whittled every field to select groups. Ben King rode to 18th in the Men’s A in a race that saw nearly half the field DNF. Rikus Van Zyl and Jacob Holtgrewe finished 7th and 13th in the Men’s C while Greg Lewis wrapped up the day with 25th in the Men’s D.

The three-corner, partially cobbled criterium in downtown St. Charles, Mo. saw King finish 17th in the A’s, with Van Zyl and Holtgrewe finishing 9th and 25th respectively. Lewis finished 22nd in the D’s.

At the conference championships hosted by Purdue University, the mostly flat road race with an uphill finish saw Ben King finish 16th in the A event. Rikus Van Zyl headlined with an attempt to win with a solo breakaway, ultimately getting caught to finish 4th in the Men’s C. Kelsey Voit rode hard in the Women’s B, just missing the top ten with 11th. Greg Lewis finished 33rd in the Men’s D.

In the criterium, Kelsey Voit finished 16th in the Women’s B, while Ben King finished 32nd in the Men’s A.

Also racing this weekend was John Francisco who participated in the SECCC Championship hosted by Clemson University, finishing 15th in the criterium.

This weekend marks the conclusion of the 2016 season. UofL attended every race on the calendar and only lacked Men’s B and Women’s A riders. The efforts earned the Cardinals a 12th place finish of 17 Div I teams in the MWCCC, 16th of 34 overall. To see the full table click here.

The development of the team continues into the fall for the MWCCC mountain bike season.

UofL Cycling and Triathlon competes simultaneously in 3 cities, earns 3 wins.

By Abner Miralda

Louisville, Ky. — UofL Cycling and UofL Triathlon have historic weekend, earning three wins, two podiums, and two top-10 finishes simultaneously. Mark Renn earned wins in the Down Hill and Four-Cross disciplines in St. Louis, Mo. while Rikus Van Zyl rode to the top spot in a cyclocross race in Cincinnati, Oh. UofL Triathlon earned two top-10 finishes in Dayton, Oh.

Mark Renn opened up the MWCCC collegiate mountain bike season with dominating wins in the B class downhill and dual slalom events hosted by Lindenwood University. Renn’s downhill time of 2:52 would have placed him in 4th in the A class, a handful of seconds outside the podium. Renn is trying to become the first Cardinal to qualify and compete in the USA Cycling collegiate MTB nationals. To see the full MTB results, click Here.

In Dayton, UofL Triathlon competed in the University of Dayton Sprint Triathlon. Mike Baird led the Cardinals with a 4th place finish, gaining time on his opponents with the fastest transitions in the top-5 finishers. Newly added athlete Nick Reader sprung ahead into 6th place overall with the second-fastest run of the day, averaging 5:29/mile. Emma Coakley continues to outswim the competition, finishing the first leg 1st in the women and 4th overall. She went on to finish 10th in the women’s field. Evan Cruson and Sam Dugan finished their first triathlons for UofL Triathlon 24th and 29th respectively with breakthrough bike legs. To see full Triathlon results, click Here.

The UofL Cycling cyclocross initiative hit the season opener in Cincinnati successfully with Rikus Van Zyl winning the Cat 5 race while Jacob Holtgrewe rounded out the podium in 3rd. John Francisco finished 3rd in the Elite/1/2 race while equipment troubles dropped Ben King to 49th in the same race.  To see the full results of Harbin Park, click Here.

This is the first time the SCC has been split into three races in three disciplines.

UofL Cycling and Triathlon are supported by Raising Cane’s Chicken Fingers

Members of UofL Triathlon after finishing the Dayton Sprint Triathlon.
Members of UofL Triathlon after finishing the Dayton Sprint Triathlon.
Rikus Van Zyl rides through sand in Harbin Park.
Rikus Van Zyl rides through sand in Harbin Park.
Mark Renn in his jersey.
Mark Renn

Team Time Trial 2nd, 9 Top-10 Finishes for Cards in opening Collegiate Race Weekend

Columbia, Ky.— Amid a weekend full of crashes and heartbreak for the Lindsey Wilson College cycling team, UofL’s Mens’ D Team Time Trial team earns second place, while several riders go on to contest top ten finishes in the inaugural Mid-West Collegiate Cycling Conference race weekend hosted by Lindsey Wilson College on March 21st and 22nd.

