La Voix - June 2016

Dear members,

Reports of motorists assaulting, hitting and sometimes even killing bicyclists seem to be increasing. Recently, a local cyclist, John Bacon, was killed while riding his bicycle in Palos Verdes. There is some reason to believe that the driver of a white pickup truck may have struck and killed the rider - the rider was found dead just 150 feet after a local home's surveillance video showed a white pickup truck tailgating and gaining ground on the rider.

While many have drawn their own conclusions, we won't know for sure what happened to this rider because we do not have video showing how he was struck by the pickup truck or otherwise crashed and was left to die on the side of the road.

Video is very powerful. If I told you that I was almost hit by a car riding home this past weekend, would you believe me? Many of you would. But it's also human nature to wonder if perhaps I am exaggerating. Or maybe I "did something wrong." Skepticism is generally a healthy thing - it's one of the foundations of critical thinking, after all. And every story has two sides, right?

OK now take a look at this video and let me know if you are still skeptical of my claim that I was almost hit by a car riding home this past weekend:

Skip ahead to the 1:10 mark for a close call with a couple tons of moving steel.


That, my friends, is the power of video. It doesn't have an opinion or an agenda. It just records what happens. I am thankful that these types of incidents don't happen to me often, but all it takes is one of these "close calls" to be "more than close" and I'm not making it home in one piece. And if there is one thing that I wish for you and other cyclist out there, it's to get home from each and every ride safe and sound.

Until the driverless car arrives and we remove human operators from the driving equation, there will continue to be incidents like this - drivers putting the lives of cyclists in danger. Any many will be much worse. But if those same cyclists catch these incidents on video, they will have a powerful tool to not only sway public opinion but also to help law enforcement prosecute their life-threatening behavior.

So I offer two suggestions. First, pick up a videocamera for your bike. If John Bacon has been running a videocamera when he crashed and died on the side of the road, we would very likely know how it happened. There might well be a driver behind bars. But we don't, and there isn't. Our sponsor Helen's Cycles carries a number of different videocameras suitable both for filming your fun on the bike as well as capturing incidents should they occur. I run dual GoPro Sessions, front and rear. Helen's also carries the Fly6, a dual tailight/videocamera that takes 6 hours of continuously looping video. There are still other options, and Helen's can walk you through all of them.

Second, when you are the victim of a crime while riding your bicycle, report it. La Grange sponsor Seth Davidson recently outlined the importance of reporting these incidents in a recent blog post titled "Report Card." It contains extremely useful information as to how to write and file a report, along with insight into the strategic long game we all can help with, i.e. how reporting coupled with municipal crime statistics lead to bureaucrats taking action - in this case, action to protect cyclists. Seth is also working with local police to provide a seminar for cyclists to provide education and tools for how to best interface with law enforcement to get results and needed change out on the roads. We will keep you posted when we have an event to announce - you will all be invited of course!

Ride, abide and be vigilant.

Robert Efthimos
President, Velo Club La Grange

La Grange sponsor  Seth Davidson  and bike injury lawyer offers a  user-editable report  that you can use and file with authorities if you are the victim of a crime while riding your bicycle.

La Grange sponsor Seth Davidson and bike injury lawyer offers a user-editable report that you can use and file with authorities if you are the victim of a crime while riding your bicycle.

A Message from Thomas

I wanted to take some time to express my gratitude to everybody in Velo Club LaGrange, the sponsors, my racing teammates, and our president, Robert Efthimos.

Most have heard the story how I was in an accident at Dana Point Grand Prix on May 1 and got my thumb amputated below the knuckle. It's been an extremely tough journey both mentally and physically, but with support from the club I've received food, hospital visits, home visits, and hundreds of emails and texts.

Having a strong community around me really makes things so much easier, and the distractions of friends can take my mind off anything. But it was the gift of a brand new Cannondale Super-Six Evo that has left me astounded. I can't say enough to thank you for the generous gift that so many people helped bring together. I told Robert I love the bike that has features I've never known (power meter, tubeless wheels, electronic shifting), but it's what the bike represents that means so much to me. I always look at it and feel the love of the cycling community. It's brought me to tears multiple times thinking about it.

