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SWAMPLOCROSS!

1185876_10203959376336768_8974609074105451101_nJoin the Semi-Tough Cycling Club and Yeah You Ride! on October 12, 2014, at City Park for the first cyclocross race of the season in the New Orleans area. SWAMPLOCROSS! is an unsanctioned cyclocross race, generously sponsored by PBR, Bicycle Micheal’s, RAW Republic, Pizza Delicious, Pagoda Cafe  and more! 

The City Park Single Track is the site for fast and frenetic CX action. Tight technical turns; fast, forested sweepers;  wide open grasslands; narrow lagoon bridges; wild rooted runs; and muddy ditches – its all in the mix. This course is so wild, it ain’t even legal cyclocross – it’s SWAMPLOCROSS!

In addition to the race, there will be free food and drink to celebrate the NOLA cycling community’s support for the Pablove Foundation and their annual Pablove Across America ride. We will have breakfast tacos from Pagoda Cafe, donuts from Blue Dot Donuts, iced coffee, and adult beverages from PBR.

Top this all off  with a multi-sonic syllabus from our own DJ Sir Cheerio, stir in the sounds of heckling and cowbells, and you have all the makings of a legit Sunday morning throw down.

  • A, B and Women’s race categories.
  • $10 entry fee, $5 for additional races if you qualify. (Women can choose to race in the A’s or B’s additionally. Top 3 in B’s can race in the A’s)
  • Fundraiser for Nola Angola and City Park Single Track Trail maintenance
  • Beer and food!
  • All bikes welcome. Costumes and bribes encouraged
  • Tunes provided by Sir Cheerio!
  • Spectating is always free! Bring your clever heckles.

Schedule:
9am – Women (5 Laps)
9:45 – B race (5 Laps)
10:30 – A race (8 Laps)

To pre-register, please fill out our simple Google Reg Form. No pre-payment required. All entry fees paid on race day.

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The Harbor Master Criterium 2014

Harbor Master LogoOn June 22, 2014, its full steam ahead on the south shore of Lake Pontchartrain, as Yeah You Ride and the Semi-Tough Cycling Club bring you the Harbor Master Criterium presented by Massey’s Professional Outfitters. There will be seven categorized races (including dedicated womens, juniors and masters races) with cash and other prizes, including multiple in-race primes.

The race will be held at the scenic South Shore Harbor Marina, and there will be plenty of exciting and competitive racing, as well as fun for racers and families alike – bike expo, food trucks, music, and merch giveaways. There will also be plenty of kids activities, including a kids fun-race sponsored by the Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation.

Registration is open through USA Cycling, and there will be a special perk for pre-registration from our media sponsors at Peloton Magazine that we will be dropping details on soon. Stay tuned, and be sure to register early so you don’t miss out on it.HarborMaster_flyer_final copy

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A Semi-Tough View of Wednesday Night Worlds

wNOLAwI went knowing that I would be dropped. Honestly, I expected to be miserable and get shelled. I was headed out to ride as fast as I could (maybe even faster than I could) with a bunch of Cat 1 and 2 racers at the newly restarted Wednesday Night Worlds (wNOLAw). My friend, and local cycling legend, Kenny Bellau runs the ride, and seeing as how he has showed the STCC much love and support, I figured I would return the favor – as painful it might be to my legs and my lungs.

I went expecting to feel out of place, maybe even unwanted by some, but I knew I’d have Kenny’s blessing to sit in for as long as I could, so I gathered my nerves and headed out the door. When I arrived out at the lakefront start location, I saw a mass of uber-fit men and women who looked fast, riding bikes that looked even faster. Kenny introduced us all to one of the other “new” riders in the group – a Cat 1 racer from Holland with some kind of #europro name that sounded like it was straight from the pro peloton. I think my heart rate was close to red-lining before we even started.

But as the ride got going, where I expected to find steely cold racers and personal disappointment, to my pleasant surprise, I found just the opposite. The mentorship and encouragement on the ride was tremendous. Seasoned guys were dropping back through the group to offer pointers to less experienced riders. At one point Kenny was up ahead of me patting a fellow STCC rider on the back, and telling him how well he was doing. I had a guy ride up beside me as I was struggling who told me how good I looked, and offered me some quality advice about cornering and about where to position myself in the pack. I felt welcomed by the group, and more importantly, felt worthy of riding with them. Continue reading A Semi-Tough View of Wednesday Night Worlds

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The Making of the Semi-Tough Cycling Club

STCC BadgePrior to 2012, the organized cycling scene in New Orleans essentially consisted of clubs on either end of the cycling spectrum. The New Orleans Bicycle Club has been a powerhouse in competitive cycling for years, and is a club with a long and distinguished history. They were, and still are, focused almost exclusively on bicycle racing, and on providing opportunities for developing young racers. On the opposite end of the spectrum are the Crescent City Cyclists, who had established themselves since the mid-70s as a much more laid back cycling group. Their focus is on  low-key recreational touring and they lead leisurely country rides, mostly on the north shore of Lake Pontchartrain.

