Feb 8, 2011

Best non-L5 riders 2002-present...

A long list of contenders for this most coveted of titles! Lots of guys have either gone on from L5 to good road/track/cycloX/MTB careers or just been inspired by living in Bloomington and Little 500 community. This list includes road/ track achievements both during and after their time in Bloomington (even if during their time here they weren’t that special).

Notable omissions
Erik Hamilton (11th), Issac Neff, Kevin Vanes, Keith Leonard, Rob Rhamy, Chris Vargo

10. Craig Leukens
Kept racing after a HoF Little 500 career and was National Collegiate Road Champ when at Yale. Had most success riding for the TargetTraining team out of the Northeast. Could have been an even bigger talent on the road if not held a little back by the Cat 2 rule that meant he couldn’t upgrade early.

9. Josh Weir
Controversial when riding Little 500 for TMT, but a top quality track racer who had ambitious of representing the US at the Olympics. Hasn’t been in the results for the past few years but those who ever raced with him always described him as a ‘beast’.
8. Jean-Luc Serriere
Mainly raced as a mountain biker and can win DINO races seemingly at will. An incredible talent and I probably missed his strongest days. Super classy on the bike, looked like the real deal and had the engine to ride with anyone.

7. Michael Kehrberg

Cat 1 as an 18yo but quit racing by 25! One of the strongest Midwest guys who went national when riding for the Subway Pro team. Got to ride San Francisco GP and finish Philly. Didn’t feel like suffering for a living with no financial reward so quit whilst he was ahead. As an IU freshman rode again from the group on my first 446 wednesday worlds with teammate Keith Leonard, prompting me to wonder ‘who the hell is that kid’?
6. Ryan Knapp
Solid roadman for Team Panther who can always to relied upon to snare a top 8 position to keep the money men happy! Excelled as a crosser who now has national acclaim riding for Bikereg.com and following a stint suffering in the Belgium mud. Has the right attitude with realistic goals but the Bloomington Crit is the BIG ambition for the 2011 road season.
5. Bennett VDG
Bloomington local who had a stellar Collegiate career at Cumberland, IU and Marian where he was track omnium champ as a senior. Rode a year for the Kenda Pro team and was a top lead out man. Decided to give it up for similar reasons to Kehrberg, knowing that it would be a hard job to succeed in.
4. Eric Young
Bloomington BMOC as the star of the Cutter Little 500 team. Smashed in on the rod and track in the latter half of 2010 and secured a pro contract with the Bissell team. A fearless sprinter who worked out how to stay upright to take big wins at Elk Grove and big results at Gateway Cup and Superweek. A pro contract is the next step and we’re all intrigued to see how far he can go! Most parochial Little 500 riders have no idea what it takes it finish third in a 60mile Superweek Crit and will find out to their cost in April.
3. Mike Sherer
After a solid Little 500 career kept it rolling to slowly improve in 2 seasons of road racing before having a great 2010 for Verizon Wireless. A podium at the NRC Tour de Grove, a top 5 overall at ToAD and a 4th in an 80mile superweek circuit all secured a ride for the Kelly Benefits Strategies PRO team in 2011. With a little more ordered training Sherer should take another step up but will have less opportunity to sprint for himself than will Eric Young.
2. Guy East
Recent Bloomington transplant who has been a monster track racer all through the 2000s highlighted with a win in the U23 Euro 6day circuit in 2009. On the road has hung with Big Tex on Trek-Livestrong and also for Kelly Benefits where he mostly rode as a team player without ever extending himself. Made a good life of racing international stage races and taking in the local culture. Shame he’s never truly thrown it down at WW! Taking a sabbatical in 2011 but will remain the prettiest guy on a bike in the area. Check out this video of Guy from IndyTV

1. Rashaan Bahati

A national celebrity as a previous US crit champ and winner of numerous big crits. Lived in Bloomington briefly as part of the Major Taylor group whilst an undergrad at IU. Rashaan preceded Eric Young by 8 years as Collegiate track points race winner and finished third in the Collegiate crit champs (first in the bunch kick) in the year when IU should have won the national title (with Kehrberg and Wangerin). No one looks classier on the bike and importantly was one of People magazines 50 most eligible bachelors in 2004. Founded his own racing team last year that unfortunately went to the wall after half a year but remains the man to beat in crits as is never afraid to put his bike where it probably ought not be! A dream would be to see Bahati pull onto Kirkwood with Young and Sherer in the wheel on the final lap of the Bloomington crit…..


Anonymous said...

Did Vargo have a bike racing career after Little 500? He's more of a kick ass runner.

Anonymous said...

If you go by 1-2 results Hamilton needs to be somewhere in the top 10.

Anonymous said...

I call bullshit on Luekens making the list and Hamilton not. I think too much has been made of him riding for a big northeast team. Honestly, his results are kind of meh: http://www.usacycling.org/results/?compid=205074&all=1

With a couple of exceptions his only top-5s have been in spring training races. Hamilton's race results are far more consistent and impressive. Erik should have been 9 or 10 on the list.

Anonymous said...

I just took a gander at Hamilton's results on his blog. A very solid year, but pretty much just local stuff. I'm curious who you would bump from the list? Aside from Jean-Luc and Knapp the rest are PRO/National Champions/Olympic caliber. You aren't going to bump Knapp...he's got solid finishes nationally as well as experience across the pond. He's also got a higher ceiling than Hamilton (IMO).

So...that leaves Jean-Luc. Maybe, but GP put him at #8 and ahead of "the beast" Josh Weir. I can't really see dropping Weir so I'm not sure how you drop Jean-Luc.

