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      Cardinal - Classic Cycling Women's Cycling Team

      USA Cycling Pro Nationals - Here we come!!

      USA Cycling Pro Nationals - Here we come!! | Classic Cycling

      Director’s Note:

      On behalf of the team, I wanted to take a minute to thank everyone who has supported our riders in 2021.  It is quite literally due to your donations that we are able to send everyone to US Pro Nationals next week in Knoxville.  With wins at the Hincapie Spring Series, Chasing the Wild Boar Stage Race, and the Carter County Omnium, our riders have been dominating regional racing.  Next week will be their first showing on the national stage and I couldn’t be more pleased with their current fitness and readiness for the challenge.  In the last two months, I’ve watched the team transform from a bunch of strong individual riders to a finely run machine that has the brains, the legs, and the courage to take charge in a race.  They are ready to make the jump to bigger races and I couldn’t be more excited to see what happens next week.

      I am also amazed and humbled to hear that so many of you who have supported us financially are also planning to come out and support the team in person in Knoxville.  Having you on the sidelines cheering on our riders will definitely help them dig a little deeper when the going gets tough.  We’d also love to have you in our team colors and we have team T-shirts and Polos available.  If you’d like to purchase one we will bring it to the Criterium Race on Friday afternoon so you can pick it up before the racing starts, and our riders would love to thank you in person after the race.  You can find a link to purchase your team gear here and once we know who is coming we’ll send a follow up email letting you know where to find us on race day.  If you would like to support us from afar, drop us a note and we would be happy to ship.

      Lastly, in case you're wondering if your donations really make a difference or for those of you who are on the fence about contributing let me just say that the cost of entries, mechanical support, food, logistics, and housing a full team over just the 4 days of Nationals is over $6000 or $1200 per rider.  That is a lot of money to ask of our riders, some of whom are still in school and some who are just starting careers. Shane and I have dedicated ourselves to this project because we believe that too much talent get’s left behind due to the high costs of the sport. This is a labor of love and neither of us receive compensation from the team.  We are here because we feel lucky to have had opportunities to race our bike when we were younger and because we believe that too much talent gets wasted due to the financial realities of the sport.  This is our chance to help lift up the women who race and send more talented riders into the peloton.  Your donations are a vital part of our mission and we could not do it without you.  If you would like to support us with a donation you can do so here.

      For those on the fence about coming to Knoxville, please consider it.  I am sure you will have a blast and don't forget to come say hi.  We'd love to see you.  You can find the Nationals schedule and locations here.

      But don’t take my word for it, here’s what the rider’s themselves have to say about the importance of your help.

      When you get the opportunity to go into a race with all of the details looked after, all of the boxes checked, you mentally can 100% check into the race itself. This means your ability to succeed and race at the highest level doubles.  It’s the single biggest difference for riders successfully racing at the pro level. - Merrill  Thierman


      This past year I’ve been given the opportunity to race on a team with a group of strong women who work hard and understand what it means to be a teammate. I’ve seen first hand the sacrifices we’ve made for another’s success and the motivation given to push harder than we thought was possible. Women’s cycling is notoriously under-supported and under-recognized despite women working just as hard and dedicating just as much of themselves to the sport as men. With enough support, I feel this team is capable of showing that women’s cycling is just as important and exciting as men’s cycling. - Florence Howden


      Cycling pushes my limits further than I ever could have imagined.  At 32, some may say that you are past your athletic prime, but the demands of the sport of cycling creates an environment where older athletes can thrive….  It’s fulfilling to share my knowledge, lift the sport of cycling for all ages of women, and create a welcoming environment for everyone.  The kind sponsorship donations to this team ensures athletes like me can continue racing, traveling to big races, and keep pushing the sport of women’s cycling forward.   - Katy Sorrell


      Cycling has impacted my life in many different ways. It has made me stronger, mentally and physically, and has connected me with so many great people. I couldnt imagine my life without this sport as it gives me constant goal to reach my full potential. As a grad student, finding the time and money to compete in the sport has proved quite a challenge. Race entries, travel, and equipment costs add up quickly and it becomes nearly impossible for me to afford to do this sport I love. Support from sponsors and donors makes it possible for me and my team to race at our full potential. It gives us the opportunity to line up with the best teams in the nation and put our hard work to the test. As a female cyclist it is easy to see that this sport is extremely male dominated and support for womens cycling is lacking. Sponsors who support our team show us and others that they believe in the growth and future of womens cycling. - Sommers Creed


      When the team wins we all win and you are all a part of our team.  Now lets go race!


