Joe Martin, Matrix Challenge, ETC…

By: Andrew Gonzales

On April 21st and 22nd we raced at the Matrix Challenge Crits in Dallas, some of the fastest and most technical crits in Texas. On Saturday we all started together near the front so we could stay out of trouble and follow early moves but nothing really happened the whole race long. Finally, going into the last couple of laps, two riders got up the road: my teammate Heath Blackgrove and Mat Davis from Louisiana. Going into the last lap me and Mat lead out Tyler for the field sprint. Heath ended up winning and Tyler won the field sprint so not a bad way to start off the weekend!

On Sunday we had the same plans for the race, cover early moves and make the selection at the end. The pack was pretty much the same and again no breaks were going pretty much for the whole race. It was looking like it was going to be a field sprint. I got into a break for a bit towards the end but we got caught. Going into the last couple of laps two riders went off the front after all and managed to stay away. It was my teammate Mat Stephens and Hector from Mexico. We felt like that was a good move so we were very happy to see Mat up there. Unfortunately Mat came up a bit short at the end and got second but in the pack we lead out Tyler again and he won the field sprint for 3rd. Not what we had been hoping for but still a pretty good race for us!

Though the following week I just got some good training in but also rested up for Joe Martin Stage race. We left on Wednesday April 25th to head up to Fayetteville, AR where we started racing the following day. Stage 1 was an up hill TT which was pretty hard. I didn’t feel that great and didn’t do really good but Joe got 15th which also but him in the jersey for the best young rider. Stage 2 was a 110 mile road race and it went up a 10 mile climb which kinda sucked for me. I did everything I could to help the team out and keep Joe and Eric out of trouble because those where our go to guys. At the end of the race, at about mile 80 we were hitting these false flats. The peloton was going full gas with a lot of attacks going up the road and I got dropped. So I had to ride the rest of the way by my self pretty much because the guy I was with was cramping so to make the time cut I just pulled us in as fast as I could. I made it back with plenty of time to spare and Joe was still in the best young riders jersey and also got 9th on that stage. Stage 3 was another long day in the saddle. It was a 114 mile road race. It started off with some attacks and with two riders going up the road. From there Competitive Cyclist controlled the front and we were just in it for the ride. It was a pretty long day but when we turned to go back into town it was pretty much all back together. Going into the finish it was getting rowdy: Bissell took themselves out and the guys lead out Eric, who pulled it off an won! It was the teams biggest win yet and Joe still came in 3rd as well which was also amazing! Joe was yet again in the best young riders jersey. The final stage is one of the hardest crits in the country. Right from the start it was full gas with lots of attacks. I honestly didn’t last too long. I was very tired and the hill on the course worked me but I wasn’t the only one getting dropped. I think every lap riders where pulling the plug. Coming into the finish once again the boys on the team brought Eric right in to the perfect spot going into the last lap and he came up a bit short but still a soild 2nd place behind US Pro National Champion Eric Young for Bissell. Joe was safely in the pack and won best young rider at Joe Martin!