If you still don't know that our Fall 2016 kit order is underway, then you haven't been paying atttention! The link to the store is [redacted - members only] and the Castelli Fit Kit will be available at Helen's Cycles Santa Monica starting today, so if you have not ordered an item before or are not absolutely sure of your size, then please stop by Helen's and check out the Fit Kit. You will also be able to touch and feel all of the items offered, including two brand new items for this year - custom La Grange base layers and custom La Grange long finger gloves. We are extending the order window until Tuesday, December 6th - but that is the absolute deadline to order. Don't miss out!
In other news, we had an amazing Annual Banquet and Awards Ceremony with our friends at Caffe Roma in Beverly Hills. Our sponsors Helen's Cycles, Cannondale, Castelli, TriFit LA, Herbalife and Ago provided so many raffle items that we had to break the raffle into five separate segments. Dan Chapman donated one his original artworks, which went to the winner of the Most Inspirational Rider award. And sponsor Seth Davidson was in attendance as yet more $200 checks from his law firm were awarded to our Racer of the Month winners. The banquet was a great time - as always - and if you couldn't be there, here are your 2016 award winners:
Most Improved Female Rider: Tracy Paaso
Most Improved Male Rider: Monty Zuniga
Most Improved Male Racer: Alex Gamez
Most Improved Masters Racer: Glenn Savarese
Stu Press Most Improved Racer: Lizbeth Urmas
Best Female Racer: Daniela Garcia
Best Track Racer: Todd Schoenbaum
Best Masters Racer: Dan Funk
Best Junior Racer: Ivy Koester
Best Climber: Eric Bryan
Leadership Award: Kate Wymbs
Most Inspirational: Thomas Rennier
Best Video: Chris Rovin
Service Award: Louis Bianco
Most Unique Rider: James Cowan
Chef Rudy Award: Jaycee Carey
Raymond Fouquet Trophy: Victor Ayala
La Granger Of The Year: Patrick Barrett
We are all very lucky to have our 2016 award winners as fellow La Grangers. They inspire us to even bigger and better things in 2017.
President, Velo Club La Grange
Upcoming Events December 2016
Dec 2-4: Electric Bike Expo, Santa Monica Pier
Dec 3-4: SoCalCross: CACX District Championship Weekend, Greek Theatre LA
Dec 3: Encino Velodrome Quarterly Swap Meet, Encino
Dec 3: Helen’s Monthly Group Ride, 7:45 am Helen’s Santa Monica
Dec 4: Helen’s Cycles / TriFit Beginner Ride, 7:45 am Helen’s / Santa Monica
Dec 4: Advance Race Skills Clinic, Redlands
Dec 6: LG KIT ORDER / CASTELLI STORE CLOSES – 10 PM
Dec 7: Board of Directors Meeting – All current members are welcome to attend!! 7 pm Yahoo! Center across the street from Helen’s Cycles Santa Monica
Dec 10: Helen’s Monthly MTB ride, 7:45 am Helen’s SM
Dec 10: Helen’s MDR Group Ride, 7:45 Helen’s / Marina Del Rey
Dec 11: Santa Cross Holiday Challenge, Woodley Park / Van Nuys
Dec 11: USAC Upgrade / Resume Builder Crit, Compton
Dec 11: Advance Race Skills Clinic, Redlands
Dec 17: Helen’s Cycles Women Only Group Ride, 7:45 am Helen’s Santa Monica
Dec 17-18: Nor Cal vs. So Cal State Cyclocross Championships, Bakersfield
Dec 18: LAVRA Fall Upgrade Series #2, VSC Carson
Dec 18: Helen’s Cycles / TriFit Beginner Ride, 7:45 am Helen’s / Santa Monica
Special thanks to Joey Santa Cruz for putting this list together
From the Desk of Seth Davidson Law
I'm beggin' ya...
By Seth Davidson
(424) 241-8118, 24/7
Bike Injury Lawyer and 2016 Velo Club La Grange Sponsor
It’s true I’m a lawyer. It’s also true I’m a bike lawyer. But you know what’s really true?
I’m a lawyer who bikes.
And I’ve pretty much always raced my bike. Since the Bloor Road to Blue Bluff Time Trial outside of Manor, Texas, on a frigid January day in 1984, I’ve been competing in bike races. Some years I’ve raced a lot, some a little, and some not at all, but the basic fact pattern behind my biking life has always been oriented towards competition, even when the competition is nothing more official than the NPR.
So I’m going to take a break from the normal order of bike lawyering and make a plea: If you have a racing license, please go do a couple of hard road races next year.
First, because we’ve just lost two of the best road races on the calendar, Boulevard and Vlees Huis. With a 30% drop in race entries this year, the first races to go in 2017 will be the hard ones, followed by the road races with easier profiles, and then ultimately the crits. Your participation will make the difference between races continuing or folding.
