Friday, September 1, 2017

2017-18 EVOL DevoElite Cyclocross Team And Sponsors Announced

BOULDER, CO – August 31, 2017 – The EVOL DevoElite Cyclocross Team is excited to announce the return of its Under-23 development cyclocross team along with its roster of Elite and Master’s level racers based out of Boulder, Colorado. Launched initially in 2011 to support Elite level racing, and more recently having focused on supporting a women's elite team, the program expanded last year to provide a home to up and coming Under-23 riders Maxx Chance, Ian McPherson and Eric Brunner. The program continues its U23 focus this year with the addition of Denzel Stephenson, a multi-time, multi-discipline Junior national champion, with Ian McPherson graduating to the Elite program.

"I am super excited for this coming cross season with Evol! This will be my last year as an Under-23 rider so I will be looking to make my mark this year before transitioning into the elites. I am very pleased with how last year went, both in racing and with the new team, and I am ready to take on the new season with all of the support from the great brands who believe in what this team is doing” said Maxx Chance.

Racing with the Evol DevoElite team last year, Maxx had a breakout season. He won the USA Pro CX cup series in the Under-23 category, then travelled to Belgium to spend Christmas with his adopted Belgian family and race in the toughest conditions on the planet at a handful of the storied courses on the World Cup and Superprestige circuits. The trip lead to a win at the Club National Championships and a podium finish in the Under 23 category in Hartford, CT, last January. Maxx finished the season with tough luck at the World Championships in Luxembourg, where he finished 33rd. We are excited to see what this year has in store.

Eric Brunner is ready to build off of his great first season as and Under-23 with the team. Last year, mixed racing in the US with multiple trips to Europe, where he had an amazing ride at the Zeven World Cup, finishing in the top 25. Eric’s European campaign did not stop there, he had strong rides during the Christmas block with USA Cycling and finished a respectable 14th at the US National Championships. “I am hopeful that I can improve upon my European results from last year with the team.” says Eric. “ I learned a lot last year traveling the elite circuit with the team and I’m looking forward to being able to build off of these experiences”

Over the summer, EVOL DevoElite picked up junior phenom Denzel Stephenson. Denzel took the international cyclocross scene by storm last year where he finished 9th at the World Championships in Bieles and 5th overall in the UCI rankings for Juniors. Along with great international success, also Denzel finished on the top step of the podium at both the National Championships and the Pan-American Championships. Needless to say EVOL is excited to see what Denzel can do this year in the Under-23 category. “I am very excited to be on EVOL this year. They are a great development program and I think it will be a great fit for my first year as an U23” Denzel noted.

“We have been building towards this developmental focus for some time now, following the Elite team's success within Colorado where we have won the Best-Team-Overall women's open for the last 4 years in a row, and previously 3 years in a row on the men’s side,“ said Team Manager and Elite rider Josh Whitney. Mitch added, "Building this development team has been my baby for the last couple of years and I am really excited to see it build momentum with the EVOL Racing program. I could not be more excited to see where these guys go this year."

Grant Holicky, Director Sportif, coach and Elite rider echoed Mitch's comments with the program's emphasis on providing a transition platform for these up and coming athletes, "We are excited to help these young racers bridge the gap from the Junior ranks to success on the national and international Elite level."

The U23 team will travel to all of the domestic UCI U23 Category races, as well as a variety of additional races across the country while the Elite team will focus primarily on regional races from Colorado and select national UCI races.

Returning riders to the Elite team include, Melissa Barker-Tamplin, a former 40-44 Master's US CX Champ and Women's Open CX Colorado State Champ, Breeze Holicky, Jess D'Amato, and Kristen Legan on the women's side, with Christa Ghent moving on to a coveted spot on the Amy D. Foundation team. Josh Whitney and Grant Holicky, who share team management duties with Mitch Hoke, return with Chris Case and Michael Friedberg rounding out the Men’s squad.

