Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Shangri-La

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I wanted to actually call this the Authors Ride, we were honored to have a well known writer ride with us Sunday. Having read about him and known of him and his works it was great to talk and ride bikes.

"Shangri-La" is a mystical, harmonious valley, synonymous with any earthly paradise. We did a group ride with a couple of out of towners and rode through Cullman's version of Shangri-La. We started at the St. John Farm and rode through Hanceville and on towards Blount County. The route is pretty cool because you leave one of the most beautiful roads around and head into the forest, which the rocky dirt road takes you straight up a small mountain. Its a brutal climb and the only thing that saved us was the rain the night before made the road packed so it wasn't very slippery.


The photo shows "The Shocker" cresting the wall coming out of the forest. He is one of the toughest guys around, this was his first ride since the Tour de Cullman. "The Shocker" is know for being game for anything.


Once in the valley on top of the mountain we passed some horseback riders. They wanted to race but I think we all were temporarily out of gas.



This picture was actually made from the day before. I am struggling with my new camera to get all the settings right. I switched from a Nikon to Olympus digital camera and cant believe the difference in the photos. Its hard to say one is better than the other one but noticeably different.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Cullman Cyclocross 2008

. ........................."The Hardest of Hard Men" Sean Kelly

Monday, November 24, 2008

The Off Season

You can always tell when the off season arrives. Some are rding cyclocross others are well.... watch the video.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

The Tour 2008


I don't even know where to start. This was another great Tour de Cullman. I think the field gets more diverse and definitely gets faster and stronger every year. There is always some buzz who is riding strong.

Before the ride defending KOM Philip Thompson was a buzz word then something about a guy named Omar. James Hall had assembled an incredible group of riders which included a past winner of the Tour. Then there is the Tria boys who are always making their presence known.
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The morning started out under very fair conditions and the temperature in the mid 70s. As usual we started our ride in the tourist fashion with a mandatory pace. I estimate the starting group at 60-70 riders (60 signed in). We rode the first 40k and stopped for our traditional nature break.

The riders reassembled with the KOM riders drifting towards the front and the "Tourists" towards the back. Moto 1 soon led the riders over Chamblee's Mill Bridge and a larger than years past, strong group of riders were off the front.

As the group crested the first climb incredibly there were still 10-15 riders in the main group. I could tell that this was not going to be the solo break that Philip Thompson made last year. The riders regrouped and over the next 10 miles Lennie Moon and Timo Stark made several surges that were unmatched and mostly Lennie Moon's.

The selection was composed of Lennie Moon, Timo Stark, Dusty Davis, Omar Fraser, Eric White, Jason Donaldson, Kevin White and Philip Thompson

The locals call the section of Joy Road the "Meat Grinder". It has five short steep climbs and it takes a toll on the legs especially at 25+ mph. On the "Meat Grinder" Lennie Moon worked the field, Timo made several attempts to bridge but Lennie gained distance on every hill and seemed to take more out of their legs.

On the final and toughest climb "Skyball", the lead vehicle thought Lennie might have gone too soon. At one point half way up the 4 mile climb he seemed to fade and Omar was leading the charge in the chase group of 4-5 guys. It didn't last long and Lennie dropped the hammer.



Lennie Moon crossed the top of Skyball Mountain 1:20 ahead of Timo Stark. Timo was closely followed by Dusty Davis and Omar Fraser. Amy Gravlee strong and alone to win the women's
KOM.

Division Winners: Masters; Dusty Davis, Sonya Robertson, Most Aggressive; Timo Stark, Dawn Smith, Cullman; Barrett Hoover, Karen Roberson, Junior; Tyler Wilson

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Lennie Moon Sprouts Wings on Skyball!

Lennie Moon of the Tria Market team blasted the field on Skyball Mountain. He made a decisive move on a very elite field. Amy Gravlee rode solo in the womens field. More details coming.

1. Lennie Moon...Tria
2. Timo Stark...BicycleWorks
3. Dusty Davis...SmithLock
4. Omar Frasher...SmithLock
5. Eric White...VeloCity
6. Jason Donaldson...BooKoo
7. Kevin White...SmithLock
8. Phillip Thompson...Tria
9. David Darden...SmithLock
10.James Hall...SmithLock

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Tour Preparations Continue


The Cullman Cycling Club enjoyed a nice ride Sunday led by Billy Faulk. The riders did the Carolina loop and tracked some of the Tour route.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Training Boulder Style

Austin Oliver headed out to Boulder, Colorado for some training and one on one with his coach, Frank Overton. I got a file from one of the training rides and it was a brutal one and of course at elevation. So much for local training rides. Austin will be prepared for the Tour.