The Men’s D team set the pace for 2015 by earning second place in the first Team Time Trial event of the season. Evan Cruson, Rikus Van Zyl, Erik Seibt, and Josh Goodman crossed the line with a time of 14:27 on the hilly 12km course. They were edged out by the four-man team from the University of Chicago by 5 seconds.

The D men continued riding strongly, placing three riders in the top 10 in the Criterium. Rikus Van Zyl sprinted to 5th, barely riding past his lead-out man Evan Cruson who came in 6th. Josh Goodman crossed the finish line in tenth place ahead of teammate Erik Seibt in 12th place. Jordan Morris, riding in his first ever race rolled in at 44th. The team controlled the 50-man field effectively, but in the end a small breakaway swept the podium. The following day, Van Zyl missed the podium in the road race, finishing in 4th place after chasing a breakaway for most of the day. When the peloton rolled into the final meters, the D team surged ahead with Erik Seibt for 6th, Evan Kuhl for 10th, Jacob Holtgrewe for 12th, and Josh Goodman at 17th in the 50-man field.

In the Men’s B Criterium, Ben King rode into a 4th place finish, barely missing out on the podium during a bunch sprint. Jason Eisenmenger worked tirelessly for King and rode into a 21st place in the 33-man field. King later missed the podium again in the road race, finishing in 4th, while Eisenmenger improved his results with a 13th place finish in the 35-man field.

Despite riding without any teammates in the Men’s A criterium, John Francisco raced smartly into a 25th place finish out of 67. The next day he rode aggressively during the road race, making the 25-man selection into the final downhill sprint. The race officials limited it to a single lane, and Francisco was boxed out of the final push. He rode into a 12th place finish in the 69-man Men’s A road race.

Fourth year medical student Evan Kuhl was all smiles after the event was over, “This weekend showed how far we’ve come from last year.”

Despite the great results the SCC had, however, the overall weekend was marred when a crash in the Women’s A road race took out several riders. Many suffered minor injuries and several had broken bones but Hannah Hayduk, a senior student athlete from Lindsey Wilson sustained potentially life-threatening injuries. The future medical student was airlifted to UofL Hospital with severe head trauma and several other serious injuries. The UofL Student Cycling Coalition has reached out to Lindsey Wilson College athletes and family and will be providing host housing to Hannah’s visitors when she is moved out of the Intensive Care Unit. Lindsey Wilson cycling coach, Charles Mooney, posted on the team’s Facebook page, “She is in critical, but stable condition. They are monitoring her constantly and she is surrounded by great doctors.” To send a letter supporting Hayduk’s recovery, the address is listed below.

attn.: ‪#‎pray4hannah 210 Lindsey Wilson St. Columbia Ky. 42728

The SCC is currently ranked 7th in Div. 1, 9th overall in the MWCCC. The team is in full preparation for the next collegiate race weekend hosted by the University Michigan and Michigan State University on March 28th and 29th.

Evan Cruson leads the Men's D Criterium.
Evan Cruson leads the Men’s D Criterium.
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What place did you get in the Road Race and Criterium, Ben?
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Jason Eisenmenger in the Criterium
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Men’s D field in the Criterium lines up at the line. 

UofL SCC Full Results from Lindsey Wilson College

Team Time Trial

Men D 2nd of 8

Criterium

John Francisco 25th Men’s A of 67

Ben King 4th Men’s B

Jason Eisenmenger 21st Men’s B of 33

Rikus Van Zyl 5th Men’s D

Evan Cruson 6th Men’s D

Josh Goodman 10th Men’s D

Erik Seibt 12th   Men’s D

Jordan Morris 44th Men’s D of 51

Road Race

John Francisco Men A 12th of 69

Ben King 4th Men B

Jason Eisenmenger 13th Men B of 35

Rikus Van Zyl 4th Men’s D

Erik Seibt 6th Men’s D

Evan Kuhl 10th Men’s D

Jacob Holtgrewe 12th Men’s D

Josh Goodman 17th Men’s D

Evan Cruson and Jordan Morris DNF Men’s D of 50

Written by Abner Miralda

UofL Cycling Named Largest New Team in the Country

Louisville, Ky– The University of Louisville Student Cycling Coalition recently became the largest new team in the country with 17 licensed riders. As a reward for becoming the largest team, the SCC received a product sponsorship from American-based nutrition company, Bonk Breaker, an official sponsor of USA Cycling.  