EVOL Foods returns for its sixth season as the team’s title sponsor. Based in Boulder, Colorado, EVOL Foods manufactures and markets premium frozen convenience foods with a focus on pure and simple ingredients, including those that are antibiotic- and hormone-free, and are free of artificial preservatives or flavors and made with organic ingredients. The EVOL DevoElite team sponsors also include: Giant Bicycles, Panache Cyclewear, Velo Saddles, Todd Plymale-Mallory Massage & Acupuncture, Apex Coaching, Full Cycle Boulder, Shimano, Donnelly Cycling, CLIF Bar, Kappius Components, and Stages Cycling.

For more information on the team visit: www.evolracing.blogspot.com.

For media or sponsorship opportunities email: mitchell.hoke@gmail.com.

Monday, December 12, 2016

CX season wrap up from Josh

The second half the cross season is a different beast. Leaves change, temps (are supposed) to drop, 2 months of riding circles gutting each other leads to consistent duals and battles with friends. Skills are tuned and fitness holds if you’re able to stay healthy, hungry and focused. It’s the heart and darkness of the season, snow falls and dreams drift to the winter that is near, it is my favorite time of year.

With a forced break following a nasty bit of crashing and breaking carbon in mid-October, I rebounded following a few weeks off from the local UT circuit with 6 weeks of focused racing remaining on my schedule rolling into November. The Ogden TRP Cup coerced a few national caliber riders to the Wasatch for a 3-day weekend of USAC and ProCX points, and I made a solid return to racing, finishing 9th and then 3rd on a quieter day 3. Best of all was racing on a course hand designed with my own two hands and put on so damn well by our local rock star promoter Joe Johnson of Ptown CX, grass roots quality racing at its finest.

While most of the Mtn-Wester’s headed to CXLA, I kept the travel powder dry and had a few great weekends consistently battling against a returning to form Alex Grant following his massively long healing foot injury. At the Weber County Fairgrounds, I led the entire race, only to get caught and passed by Alex with 2 to go after he aced the one technical feature, a 3 foot horse jump gap that had eaten many a carbon wheel that day. But revenge was all the sweeter the following weekend on a last minute trip south to “Dixie land” as the locals call it (St. George, UT for those not in the know, the South is relative in Utah) with the Utah State Championship title on the line.

The course was on a working farm, complete with suicidal ducks, corn maze, haunted house, a pond, two massively gnarly methane producing rows of dairy cows that they made us ride straight through, not recommended but gave a certain Belgian flair I guess, and some flat field grass that was turned into a slightly gratuitous 90 degree turn fest. From the gun, Alex, Jeff Bender, young gun Evan Clouse and I created separation and we spent the first 40 minutes pacing ourselves through the course, with a few punches, attacks and tests throughout. Tip of the hat to Evan for proficiently jumping the barriers each lap causing the rest of us to chase, though I think we all knew that at some point he could, and eventually would crash himself out – kids ya know?! Out of nowhere Jeff’s front axle undid itself somehow and he was gapped, down to three. By then I was feeling good, in my mind and body almost stronger and stronger as the laps ticked down 2 to 1. 

