July 29, 2009

The Felt-Holowesko Partners U23 team cleaned up at the US national championships, taking three of the top five spots in the U23 road race along with a second year of the national champion in Alex Howes.

Alex Howes - 2009 U23 national road race championshipPhotos courtesy Ethan Erickson

Race report from Alex Howes:

Alex Howes - 2009 U23 national road race championship “You know what this team needs? A win, a victory, two hands in the air; wouldn’t that be sweet?” I can not tell you how many times I, my team mates, the staff, and everyone involved with the Felt/Holowesko/Garmin team has made that statement this year. If we had a brick for every podium we have earned this year we could build a house. It would be a small house and it would not exactly be structurally sound but, there would be at least 3 walls. The, ‘second step shack.’ That is where we have been living all season. Ask anyone who has been there; it is not a fun place to call home.

Today the team finally got to upgrade. With three riders in the main split of the day (Peter Salon, Peter Stetina, and myself) I knew our chances were good. Stetina and I pushed the pace on the climbs and Salon kept a keen eye on the other riders in the break. We whittled the group down to a select group of 8 and with one to go Eagle Eye Salon and I made a break for it with Ben King of Trek-Livestrong and Scott Stuart of Waste Management. The attacks never stopped from the final climb all the way to the finish. Salon was quickly in trouble on the climb manly due to the massive amount of work he did to keep the break away so it was down to three. Of the three it was almost impossible to pick the strongest rider. After riding 160km in the break away with one hundred degree temps we were all reduced to virtually nothing. Attack… Cramp. Attack… Cramp. Attack… Cramp. That is how the last five kilometers went. In the end I told myself my legs would either fall off or I would win and I led out the sprint from 225 meters out. My legs are still there…

2009 U23 national road race championship
For me, this victory is big. Real big. It has been over three years since I have put my arms in the air. But for the team this win is huge. We needed it, we earned it. Every rider on the team could have been on that top step of the podium today. I was just fortunate enough to pull the long straw. Huge thanks to all the boys and staff. Hopefully, this victory will be the first of many. Let’s put a roof on our house.

2009 U23 national road race championship

Team Felt-Holowesko Partners U23 results
1. Alex Howes      4h00.42
4. Peter Salon      +0.26
5. Peter Stetina       +2.18
7. Kirk Carlsen      +4.14
15. Daniel Summerhill      +14.21
27. Conor Mullervy      +15.34