La Voix - August 2016

The War to the South

Dear members,

As many of you are aware, there has been a war brewing to the South, specifically, on the Palos Verdes peninsula. In response to multiple deaths of cyclists at the hands of drivers in the area, a number of local riders, primarily Big Orange members, took action. They staged an awareness ride around Malaga Cove and then attended multiple City Council meetings to advocate for the safety of cyclists on local roads. In online discussion groups and at these City Council meetings, some residents even advocated banning cyclists from public roads!

While the war is not over, I am happy to report that the South Bay cycling community has won the first battle. Not only was the call to illegally privatize public roads rejected, but I am very happy to inform you that in place of the BIKE LAWS STRICTLY ENFORCED signs that plagued roads in the area, these signs are being put up in their place:

The first of many '3 Feet - It's The Law' signs going up in Palos Verdes as a direct result of organized, smart, effective bike advocacy.

The first of many '3 Feet - It's The Law' signs going up in Palos Verdes as a direct result of organized, smart, effective bike advocacy.

I would like to thank La Grange members Jaycee Cary and Nigel Stewart for making the trek down to Palos Verdes to lend support at one of the several critical City Council meetings that led to this change. But make no mistake, this has been a war waged almost entirely by our good neighbors to the South, most notably by the Big Orange cycling club. So next time you see a friend from Big Orange, I encourage you to thank them for their efforts in making Palos Verdes a little safer for us cyclists. Because at the end of the day, while we may don Lycra jerseys of a different design and color when we go out to ride our bikes, we are all in this together.

Robert Efthimos
President, Velo Club La Grange

A Report from the Front Lines

Speak Up!

By Seth Davidson
(424) 241-8118, 24/7
Bike Injury Lawyer and 2016 Velo Club La Grange Sponsor
The last few months have seen a lot of change that affects cyclists who ride, even occasionally, on the Palos Verdes Peninsula.

Beginning with the city of Rancho Palos Verdes, the traffic safety committee has recommended that the city council approve a 2016-2017 work plan that includes a bike safety master plan. This was the result of hard work by David Kramer and a number of local cyclists who were sparked into action by the March death of Jon Tansavadti, who died descending Hawthorne.

Next up was the city of Palos Verdes Estates. Although the city has been working quietly—some would say too quietly—with an informal group of riders to improve bike safety on the Hill, two cyclist deaths led Mike Barraclough and a group of extremely angry cyclists to stage a protest ride.

The ride worked. The city council, despite vitriolic pressure by a handful of bike-hating residents, voted to remove the “Bike Laws Strictly Enforced” signs, put up “3 Feet, It’s the Law” signs, and further study the erection of “Bikes May Use Full Lane” signage on key arteries in PVE.

All of this happened because cyclists, including La Grange riders like Jaycee Cary and Nigel Stewart, pedaled all the way to the South Bay and took a stand for bikes. Although the online chatter from a few fringe bike-haters was intense, when the final vote was taken on Tuesday the council chambers was packed with cyclists, and the only three members of the “anti” crowd were meek and hardly hostile.

Our voices have power, but only if we use them. Democracy only happens when people show up, and showing up means, time, money, effort, exhaustion, and stress. The changes we fight hard for are incremental. By themselves they often look like nothing at all. But by continuing to advocate for bikes, we are literally making the world a better place, and not just any old place—the place we happen to live and ride.

The down side is that it’s not simply a long haul, it’s a multi-generational one. But don’t discount the power and effectiveness of your voice. So many of the “anti-bike” crowd began their speeches with “So-and-so wanted to be here but couldn’t,” a particularly empty phrase to the volunteer council members staring at a sea of Lycra-clad riders who wanted to be there and WERE.

The up side is that seeing positive change, and knowing you had something to do with it, makes it all worthwhile. Let’s do more than keep it up. Let’s turn the momentum of a few rolling stones into a landslide. We all know that bikes belong. Let’s show up and be heard.

[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.]

Are You Ready for Piuma?

Seven weeks left 'til Piuma! It's not too late to get ready!