For a moment, I thought to myself, I could win. Today could be the day. I quickly snapped myself out of the day dream and got down to business. Cross allows for no such dreams and moments of distraction. Onto the gravel and through the start finish, tightly together staying out of the wind.
Through the methane gauntlet and around the bend, moving into 2nd behind Alex. As we entered a small bowl Evan spun out, lost traction and dabbed the ground taking himself out of contention. Down to us 2, stay focused, move up and attack, this is it. I immediately gassed it and passed on an inside corner before a short forced run up. From here out it a short gravel drag and then into turnfest 5000, making it very hard to pass. I put down all the watts I could and accelerated out of every corner shutting the door each time as I could feel Alex try to jump ahead. After the last corner there was a long arcing drag around the pond and then a final turn through gravel before the finish. Pedal was to the medal and with a final sprint I checked left then right and threw one arm up and a yell of victory into the air!  My first cyclocross win. To top it all off, my mom was waiting for me on the line with a hug and kiss, my eyes drifted skyward and thought of my dad and how proud he would be to have seen this day. 
The following week, the calendar flipped to December and with it the snow flew hard for a few days, making the finale of the Utah Cyclocross series a real frozen mudder of an event. 20 minutes into our race the temps had warmed to just above freezing and combined with a full day of traffic the frozen snow turned to mud and made for a super challenging, super fun slip slide-a-thon. Near perfection bike driving. 
Unfortunately, the combination of snow, sand, grass and mud neutered our drivetrains. I quickly went from 11 gears to 2 within the first 2 laps and with no pit bike was stuck in a high cadence spin off the front. After 30 minutes of bouncing on my saddle trying to stay away from the chasers, i went from 2 gears to none as the gunk build up rendered my chain to cassette connection useless and I click-click-clicked my way to the S/F and stopped asking for anyone with a brush or spray gun. 
The chasing 3 passed me as I jumped back on the back after getting a gracious quick power wash of the cassette. 20 seconds down, work to do but now I could at least shift, 3 laps to go. I made up time through the next lap getting within reach of 3rd placed Kevin Day. But through all the passing of riders and jumping in and out of the snow line, the drivetrain was once again back down to 1 gear. I dug deep and pushed on getting oh so close to catching Kevin through the last few turns but ran out of real estate. But man so fun to ride in dynamic, challenging and completely different conditions than we have had nearly this entire season. 
And that brings us to this past weekend, with 2 days of racing down in Garland, TX at Resolution Cross Cup. A most excellent event and fantastic course that challenged both the legs and skills with a great mix of grass and pump track flow section of wooded rooty goodness. With the season nearly behind me and a few powder days already tempting me off the bike, I put all my chips on the table and gave it my best effort, coming away with two top 15 finishes, my highest ever UCI level placing. Mostly though I’m proud of the way I raced this weekend, really all season: hard, smart, clean, leveling up and building on the successes and failures each time the whistle blew. It feels so good to put a weekend all together after such a long, fun season of racing, and years of doing this bike racing thing. All the intervals, skills, rides short and long, before, between and after work, and so many moments thinking about the bike, the battle of one’s mind and body, the race within the race. It’s a love deep down inside. I love this sport so much because its provided me with a canvas and experience to push myself not just physically but mentally in ways no other experience has, to explore pain, perfection and my limit. To define and achieve what is my best, if only for a moment. It’s such a beautiful and fleeting thing. And a search that I know will only continue because we are always changing, growing, learning and challenging what we know is our best – how awesome is that?

Now let's get fat and go skiing!

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Refuel right and keep your gut in check

As we near the end of 'cross season and the days get shorter, darker and colder, we're asking some tough questions this holiday season: What's the point of hard training if you're not recovering and refueling properly? And with the occasional indulgent meal backed up by holiday travel, how can you keep your immune and GI system in top working order? By eating smart of course. Fortunately, the combination of products from two of our sponsors makes for a delicious no brainer way to refuel right and get your body healthy. We reach for Clif Bar's Chocolate Recovery Mix and Goodbelly's StraightShot as the base for post-workout recovery shakes, with the combinations being endless.

Here's a staple from our go to team menu:

  • 3 scoops Clif Bar Chocolate Recovery Mix
  • 1 Goodbelly StraightShot
  • 8 oz. Almond Milk, plain unsweetened
  • 4-6 oz. cold, filtered water
  • 1 banana
  • 2 tbl. sp. Almond Butter
  • 1 tbl. sp. Coconut Flax & Chia mix (Whole Foods 365 brand)
  • 1 tbl. sp. Maca powder
  • 1 tbl. sp. MCT Oil
  • dash nutmeg or cinnamon
  • 3-4 ice cubes if banana is not frozen

Enjoy!

