They say New Orleans isn’t a great place to ride a bike. It’s hot. The roads are flat. We are surrounded by water. There are no more than three routes out toward anything like a country road, and it’s 50 miles of riding before you get there. So yeah, it might not sound like a great place be a cyclist. But those of us who proudly call ourselves members of the Semi-Tough Cycling Club beg to differ with that assessment. You see, when the roads are the same in every direction, it’s the people you ride with that make the difference – and the Semi-Tough Cycling Club has good people for days.
“Vite comme l’eclaire. Fort comme le cafe!”
From its humble beginnings in 2012 as a four-man group ride, the Semi-Tough Cycling Club has grown into one of the biggest cycling clubs in the South Louisiana area. Our attitude of openness and acceptance, and our goal of providing challenging cycling opportunities for all to enjoy, attracts cyclists of all abilities and backgrounds to the club.
Whether to participate in recreational and sporting cycling events, to enjoy the camaraderie of an organized ride, or to challenge your expectations of how much fun it can be to be a cyclist in New Orleans, we welcome anyone who enjoys and respects the sport of cycling to come join us for a cup of coffee and a bike ride. We feel certain that you’ll find just the speed, spirit and sensibility to suit your style of cycling – whatever it is. Fast like lightning. Bold like coffee. We are the Semi-Tough Cycling Club. Allez! Let’s ride.
Harbor Master 2016 Cat 1/2/3 Race Recap
This year's 1/2/3 race at the Harbor Master Criterium was epic, coming down to a photo finish after an hour of all-out racing. We asked Dustin Drewes of 4D Racing to recap the race from his perspective. His commentary follows...
This year I was able to make my return to the local one-day crit, Harbor Master, put on by the guys over at Semi-Tough Cycling Club. These gents really came on the scene with a bang two years ago when I went out to the inaugural Harbor Master race where I had an uncharacteristically good time at a road cycling race. So few road race events seem to have any charm, but this race featured some cool swag (See sunglasses), a beer cart, a crowd, and good announcing. It’s interesting how some seemingly small details can make such a big difference in the whole experience. I wasn’t going to miss it this year.
So we lined up for the Cat 123 race, and it started hard and fast. Quick off the line, I found myself 2nd into the first turn, the holeshot, knowing I would have to cover the first move. It’s the cost of a good start sometimes. We didn’t have to wait long; 25 seconds is what it took for the first attack. It was Matt Davis of La’Sport who went first. I hopped on immediately and the field stretched, but it all came together and stayed fast the whole first lap. The next attack went and I floated to the back with legs on fire from not being really warmed up yet. My 4D teammates covered the next series of moves and worked to keep things together while I tried to catch my breath in the back, hoping my legs would show up soon. Time was passing; moves were being made, and I knew my teammates were still working hard on the front of the race. I had to get back up there before something got away.
Roughly 15min in, we crossed the finish line and they were ringing the bell for the first prime lap for cash money. I wasn’t intending to go for it, but I knew the likelihood of a counter attack was high, so I had to get back up there soon. The timing seemed perfect because just then I see Matt Davis, who was close to me, start to make way to the front while the pack is gearing up for this prime. We get to the line with only a few bodies in front of us at this point, they cross for the prime laps, then Matt moves out to the right and attacks turn 2. If it weren’t for the acceleration, we would’ve taken out the first two guys entering the turn. In seconds, we are instantly way the hell up the road having taken a third rider with us, Alex Habbit of Acadiana Bicycle (who raced the Masters race earlier). I look back to see that the peloton is sitting on it, which is to say they were not chasing us. Time to go! We work hard for the next few laps to establish our move. We eventually settle in and take pulls on our sections of the course that we naturally came to an agreement on. The gap was growing as we were fed splits from Wes who was calling the race to the crowd. It’s quite a boost to morale to hear your name being said over the PA when you cross the finish line for each lap. After some time the gap got to 42 seconds at which point I could tell we were starting to slow a little. Matt decided to make a little dig which got Alex dropped from the move, and he eventually got swept back into the pack in the final lap or so.
