A “Day On” for MLK Day

Louisville Cycling and Triathlon does more than just ride bikes.  We are dedicated not only to creating a bigger and better cycling community, but also to giving back to the Louisville community as a whole.

Several of our members spent their day off from classes as a day in memory of Martin Luther King Jr. and all that he stood for as part of UofL’s 8th Annual MLK Day of Service.

Team members Kelsey Voit, Jacob Holtgrewe, and Alison Mundell worked with the Shelby Park Neighborhood Association to pick up trash around the neighborhood.  They worked with several dedicated community members to tidy up the streets, with neighbors joining in to help and passersby thanking the group for their service.  

“It was really cool,” said Kelsey, “to see neighbors coming out of their homes to lend a hand or give us an extra trash bag.  We even saw next door neighbors make new connections through this day of service.”  

The work performed today by our team members, the Shelby Park Neighborhood Association, and all of the UofL students who participated in the event no doubt contributed to the creation of a stronger, more unified Louisville community.  What better way to commemorate Dr. King’s life work than through these positive impacts on our community?


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.

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.

SCC elects Jacob Holtgrewe President for 2016, Caroline DuPlessis becomes Women’s Coordinator

Louisville, Ky. – The SCC held its annual leadership elections on Nov. 23, electing Jacob Holtgrewe as President. A new position for 2016, Women’s Coordinator, was filled by Caroline Duplessis. The remaining positions were filled evenly with incumbents and newcomers.

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By Abner Miralda

“[I’m] honored to be the new president-elect,” announced Holtgrewe when the results were unveiled to the team. The current Sophomore Biology student has been part of the organization since the beginning of his freshman year in 2014. Holtgrewe was a stand-out soccer and track athlete out of Paducah Tilghman High School and has bicycle industry experience from his time as a bike shop employee in Paducah, Ky.

Holtgrewe’s main area of focus for 2016 will be recruiting new members given collegiate cycling clubs are heavy with members close to graduation. “We need to find sustainable growth,” said Holtgrewe, “so we can remain a team.”

Another point for Holtgrewe will be to boost the budget to allocate for more programs such as the new Women’s Coordinator position that will be headed up by Caroline DuPlessis. “We need to create sustainable fundraising so we have the budget to do the things we want,” said Holtgrewe, adding, “I’d like to keep going in the direction we have been.”

The Women’s Coordinator position was created to empower women and create a more diverse team-makeup. Caroline DuPlessis is a Junior Nursing student, a member of the UofL Army Reserve Officer Training Corps and is primarily a triathlete. DuPlessis joined the SCC in 2015, competing in her first collegiate bicycle race in April and her first collegiate triathlon in September.

Evan Cruson returns as Triathlon Coordinator responsible for triathlete development, while Rikus Van Zyl becomes the head of the treasury as the Controller. Van Zyl is a Computer Engineering master’s student who has raced Road, Triathlon, and Cyclocross for the SCC and is well versed with the financial responsibilities of race-day logistics.

Irina Miralda becomes the Uniform Coordinator for the second year in a row, having designed the UofL Cycling and Triathlon team wear for 2016.

Abner Miralda remains the head of the marketing efforts of the organization, having stepped down from the President role of the previous two years, while being elected Vice President alongside John Francisco.

Francisco returns as the Cycling Coordinator, having developed the MWCCC’s sixth-placed road team, and a Cyclocross team that dominated the MWCCC Cyclocross Conference Championship and shook up the OVCX Series this fall. Francisco will be aided by Coy Phillips and Mark Renn.

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

UofL Triathlon inspires new generation of athletes at the University of Louisville

“I’m addicted to triathlons now!” said Jacob Holtgrewe with a bright, wide smile. “My favorite thing is being able to do three different activities all in one competition. I got to take advantage of different skills and put them together.” In his first ever triathlon, a sprint distance triathlon in Shelbyville, Ky., Holtgrewe finished second in his ‘18-25 men’ age group.

What makes Holtgrewe special? He is 19 years old, a number that defies a dominant trend of the sport of triathlon: in 2013, of all athletes that entered a race in the United States, 65% were between the ages of 30 and 49. Only 7% of the total athletes in the sport were under 25 years old.

Holtgrewe, along with several other students at the University of Louisville, are part of the Student Cycling Coalition, the parent organization of UofL Cycling, which was formed last year, and UofL Triathlon, which was formed this winter. Josh Goodman, a cyclist and founding member of the Student Cycling Coalition says, “Triathlon is an important part of our organization. It has a broader appeal than just cycling, so it can help bring in a much more diverse group of athletes.” Enter Holtgrewe.

Like many other freshmen, Holtgrewe looked for a way to get involved. A former soccer player, he looked for ways to stay physically active. He met Evan Cruson, the head of UofL Triathlon and Vice-President of the Student Cycling Coalition, through a personal connection and was quickly recruited to try out the new sport. “I just learned how to swim in January,” said Holtgrewe with a laugh. He was taught to swim by Cruson with the end goal of competing in the Shelbyville Triathlon. “I would not have been able to do it without my teammates who trained with me and taught me about swimming, biking, and running.”

However, Holtgrewe is not alone in the growth and expanding youth of the organization. Mike Baird, a 21 year-old junior at the university and experienced triathlete, transferred to UofL from Union College in Kentucky and began competing for the club, earning the overall win at the same triathlon. In an earlier race this year, Audrey Duke and Nicole Knapp went 2nd and 3rd in the women’s 18-25 category.