Upcoming Events August 2016

Aug 1: Ride & Race Skills Clinic, Redlands
Aug 2: El Dorado Park Crit, Long Beach
Aug 6: La Grange Century to San Clemente, Culver City
Aug 6: Helen’s Monthly Group Ride, 7:45 am Helen’s / Santa Monica
Aug 7: Manhattan Beach Grand Prix, Manhattan Beach
Aug 7: Beginner Racer Program, Redlands
Aug 7: Helen’s Cycles / TriFit Beginner Ride, 7:45 am Helen’s / Santa Monica
Aug 8: Ride & Race Skills Clinic, Redlands
Aug 9: El Dorado Park Crit, Long Beach
Aug 10: Ride the Black Line Summer Series, Encino Velodrome
Aug 10: Board of Directors Meeting – All members welcome. 7 pm Yahoo! Centeracross the street from Helen’s Cycles Santa Monica
Aug 13: Helen’s MDR Group Ride, 7:45 Helen’s / Marina Del Rey
Aug 13: Helen’s Monthly MTB ride, 7:45 am Helen’s SM
Aug 13: Hotter 'n Hell Hill Climb at Mt. Baldy, Upland
Aug 14: CicLAvia Iconic Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles
Aug 16: El Dorado Park Crit, Long Beach
Aug 20: Helen’s Cycles Women Only Group Ride, 7:45 am Helen’s Santa Monica
Aug 21: CBR Fixed Gear, Miss N Out and Regular Crit, Compton CA
Aug 21: LAVRA TT Series, VSC Carson
Aug 21: Helen’s Cycles / TriFit Beginner Ride, 7:45 am Helen’s / Santa Monica
Aug 23: El Dorado Park Crit, Long Beach
Aug 24: Ride the Black Line Summer Series, Encino Velodrome
Aug 30: El Dorado Park Crit, Long Beach

Special thanks to Joey Santa Cruz for putting this list together

Save the Dates!

Here are some key dates beyond August as we look to close out 2016:

Sept 17: La Grange Cup Stage #3: Piuma Hill Climb

Nov 13: Club Photo / President's Ride / Awards Banquet

Nov 24: La Grange Thanksgiving Holiday Ride Benefiting Meals on Wheels

Cycling on the Internet

Cycling on the Internet
with Matthieu Delcourt

SoCal Cyclist Podcast

Our Southern California cycling community (this means YOU!) finally has its own podcast. You now can get all infos, news of the local events in the Los Angeles area. This includes live programs during races, interviews of local riders (both men and women), coaches, race organizers…etc. Themes range from ethic and safety in cycling, to training, nutrition, recovery and all challenges Californian cyclist face.

This podcast is unique and fills the gap in the world of cycling in Southern California. You can listen to the podcast online:, or on your phone: look for “Socalcyclist” on iTunes. Check out his Facebook page too:

Enjoy! You may even see Brian Co the creator of the podcast on your local race as he sets his tent with his fancy equipment and microphones!

Race Report

Cascade Classic (Cat 3)
July 22-24 - Bend, Oregon
by Drew Kogon

It was ambitious to begin with. Neither my friend Evan nor myself had ever done Cascade, but with his offer of a free ride up there, it was hard for me to refuse. We left Tuesday in the evening, right after I had my stitches taken out from being crashed out two weeks prior at a crit in San Diego. Coming fresh off this crash, I was ready to strike with a vengeance, so, with our four bikes and five wheel sets, we began our trek up to Bend, Oregon. It was a fun drive though I couldn’t help but be fixated on the race. These long waiting periods never really suit me well. When I was younger, I used to wish I could just throw up before a race to calm my nerves––now I had three days before we’d race with nothing to do, but wait.

We stayed in Madras––a small town about an hour out of Bend. I guess that’s what we get for booking late. Even the owner of the place was confused: “You’re staying here for four nights? Why?” Clearly, we were out of the radius of Cascade Classic bicycle influx. Oh well, it was dirt cheap and I wasn’t about to drop $330 bucks to stay at a Super 8 about thirty minutes closer. That’s pride damaging.

We spent the day before the race by checking out the TT course and picking up our race packets. Matias had so kindly loaned me his TT bike and race wheels which made all the difference in what was to come.

For those of you who don’t know Cascade, it’s one of the biggest and longest running (actually it is the longest running) stage race in the U.S. For the amateur race, we would have four events: the road race (a 70-mile point to point course with a long climb at the end), a TT (8 miles out and back 3% avg uphill for first four miles and downhill for next), a crit (thirty-five minute, four corner semi-sketchy course in downtown Bend), and a circuit race (three 18-mile laps in a technical up and down course). So let’s move to the racing.

The field was quite large. They combined the Cat 3s and Cat 4s to make a field of about 106 people. Ironically, there were 86 total Cat 3s and only twenty Cat 4s. Never thought I’d see that. As you’d imagine for a race like this, people were from all over the place. I felt like I was in the Olympics or something rather. Being the only LGer there, I felt a bond with my Southern California brethren as if I was representing not only La Grange, but the entire “country” of Southern California.

The Road Race:
The field was incredibly nervous––everyone wanted that sweet spot in the top fifteen or twenty. Moving up was very difficult and I spent much of the first mentally exhausting fifty-five miles just staying out of trouble and where I wanted to be which was not out in the boonies in the back. I was stuck looking at Lab Goody Finder (some team) everywhere which oddly reminded me of the play, The Crucible. Anyhow, there were some surges here and there, but nothing special, nothing lasted. No one was going to let the GC go that easily so I just sat back and tried to relax and enjoy the awesome views between the smells of burning carbon and the shaking heads of every cyclist who was displeased by the lack of fluidity. Woahhhh. Pedal! Pedal! Pedal!