I could never do enough to thank you. This bicycle has been such an emotional boost and wonderful blessing. 

Thomas Rennier

La Grange Cup

The annual La Grange Cup is a three event "intramural" race series designed for ALL La Grange members. It's free to participate. Whether you come out to vie for the overall title and bragging rights among the club or come out for fun and to set a new personal best, the La Grange Cup has you covered. Here are the three events in the series - you can pick and choose which to do, but I highly encourage you to do all three:

  • #1: 500 meter sprint on the Encino velodrome - June 18
  • #2: 20K time trial on PCH from Trancas to (Almost) The Rock - June 25
  • #3: Piuma Hill Climb - September 10

It's totally FREE, there are prizes, including custom jerseys for the winners of each age category, and no license or prior experience is required.

Sign up here and join in on the fun and friendly competition!

Upcoming Events June 2016


June 1: RPV Traffic Safety Committee Meeting, City Hall, Palos Verdes
June 2: RPV Public Safety Town Hall Meeting, Hesse Park, Palos Verdes
June 4:  Adrenaline Circuit Race (Junior & Cat 4 State RR Champs), Chula Visa
June 4: GMR Challenge TT, Glendora
June 4: LG Race Team Ride / Helen’s Monthly Group ride, 7:45 am Helen’s SM
June 4: Saturday Night Lights, San Diego Velodrome
June 4: Encino Velodrome Swap Meet, Encino
June 5: Encino Omnium II, Encino Velodrome
June 5: San Marcos Crit, San Diego
June 5: Kenda Cup #6, Big Bear Lake
June 5: Helen’s Cycles / TriFit Beginner Ride, 7:45 am Helen’s / Santa Monica
June 5: Bikes & Brunch, Pedalers Fork, Calabasas
June 6: LAVRA Monday Night Sprints, VSC Carson
June 7: El Dorado Park, Long Beach
June 8: Board of Directors Meeting – All members welcome. 7 pm Yahoo! Centeracross the street from Helen’s Cycles Santa Monica
June 10: LAVRA Friday Night Racing Series #3, VSC Carson
June 11: Helen’s Monthly MTB ride, Helen’s SM
June 11: Helen’s MDR Group Ride, Helen’s Marina Del Rey
June 11: Saturday Night Lights, San Diego Velodrome
June 11: Lake Elizabeth Road Race, Lancaster
June 12: SCNCA State Masters Crit Champs, Compton
June 12: LAVRA Junior & Masters Omnium, VSC Carson
June 14: El Dorado Park, Long Beach
June 17: LAVRA Friday Night Racing Series #3, VSC Carson
June 18: La Grange Cup #1: 500 M Sprint, noon- 3 pm Encino Velodrome
June 18: Victorville Road Race, Victorville
June 18: Helen’s Cycles Women Only Group Ride, 7:45 am Helen’s Santa Monica
June 18-19: Kenda Cup #7, Big Bear Lake
June 19: Victorville Crit, Victorville
June 19: Helen’s Cycles / TriFit Beginner Ride, 7:45 am Helen’s / Santa Monica
June 21: El Dorado Park, Long Beach
June 24: LAVRA Friday Night Racing Series #3, VSC Carson
June 25: La Grange Cup #2: 20K ITT PCH to (almost) The Rock , PCH @ Trancas       
June 26: Jurupa Grand Prix, Riverside
June 26: LAVRA TT Series, VSC Carson
June 28: El Dorado Park, Long Beach

Special thanks to Joey Santa Cruz for putting this list together

Save the Dates!

Here are key dates beyond this month and through the end of the year:

July 10: Raymond Fouquet Memorial Nichols Ride

Sept 10: 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

This month, I recommend DC Rainmaker, a blog that focuses particularly on cycling product reviews especially electronics components and accessories. These reviews are among the best and the most complete you will find on Internet. Pretty much all powermeters, bike computer and trainers (among other stuff) are reviewed and compared extensively, and buyer’s guides are constantly up to date. For those in the club that not only bike but also run or swim, the author includes blog posts on all watches available on the market. This is a gold mine to help you decide what’s best for you before going to your favorite local shop.


