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New sponsor revamps local cycling team


By Alex McCarthy





Team Tortuga, a local cycling team that had 25 members (only five or six of whom raced seriously) last year, is planning to expand its talent base to the entire Midwest as a result of increased sponsorship from the Scholars Inn Bakehouse.

This new program, known as Scholars Inn Bakehouse/Team Tortuga Cycling, will comprise of upwards of 35 riders and will race in more than 50 local, regional and national races in 2011.

On Wednesday, cyclists from as far away as Indianapolis and Columbus, Ohio gathered in the Scholars Inn Bakehouse to celebrate the revamped cycling program.
It drew experienced racers from senior Ren-Jay Shei, a leader of Little 500 team Black Key Bulls to completely inexperienced racers such as John Gleason, a freshman at Ivy Tech.

“We want to attract the best cyclists in the area — Bloomington in particular — to this one squad so that we can be the most respected, deepest, most powerful and high-performing team in the Midwest,” said Tom Saccone, director of Scholars Inn Bakehouse/Team Tortuga Cycling.

Lyle Feigenbaum, who owns the Scholars Inn and the Scholars Inn Bakehouse with his wife, has a passion for cycling. The Scholars Inn, which offers many healthy and organic food options, has long been the place where cyclists hang out before a race.

Feigenbaum, who went to IU, said he loves the positive impact cycling has had on his life and the lives of others.

“I love cycling and I love Bloomington,” Feigenbaum said. “Bloomington loves cycling, so for me, it’s a great fit.”

The event was advertised almost completely online, led by Bloomington Velo-News, the online blog of IU professor and cycling enthusiast Geraint Parry.

Parry does public address announcing at many Little 500 events, including the recently finished Fall Cycling Series, but at this time of the year, Parry’s most important role is to get news out about cycling events.

“Not only is he the voice of cycling,” Saccone said, “but he is also the great communicator.”

Parry said the only real way that next year will be more challenging that the past year is that the more accomplished riders will need to learn to work together closely as a team.

The riders and sponsors will await the spring season, when the revamped team gets the opportunity to prove itself during the next road racing season.

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