June 11, 2013
This past weekend saw Team Smart Stop competing in events in Washington D.C., Virginia and Tennessee. Congratulations to the team for taking the win in Tennessee! The Amgraph Group just finished producing a fresh new vehicle wrap for one the team’s cars. The Amgraph Group is proud to be sponsoring these amazing athletes providing them with all of their printed graphics so they and their sponsors are represented at the highest level.
Summer Heats Up in DC: Air Force Recap
This past weekend saw the squad racing in Washington DC and Arlington, VA at the Air Force Classic Clarendon Cup on Saturday, and Crystal City Classic on Sunday. The weather has taken a turn for the southeastern this past week--meaning humid--and with 100k to race Saturday, and 90 minutes in the noon sun on Sunday, ot was sure to be a tough weekend of racing.
The team hits the front to set Clay up for the finish.
Saturday's race was typically aggressive, and our guys were marking moves from the start. Keen to get a breakaway to stick, our guys were aggressive. Eventually Clay Murfet landed in a move of 8 riders, and this group would go on to lap the field, with Clay finishing 5th place. He was up against some strong sprinters and had his work cut out for him, and the team did a solid job of keeping him up front and safe for the closing laps of the race. Well done, Clay!
Clay Murfet on Saturday's podium, Clarendon Cup.
Sunday was equally aggressive, and once again we were looking for a beneficial (to us) combination of riders to get up the road. Bobby Lea made his way into just such a move, and the gap looked good, but he was taken out of contention when two riders from another team decided they didn't like their chances, and sat up, opening a big gap to the rest of the break that proved impossible for Bobby or anyone else to close. After this happened, the chase was on at the front, and the break would stick, but our fast man Shane Kline savaged a result for the team taking 2nd in the field sprint behind UHC's Jake Keough for 5th on the day. Another impressive field sprint result by Shane, and a lot of hard work from the whole team, but luck wasn't running our way.
Shane Kline on the podium Sunday
Uberti Wins in Tennessee
A little further west, Dan Patten and Chris Uberti raced the Johnson City Omnium in Tennessee. This is a growing regional race, and while it doesn't boast an NRC caliber field, it is one of the larger races in the region, with great courses, a very good payout, and as a result, a strong regional pro/am field. Chris won Sunday's criterium in a truly epic rainstorm that eliminated about 2/3 of the 70 rider field. Nice one, Chris!
This coming weekend brings a really special weekend of racing for the team with home races on both coasts, in a manner of speaking. Saturday and Sunday we will be racing the Winston-Salem Cycling Classic, a brand new even here at home in Winston-Salem, and we couldn't be more excited about the level of support and enthusiasm from the local cycling community, and mainstream news media, as well. Saturday is also the Ladera Ranch Grand Prix out in California, our home race away from home, sponsored by our incredible title sponsor, Smartstop Self Storage. We'll see you at the races!
May 6, 2013
As a sponsor of the Team Smart Stop Pro Cycling Team we are always excited when we receive an update from the field about the guys. With a big win in Dana Point, CA. and a 2nd and 3rd place finish in Sandy Springs, GA. they are competing head to head with some of the sports heavy hitters. If you are able to catch one the future racing events be sure to check out the incredible graphics we did for the team’s vehicles.
Opening The Account: Dana Point GP Report:
All season long out guys have been knocking on the door in the major NCC criteriums, and with a string of podium placings and good breakaway and sprint performances, we knew our first big win of the season wasn't far off. Shane Kline proved it Sunday afternoon at the Dana Point GP in southern California when he came from 6th wheel to take the win from MRI's Justin Williams by a few millimeters. Not to put too fine a point on it, but it's pretty safe to say just about nobody passes 6 guys in the finishing straight of these major US crits. This point was not lost on anyone watching the race, and Shane's star is on the rise, for sure.
How it unfolded, report direct from the team van:
The Plan was to have 5 of us covering and killing breakaway attempts. Clay was to be more selective, and try to sneak into moves that could work for us. Then with 5 laps to go we were going to take over with 5 guys. The last two in line would be Clay and Shane.
How it played out:
For the first 55 minutes or so we covered absolutely everything. Travis and Curtis were probably there the most. Nothing got away. The biggest gaps would go to solo guys. We did so much, probably too much, that teams waited on us to do it. In those situations one of us would just ride the front until we got it close. Ben got in a few moves, Clay did too, and Curtis and Travis did a lot of covering.
With 8 laps to go, a dangerous-ish two man move got away containing one of our team alumni, Thom Soladay and someone else. Curtis hustled to the front, maybe too quickly, and shut the move down, despite a strong re-attack from Soladay. This was essentially the end of Curtis's race, and he was stuffed after that point. Clay, Chaddock, Travis, and Shane, however, were ready. A lap later they took over the front and Chaddock did two really hard laps and dropped off Clay an Shane, a bit short staffed. They capitalized on MRI's leadout, and settled in around 10th wheel. Clay moved Shane up and kept him out of the wind, then Travis took over from Clay and continued to keep Shane protected until 1.5 laps to go. Then MRI hit it for Justin Williams. Shane did the rest like a freaking boss. He jumped from sixth wheel and closed hard winning by inches but was going way faster than the other guys. Justin second, and Ken Hanson (Optum)
In a crash-marred last lap, Clay held on for 7th, Travis hung in for 11th.