Nothing like a giant roast beef sandwich after a tough day in the saddle.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Tour Training Ride

We had a great crew this past Sunday doing a training ride for the 2008 Tour de Cullman. The ride started at the St. John farm with what was suppose to make the ride a little easier. We headed in a reverse direction of the actual tour but the idea was to ride the critical section of the course, "The Circle of Death". Of course the weather was hot and humid so conditions were perfect for a melt down.

Adam Goldweber set the tempo early but powered it down after the first climb, obviously not wanting to show too much. Austin Oliver, James Hall and St. John hammered on while the rest of us struggled or faked it over the next series of climbs.

Once on Joy Road aka "The Meat Grinder" the group was coming back together. One of the riders who showed up with New York plates on his car had a flat(was this one of our mystery bloggers...Eddy, glish, Nekid Cowboy? well his legs sure didn't look like Runonce!). Adam stopped to help and the rest of us including Mandy and Sonja pedaled on towards the four mile climb to the top of the mountain.

We all rode to the top of the mountain except the New Yorker. I was feeling like maybe we weren't being a good host, we did later make contact with him. He had missed a turn and ended up riding down highway 160 and thankfully surviving. The downside was he had to climb over SmokeRise to get back to Cullman, he probably got in a good 70 mile ride instead of our 50.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

A New Triad!

I was fortunate enough to ride with these three svelt riders this past weekend. What I thought was going to be an easy ride through the country side turned into a little hammer session. To top it all off it rained on the way back. I got a little worried when they all commented on how they enjoyed riding in the rain. Reminded me of a couple of brothers that ride in town that are the toughest guys I have ever met.

The cycling scene is changing in Cullman. Not so many years ago we only had a few females that rode bikes, now we have quite a few. Sonya, Lisa and Mandy all are training for the Tour de Cullman and they aren't doing the short ride. Could get interesting on the slopes of Skyball. I doubt any brown envelopes will be passed, the Cullman division is getting more interesting. Which one makes it to the top first?

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Friday, September 5, 2008

The Womens Division

I think these babes on bikes were way ahead of their time. Singlespeeds! They were more hip than they thought about 35 years ago. Looks like they were out for a little training ride in preparations for a tour around town. Be a good test if anyone can identify these girls?

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Tour Preparations

With the 2008 Tour de Cullman approaching the training rides are picking up around the mountains of Cullman and Blount counties. The official date for this years ride will be October 11th. This past weekend a group of riders went out for a leisure ride up Skyball Mountain. It was plenty hot and with hurricane Gustov moving in the wind added to the fun.

This years Tour will feature several junior riders. I have a hard time calling them juniors because they are strong as most the seniors. Bicycle racing is having some growth with all the young racers.

The Oliver Brothers, Keaton and Austin.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Runonce

Its interesting sometimes to think about some of the readers of the Cullman Cycling Blog. Its mindblowing that people read it all over the world. The magic of the Internet.
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Runonce has been a faithful reader and contributor since the first post. We have known each other forever and its always great so see her comments. I try to contribute some ideas to her bicycle and triathlon training in exchange for her consulting on linguistic projects.

A collegiate rower in the Ivy League, Runonce has transferred that developed power and endurance into cycling.

She is known now days for her developmental rides with the beginners on Monday from her local shop. Runonce rides a brand new Trek Madone.

"45 miles and some chocolate milk."

Tour de Cullman 2008

Look for an announcement of the 2008 version of the Tour de Cullman. Hopefully the date will be set by Labor Day. Right now it is looking like it will be Saturday October 18th. That is an off weekend for the BamaCross series, so as always our North Alabama's race of "Falling of the Leaves".

Friday, August 1, 2008

Alabama State Championships

?The Future of Cullman Cycling
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The Cullman Cycling Club was well represented at the 2008 Alabama State Cycling Championships. Austin Oliver lead the charge with a 2nd overall in the 15/16 boys road race. The race was held at a new course outside Hartselle in Morgan County, which has some of the smoothest roads but also some of the most challenging climbs in Alabama. Adding to Cullmans palmares Austins brother Keaton finished 2nd in the 13/14 boys road race. Keaton's first official race....is there something in the genes? Keaton was outsprinted by Nathan Spence of Team Bikework's, SuperDave's Edwards team from Huntsville. Tyler Wilson added to Cullman Cyclings effort finishing strong in his first ever Alabama State Road Race. According to Tom Oliver the Cullman kits were well represented.
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The womens race.....is that Amy Gravlee of TeamMedplan? Amy doing what she been doing all year...Riding Strong!