Race Reports

Dana Point Grand Prix (Cat 4/5 and Cat 4)
May 1 - Dana Point
by Alex Gamez

I love this course. It was fast, it was technical, the asphalt was smooth, and there was beer waiting to be consumed right off to the side when we were done. Although it was a great course there were tons of crashes in both the Cat 4/5 and the Cat 4 races so I had to keep my head on a swivel.

In both races my game plan was to put in a few pulls and remain in the top third of the peloton to secure a good spot for the final sprint. The plan paid off! I got my first podium ever by finishing 3rd in the Cat 4/5 and I missed the podium by what I felt like was a few centimeters by placing 4th in the Cat 4. Overall, it was a great weekend and I can’t wait to race at Dana Point again next season.

Kern County Juniors Stage Race (15-18)
May 15 - Bakersfield
by Ari Elkins

The Kern County Junior stage race was a new stage race specifically for juniors held in Bakersfield California. It consisted of three stages - a prologue time trial, a criterium and a road race. I arrived late so I was unable to pre-ride the technical time trial course. I ended up finishing with an OK time which landed me 10 out of 24.

Next, the criterium took place on a NASCAR track and once again was very technical and fast. I had bad positioning for the sprint so ended up with 8th out of 24. Lucky, the road race followed which as a climber was my strong suit. The course was the same as the Vleeis Huis Road race. For those of you that don't know it is a 25mile out and back course which includes a long 3 mile drawn out hill, multiple rollers and finishes on a hard 1 minute 10-14% hill.

The race stayed together until the long 3 mile Hill. A seven man break was formed as a result of the selectiveness of the climb. I was alone in the break from our team but Julian was not far behind. Brandon Cox from LUX Cycling kept the pace high while the GC leader from Emerald Textiles Santa Barbara worked with his teammates to cover the numerous attacks from our breakaway. As we approached the final climb we all were together. One of the 2 Santa Barbara guys attacked at the bottom but we all knew he wouldn't last so we waited and set tempo.

The GC leader went next and this time everyone followed - once he got tired Brandon from Lux attacked and i closely followed, taking fourth wheel. Sadly, the third wheel opened up a large gap which i could not close but i was able to sprint around him for 3rd place out of 24. This was my first ever podium and breakaway. I couldn't have done it with out the support of Flight School director Brian Koester, my amazing Flight School team, my La Grange family and our fantastic 2016 sponsors.

Trials in the Time Trials
by Jaycee Cary

Time trials are something I love to do so I was really aiming for the SCNCA TT Championships this year. I had been running well so hoped I could bring home the Bear. The individual TT is just you against the clock. Everything is out to stop you; pacing, weather, wind, your psyche. My start time was an extraordinarily early 7:15am which means I leave the house at 4:30am. I got there in plenty of time, signed in and chatted with teammates Nick Gillock and Stuart Brogan and got into my warmup. The race approached and I hit the line. With all of my aero gear present and my training behind me, I started my TT.

The first leg is 6.5 miles and not wanting to go too hard too early, I settled into my rhythm; power is good, speed is good. I made the first turn into the 2.5 mile leg 2, passing two riders and felt my first headwind. Ouch! Power is up but speed is down. Careful…don't overdo it. There is a lot of race left. Leg 3 approached and I readied myself for what is usually an interminable headwind. It wasn't. I felt good so continued applying steady power. I turn onto leg 4 and feel a superhuman tailwind and I know I have to take advantage. Go! Go! I make the most of it and turn onto the last 6.5 mile leg. This is where you give it everything you have left. I did.

I finished the 23 mile in course in 50:18 for an average speed of 27.5mph. Nobody passed me while I passed several racers. I was pleased and hoped it was enough to win. It wasn't. I won 2nd place. I was proud of my effort but the Bear Jersey still eluded me. Onto the TTT.