Look - nothing against Hamilton, but go to his blog and look at the results he posted. I wish him well and hope that he continues to develop and eventually take his talents to the next level (whatever that might be for him), but this is a tough list to crack. Again - all but two are PRO/National Champions/Olympic caliber. Finishing "11th" is nothing to hang your head at.

Anonymous said...

What about Todd Cornelius? He was PRO as well.
Non Fiji TC

Anonymous said...

Correct me if I'm wrong but i believe Jean-Luc raced as a professional off-road for the Ventana Team in the late 90's. I know it is 2002 on, but once a pro always a pro. And there are no other mtb bike pros on the list.
Let's also get out there that with the cycling generator that L5 is and bloomington's kick-ass topography added btown has had about 100 other solid cyclists that while not " top 10" should be recognized.

Anonymous said...

...not exactly the list I would have chosen or the order I would have placed them, but hey, to do a proper ranking would require a lot of diving into each racers resume' and team background.

That sounds like a lot of work. More work that a list designed to exorcise people at work is probably worth.

Anonymous said...

Bennett VDG never impressed me much. Over rated IMHO.

Anonymous said...

I think you are thinking of Art Keith riding for the pro Ventana team in the 90's. Jon Leauk is an awesome mountain biker but was really not a very strong motor compared to some of these guys. He could go and go and go, but he did not have a super high VO2 or anything. He was a cat 4 on the road. Great skills on a mountain bike and decent motor... and great guy.

Anonymous said...

No, art keith and jean-Luc were both riding for Ventana. Shit, this was 1995 too. And Vo2... Ah, You were the one on kirkwood testing lactate threshold and Vo2 all those years. Better give all that data to wikileaks so we can have true transparency.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for including me on your list. Although I do want to clarify that it wasn't the "suffering for a living" part that made me call it quits, but rather the D3 lifestyle that I wasn't a fan of. Also I'm planning a comeback for the Bloomington Crit this year. So it isn't over yet. I did a few "Tuesday Worlds" here in Boston last summer and should be in top form by July.

I think Todd Cornelius (2 year Subway pro and solid regional results), John Grant (Texas Roadhouse rider with strong regional results), and Matt Moore (spent a summer at the Cycling Center in Belgium and had solid regional results) are also deserving of at least honorable mention on your list.

Best of luck with your big move.


Anonymous said...

what about Strock??
He has seriously stomped some people right?
or is he from martinsville so it don't count?

Anonymous said...

Results from 1995 don't count on this list from 2002 on. Isn't he 40 years old now? Local MTB races are not as good as Hamilton's results. Sorry. Geraint, how did Vargo get honorable mention ahead of Grant? What were Vargo's results after Little 5 and for how long?

Isaac said...

You guys have obviously never ridden with JLS. He absolutely deserves to be on this list!

Anonymous said...

I'll second the jean luc props, He was winning 1-2 mtb races whenever he showed up. He didn't race road much but training with him I can tell you he was/is as strong as anyone in the area.
Also Hamilton of 09-10 is the fastest guy I've trained/raced worlds with in the 6 years I've been here. John Meyers should also be at least HM.
Ryan S.

Geraint Parry said...

Thanks KB for those insights. TC wasn't in town during my time here and I definitely missed out on big John and skinny Matt. For what it's worth I reckon Craig, Erik, John could all slide into this list but I went with Craig because he won a National title at Yale.

I think writing that you didn't want 'suffer to NOT make a living' would have been more accurate! Glad to hear you're on the comeback trail!

Frederick said...

Strock is not only _not_ a Bloomington rider, he has never really been part of the Bloomington racing scene. He is definitely one of the top current cyclists in the Central Indiana area but he doesn't really dovetail into the above list very well.

Anonymous said...

Jason Sonneborn should be on this list too. He's better than a lot of the guys on this list (Vanes, Rhamy, Vargo, Leonard). When he was "on" he was one of the best Cat 1 sprinters in the region.

Anonymous said...

I think you're forgetting the Masters powerhouse Tortuga used to be. You should throw Chris Kroll, Sean Bauer, Mike Brauner, Tim Heffner, Karim Abdelkader, and Tim Davis in this list too.

Anonymous said...

You're forgetting brett stewart too. He was on the us national team a few years ago when he was racing in europe too

Anonymous said...

Wow! Are you really comparing Chris Kroll, The Egyptian Magician (whose only magic trick is crashing people);karim, and Mike Brauner to anyone on this list. Are you kidding me? Unbelievable.

RJ said...

I agree that Jason "Sonney" Sonneborn should be on here, he was an awesome rider (sorry man, but I think you're a little past your heydey...) back in the day. Definitely one of the nicest guys I've met in cycling too, helped me a lot when I was first starting


adamrodkey said...

I'm going to throw Shanahan's name in here too. I think he's the #1 most consistently fast guy around (in the region). A lot of guys are fast, but you can ALWAYS count on RS to be en forme. Most of his palmar├Ęs are in the triathlon world, but dude is a seriously strong biker.
Yes, he's an artist too, but he will never match the artistic skill of the great Bloomington cyclist/rapper The Rhyme Taylor.

Anonymous said...

re. Cornelius:


Probably not.

Anonymous said...

what up wit dat, who know
that Taylor Gaines was out rappin'?
He puttin his hat in my ring now
next ride I'm gonna blast 'em

Juniors star --ha---just ain't that scary
dude is so green his dick ain't even hairy
why's that you ask? not because he's a minor
no you see---it's because he's got a vagina

Last ride 12 miles in
MC Tayla' was off the back
Aint' seen anyone cry that hard
Since the end of Brokeback

sorry if I'm hatin
I just want ya'llz to know
Betta shout some respect
For true rappas Death Row


Anonymous said...

still waiting to hear your top list of men and women coaches!