Adam Goldweber wearing a BBC kit trying to lobby to ride in the womens road race.

This picture tells it all. A future champion with a past Alabama State Champion. Rumor is there was some stategy being discussed for the 2008 Tour de Cullman. Some alliances?

Sunday, July 27, 2008

ENOUGH SAID

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Cullman Cycling ...Italy...De Rosa...does it get any better than this?

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Goldweber digiuna nell'uniforme con CUORE!

These pictures are from a road race in Memphis showing Adam Goldweber representing Cullman Cycling Club.

Not satisfied with his performance, but just in the field.

Once again, Adam in the CCC Kit in Memphis. Finished and FINISHED!!! according to Adam.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

"The Race of Truth"

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Austin Oliver wins the state time trial. Simply put "The Race of Truth".

The Cullman Cycling Club junior team put on quite a show at the Alabama State Time Trial Championships. Austin Oliver won first in 15/16's. He has been fine tuning his position and becoming a serious threat in any time trial or road race. As all the greats will tell you, in order to be a great tour rider you must be a great time trialer. Looking good for the boy wonder.

This is a race recap from Austin discussing his new training program and coach:

"Frank told me to keep my HR at 185-190 for the first 3 min then go as hard as I possibly could for the rest of the way. I got my HR up to 200 and kept it there for the entire time trial. Only once or twice would it drop down to 199 or 198. For the sprint finish I got it up to 206! It was awesome but one of the most painful things I've ever done. They separated us by 2 min and I caught my 2 min man before we got to the halfway point. That kid came in 2nd and I ended up beating him by about 4:40! Frank gave me good advice on how to go about doing it because I felt really good. It definitely hurts more but it paid off."

I like that part about a HR of 206. The US Developmental Camp and a coach are showing a changed man in the Cullman cycling community.

Friday, July 4, 2008

He's Back! Austin returns from camp.

. Austin Oliver has returned from camp. After several top junior finishes this spring and early summer, Austin earned a spot at the Lance Armstrong/USA Cycling Developmental Camp. I haven't had a chance to visit with Austin and hear all about the camp but there will be a future blog with photos I hope. Its really exciting for a guy his age to be so serious about his cycling. I am a big believer in being exposed to events like this camp, it helps you tremendously down the road. He will be a changed man and much more confident about his ability racing.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

"Something Special"

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Chi è la bambina sul De Rosa! È quello un Idolo?

There was plenty of cycling in Cullman this past weekend. Saturday we rode the Blountsville loop via Racehorse Johnson Parkway stopping for lunch and then returning through Walter. Some or our Cullman cyclists will be heading to Italy for a tour within a month. We tried on Saturday to imitate a typical European touring journey by riding 20-25 miles eating lunch then riding another 20-25 miles. Unfortunately we ate at "Something Special". They have been is business for many years according to the owner. Their specialty was pulverized chicken salad. I think the Italian ristorante at any given crossroad will be divine compared to our lunch adventure.


Sunday, The East Cullman Peleton had a couples ride. The ride began at William R. Faulk's house and we rode to Hanceville and back via the tunnel route. It was a great turn out with several new riders. By the number of people riding I think there is alot of interest in riding, but most people seem to have gotten off to a slow start this year.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Austin Oliver "Burns" The Tour of Atlanta

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"To defeat those armies, we must prepare the way to reach them in their recesses, provided with the arms and instruments which enable us to accomplish our purpose."
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General William Tecumseh Sherman

Austin Oliver raced a very successful 2008 Tour of Atlanta. He raced all five days completing the stage race. Austin competed not only in the Juniors (hes 15) but also in the Cat 4/5.



Austin punching it on the time trial. He made a strong showing finishing in the top 20 averaging over 25 mph. This was his first time trial!


Austin impresses me the most with how serious he is about his sport. He was prepared and organized going in to the Tour of Atlanta. Above he is warming up getting that heart rate up and the blood flowing.


Austin was proactive in the race. If its not happening you make it happen. He was a one man show against the Frazier Cycling Team from Georgia. Austin finished 3rd in the Junior Crit.
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In the stage featuring a 50 mile road race, Austin stayed with the lead pack of 4/5’s until ~ 2miles to go he, he came in with the second group still finishing 24th. He beat all the juniors except one. Most of the Frazier boys got dropped on first lap.

"I think tactically he learned a lot and feels like he got a tremendous fitness effect."