      Coach Sarah

      *photography cred Susan Wienke

      Pre-Season Races: Getting the legs back under us!

      Pre-Season Races:  Getting the legs back under us! | Classic Cycling

      Pre-Season Races:  Getting the legs back under us!


      After all the team bonding (and leg burning!) days at team camp, we were all ready to toe the line and see where our winter fitness had placed us.  The first race of the season was a hilly circuit race in the upstate of South Carolina that comprised of three 13 mile laps.  Florence and Katy were the two that could fit this race into their schedule, and their goal was to be aggressive, and Florence was to attack up the 1 mile climb on lap 2.  Our plan worked perfectly, creating a break of 8 riders that included both Florence and Katy.  The group organized, put a big gap on the field, and going into the final lap, Florence pulled out her climbing legs and dropped everyone but a couple of the women up the climb.  She fought hard up the final climb to the finish line for 2nd place, and Katy held off the remainder of the field to come in for 6th place. 

      Race stats:  39 miles & 3,400 feet of climbing. 


      Our second race was the first of a 6 race omnium series called the Hincapie Spring Series.  The first two races were crit races, where Florence and Katy lined up with teams like Rally, Milligan, Butcherbox and CWA.  The 1 mile course was flowy with a large hill every lap.  The team goal for the two girls was to be aggressive, attack the climb, and make it hard.  Katy walked away with a 5 place both days.

      Race stats:  40 mins & 1,300 feet of climbing (it definitely wasn’t flat!!).

      Florence 2

      The 2nd race weekend of the Hincapie Spring Series was the first weekend where Florence, Katy, Merrill and Sommers all got to race together.  The team goal was to set Katy up for the win.  Saturday’s road race course was fairly flat with a few punchy climbs, and a long drag to the finish line.  The team goal was to race aggressively (can you sense a race tactic theme for our team??), then line it up and lead it out for Katy.  After attacking the climbs throughout the race, Florence was able to get off the front with another rider towards the latter part of the race, causing panic and other teams to chase her down.  This set us up perfectly to sit in, let teams drag us up to Florence, then create our lead out.  Our team controlled the race, and Merrill was the last teammate in the lead out train to set Katy off to the finish line where she dug in for a 1 minute, all-out sprint to take the win.

      Race Stats:  31 miles & 1,600 feet of climbing. 


      Sunday was a race course that is infamous in Greenville, SC, and that is the Donaldson airport circuit race.  The team would head out on the 7 mile circuit course with the goal of getting Florence and Sommers in a break to try and take another win.  The race was fast, attack after attack after attack was launched, and finally one attack stuck with Florence in it.  Sommers did everything she could to bridge to the break, but ended up finishing 7th, Florence finished 6th, and Katy took the field sprint win for 8th.

      Race Stats:  29 miles & 24.1 mph.  


      The final weekend of the series started off with a circuit race in the mountains of South Carolina, a race called River Falls.  The circuit included a 0.6 mile climb at just under 6%, and would be a defining factor in the race ….. other than the 40-degree weather and torrential rain.  Florence and Katy braved the wet and cold, with Katy finishing in 8th place, and leading the overall omnium by 1 point. 


      The final race of the whole series landed the team back at Donaldson.  There was 1 objective:  Get Katy to win the race and win the whole omnium.  With Katy’s sprint ready on deck, Florence and Merrill had an objective to cover all dangerous moves, and if a break was going to happen, they needed to bring Katy into it.  With a split in the field early on due to the high pace, and some attacks launched by Emma Langley of Tibco SVB, the reduced group came to the line in a bunched sprint.  Positioning was key, as the wind was playing a factor, but Katy chose the windy side so she would have a clear shot to line and took the win by half a wheel. 



      Our most recent pre-season race was an omnium in Commerce, GA, and consisted of a road race, time trial and crit race.  The team’s objective was to work for Merrill and set her up for an omnium win.  The road race had some decent climbs, which Sommers, Florence and Katy kept the tempo high on, and going into the last two laps, we protected Merrill, and made sure we did all we could to help her.  Katy won the intermediate sprint time bonus, and also won the race, taking another 10 second time bonus away from key teams.  With only 1 hour in between the road race and time trial, the team was hot, dehydrated and tired, but Florence ended up having a killer time trial, placing 3rd and leading the GC by 2 seconds.  Sommers crushed the TT as well and road her road bike to a 4th place finish!  This changed the team’s goal, wanting to make sure Florence won the GC.  With the crit being the last stage, 2 time bonus primes, and a finishing time bonus prime on the line, it was key for Katy to steal the time bonuses, and get Florence to the finish line right on her wheel.  Katy stole the first time bonus, but 2nd place in the GC behind Florence nabbed the 2nd place time bonus, putting her 1 second above Florence.  Merrill created a breakaway mid race, and stole the 2nd time bonus.  Going into the final lap, Florence was on Katy’s wheel and she was going to drag her to the line, but with good team tactics from the GC leader, Florence was blocked out, came in 4th, and took 2nd overall GC by just a few seconds.  Katy took the crit stage win by a few bike lengths.  It truly was a team effort, and the girls raced as tactically smart as they could. 