So there it was: Matt and I with less than 15min in the race to ride it out and stay away. I suspect he achieved two things attacking as he did. Firstly, now it was a 50/50 shot of winning, not 1/3. Second thing is now he had an idea how I was holding up and what kind of legs I had left. As a coach myself, I often teach my athletes about respecting their opponents and what that means. This was my first opportunity to go toe-to-toe with Matt Davis, a guy who has been winning big races since before I even started riding and has continued to do well since I’ve been racing. I continued to rotate with him having a lot of respect for the rider I had to now figure out how to beat. I knew attacking him far out was not an option since I’m a sprinter, so a sprint it had to be then. I calculated in my head my best chance was to come into the last turn fast, and explode out of it with the acceleration I know I can call upon no matter how bad I’m hurting. We still had many laps to go, but now I had a plan I was going to stick to. The crowd was getting louder with each of the final laps as they watched the peloton closing in fast on us. Bell lap. No more time. Matt took his long pull along the headwind section and I took over by diving into the last section of 3 turns. I did my best to gain a little speed coming into the last chicane and coming out the last turn there are no thoughts, just loud white noise to the finish line. I had the jump, but I timed my bike throw just a fraction of a second too late and lost it by a hair. There’s always next year! Besides the bittersweet 2nd place finish, I still had a ton of fun in the road-racing-is-full-of-pain-and-suffering kind of way, and I now have two pair of custom harbor master sunglasses, so that’s a win in my book!
Dustin is the current head coach of Tulane Cycling and Coaches cycling and triathlon for 4th Dimension Fitness. His email is Drewes4D@gmail.comRead more link text
Set a course for the Esplanade Mall in Kenner, LA as the Semi-Tough Cycling Club and Yeah You Ride host a criterium racing extravaganza. All hands on deck for first-rate racing with over $2500 in purse and primes across 6 races. Bring an appetite for more than just competition - and bring your family too. Beer, music, grub, and races; it's all in the hold at Harbor Master 2016. Register online here.
Huge thanks to all our sponsors for making this a reality!! Bergeron Automotive, Bike Law, Person Huff CPA Group, Medical Rehab, Urban South Brewery, Keven Christensen & Associates, LLC and peloton magazine.
Check out 2015 coverage here.
Check out 2014 coverage here.
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Two years after the debut of our original STCC Club t-shirt, we are proud to announce the release of two new t-shirt designs. Both are on sale now in our club shop for, with immediate discounts available for all club members.
Visit the club shop at semitough.cc/shop order yours today!Read more link text
From USA Cycling...
If your cycling club is looking to expand its membership, now is a great time to focus on that growth because USA Cycling is launching a 2016 Cycling Club Growth Contest!
Clubs with the most growth in USA Cycling members by April 11, 2016 will receive a prize package which includes free 2017 renewal, free event permit, discounts from DNA Cycling, and a special feature article about your club on USA Cycling's website!
Want to get a head start on the competition?
Make sure that the existing USA Cycling members in your club have all renewed their USA Cycling memberships for 2016. Then, a great way to start increasing your contest numbers is to encourage club members to become new USA Cycling members, even if they haven’t in the past. We’ll be giving you more resources next week, so make sure you start off strong!
How does the contest work?
Your club will be included in one of three divisions, based on number of members you had at the end of 2015.
Division 1: 76+ USA Cycling members in 2015
Division 2: 30-75 USA Cycling members in 2015
Division 3: 1-29 USA Cycling members in 2015
As the number of USA Cycling members in your club grows beyond what you had in 2015, you'll be ranked alongside other clubs in your division. The top three clubs in each division will be the ones in the running for prizes.
Each week, we'll announce the standings along with helpful tips on how to grow your club, and advice from past Club of the Year winners. At the end of the contest the top three clubs in each division, as well as the biggest new club, will receive awards.
What are the prizes?
1st Place for each division and Biggest New Club
- Free Club Renewal in 2016 ($200 value)
- Free permit (up to $100)
- 30% off a custom kit order from DNA Cycling
- Feature article in the USA Cycling communique
2nd Place in each division
- Free club renewal in 2016 ($200 value)
- Free permit (up to $100)
- 20% off a custom kit order from DNA Cycling
3rd Place in each division
- Free club renewal in 2016 ($200 value)
- Free permit (up to $50)
- 10% off a custom kit offer from DNA Cycling
If you have any questions, please contact Membership Programs Manager Emily Palmer at email@example.com.Read more link text
For the past five years, members of the Semi-Tough Cycling Club have ridden their bikes to "fight kids cancer with love" as part of the annual Pablove Across America ride. Over the years, members of the club have raised well over $100,000 for the Pablove Foundation. It is something that we are all extremely proud of, and I think if you watch the video announcement for the 2016 ride, you'll know why.Read more link text