Tom Oliver

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Tour of Atlanta

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Cullman's own Austin Oliver heads to the Tour of Atlanta today. He did his final preparations this week in preparations to compete in the junior division. The stage race will run Thursday through Monday.
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Austin dialed in his position on a time trial bike, to hopefully help him in the TT part of the stage race. There will be a couple of road races and criteriums included in the five day event.
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We will all be watching for results on the internet as Cullman's Boy Wonder takes on the Tour of Atlanta.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Team MedPlan

Riding under the sponsorship and direction of Kelly Bownes, Team MedPlan cycling team was formed in 2008. Not only a super team of women's cycling but a great group of women. Team MedPlan has a very active roster for the 2008 season which includes 15 riders on the racing team, 10 Cat 4 developmental riders and 5 club members.



They can be seen out training and racing in the best looking kits around. I think it really shows Kelly's attention to detail which is exemplified in her success in and out of the peloton. Imagine forming a cycling team and making it all work. That's the magic. Its not only the support and logistics, but also the underwriting of it all. Kelly has done so much to promote cycling in Alabama and the Southeast. There is a huge need for more people to get involved in supporting cycling.



This past February the team held its training camp in North Georgia with 100 percent participation. The MedPlan girls have been a major factor in the southeast women's racing series this spring, all the way from the Sumatanga training races to the very elite Athens Twilight Criterium. The team will be racing most weekends this season in Alabama, Georgia, Florida, Tennessee and Mississippi. Expect to see them on the Podium!



The "Diesel" taking a pull with Amy Gravlee in tow.



Team MedPlan doing it again at the Chattanooga Criterium.




This is my favorite, worthy of the Daily Distraction Page of Pez Cycling News.


Sunday, May 4, 2008

Anniston Criterium

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I love this photo because it shows how fast these guys are going at it. 40mph to be exact. The above photo shows Rahsaan Bahati of the Rock Racing Team leading a lap of the criterium.

I have a couple of blog entries in the "can" right now but I really wanted to go ahead and post something about the Sunny King Criterium. This was my first trip to the race and I was very impressed. There was a stellar pro field and all the amateur races were stacked also.

Austin Oliver, Cullmans Boy Wonder kept his streak alive with a great performance in the junior race. He made the podium with riders from Atlanta and Nashville etc., ever proving he is ever the real deal.

The women's race was very heated with a huge crash that took out several Team MedPlan racers and a few surviving. I spoke to Amy Gravlee Saturday night after the men's pro race and she obviously was a little dissappointed. Her limp gave away alot and the road rash had to be painful. Seems a junior female took out alot of the combined field of 3/4 women and Amy got tangled up in the chaos.

Brian Toone is amazing. I have never met Brian but I know one thing he is an incredible racer. It takes so much just to hang with speed the pros do. There was a very impressive collection of pro racers in the 70 lap event, most of who had just competed in the Athens Twilight Criterium. Brian who rides for the Tria Market Cycling Team was a major player in the race. He made several tactical moves which were very impressive since he had no team support. Here is a very weak photo which I made in the dark of Brian Toone on a solo break.


In this photo he is trying to bridge the gap back to the 10 riders that had made a break from the main field. The main point is that he was a player in the race.

"Country Al" and "Big Larry" made a cigar smoking appearance. They were at Talladega for some motorcycle racing. Al needed to be out there in the bicycle race, I think it had to be eating on him to see the action. I am sure he will be back.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Cullman Spring Classic 2008

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The 2008 version of the Cullman Spring Classic lived up to its reputation. What started as a warm sunny day in northern Alabama ended like the classics of northern Europe, cold windy pouring rain. All this at the most crucial sector of the race, at the final climb to the top of Prospect Mountain to win the KOM.


Early in the ride the Bicycle Works boys were doing alot of the work, seemed to be some background rivalry going on with the Cullman Cycling Club. The selection was made early and a group of about 15 riders escaped on the first climb up Prospect Mountain. On the rollers through the coal mines the lead group got whittled down to the very elite.



The King of the Mountain in the 2008 CSC was Dusty Davis from Birmingham, who won with a blistering attack on the final acent of Prospect Mountain.



Adam Goldweber won the Masters, ahead of Casey Fannin and Chris Rossi.



Austin Oliver took the Junior title. Above with Chris Rossi showing a little gratitude for some help in the chase group. A first ever for Cullman Cycling Club was Havilah Burton winning the womens race.



SuperDave putting his spin on what happend or didnt happen. Dave is the owner of Bicycle Works in Huntsville and sponsors the Bicycle Works Cycling Team.



Dusty giving his victory speech after an incredible throw down done by Liz and Bill St. John.



Does that say Alabama Wheelmen? James Hall wearing a vintage jersey from those olden daze.
 

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