What's Cool In Road Cycling

Roxo Racing Checks in From El Paso USA Crits

El Paso, Texas, Round 9 of the 2021 USA Crits series

Follow the women of Roxo Racing, a Texas based women’s cycling team, in their first full year chasing national level races. Roxo has raced USA Crits events, Pro Nationals, and Joe Martin, both UCI professional events. The goal, shared by all, is to strive, learn and improve.

Location: El Paso, Texas, Round 9 of the 2021 USA Crits series:

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Living the rock star dream, Michelle (the mechanic) and Sanna the observer, share a hotel room, travel with and assemble their own bikes, make their own flight reservations and so on. We call it “bonding”, but this is normal in teams below the professional level.

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Bikes together, almost everyone has arrived and they’re out to scout town, including the course they’ll race that evening. This is mid-morning, with an eye on a 7:00pm start of the women’s D1 Pro race.

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After scouting the course and locale, our heroes (L to R) Michelle, Sanna and Jaime have zeroed in on the local coffee shop with a bike shop vibe. Check out the great memorabilia of Podium Finish, https://podiumfinishsportcafe.com/.

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Boss man Tony, being a kind soul and treating our rock stars like… coffee swilling rock stars.

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Ageing, grumpy DS author and bike rider Jaime shopping for supplies. These will come in handy in about 5 hours. Jaime’s an all-arounder. She acts as marketing liaison, IT person, navigator, bottle washer and she’s mother to two sons who want nothing to do with cycling. Oh, and she can climb, TT and ride crits if we insist. BTW, when Siri announces a phone call from Jaime, Siri pronounces the Spanish “Hy-mee”, so when you see her next…

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Late afternoon and we’re headed to the course. We don’t have a team bus like Jumbo or EF. That’s a rental van with bikes and people packed in, including all-arounder Jaime, holding stuff steady in the back. We think she said “Hey, don’t get rear-ended”.

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Michelle, who’s a New Yorker living in Denver, is now Denver Michelle. She’s normally stoic, measured, thoughtful, tactical, experienced, patient and we could go on. Oh, and goofy.

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Three out of four, waiting for their race. Michelle looking toward the camera, Jaime to the left and smiley Tracy adjusting her glasses. Clear lenses are common as it will soon be dusk.

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Our happy-go-lucky, pre-race clowns are doing their robot routine, although we hope to ban them from TikTok forever.

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Meet Sanna, a Finnish scientist by profession, and a very strong bike rider. Sanna’s pleasant demeanor belies the fact that she’s quite nervous and wants to get going.

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It’s show time, 7:00pm. In just a few minutes, pre-race nerves are washed away by focused concentration that lasts an hour, not to mention the physical discomfort of riding a bike in close quarters at 30mph.

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Denver Michelle goes straight to work in the opening laps, as early primes keep the speed high.

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It’s still early and Tracy, like everyone else in the bike race, is racing nose to tail, full gas. Soon the first break of the night will go, giving the chasing pack a short breather. Notice, Tracy’s normal smiley face is long gone.

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El Paso is a very cool border city steeped in Hispanic culture, with many murals to share their story. This guy flexing his guns is a real person, Melchor Flores, fighting for answers, as his son was abducted by police in Mexico. Painted by El Mac, this mural is next to the Boxing Hall of Fame, while the fight for position in the bicycle race rages.

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Michelle continues to lead the chase to limit the damage, as the Roxos missed the break. As soon as this break was pulled back another launched. That one turned out to be the winning move.

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Notice the gear they are pushing. It’s a very quick pace as the break is soon to be in check. Meanwhile, due to the torrid pace, the riders at the back are suffering as the brutal selection continues.

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Rats! The winning break has formed up ahead, as the laps wind down and nighttime falls. We burned matches we should’ve saved. Yet there are still placings up for grabs and two Roxos will place in the top 20, which are money paying spots.

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Your author yelling stuff like “Venga! Venga!” or everybody’s favorite, “Move up!”. As if they can’t figure that out on their own.

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It worked. Jaime went to the front and Frankie, that announcer guy who rode 9 Tours de France gave Roxo a shout out.

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Elation under the streetlights. Another hard, competitive race on the books. The stories swapped right after the finish will continue for a while. Once things wind down and everyone gets cleaned up and changed, back at the hotel, we’ll debrief at dinner.

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The job of any DS is to retain a razor-sharp focus, even under pressure, as seen here.

Through the lens of our talented photog, Alex Roszko, we want to share our story.
See more ROXO Racing at:
https://www.roxoracing.com/
https://www.facebook.com/roxoracing
https://www.instagram.com/roxoracing/
• 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.

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