Having ridden with both groups somewhat extensively in the years since rediscovering my youthful love of cycling, I can say without a doubt that both are exceptionally well conceived and operated, and that I have enjoyed the opportunity to ride with them. But when I would ride with either group,  I couldn’t help but feel that I didn’t quite fit in. I wanted to ride on country roads, and I loved touring, but I also wanted to ride fast, and I wanted to challenge myself to get faster. But, when I rode with the racers, I just wasn’t tough enough. I was getting shattered;  finding myself wanting to be riding 2 or 3 mph slower, riding alone off the back, and thinking about that country road again. Continue reading The Making of the Semi-Tough Cycling Club

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The STCC Blows Up the 2014 Rouge Roubaix

STCC brought 20 riders to the 2014 Rouge Roubaix

Rouge Roubaix 2013 was when the Semi-Tough Cycling Club went from being just a few guys who went on group rides together, to a bona-fide cycling club with a diverse group of riders, many of whom wanted to race. Since the 2013 Rouge, much had changed at the STCC, and it was with great anticipation that the club awaited the start of the 2014 race. For starters, we were now an official USA Cycling Club, with two affiliated race teams – Rouler Racing, our unofficial “A-team”, and Semi-Tough Racing. We also had come to the 2014 race with loftier goals, and a we thought we’d planned a training and racing strategy achieve them. Some had goals of winning, others just to better their times from last year. But all had a sense of optimistic expectation going into the race, and we were pumped to ride hard.

Pre-Race

Excitement was in the air from jump on the morning of the race. Team strategy had been discussed the night before over Mediterranean food. Bikes had been cleaned and tuned at the Rouler work stand. Motivational photo montages set to “Chariots of Fire” had been viewed.  All that was left on the morning of the race was to gather for photos, and hear some inspirational final thoughts as delivered by Matt Kyte. Continue reading The STCC Blows Up the 2014 Rouge Roubaix

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Introducing SemiTough.cc

STCC CrestLadies and Gentlemen of the Semi-Tough Cycling Club, today your website is born. Much thanks to Matt Kyte for the inspiration, domain registration and hosting (though he shares not in the design and execution of the site – you can blame all of that on me).

I hope to use this site to share some thoughts about the club and our happenings (“Thoughts” link), provide information about popular club rides for new riders to explore (“Rides” link), offer opportunities for purchasing club merchandise in the club store (“Stuff” link), and highlight what some of our friends in the cycling world are up to (“Friends” link).

I welcome comments and input, especially from the STCC community, about ways to improve this site, and if they seem like good ideas, I might even listen! I am also interested in hearing from anyone who might want to share some stories of their own on the site. As with everything else in the STCC, this website is about the collective and not the individual.

Thank you all for the soon-to-be two years we’ve been doing this together. Without all of you folks, I’d still be riding my bike by myself, and wondering why there wasn’t a cycling club I wanted to join!

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Saturday Club Ride

The signature Semi-Tough weekly ride is a defacto tour of New Orleans. Starting with coffee and light breakfast at Rouler, this ride has all the elements of a classic club ride. We meet at 7 am to share an espresso, cafe au lait or iced coffee, and sample some of Rouler’s delicious pastry offerings, or classic oatmeal or yogurt with fruit, and clip in and ride at 7:30.

We roll easy through the French Quarter, then out beautiful Esplanade Avenue through City Park to the scenic New Orleans lakefront along Lakeshore Drive. At the lakefront, the group usually self-selects into an “A” and “B” group for the 12 mile push out along the lake to the end of Hayne Blvd. There are a few good overpasses and bridges (aka, Louisiana Alps) along the way, which usually break the ride into a true lead and chase group.

At the end of Hayne we stop for a quick regroup. The 30-mile option turns here for the ride back into town. The longer 60-mile option keeps pushing out east via Chef Menteur Hwy to Chef Pass and our mid-ride store stop, The Yellow Store.

On the way back, we turn off the lakefront at Press Blvd, for a ride through the oak lined streets of Gentilly. After a ride down beautiful Esplanade Ave, we take the pulse of the group and stop for either a second coffee at Rouler, or adult recovery beverages at Molly’s at the Market. After that, the group splits and heads to our respective homes. For those who live uptown, we finish with a quintessentially New Orleans ride through the bustling Saturday streets of the French Quarter, and then up Magazine St. through the CBD and Lower Garden District.

The overall pace varies between the A (24+ mph), B (~22mph), and C (17-19mph) groups. All are welcome, and there is always someone to sit back with a slower or less experienced rider. This ride is a great way to get to know the great people of the STCC, and to develop confidence in you group ride and pace line skills.