Finally, we came to the last, long drawn out climb at around 25k to go. The attacks happened and people started to burn off. I managed with the front group of about twenty before being gapped by the remaining seven at about five kilometers to go. However, I kept steady believing that these people would burn out and fumble as they tried to set up a sprint. As it turns out, this happened and I was able to bridge to this group with a few others with one kilometer to go and sprinted for a sixth place. Ouchie.

So I ended day one with a 6th place in the GC. They rewarded time bonuses to the top three (a whopping 26 seconds for first place), leaving me to really focus on my tt and try to sneak onto the podium in third.

The TT:
My buddy Evan made sure to give me plenty of crap for the 1990s TT helmet that Matias let me borrow. That didn’t stop me from kicking his ass. I knew I needed to put out one of my best TT efforts to have a chance at this podium and that it was likely that many of these climbers of stage one didn’t have the gas or the experience for this stage. I managed to pass two riders that started in front of me and buried some of the riders in better GC category. I never thought that a 3% downhill would be so fast as I was spinning pretty high just to get anything out of the pedals. I pulled off a seventh place in the time trial and moved myself up to fourth place overall, just seconds away from third. I was hoping that maybe I’d be able to Greg LeMond this race.

The Crit:
I was pretty happy with my GC position at this point and didn’t think much could change during this. I just wanted to stay alive as 106 riders tackled this little crit course. There were two long straightaways which were perfect for bunching up as we went into the small quick turns. I chilled in the top twenty which was still a bit of an ordeal. There were some tempting primes, but I restrained myself. I actually stuck close to the yellow jersey believe that somehow, he was the hand of God and would protect me from sketchiness. I actually even told him this as I came to terms with the fact (going into the last lap actually) that his yellowness wouldn’t protect me from anything. These are the thoughts the run through my head. My friend Evan ended up winning the crit which was awesome, but the second place was the guy who was sixth overall and as a result, he received a 17 second time bonus that bumped him into third and moved me to fifth. Lame! We stuck around and watched the mayhem of the pro race, eating at one of the street cafes that provided a great view of the action. What a cool place to host a crit!

The Circuit Race:
It’s our last day of racing and I’m about six seconds behind the guy in fourth place. You can feel it in the pack that some people just want to make it through this while others are trying to make their moves. The first lap is incredibly nervous, but we all manage. On the second lap, I hear some of the teammates of the third place guy talking beside me. They say, “Look out for 633 and 645, we need to make sure they don’t make any moves.” I’m 633. I turn to them and say, “Oh my GOD guys! That’s me! I’m so flattered!” When applicable, I can’t resist applying psychological warfare to my race tactics so I took this opportunity to both entertain myself and just mindf&*# the hell out of the them: “You know your teammate sitting in third right now?” I said to them, “I’m going to destroy him. He’s done.” As one would expect, they didn’t have a response for that.

However, the odds would not be in my favor for this race, at least to the extent I wanted. The final stretch, a steep uphill, the pack was jumpy and I found myself just a little too far back and I launched a little too late, believing that the hill was long enough to go a little later and pass all the blown up people. I end up something like 17th. Apparently, there was a guy in 8th in the GC who launched a solo breakaway earlier and managed to stay away just barely to win the stage, possibly because we got stuck behind a car (maybe it was fate) at one point and had to stop the race. He moves up to fourth overall thanks to his nice time bonus. I think that all is lost and I’m down to 6th, but I managed to gain a whole eight seconds on my six second rival and finish out fifth overall in the GC.

All in all, it was a great event with some good racing. I’d love to come up here and do this race again next year.

The Month in Pictures

Seven medals, including a gold and national championship, for Ivy Koester at Juniors National Track Championships!

Seven medals, including a gold and national championship, for Ivy Koester at Juniors National Track Championships!

Lizbeth Urmas in 2nd in the 3/4 race at the Summer Classic Cyclo Vets Criterium!   

Lizbeth Urmas in 2nd in the 3/4 race at the Summer Classic Cyclo Vets Criterium!

Another podium for Lizbeth at Cyclo Vets! This time 3rd place in the P123 race.

Another podium for Lizbeth at Cyclo Vets! This time 3rd place in the P123 race.

Daniela Garcia takes 3rd place at the Carlsbad Grand Prix!

Daniela Garcia takes 3rd place at the Carlsbad Grand Prix!

Lizbeth Armas on another podium at the Adrenaline Twilight Grand Prix!

Lizbeth Armas on another podium at the Adrenaline Twilight Grand Prix!