      Next stop:  Johnson City Omnium and Pro Road Nationals! 

      Meet Katy Sorrel

      Meet Katy Sorrel | Classic Cycling

      A powerful force in all aspects of racing, Katy thrives on long drag sprints.  With six years of cycling experience to her credit, this former professional harpist and microbiologist hopes to encourage her teammates in positive ways while
      improving her climbing abilities.

      Find out more about Katy and keep up with her performance @katy_sorrell

      CCW Meet The Team - Florence Howden

      CCW Meet The Team - Florence Howden | Classic Cycling

      A young upstart that had a very promising 2019 season, Florence’s strengths are long road races and climbing.  She strives to be the best athlete possible while inspiring others through hard work and teamwork.  But don’t take her
      backpacking in Europe - she’s prone to getting her wallet stolen on the first day!


      Follow Florence and learn more about her cycling journey @florenceoliviahowden

      “Oh, heck yeah!” The first CCWT training camp is in the books.


      The mission of the CCWT team is to give talented regional women riders a shot at landing an elusive pro team contract.  It was with this mission in mind that we designed the camp structured for 2021. We wanted to give the riders a chance to put in pro miles and give them the off bike support they might find on a pro team. This was a challenge for our small, self funded team but an overall success nonetheless.


      Camp began with the donation of housing from team sponsor Sky Ridge Yurts.  This incredible backdrop in Bryson City, NC gave our riders the perfect place to relax and recharge after each day’s training.





      Day 1 was a cool, cloudy day with a slight chance of rain.  Katy, Merrill, and Florence headed out for a 50 mile ride that included two thirty minute climbs which added up to about 6000 feet of climbing.  All was going great until the final 30 min when the sag wagon had to leave to pick up Sarah from the airport. It was a cold, wet, and miserable ride back home for the team.

      We had planned the second day to be more skills based. The morning ride would be a lead out and sprint session, and  in afternoon we’d turn some hot laps on a small circuit course practicing various race tactics.  Unfortunately, our intel about the “flat road great for sprint training” was faulty and the route for the morning found us on another 10 mile climb that did not lend itself to great sprint training.  We made the best of it getting in a few lead out efforts on a less than optimal road but overall it was a bit of a frustrating training session. 


      Thankfully we had “food mom”, (Betera Coach Kathy Goody) back at the yurts and we arrived back to a perfect post training session meal which picked up the mood and helped the riders recharge between rides.  Leaving them happily snacking and napping, Team Manager, Shane Martin went out to find us some better roads for a real sprint practice session later in the day.



      As we headed out, we were all feeling a bit uninspired.  The weather was still grey and cold, the riders were fatigued from the previous two rides and I was feeling anxious about getting in a quality training session.  We dropped the riders off and had them warm up along the 3 miles stretch of road that would be our training ground for the day.  While we waited for them at the “finish line” we decided that we would split up into two teams and run four mock race finishing efforts with each team competing for the win.


      The response, when we told them it was a race was immediate. “Oh heck yeah!”  Said Merrill as the whole group went into competition mode.  This was, for me the best moment of camp.  All eyes lit up and it was ON for the rest of the session. If one of the essential traits of a pro peloton rider is an intense desire to win, our riders have this in buckets.  They turned themselves inside out as they worked to manufacture wins for their team.

      Camp concluded the following day on the Blue Ridge Parkway with a 5 hour, 10,000 foot grind.  An epic ride on tired legs.  In the three days of camp the team racked up 11 hours, 150 miles, and over 18,000 feet of climbing.  They also consumed 4 batches of Coach Kathy’s sweet potato power cookies,  5 boxes of pasta, over 3 lbs of oatmeal and 2 boxes of B-Line Energy Gels.   If that’s not pro, I don’t know what is.



      Coach Sarah

      Director, CCWT

      Owner, Betera Coaching

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