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Chefs Cycle - Giant and EVOL rider Mike Friedberg team up with No Kid Hungry

Make $50 a life changing sum of money!  

Does that headline seem like an infomercial?  Keep reading, I promise I will show you how!

Can you think of a time where you had a bad start at a race?  It’s happened to all of us for a million different reasons.  The guy ahead of you slips a pedal, your rear tire was on a loose patch, you were distracted, had a mechanical or just plain old bad luck.  It’s so frustrating!  You have to exert so much energy just to get back into the field.  When the race really gets going, you’re exhausted having expended so much effort just to be mid pack. Is everyone with me? At the end of the race you are left wondering what could have been if you’d had a decent start & could have used that same energy to move up, rather than catch up. Can you think of a time where this has happened to you?  This is the perfect metaphor for childhood hunger. Kids who do not get a good start in life have to work so hard just to be average. 

This fall I got involved with Chefs Cycle, a group of restaurant professionals who love cycling & use it raise money for No Kid Hungry, a charity dedicated to eliminating childhood hunger in America.  I was lucky enough to do a Pro/Am event with them at Blackberry Farms in Tennessee.  We rode well & raised $30,000 for No Kid Hungry. It has been an amazing journey personally & professionally.
Professionally, I am the co-founder/co-owner of Yellowbelly Chicken. We are a fast casual, fried chicken concept built around offering people better, healthier versions of the food they already love. We want to change the way people eat! We want people to eat better, feel better & do better.  I’m passionate about healthy food & lifestyle.  I love helping people eat better.  At the same time it is important to respect the fact that there are still lots of people in this country who are not getting enough to eat. I struggle with the idea that we are able to scrutinize every ingredient we source while so many people are still going hungry.  While we are at Whole Foods worrying about whether or not something is local or organic others are wondering how they are going to feed their kids.  

Personally, I have been lucky enough to be an athlete all my life. I was on the US Ski Team when I was younger.  I skied moguls on the World Cup Tour. Now I race bikes for fun. Sports are all about self actualization. For the most part they are selfish pursuits. You have to have a lot of things in place to be able to focus on yourself & what you need to be successful. I feel truly blessed to have been able to chase my dreams. As I get older I realize what a gift it has been. My parents were able to provide me with everything I needed. Not everyone is so lucky.  In America, 1 in 5 kids are not getting the food they need.  
Chefs Cycle is an amazing opportunity for us to give to others through the sport we love. Too many people are living without & we can help. This season I am donating every dollar I make racing (both in the form of prize money & also in beer drenched hand ups) to No Kid Hungry.  For every $1 donated up to 10 meals will be provided for kids in need.  Here is where I make good on the headline: I won $50 at a race called Cross of the North.  That is 500 meals for kids that would not otherwise eat.  That is a life changing amount of money! Together we can end childhood hunger in this country. Who knows what great things these kids will achieve with our help!  

Please consider donating to No Kid Hungry through my Chefs Cycle Page

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Breeze Holicky reflects on a gorgeous weekend of cross racing

EVOL Race Report from Breeze Holicky


It was a beautiful weekend for some cx racing, although what weekend isn’t good for racing cx?!
The Feedback Cup on Saturday presented with some good off camber mountain bike style features as well as a nice endurance hill on the back side.  I got off to a decent start but faded a bit on some of the more technical sections.  I want to give a shout out to Terri Smith who went down in the Womens 40+ race ( at the same time as our race). She broke some bones, tore some ligaments and yet is optimistic and already talking about getting back out there!

Sunday's Lucky Pie Race was a totally different style of racing. It was a grassy course with lots of sandpits (that changed each lap), some epic berms and really fun twisty turney sections! The quicker you were out of the corners and onto the pedals the stronger your advantage! Christa Baddick, Jess Case and I all raced the women's open race while Grant Holicky and Chris Case were representing the men in the 40+ category. Christa brought home the win in the women's open race while Chris took the top step of the podium in the mens 40+ and Grant finished a solid fifth.

