Roxo Racing, in year two of our existence, came to Joe Martin with 7 riders and expectations to improve on 2021. The field was talent laden and deep, with 88 starters from 15 teams. You don’t just sign up. You must be invited to UCI races. It’s an honor to receive an invitation to Joe Martin, as you have a chance to measure yourself against the best in North America.
Riders competing against professional teams often balance cycling with other priorities in life. Our Roxo athletes include a nursing student, a PhD scientist, MPH dietician-mom-with-two-sons, an HR manager-mom-with-two-sons, a customer service process manager, and a master’s motion media student, who’s preparing for grad school finals as you read this. The balancing act they manage to race bicycles at the highest level is something to behold.
With stage racing, most cycling aficionados zero in on General Classification, the “GC” battle. That’s the individual victor of the bike race. How GC works is, with each progressive day of racing, simply add your time on the course into one big number. Fastest time wins. The trick to winning a stage race is, to not lose it. By avoiding mistakes that cost time, by making the right moves at the right time as the days progress, you remain in the hunt. Yet there are myriad ways to lose. Miss the move, lose five minutes. A flat tire during the time trial? Lose the race. Crash in the crit, lose the race. Given all that, some riders seem to rise above, and champions do it often.
Here’s an image of Emma
This year in Arkansas, Emma Langley from Virginia was the champion and the EF/Tibco professional team helped Emma deliver the GC victory. Emma outgunned 97 others for the winner’s jersey, while her EF team also won the team prize for strongest team. They had stiff opposition from DNA Pro Cycling, Legion of L.A., InstaFund, and others.
Stage 1: Devil’s Den Road Race, 109.2 km
Sanna before start
Every reader of Pez can decipher this code
Prerace instruction by our Roxo DS, Scott Warren, and Arkansas native who knows the roads like the back of his hand
Our mechanic, Ex-pro Gonzo, always in a good mood
The Ozark Mountains in mid-May humidity
Stage 2: Mount Sequoyah Road Race, 98.2 km
Before the start, Hannah the CS expert is probably working. To distract herself
Jaime the HR manager is probably thinking of the 1300m of climbing in her immediate future
Our secret is out. Pickles. The handheld radio in the console is the official race caravan radio. The other one is to communicate with staff. No rider radios are allowed at a UCI 2.2 race
Our main sponsor, J.W., is riding shotgun, with no clue he’s about to be in an auto race following a bicycle race
Calm before the storm
Sommers the grad student made the select front group on the stage
At the hilltop Mount Sequoyah finish, Sommers is in good company
Guest rider Marjie made it into the second group, a good result on a hard day
Stage 3: Devil’s Den Time Trial, 4.84 km
Our soigneur, Ann Marie, on the left, is a former champion cyclist. More importantly in Roxo, she’s a relentless comedian
The riders opt for standard road bikes because the 5km TT is all uphill
All the work pays off as Céline surprised herself, besting her previous 10-minute and 20-minute power data
Coasting back down the hill explains the happy bike racers
Stage 4: Fayetteville Criterium, 16 laps
Amy arranges bikes for the final stage, a criterium. She’s our Ace in the Hole, our Jack of All Trades, but we tell other teams that she’s our chef. Nobody else has a chef
One of the few flat spots on a hilly course
They both made the front group!
There is a saying in cycling along the lines of, win a Tour de France stage and the French will buy your drinks for life. We’re not sure if this is the case in Arkansas for Joe Martin stage winners, but someday soon, we intend to find out. Emma, were the drinks on the house Sunday night?
Through the lens of our talented photog, Alex Roszko, we want to share our story.
See more ROXO Racing at:
• Photos courtesy of Alex Roszko: https://www.instagram.com/roszko/?hl=en
Alex Roszko on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/roszkophoto/
• This article courtesy of ArundelBike.com – proud sponsor of ROXO Racing.