The Elevate-KHS Pro Cycling Team lined up for the 2017 Redlands Bicycle Classic last Wednesday, tackling five challenging stages that would push their legs and minds to the limit. The diversity of efforts needed for this event are unique to stage races as they vary from a time trial, mountain top finish, fast criterium and two technical circuits. Knowing that each rider would have an option to shine, the roster was composed of climbers Alex Hoehn and Eder Frayre, along with sprinter Alfredo Rodriguez and team strong men Brian McCulloch and Joseph Schmalz.
A 7.2 mile time trial in Highland acted as a great primer for the upcoming stages for the team. With hopes set on the climbing stages and downtown criterium, the TT posed a great chance to do an all-out effort. With the assistance of Topical EDGE, the riders knew they could safely deliver their top-end performance on stage 1 without any residual lactic acid build up.
Stage 2 was the Yucaipa Road Race, 14-mile circuit with temperatures in the low 90’s made for an extremely difficult day in the saddle for the team. Eder Frayre finished just outside of the top 20 for our best finish on the day, during a stage that will go down in history as truly epic.
“The heat was challenging, but I have been able to stay close to the climb and I have trained their many times. My team set me up perfect to do my best on the climb and my legs were ready to answer. Topical EDGE really helped me at the end of the long effort, as I was able to handle the climb well, especially after so much climbing in the valley,” Frayre said after the race.
During the stage 3 Highland Circuit Race, Alex Hoehn made a valiant effort to bridge to the breakaway with one other rider. After several laps of committed work, they joined the leaders on the road until they were gobbled up in the finishing laps.
“Knowing my legs were primed and ready for whatever workload I threw at them, I was confident attacking out of the group and bridging to the break," Hoehn said.
Stage 4 moved the racers to downtown and the Redlands Criterium. The team was committed to setting sprinter Alfredo Rodriguez up for a promising sprint finish. However, as the race winning move went up the road, Brian McCulloch was involved in a near race-ending crash. Without panicking, he got back into he race and went right back to the front of the peloton to work at reeling the break in. Alfredo ultimately won the field sprint on the stage.
“Coming to an abrupt stop while going 32 MPH is never fun. Having to jump back on my bike after several minutes of my legs being stagnant can really hurt! With the help of Topical EDGE, my legs were instantly opened back up and I could go straight back to the front of the group without the usual loaded up feeling and heavy quads,” McCulloch relayed after a huge effort in the criterium.
The final stage was the Sunset Road Race, the pinnacle of the Redlands Bicycle Classic that found the racers charging through hail, wind and rain. Quite the departure from the heat exhaustion endured during the prior stages. Featuring punchy climbs, quick technical descents and a long arduous grade along the “Wall” on Sunset Drive, the final stage is always challenging. Joe Schmalz was able to work with Alex Hoehn and Eder Frayre, ultimately placing Frayre in the front group.
“Sunset was brutal. The punchy climb up Ridge Road is always stiff and being five days into the event, it really helped having the added buffer of Topical EDGE to get me over the crest,” Schmalz said after the stage race was completed.
Closing out the Redlands Bicycle Classic, the Elevate-KHS Pro Cycling Team was pleased with team execution and for the top performance of Eder Frayre. The team will be taking a few weeks to train and race locally before gearing up for the second half of the season on the road, tackling the Professional Road Tour (PRT) series of races.
Photo by Danny Munson