It’s a blast getting to come out and race each weekend with the EVOL team and really fun to have Jess Case back in the game. While River and Anika mostly played in the sandpit this weekend, they are not far from representing the next generation on the cx course!





Friday, November 4, 2016

The Sheriff locks up a podium

Michael Burleigh, aka The Sheriff, reflects back on last Sunday's grass dragathon that is Interlocken CX, where he sparred with the cream of Colorado's crop of CX racers, finishing 2nd. 

Judging from my grizzled face and leathery skin, I might not seem like I belong on a development 'cross team.  However, despite being 34 years old, I'm in "only" my fourth year of cx racing, and I'm absolutely a cx project.  Specifically, my cx bike handling skills tend to be middling at best and my starts are anemic.  Combine that with the overall talent level here in the Colorado CX scene, and I had come to accept that I would never see the front of a men's Open race.  I would never really factor into the action at the sharp end. 
photo credit: Dejan Smaic Photography
Sunday at Interlocken, however, I had a breakthrough.  After getting off to a decent start, I was able to gradually claw my way past several riders.  I came across a gap to the next group and I was astounded to realize I had made it onto the wheel of Tim Allen. 

I took stock of what was happening in the race.  I was on the back of the chase group, which included Allen, Jason Donald and Ken Benesh.  Chris Baddick was alone off the front with a 15 second gap. To me, all four of these riders exist on a higher plane of CX enlightenment than I've ever been able to achieve. Nevertheless, when the course wrapped back on itself, I could actually see the front of the race! I thought to myself, oh this would be a terrific result - my best ever - if I can hold on to this group. 

I tried to stay smooth and avoid a big mistake - don't panic.  I was riding with the chase group!! But then former EVOL teammate Benesh attacked and it broke the group apart.  I was barely able to drag myself back up to him.  I'm third wheel in a CX race!  There's only 3 laps left.  Oh what a result this would be if I can stay with Benesh, I thought, top three!  I focused on holding his wheel. 

We exited a corner and a long, grassy straight lay before us.  Benesh flicked his elbow, directing me to pull through.  Hmmmm... should I pull through?  Can I pull through? I like Ken a lot and want his respect, but that's not a reason to pull through.  Can we catch Baddick?  Seemed unlikely.  Will we be caught by the riders behind? possibly.  If I don't pull through, will Benesh attack me?  Probably.  After a few seconds of thought, I came around him and took my pull.  

I led for most of a lap and then flicked my elbow for Benesh to come around me.  We were slowly reeling Baddick back in but there was only 2 laps left. As I rode on his wheel, I bobbled a turn just slightly and a small gap opened up between us.  Benesh seemed to ramp the pressure up just slightly in response.  I tried not to panic.   
photo credit: Dejan Smaic Photography
As he rounded yet another grassy corner covered in fallen leaves, he lost the front wheel and went down. I was just able to avoid him as he lay on the ground.  I looked behind me and he was already back on his bike.  Should I wait?  No, we weren't going to catch Baddick and the crash was not my fault.  One and half laps stood between me and 2nd place.  I tried not to panic.

As I neared the final straight, I looked back to see the gap behind was comfortable.  I couldn't help but pump my fist as I rode across the line.  I hadn't won, but I felt truly victorious.  I had finally overcome myself and put together an entire race of very solid CX riding.  I was actually relevant in a CX race!  I was there to see Chris Baddick alone off the front.  I was there to see Ken Benesh crash in the last two laps. I saw the chase group break apart.

I have no idea if I'll ever be able to replicate my performance from last Sunday.  Even if I can never get back there, I still existed, if only for one hour, on the same plane as the best Colorado cross racers.  And it was pure joy.