Founded in 2005, Bonk Breaker is an American sports nutrition company that specializes in all-natural, gluten and dairy free energy and protein bars.
Founded in 2005, Bonk Breaker is an American sports nutrition company that specializes in all-natural, gluten and dairy free energy and protein bars.

USA Cycling asked current team president Abner Miralda how it all unfolded, and what the future of the team looks like. Here’s his response:

What instigated the formation of the team? Who was behind it and what did it take to make it happen?

The team was formed when Josh Goodman approached me about wanting to do a cyclocross race at Purdue University in the fall of 2013. At the time, Josh was fresh off his first ever bike race– a last place finish in the Cat. 5 race at the Derby City Cup—and I had never done a bicycle race before, didn’t own a ‘cross bike, and had no clue collegiate cycling even existed.

To our disappointment, we needed to be a part of a collegiate team to participate, so we were forced to sit out of that race.

We approached Andrew Tursic, the then-president of the Student Cycling Coalition at the University, and asked him if he was willing to work with us to create a team. He said exactly what we were all thinking, “Why not?”

Sure, we had no idea what we were doing, but we went on with the USAC paperwork (super easy) and dutifully drove 2 hours to Indianapolis the next week to race in the Cat. 5 cyclocross race on one-day licenses with plain red jerseys and borrowed bikes. We inevitably crashed and got heckled, but we hopped back on the bike and haven’t looked back since!

Ben King is a Bio-Engineering Ph.D. candidate. Photo: Kent Baumgardt
Ben King is a Bio-Engineering Ph.D. candidate. Photo: Kent Baumgardt

What is your membership like (Male/female, mtb/road, beginner/advanced, etc.)? 

Our membership is best described as “beginner” regardless of discipline. Only one rider had raced road before when we rolled up to the start line at Lindsey Wilson College’s Road Race. Only one rider had raced mountain bikes before when we travelled to Lindsey Wilson’s Mountain Bike Race, and all but two advanced riders are on their first full season of cyclocross. Bikes are cool, because they have brought together men and women from several areas of the university ranging from undergrad, to medical and dental students, and even engineering PhD’s!

What advice would you give to other teams for growing their membership? How did you grow the team so quickly?

Recruiting is a numbers game, so the more people with bicycles your members talk to, the higher chance you have of convincing them to go on a bike ride with you. Being friendly and relaxed is key, but dropping them on the flats is a bad strategy (I learned that the hard way).

We waged guerilla warfare on the broken bikes on campus, setting up a tent where bike traffic is high, and fixed bikes for free, registered them with campus police, and told people about our weekly, beginner friendly ride, #SlowRollMonday.

We also looked for business sponsors because the University does not give us any financial aid. We set up as a non-profit organization, and used the funds to pay for race entry fees to sweeten up the idea of going to a race for beginners. We wrote a detailed cover letter/sponsorship packet, and set out looking for sponsors. We were chewed out by a few University of Kentucky alums/fans (bad blood runs deep here) and businesses who did not believe in cycling, but we took it in stride, made several more phone calls, and earned some desperately needed dollars for the team elsewhere.

What do you see for the future of the team? How can you make this growth sustainable? 

John Francisco is a former Red Zone Elite junior and raced in Europe as part of the EuroCross Camp before attending UofL. Photo:Kent Baumgardt
John Francisco is a former Red Zone Elite junior and raced in Europe as part of the EuroCross Camp before attending UofL. Photo:Kent Baumgardt

In 2015, we will try a new, dual strategy for recruitment. There’s something in the water in Louisville, so there are large amounts of junior talent that we can actively recruit much like a varsity team. We learned this year it’s very difficult to convince college students to join a club to race bicycles, so the junior recruitment will grow the number of fast riders from the bottom-up.

In order to get more college students involved with the club, we will start a triathlon team to compete in the USATriathlon Mid-East Collegiate Triathlon Conference. There are lots of former high school cross-country runners and swimmers, so triathlons are an excellent way to put those talented endurance athletes on bikes.

The growth of the team would not have been possible without the help of multiple factors. Our sponsors Evergreen Rehabilitation, Raising Cane’s, Middletown Cycling and Fitness, Sommerville Sports, and BarryS Coaching believed in us when no one else did. Social Media, word of mouth, and our website UofLcycling.com, were unbelievably effective in spreading the word in a low cost way.

Cycling is fun, and even though starting/running a team can be stressful at times, it is an unbelievably rewarding experience.