Second, because hard road races make you a better athlete. If you belong to VCLG and have a racing license, it’s partly because you want to be a better cyclist. There is no quicker route to improvement than a few bludgeonings out on a wind-swept, hilly course laced with goatheads and rattlesnakes somewhere outside of Lancaster. And it will guaranteed make you a better storyteller.
Third, because road racing is part of road culture. Some things are worth keeping because they evoke memories, histories, events, stories, and myths … and without road racing there’s nowhere for young riders to even think about getting a start in the sport. Without a past, the future is pretty bleak.
Most people avoid road races in general, and hard ones in particular, because they’ve crunched the numbers and have concluded their chance of winning is zero. Maybe it is. But like your mother should have told you in kindergarten, some things are worth doing whether you win or not.
This is one of ‘em.
[About Seth: Seth has been cycling since 1982 and road racing since 1984. More than 90% of his practice consists of representing injured cyclists in the South Bay and West L.A.]
November 13 - Cat 3
by Roberto Hegeler
Three people took off first lap for the Seth Davidson $50 prime. I then started my sprint at the bottom of the incline (the course was counter-clockwise this time) and was not up for the prime, just wanted to use this to the non responding poleton to break away, eventually I caught all three and took the prime.
From then on I went solo, the guy who came in third for the prime bridged over and from then on we distanced the field a bit. Then an other rider bridged over (Jason Paez). Unfortunately
we never made the break big enough so they could not see us anymore and at 5 Laps to go it was half a straight where I thought we will not make it in the last lap. We then slowly dropped into the peloton, and I started to recover but maintain a position in the front. Two laps to go two riders took off and then Jason Paez bridged over to them. Knowing that he did very good puls, I then sprinted out of the peloton and also bridged over. The gap was already a half length again at that point. I got them exactly at the "one lap to go" line and after the first turn, I went to the front as they already started to look around, what would brought back the peloton.
I maintained that front position and pulled up the incline with quite a hard effort, but not too hard so I have some left for a sprint and waited for the attacks. They then came 3/4 up the incline, I then went into a full sprint and was able to push myself behind Jason Paez for a few seconds and then went out again and passed him towards the finish line. 1. Place 2. Jason Paez (good work and well deserved).
Cowan Being Cowan
A few years ago I signed up to ride the LA Marathon course before the race, aptly called the ‘Crash Race’ – the event was cancelled due to safety concerns, but I’ve been receiving notifications for Wolfpack Hustle events ever since.
Recently I received, and ignored, an invite for ‘Wolfpack Hustle: The All City Century 10 Year Anniversary Ride.’
Why did I ignore it? Well, it’s unsanctioned street racing through unknown parts of LA with unknown characters at 10pm on a Monday night. Did I mention, it’s 100 miles of racing – in the dark. Yup, that was easy to ignore.
After receiving the ‘Most Unique Rider’ award at the La Grange Banquet I stood on my patio overlooking the bike bath, staring out into the darkness as the super moon bore down on me. About 30 bike riders came by with their bikes all lit up and music blasting. I thought to myself how much fun they must be having, riding through the night under the full moon.
I woke on Monday to breaking news that Thomas Rennier and Frank Tai had switched their Wolfpack Hustle status from ‘Interested’ to ‘Going’. Didn’t they know I’m the most Unique Rider? So, I went to the event page and listed myself as ‘Going’ JI was going to get my Full Moon ride after all.
After work I had my usual beer, steak dinner, and a glass of red wine. I sat down in the rocking chair and looked out into the night. My night. My night in LA. YOLO.
I left Venice at 8:30pm and headed for Tang’s Donuts in Los Feliz. I got there around 9:30pm and met up with Thomas and Frank. Around us were over one-hundred eager riders. Some on fixies, some on road bikes. We were certainly the best dressed and our Garmin’s were a dead give-away that we were outsiders. Kurt Broadhag recognized me and asked me if I’d ridden a Wolfpack event before. No I hadn’t. Kurt then told me that they don’t stop at red lights. When he said it, it didn’t phase me. We often run red lights on Westchester, sometimes we roll right through red lights on Ocean Ave in Santa Monica. Sure, I don’t think that’s going to be a problem.
At 10pm Wolfpack announced that he’d left the route cue sheets in the SAG vehicle, we’d have to wait 10 minutes for the cue sheets. We scratched our heads? Didn’t everybody download the GPX file and load it on their 520 earlier? Ooops, no Garmin’s for these characters. 10 minutes turned into 15 minutes, and then a car came screeching to a halt and out they came – the tiniest cue sheets you could ever imagine. There were literally 100 lines of cues crammed onto an 8x3” piece of paper. At best it was illegible. But that was it, the hustlers were happy. Beers were being chugged, there was a waft of marijuana, and it was announced – we’re ready.