In a recent interview, Goodman said he isn’t necessarily concerned about youth, but about equality. “I would say triathlon helps increase female participation. For some reason a stigma exists that women don’t race bikes, but they like to do triathlons.” Goodman is right, the Olympic cycling development organization, USA Cycling, reported in its annual survey that only 15% of bike racers are women. This figure pales in comparison to the USA Triathlon figure of 40% female triathlon participation.

Adding triathlon has helped even out participation in the Student Cycling Coalition. In 2014, its inaugural year, the SCC had no female athletes, and a roster of 20 members that participated in three cycling-only disciplines: road, mountain, and cyclocross. When triathlon was added, UofL Triathlon brought in 20 members of its own, boosting the general membership to 44 members, including 12 women. According to USA Cycling and USA Triathlon, the members of collegiate cycling and triathlon clubs must be full-time status students as dictated by the institution. At UofL, graduate students performing research and any undergraduate with at least 12 credit hours stands as full-time. Goodman was ecstatic when he saw the Student Cycling Coalition grow, saying, “I’m excited that triathlon is branching the organization out more and getting more people on bikes!”

As far as race experience, UofL Triathlon has yet to truly test its race legs. The team will begin collegiate competition in the USA Triathlon sponsored Mid-East Collegiate Triathlon Conference, also known as MECTC, in the fall. It includes any collegiate team in Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, and now, Kentucky. In the official announcement of UofL Triathlon in the organization’s website, UofLcycling.com, the team points out it is the only registered collegiate triathlon team in the state of Kentucky. “It is a new way to put UofL on the map,” says cycling coordinator John Francisco.

Members of the organization are responsible for buying their training and race equipment, such as bikes, helmets, and shoes. “The barrier of entry to cycling and triathlon is pretty high, given how expensive the equipment can get,” says Francisco. “That is why we have a partner bike shop and industry sponsors that offer discounts to the team members.” However, going beyond personal equipment, funding for the organization comes from local business sponsors such as the Louisville-based care company, Evergreen Rehabilitation, to pay for races and racing expenses. “Racing can be expensive,” says Francisco. Collegiate cycling races cost $15 per entry, and triathlons cost $35, figures much cheaper than the average prices of $35 and $100 respectively for age-group races like the Shelbyville Triathlon that Holtgrewe entered. Then add travel expenses and expansive collegiate race seasons of 8 events in 4 disciplines each, and funding the hobby becomes daunting for a college student. In return for their investments in the team, sponsors get logos placed on the team jerseys.

When asked about how he recruits members for the team, Josh Goodman said, “I look for any person that is interested in getting fit, working hard, and being a good teammate. With those qualities, the possibilities are endless for what they and this team can accomplish.” Cruson put it just as eloquently, saying, “When recruiting, I look for anyone with a pulse. The brilliance of the sport is that it is for anyone.”

To find out more about the SCC, follow us on Twitter and Like us on Facebook. To learn how to become a member, fill out an interest form.

Written by Abner Miralda

Jacob Holtgrewe in the Shelbyville Triathlon.
Jacob Holtgrewe in the Shelbyville Triathlon.
Audrey Duke, Carolina Ganon, and Caroline Duplessis all joined the triathlon team in 2015.
Mike Baird in the Toughman Half-Iron Man distance triathlon in 2015.


Mike Baird Wins Louisville Lovin’ The Hills, Nicole Knapp 3rd

Mike Baird won the 15 mile event.
Mike Baird won the 15 mile event.

Louisville, Ky – SCC triathlete Mike Baird wins the men’s 15 mile Louisville Lovin’ The Hills event while Nicole Knapp finds the podium in the women’s 6 mile race. Louisville Lovin’ The Hills is an annual trail run held at the Jefferson Memorial Forest in Louisville. Cardinals Evan Cruson and Jacob Holtgrewe also competed, finishing 12th and 13th in the 15 mile event.

On the warm and sunny February day, the hilly course challenged the runners with over 2,500 ft of climbing in the 15 mile course. Mike Baird battled for first place the entire race with Ron Brooks. After catching his breath, he said “I definitely couldn’t have pushed as hard without Ron who was just steps behind me the entire race.” Baird appreciated the warm weather and the great course. “I couldn’t have asked for better conditions to compete in against some of the best trail runners in the area. It was an awesome day overall!”

Jacob throwing up the "L"
Jacob Holtgrewe holding up the “L”

Nicole Knapp was surprised by the difficulty of the course. “Those hills were the most challenging hills I’ve ever seen. I definitely did not anticipate their magnitude.” She went on to finish 3rd in the women’s 5 mile race. “[It was] very humbling and worth the fight!”

Evan Cruson and Jacob Holtgrewe put in solid efforts finishing in 12th and 13th in the 15 mile event. Cruson, the new SCC Triathlon Coordinator, enjoyed the support from Cardinal fans throughout the course, “Everyone loved the UofL jackets. Jacob and I were constantly getting positive comments from runners on the trail.” The pair spent a large part of their time socializing and telling people about the SCC. “People had many questions about the club so we are really getting noticed out there.”

The full gallery of the event can be found on Head First Performance’s website.

Follow the SCC on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter!

Written by Jordan Morris 2/11/2015

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