Best,

Abner Miralda

SCC President

Editor’s note: since this article was written, the SCC has begun offering coaching scholarships to triathletes and cyclists with USATriathlon certified coach Barry Stokes and Red Zone Elite Cycling coach Joe Collins. VO2 Multisport has been added as a sponsor.

Then-SCC Membership Coordinator Joseph Wheatley- gave a thumbs up at a recruiting fair in January 2014.
Then-SCC Membership Coordinator Joseph Wheatley- gave a thumbs up at a recruiting fair in January 2014.
Evan Kuhl, Andrew Tursic, and Erik Seibt wait for the whistle before the TTT hosted by Lindsey Wilson College on Feb. 22, 2014. This was the first time any of the three riders pictured had raced before.
Evan Kuhl, Andrew Tursic, and Erik Seibt wait for the whistle before the TTT hosted by Lindsey Wilson College on Feb. 22, 2014. This was the first time any of the three riders pictured had raced before and raced in temporary jerseys.
Mark Renn was the only mountain biker that had ever raced mountain bikes before. He went on to finish as the Men's B conference champion in the Downhill and Dual Slalom events.
Mark Renn was the only mountain biker that had ever raced mountain bikes before. He went on to finish as the Men’s B conference champion in the Downhill and Dual Slalom events.
On-campus free bicycle repair!
On-campus free bicycle repair!
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The uniforms of the SCC for 2014-2015.

Francisco Leads Cards with 6th place finish in Conference Championships

Indianapolis, IN- The Student Cycling Coalition had 8 different riders compete in 4 different events in the Mid-West Collegiate Cycling Conference (MWCCC) Championship race. John Francisco led the Cards with a 6th place finish in the Men’s A field of 32 riders.

The collegiate classes were combined with the general category fields of the Ohio Valley Cyclocross series race hosted by Marian University at the Indy Cycloplex and Major Taylor Velodrome.

Rain throughout the week made riding the already challenging course a muddy travesty. The 1.8 mile loop featured two main sections. The first featured a slick climb up the velodrome hill, a winding off-camber descent, and a long run up the back of the hill with several tacky sweeping turns. A steep descent unloaded the riders to the second part of the course, a flat winding path through an open field with soppy, standing mud and water.

John Francisco led the Cards with a 6th place finish in the A class, which had been combined with the Men’s elite race. Ben King was the other Men’s A rider, finishing 12th.

In the B race, also combined with the Elite field, Abner Miralda finished 7th.

The men’s elite field had difficulty keeping up with the blistering pace Marian and Lindenwood riders Andrew Dillman and Luke Haley set. Both are Louisville natives.

The Cards had four riders in the Men’s C field, Ryson Walden, Jason Eisen, Josh Goodman, and Jacob Holtgrewe, finishing 6,7,8,9 respectively. The race was Walden’s and Holtgrewe’s first experience racing cyclocross, and Eisen’s first for UofL.

In the Women’s B field, Ariel Reed competed in her first ever bicycle race, finishing in 15th place in the Women’s A&B field.

The Student Cycling Coalition is now in preparation for the Spring Road cycling season, that schedule is yet to be determined.

Follow the SCC on Facebook or on Twitter @UofLcycling!

Jason Eisen rides an off camber section at the Indy Cycloplex on Dec. 7th. Photo: Kent Baungardt
Jason Eisen rides an off camber section at the Indy Cycloplex on Dec. 7th. Photo: Kent Baungardt
Ben King shoulders his bike up the long, steep run-up. Photo: Kent Baumgardt
Ben King shoulders his bike up the long, steep run-up. Photo: Kent Baumgardt
Sticky mud everywhere!
Sticky mud everywhere!
Ariel Reed and Josh Goodman in line to power wash her bike. Photo: Ben King
Ariel Reed and Josh Goodman in line to power wash her bike.
Photo: Ben King
John Francisco rides his 'fresh' pit bike. Photo:Kent Baumgardt
John Francisco rides his ‘fresh’ pit bike. Photo:Kent Baumgardt
Men's C participants Ryson Walden, Josh Goodman, Jason Eisen, and Jacob Holtgrewe pose in front of Velodrome Hill after their race. Photo: Ben King
Men’s C participants Ryson Walden, Josh Goodman, Jason Eisen, and Jacob Holtgrewe pose in front of Velodrome Hill after their race. Photo: Ben King