I decided to do the 2-man TTT with La Granger James Chao. James is stronger than me and a great time trialist so I felt like our chances were good. We have never TT'd together but we are both experienced so we should be fine. James and I warmed up and then he gave me a heart attack…I was at the line, we were next and no James. With a minute to spare, he sprinted to the line and we were off. Our race started OK but in hindsight, we probably went out a little too hard.

One thing about the TTT is you never want to let your teammate down so sometimes you ride a little harder than you should. We passed two teams before the 1st turn and motored down leg 2. This stretch has a really treacherous surface so I was a little uncomfortable riding behind and not seeing where I was going. I was riding a little to the left of James and unfortunately overlapped his back wheel. He swung off to the left. Next thing I know we are rubbing wheels and I am barreling off the right side of the road. Unable to get to my brakes, I drove full-speed into the sandy shoulder and flipped over. Though I was rattled, I knew I wasn't really hurt. I got up and checked my bike. Chain is jammed but otherwise unharmed. I fuss to get the chain back on and James says, "Let's finish strong!"

We get back on the road and get up to speed. Damn! I am bruised and battered and not my best self: my power is down and I am struggling to hold James' wheel. He senses my effort and takes longer pulls. Through sheer perseverance we finish the race, however not with a very good time. Oh well, we did the best we could. Then one of our competitors tells us they had an awful race and we may have won. Our hopes are buoyed!  We ride back to our cars hoping beyond hope that maybe we won despite my crash. The results came back…we got 2nd place AGAIN. Only 10 seconds out of first. OUCH!! I would rather get crushed than lose by 10 seconds, especially considering the circumstances. James was right though: we left it all out there and almost won because we never gave up!. Together we fought to the end and that's what is important!

Mt. Hamilton Road Race (Cat 3)
May 29 - San Jose, CA
by Eric Bryan

I wasn’t exactly sure how this race would go, given it was the first race for me after my post-collegiate training reset. I planned to play it conservative, and gauge the field during the main climb. The race was very steady paced up the climb, with attacks only beginning about 5k to the top of the mountain. I have to give it up to Eric Bruins from Big O, he was like a steady train pulling the field up the climb the whole time.

The final attacks thinned the field to about 8 guys going over the summit, with 2 off the front a bit. I opened it up on the descent, knowing that it’s my biggest advantage over people. I quickly caught the front 2 and kept off the front, with 4 guys able to keep up. We got to the bottom, but there was no concerted effort to make our small group work to stay away. I was OK with that for the moment, but once our pack hit 10 people, I started wondering when we’d start pulling away.

Cyclesport-Specialized had 3 guys in the pack of 10, but just kept sitting up on the front. The pack stayed slow, and people who had been dropped on the climb were sticking back on. I couldn’t understand what was happening; only two guys seemed to be putting in any effort: me and Eric Bruins. Cyclesport kept pulling back any of our moves, but sent no one up the road, and made no effort to pull and keep the pack small. They basically threw the race away for themselves, but it also kinda wrecked any hopes for a breakaway I had.

Nonetheless, I continuously tried to open a gap whenever there was a climb or a technical corner, but nothing would stick. So the pack toodled along until just before the finish, where the pace picked up. The narrow finish snuck up on me, and suddenly we were at 200m to go and I was is mediocre position. I rode it in for 4th.

Barry Wolfe Grand Prix SCNCA Elite Criterium Championship (Cat 3)
May 29 - Westlake Village
by Patrick Barrett

No result.

The plan was to prevent any break from happening unless Dan was in it and to lead out James for the sprint. In studies of YouTube with Marco this night before, we mapped the race and our players for their roles. Dan, Christian, Jonathan and I were to cover attacks while Marco and James held for the sprint. We determined that securing and defending position midway through the back stretch was the most important part of the race besides the finish. In the last lap, Jonathan was to keep the pace strung out and then I would take it from turn 3 to 4 and begin the sprint out of the last turn with Marco and Brill coming around me in the long sprint. I would apex turn 3, come inside to pinch any swarm on the right and then come out to get on the pedals through 4 (see fancy diagram above).

And exactly what happened.

