Remember the young TBC athlete, Paul Hartner, newbie in 2015 who also showed some promise on the road last year? He’s the one who switched from running to cycling in 2015 because of injury and has never looked back. At age 18 he’s only beginning to tap into his abilities on the bike. As a part of the newly founded Bicycle Heaven/Training Bible Cycling Elite road team he has given us a lot to get excited about. As a coach I couldn’t ask for anything more out of an athlete. Paul nails every rep, loads every file and does everything on and off the bike to excel. As a sponsor of this new team, Paul and teammate Matt Kelley’s 9th and 13th finishes at a race stacked with pros and ex-pros (George Hincapie, Christian Vande Velde, Matt Busche and Lance Armstrong) we’re getting the sense that 2017 is going to rip! Race recap in Paul’s words (mostly):
“So crazy excited by this race. When the pack (250ish people) started climbing for the first time I saw a little gap open up ahead of me in the group (Wait up Lance!). I weaved my way through the group and crossed the relatively small gap as the group started hammering through the first gravel section and the pace was really high. We hit a section of single track and the group (12ish guys) totally strung out and thankfully slowed down a bit. The single track pointed up quite a bit and everybody bunched up, and in confusion, I think I must have hit my derailleur on the side of a tree because my chain shifted into my spokes. Total bummer but got it covered and fixed pretty quickly, and because we had opened up a significant gap, I only getting passed by 3 guys that were on the back of the group.
From there I was pretty much solo for the rest of the race, so I was able to knock down the pace to where I was uncomfortably comfortable, going as fast as I could without bonking or flying off a ledge on these washboard descents with softball sized rocks littering the road.
There were two main climbs in the race, one at 14-18miles and one at 29-39 miles. They climbed about the same amount of elevation, but one was just 2/5ths the length (steep!). The first climb I picked off 2 guys, one running cross tires on a hardtail mountain bike. I descended alone, but got passed by the guy on the mountain bike who was bombing the descents.
I started the second climb after a few miles of road, and knowing it’s placement and length, stuck myself into tempo and just kept moving. I picked up two guys, but I didn’t get to the other rider’s wheel until we approached the top. The last section was a suffer fest. First came the double track, which is made up of all baseball sized gravel with grass growing through it. Then a Cyclocross-esque section, down into a creek which you have to run over and then run up the hill to a flatter section which turns into another super steep grade for an 1/8th of a mile till the finish.
I was pumped and thought I was 10th when I crossed, so when I found out I was 9th I was even happier. The podium presentation was out to 10 places, so I was up there with guys like Christian VDV, Lance Armstrong, and Michael Busche. I can’t think of a better way to start a season.”
Look for Paul and the rest of our new BH/TBC Elite squad to do some damage in 2017!