Roxo Racing checks in from El Paso USA Crits

Follow the women of Roxo Racing, a Texas-based women’s cycling team, in their first full year racing national-level races. Roxo has competed in USA Crits, Pro Nationals and Joe Martin events, both UCI pro 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 watcher, share a hotel room, travel and assemble their own bikes, make their own flight reservations, and more. We call it “sticking”, but it’s normal in teams below professional level.

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Bikes together, almost everyone has arrived and off they go to explore the city, including the course they will be running that evening. We are mid-morning, with an eye on the 7:00 p.m. start of the women’s D1 Pro race.

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After exploring the course and locations, our heroes (left to right) Michelle, Sanna and Jaime focused on the local cafe with a bike shop vibe. Check out the great memories from Podium Finish, https://podiumfinishsportcafe.com/.

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Boss Tony, be a kind soul and treat our rock stars like…coffee drinking rock stars.

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Jaime, DS author and aging grumpy cyclist, is out shopping. These will come in handy in about 5 hours. Jaime is versatile. She acts as a marketing agent, computer scientist, navigator, bottle washer and she is the mother of two sons who want nothing to do with cycling. Oh, and she can climb, TT, and mount crits if we insist. BTW, when Siri announces a phone call from Jaime, Siri says the Spanish “Hy-mee”, so when you see her next…

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Late afternoon and we head for the course. We don’t have a team bus like Jumbo or EF. It’s a rental van with bikes and packed people, including Jaime, holding some stable stuff in the back. We think she said “Hey, don’t get caught from behind”.

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

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

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Our happy pre-race clowns do their robot routine, though we hope to ban them from TikTok forever.

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Meet Sanna, a Finnish scientist by profession and a very strong cyclist. Sanna’s pleasant demeanor belies the fact that she is quite nervous and wants to go.

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It’s showtime, 7:00 p.m. In just minutes, pre-ride nerves are washed clean with focused focus that lasts for an hour, not to mention the physical discomfort of riding a bike in tight spaces at 30 mph.

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Denver Michelle gets 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 bicycle racing, is running nose to tail, full throttle. Soon the first break of the night will end, giving the chasing pack some respite. Mind you, Tracy’s normal smiley face is long gone.

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El Paso is a very cool border town steeped in Hispanic culture, with plenty of murals to share their history. This guy flexing his guns is a real person, Melchor Flores, fighting for answers because his son has been kidnapped by police in Mexico. Painted by El Mac, this mural sits next to the Boxing Hall of Fame as the fight for position in the bicycle race rages on.

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Michelle continues to lead the hunt for damage control, as the Roxos missed the break. As soon as that break was removed, another was thrown. This turned out to be the winning move.

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Notice the equipment they push. It’s a very fast pace because the break will soon be mastered. Meanwhile, due to the scorching pace, the runners at the back are suffering as the brutal selection continues.

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Rats! The winning break formed in front, as the laps ended and night fell. We burned matches that we should have saved. Still, there are still spots up for grabs and two Roxos will make it into the top 20, which are paid spots.

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Your author shouting things like “Venga! Revenge!” or everyone’s favorite, “Move up!”. As if they couldn’t figure that out on their own.

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It worked. Jaime went up front and Frankie, that announcer who did 9 Tours de France, shouted at Roxo.

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Exaltation under the lampposts. Another tough and competitive race in the books. Stories swapped right after arrival will continue for some time. Once things have calmed down and everyone has cleaned up and changed, back at the hotel we will debrief over dinner.

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The job of any DS is to maintain precise focus, even under pressure, as seen here.

Through the lens of our talented photographer, Alex Roszko, we want to share our story.
See more ROXO races 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 is courtesy of ArundelBike.com – proud sponsor of ROXO Racing.


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