We took off into the night, the pace was fast. The breakaway group of 20 was decided just minutes in. So off we went. Soon we approached our first major 4-way intersection. The light was red. The group didn’t even pretend to slow down, instead they fanned out from the typical 2-wide rider format to about 6-wide. Then the guys at the back checked behind for cop cars, and the guys in the middle started cat-whistling to make our presence known. It was a battle format that they have used before to block traffic from both sides. To my surprise, we effortlessly moved through the intersection in what some might consider a very dangerous and stupid way, but as the night went on it almost seemed natural. I got very used to flicking my elbow before red lights and dropping back to the back row so I wouldn’t be responsible for any mistakes.
The breakaway group was being led by Jon Budinoff and NeuYork who was a giant muscle on a fixie. Jon was upset that the group wasn’t working well together and he ended up doing most of the work. His communication was a little off and the riders were simply hiding from him, not the front. At one point Jon asked me if I knew my socks matched my jersey. Of course they matched, this was my brand new chartreuse kit with matching jersey, shorts and socks - all in super hi-viz. I later realized he was calling me a poseur as I wasn’t doing enough work. We wound our way over to the Pasadena Rose bowl for a race lap, then headed for the Encino Velodrome.
As we climbed Foothill Blvd towards La Canada I found myself leading the charge. A rider pulled alongside and with a grin that was wider than his face he cackled "I see green". I looked up the road, and sure enough there appeared to be ten straight lights all blaring green back at us. It was akin to runway lights. You're cleared for takeoff. Knowing that I preferred green lights to red lights I picked up the pace. These guys knew how to work me.
Somewhere in Burbank there was a solo crash, we lost a rider. There was confusion as to what to do. Should we wait, or just leave him? It wasn’t easy, but the group was persuaded to wait. The rider was safe and re-joined. But it was a reminder that we were far from familiar roads and the group was impatient.
Off we went. For the next 10 miles I did my best to help Jon and NeuYork. I’ll never forget watching NeuYork riding his fixie at 25mph sitting upright peeling and eating a banana, his muscles exploding out of his costume as we rolled through red lights. Total control.
Then it happened, NeuYork blew a tire. He shouted for Jon et al to pull over. We did. I took the opportunity to take a much needed bathroom break, and in the middle caught wind of Jon his buddy Carlos conspiring to take off – they didn’t want to wait. Off they went. I risked everything and put myself back in my shorts without shaking off correctly. Damn the drips. As I came out of the alley I signaled to Thomas and Frank to follow, but they didn’t bite. I was not going to let the strongest guy in the ride leave me behind. I chased for 2 blocks and caught them.
I went to the front and put myself in gear and led. After 15 minutes we rolled into the Encino Velodrome rest stop. Red bull was there along with photographers and a table of coffee, food and liquids. I had a Red Bull and a banana, filled my bottle. Jon was ready to roll, the radio on the snack table squawked, the chase group was 1-minute away. We ran to our bikes and hopped on them as a sea of headlights came into view. I pulled away, Jon and Carlos fell into my draft. My Garmin 520 now leading us through the dark streets. We left Encino and headed for the Sepulveda Pass. A healthy hill. Jon set the pace, and it was a perfect pace for my Red Bull fueled body. Carlos called out that it was too much. Jon didn’t care and that was the last we saw of Carlos. Now it was just the two of us. As we approached the tunnel, the final part of the climb, I pulled through and set the pace. We crested and then I opened it up. Taking the lead on the long descent down past the VA, on to Wilshire Blvd and then San Vicente to the beach. This was my turf now. We wound our way through Santa Monica, Venice, over the Marina to Pershing and then onto Manchester.
Manchester led us past the Forum, then it was the LA Coliseum, the Staples Center and on through downtown Los Angeles. We kept the pace high, but Jon had burnt all his matches in the early stages, so it was up to me to set the pace. From downtown we moved north towards Griffith Park, and climbed in darkness to the Observatory. We’d made it. 100 miles. It was 3:45am. The welcoming party hadn’t arrived yet. I said my goodbyes and meandered my way back to Venice for 5am.
Of course, being a Unique Rider means that you don’t go to bed at 5am. No, instead you ride to Manhattan Beach and proceed to do NPR like any other Tuesday. So off I went, to meet up with my friends and finally get to sit-in for once. I didn’t sit-in as much as I promised myself, but that’s life.
I arrived at work at 8:30am, exactly 12 hours after I’d left my house, having ridden 180 miles.
I went straight to my boss and told her what I’d done – not sure how she’d receive the information that I’d been up all night - literally. Her overwhelming joy that I’d used my fitness to do something so crazy and experience so much of LA was magical. You Only Live Once.
Cycling on the Internet
with Matthieu Delcourt
Christmas is around the corner and it’s also time to look back at all the riding you've done. What a better way to treat yourself than an actual poster all your Strava rides? This is possible with Madewithsisu.
All you need to do is go to https://www.madewithsisu.com and connect it to your Strava account. It will display all your 2016 rides with a choice of different layouts. You can order the print out and have it shipped to you directly to put under the Christmas tree. One nice feature is that you can also change the dates to those of your actual season if you started on the Fall of 2015.
Here is an example with my own Strava rides and races.
Early Merry Christmas!