Lobster, crab, sea bass, halibut, red snapper and rubber tires. Fresh by Brookshire’s utilizes its highest quality ingredients to provide the entrees as its highest quality racers provide the onslaught.

The embryonic stage of the road ragers was somewhat of an epiphany, finding its conception through run-of-the-mill conversation.

“Last summer, on the way to a race in Louisiana, I mentioned to Bob Hebb that enough people show up for the ‘Pain Train’ to start a race team,” said race director and team member David Starrett. “Everything went smoothly and now we have eight officers. Myself, Danny Hayden, Billy Hughes, Kristin Blaise, Chuck Lafferty, Kerry Bickerstaff, Lacy Thomas and Eddie Hernandez.”

Within one year, the USA race sanctioned team has amassed six first place finishes, 25 podiums (top 3 finish) and 71 top 10s. Can someone say, “Dad, I don’t think I’ll be needing a chaperone this time.”

With an age group classed from 15-63, including 20 women, Fresh Road Race has amassed 65 members, with over 50 percent having tasted the savory delights of action on a competitive level. Starrett, a “Pain Train” veteran of twenty years, has seen local rides grow from an anemic four concrete cruisers to an average of 25-30 pavement pounders on a weekly basis.

Though Fresh is only in the adolescent phase of competitive racing, it’s being raised in a household with full grown men. Category 3 State Champion Andy Kutach understands the strategic angle of “taking the bone and bringing it home.”

“It’s important to have great position on the front 10 guys with about 1 kilometer to go,” the savvy assailant said. “With 100 other riders, it takes guts and strength. I was fortunate to get two wins out of three races this year. It’s a fist fight,

“With being so busy with three kids and a family, coming across the line first for a first year local team like Fresh makes the wins so much sweeter.”

Hmm … sweet. Brookshire’s is celebrated for its healthy approach to the midnight edibles, but there’s nothing wrong with a lil’ insulin spike every now and then.

Said Starrett: “We’re in a dolphin stage right now. We’re sleek, fast and fit. Our next goal is to race more as a traditional team. We have some learning to do before we become a shark.”

If, after 71 top ten finishes, more education is required to become a man-eating, marine cartilaginous fish, then, pity to the Road Race Sea.

With any competitive racing team, it’s of ultimate importance to recognize the role and expenditures of the team sponsors. Not only does Starrett relish each opportunity to bestow credit upon the spinal column of the outfit, but exercises the occasion to honor the designer of FRESH.

“Joe Self did an excellent job on the Fresh jerseys; he did a great job,” Starrett said.

Self, the unassuming sales manager of Elite Bikes in Tyler, seemed almost embarrassed for his role in the project.

“I just told them that if they needed help with the design, I could help,” said the mild-tempered maestro. “Altogether, with different designs, layouts for the jerseys and the meetings, it took about 40 hours.”

“Joe’s Jerseys” found themselves in Panama about a week ago, once again staking claim and taking names. The bicycle border bashers of Starrett, Kerry Bickerstaff, Manny Saminiego and Glenn Terrell snatched stage wins, time trials and podium fodder for East Texas inquirers.

With so much success in such a reduced time period, Starrett still manages to keep long- term objectives at the forefront.

“Our goal is to start a Junior Program,” Starrett said. “We have one junior on our team. We want to build on that while we are so visible for our sponsors.”

Lobster, dolphins, sharks, soft-spoken designers and bushwhackers riding carbon frames. Sounds like a recipe for success. And even if it’s not palatable for some, it has definitely proven to be a “Fresh” approach.

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