Sandy Springs Criterium, Speed Week Finale:
After an unusually cold and windy week in the southeast, Sandy Springs did not adhere to the stereotype of what the race has been in the past, which is hot and humid. Instead, like the rest of the week, it was wet and cold. It definitely has not been typical.
On the van drive to Sandy Springs, everyone was weather watching. Sunny skies greeted us upon our arrival, and we were cautiously optimistic that the weather would hold for our race. Despite our hopes, a thunderstorm dampened the course prior to our start.
The race started slowly on the wet course as crashes were happening on every lap. The field quickly was whittled down to a select group of riders. Frank Travieso was not satisfied, and our man Frank The Tank repeatedly attacked violently. He got away with Karl Menzies (UHC) and dangled off the front for 40 minutes. With UHC and Team SmartStop satisfied with the situation, the race quickly developed into a not-crashing contest.
With about 35 laps remaining, another rain front passed through. Gusts of wind flipped over tents and blew barriers into the road. The temperature dropped 20 degrees, and people were literally getting blown off their bikes. It was a true contest of bicycle handling skills, turning ability, and willingness to get extremely cold.
Despite the tough conditions, Frank and Menzies stayed off the front. Menzies was not cooperating in the group and refusing to pull. Frank took the bit between his teeth and pushed to the line. In the end, Menzies pipped Frank for the win, but Frank owned the race, and everyone knew it.
Meanwhile back in the field, Thomas grabbed Isaac with one lap to go, and set up to lead him out. Thomas sprinted as hard as he could and took Isaac straight over the top of the UHC leadout train. He continued the effort through the corkscrew turns on the backside of the course, barely making it around the corners. In the end, no one came around Thomas, and he handily won the field sprint for 3rd place, while Isaac held on for fifth.
Check back tomorrow for a complete Speed Week recap, and a story about a Smartstop storm that rained down on a trio of local races in central North Carolina. Thanks for reading!
April 22, 2013
Team Smart Stop ran a highly competitive race this past weekend which has resulted in them gaining some traction and securing the 2nd spot in the overall NCC standings! Please note the beautiful wrap on the Team Smart Stop Van which is the handy work of The Amgraph Group.
Saturday Night At Sunny King
The start line at Sunny King
The tactical plan was to race aggressive, and not miss anything that would put us in jeopardy and force us to chase. We were willing to burn some of our matches early but we wanted to have something to show for that other than just resetting the race, which was our experience last week in Charlotte. It was fortunate that UHC (team United Healthcare) also wanted to race aggressively, as constant attacks and counters led to Thomas Brown getting up the road in a breakaway group of 4. The racing remained aggressive and an attack that Frank Travieso countered dragged some riders clear, and also got up the road and joined Thomas's group. After a little shuffling the end result was 7 riders (2 Team Smartstop-Mountain Khakis, 2 UHC, 1 predator, UHC Georgia 706 Project, and 1 Guttenplan Coaching) riding very hard and a content field really turning off the gas. The gap between the break and the field grew very fast, in fact it grew too fast for us. Only the UHC riders wanted to lap the field, owing to their reputation for having a well-drilled and precise leadout train. The other 5 riders, and especially our team did not want to lap the field, as that scenario would likely benefit the UHC riders and put the rest of us at a slight disadvantage. But before we could get our guys in the field to force the pace, the 7 breakaway riders could see the back of the field and the 2 UHC riders were driving it to get there.
This was not ideal for us, but we still felt we had enough help to guide Frank and Thomas to a top result. With 6 laps to go UHC took over the front in their typical fashion, and we waited patiently. With 1 to go, Shane Kline did what we had been waiting and wanting to, which was to go over the top of the UHC leadout train with Thomas on his wheel. The only problem was that after lapping the field and covering moves all night, when Shane jumped Thomas did not have the legs to follow. It was the right move and a race winning move had he had the legs.
In the end we placed 3 riders in the top 10 and took 4th, 6th, And 10th and made a big jump in securing our current 2nd place in the overall NCC standings.
It was a great and well run event with lots of local support, and you can find some good coverage of it here.
Ladies and gentlemen, the hardest working man in bike racing, Chris Kreidl.
Our dynamic Pennsylvania duo of Jackie Simes and Bobby Lea (minus 3rd Pennsylvanian, Shane Kline who was racing in Alabama) raced the Lower Providence Classic Sunday afternoon in PA, which has become a staple of the PA racing scene over the last 28 years.
Bobby reports, "With 6 pro's in the field, as well as most of the best riders from around the region, it was by far the strongest field the race has ever had. Jackie and I took turns covering moves and making a few attacks when it looked like a break could get away. In the end, it came down to a bunch kick, and I lost the race in the closest finish I've ever been a part of. The finish photo made it look as though the winning margin was about a quarter of an inch!" So close and yet so far, but we're sure we'll be seeing Bobby and the rest of the guys back on the top podium step before long.
Look for us next weekend (actually starting Thursday, 4/25) at the Joe Martin Stage Race in Arkansas, where the season long NRC continues.