Phenomenal team work by La Grange. Jaycee valiantly pulled back a 2-man break and the constant 2-3 man breakaways were worked by La Grange. Dan turned the screws to put him in some solo efforts, which LUX and strong racer named Leo marked and responded to, wearing them out. Christian somehow decided to turn himself into a strong man and attacked the field time and time again laying chase by the bear-hunting field. It was just a great day to be on the most coordinated team in the field.

With 1.5 to go, La Grange, Endo, and SDBC were 3-wide, each looking at each other. These were the sprint teams and I mentioned to an SDBC racer that it was game time and he smiled and nodded. Going through the start/finish, I'm was boxed in on the left while the race energized on the right and Marco shouting "PATRICK!" as I plowed out of the box and weaved through to get in the strong surge. Teams are yelling "GET ON LA GRANGE!" I see James, tell him to back off and Marco and I slot in front of him. Then Jonathan comes flying to the front and begins drilling it. And it is FEROCIOUS! We've got 1.5 minutes to the finish and the pack is strung out and Jonathan just won't let up! It's HARD! Teams are yelling out to each other, with a few more "Get On La Grange!"

Jonathan just keeps going and it's 34 mph when he lets up and I'm 3rd wheel and Marco 1 or 2 behind me. Marco's still yelling "PATRICK!" to let me know all is well and I rail 3 taking every centimeter (I think I'm going to lose it). I grab the racers in front of me, who start to falter and bring it inside and now I'm first into turn 4 and I'm on the pedals with Marco yelling more. I'm out of the saddle into a headwind and I go hard hard hard and feel Marco come around my right side and my body is spent. Suddenly I see Marco with no James and I'm thinking James is coming on my left but in post race discussions, the pace was so high on the backstretch that when we came by James to protect him it was just too tight of margin for him to keep up.

Unfortunate, but holy crap this has been a great Cat 3 team that has dynamics up front and dynamics in the sprint. We've earned respect this year in the pack and all of us on the Cat 3 team trust the hell out of each other in the trenches.

The Month in Pictures

Ivy Koester with another state championship, this time at the Barrio Logan Grand Prix.

Ivy Koester with another state championship, this time at the Barrio Logan Grand Prix.

James Brill and Marco Fabrizio go 1-2 in the Cat 3 Rosena Ranch Circuit Race.

James Brill and Marco Fabrizio go 1-2 in the Cat 3 Rosena Ranch Circuit Race.

April 2016 Racer of the Month winner Lizbeth Urmas continues to bring it in May, with a wins in the Stage 2 road race and overall General Classification title for Elite Women at the ISB Sola Basic Stage Race.

April 2016 Racer of the Month winner Lizbeth Urmas continues to bring it in May, with a wins in the Stage 2 road race and overall General Classification title for Elite Women at the ISB Sola Basic Stage Race.

Two of our promising new racers, Johnny Munoz and Francisco Munoz, out at the Jurupa Valley Grand Prix.

Two of our promising new racers, Johnny Munoz and Francisco Munoz, out at the Jurupa Valley Grand Prix.

The La Grange century crew gathers at Peet's before the ride to Santa Barbara.

The La Grange century crew gathers at Peet's before the ride to Santa Barbara.

Big thanks to Louis Bianco for driving SAG all day (and night) to Santa Barbara and back for the La Grange century ride. And Rich Hirschinger for organizing and taking selfies.

Big thanks to Louis Bianco for driving SAG all day (and night) to Santa Barbara and back for the La Grange century ride. And Rich Hirschinger for organizing and taking selfies.

The La Grange race team hunting for Bear Jerseys at the Barry Wolfe Grand Prix.

The La Grange race team hunting for Bear Jerseys at the Barry Wolfe Grand Prix.

Teamwork makes the dream work at the Rosena Ranch Circuit Race.

Teamwork makes the dream work at the Rosena Ranch Circuit Race.

Thank you to our 2016 sponsors:

Michelob Ultra:
Helen's Cycles:
Rudy Project:
Peet's Coffee:
Lee Ziff: Lee Ziff
Pfeiffer FitzGibbon & Ziontz LLP:
Seth Davidson Law: Seth Davidson Law
Dr. Rich Hirschinger:
Lane Ochi DDS