Due to last month's rainout at Encino, this month we have the first TWO legs of the 2017 La Grange Cup. Yes, that means TWO chances to race yourself or your fellow La Grange members and your chance to get TWO pairs of FREE custom LG Cup socks thanks to sponsor Seth Davidson Bike Injury Lawyer!
The La Grange Cup is the club's annual three race event and is open to all club members. You do not need to race or have any sort of racing license. Come out to improve your own personal record or duke it out with your fellow members and racers for club bragging rights.
Stage 1: Encino Velodrome 500M - June 14
Racing will begin at noon and start times will be posted the day before. Sign up here.
All participants will get a pair of these custom socks, designed by Jaycee Cary:
Stage 2: PCH 20K Time Trial - June 24
Racing will begin at 9am and start times will be posted the day before. Sign up link coming soon.
All participants will get a pair of these custom socks, designed by Jaycee Cary:
Winners will be crowned. Personal records will be achieved. Fun will be had. Jerseys will be won. The 2017 La Grange Cup - don't miss it!
La Grange at the Tour of California
Rich Hirschinger drove the van out, shuttled riders around, and generally made sure that Camp LG was an oasis on the side of Mt. Baldy Road for the LGers who made the trip out to see Peter Sagan pull one-handed wheelies while taking cookie hand-ups through tight 20% switchbacks during the Queen Stage of this year's Amgen Tour of California. If you see Rich out on the road, make sure to tell him thanks, because we're pretty sure he didn't get to ride or see much of the day's racing!
Also, special thanks to Ryan Ung and AEG for making sure Camp LG had prime real estate to watch the race!
Upcoming Events June 2017
June 3: GMR TT, Glendora
June 3: Helen’s Monthly Group Ride, 7:45 am Helen’s SM
June 3: Encino Velodrome Quarterly Swap Meet, Encino
June 4: SCNCA Junior State Road Race Championship, Victorville
June 4: LAVRA TT Series, VSC Carson
June 4: Helen’s Cycles / TriFit Beginner Ride, 7:45 am Helen’s / Santa Monica
June 5: LAVRA Monday Night Sprints, VSC Carson
June 6: El Dorado Race Series, Long Beach
June 10: La Grange Cup #1: 500M Sprint, Encino
June 10: LAVRA Main Event Elite Omnium Series #4, VSC Carson
June 10: Helen’s Monthly MTB ride, 7:45 am Helen’s SM
June 11: Ladera Ranch Crit State Championship, Ladera Ranch
June 11: CicLAvia – Glendale Meets Atwater Village
June 11: Helen’s Cycles Women Only MTB Ride, 7:45 am Helen’s SM
June 13: El Dorado Race Series, Long Beach
June 14: Board of Directors Meeting – All current members are welcome to attend!! 7 pm Yahoo! Center across the street from Helen’s Cycles Santa Monica
June 16: Citrus Twilight Race Series, Redlands
June 17: LG Santa Barbara Van Supported Century, Van Nuys
June 17: LAVRA Main Event Elite Omnium Series #4, VSC Carson
June 17: LAVRA Juniors Rule Omnium Series, VSC Carson
June 17: Helen’s Cycles Women Only Group Ride, 7:45 am Helen’s SM
June 18: LAVRA Chris Reed Memorial Madison Omnium, VSC Carson
June 18: Majestic Crit, San Bernardino
June 18: Helen’s Cycles / TriFit Beginner Ride, 7:45 am Helen’s SM
June 20: El Dorado Race Series, Long Beach
June 23: Citrus Twilight Race Series, Redlands
June 24: La Grange Cup #2: 20K ITT, Trancas Cyn Chevron
June 24: LAVRA Juniors Rule Omnium Series, VSC Carson
June 25: Ontario Season End Criterium, Ontario
June 27: El Dorado Race Series, Long Beach
Special thanks to Joey Santa Cruz for putting this list together
Later in 2017
We've set the dates for some of our biggest events this year. Mark your calendars!
Jul 16: Raymond Fouquet Memorial Nichols Ride
Sep 16: LG Cup Stage 3 - Piuma Hill Climb & Club Picnic
Nov 5: Club Photo & Annual Award Show Banquet
April Racers of the Month
LG Century - June 17
It's time for another club century ride with van support to Santa Barbara. We will leave at 7 am SHARP from the Van Nuys Amtrak station. Our first stop will be Peet's in Brentwood so feel free if you want to join the ride from there and ride all or part of the way.
When you purchase your train ticket home, please use the "Add Bike to Trip" option so that we can accommodate as many riders as possible. Everyone who confirms by 5 pm June 3rd will be guaranteed a return ride for your bike. So, don't hesitate. Buy your train tickets today.
Support is provided by our amazing member Louis Bianco. Cost is $20 per person, which includes liquid and nutrition to get you to Santa Barbara, the meal in Santa Barbara, and gratuity for Louis. Route: https://www.strava.com/routes/8714909 Train tickets https://tickets.amtrak.com/itd/amtrak Select Add Bike To Trip and select the 4:40 pm train.
A Message from Sponsor Seth Davidson Law - Bike Injury Lawyer
Boothiness in PV
By Seth Davidson
(424) 241-8118, 24/7
Bike Injury Lawyer and 2017 Velo Club La Grange Sponsor
Road cyclists have a serious image problem with some residents of Palos Verdes; enough of a problem to push local government and local law enforcement to act in ways that make safe riding difficult in many areas on the Hill. Cyclists come up short with less influence on local politics, law enforcement, or just less weight if we’re trying to hold our line around cracks in the pavement alongside a 3000-lb. vehicle.
We have an opportunity June 10-11 to change some of that image and be seen as a positive, active part of the Palos Verdes community. The single biggest gathering of the Palos Verdes community, the annual Palos Verdes Street Fair, is being held on Saturday June 10th and Sunday June 11th. Velo Club La Grange, whose members often ride on the peninsula, would be a great addition to the fair, showing cyclists as a positive part of life in Palos Verdes.
I know it’s hard to give up any riding time on the weekend, but …
We will be hosting a nonprofit booth on cycling safety and education at the PV Street Fair. We will have activities at the booth that allow visitors to see us as real people in the community rather than as extremists invading their streets. We will also have handouts/pamphlets/other educational material that we will be distributing covering safe cycling rules and the correct application the California vehicle code as it applies to cycling, but this will actually be secondary to promoting a positive public image of cycling in the south bay.
Here’s how you can help.
--Show up at the booth on June 10 and/or June 11
--Donate stuff we can give away as prizes
--Most of all, though, we’d like to you come and hang out for an hour or two.
Think about how much of a difference just having a few more understanding motorists on the street could make in our safety on the road the rest of the year. If we convert even one person from a cager to a sympathetic road user, we could be saving a life, not mention making PV a much happier place to cycle.
The fair is located at 501 Deep Valley Dr, Rolling Hills Estates, CA 90274, and is open from 10-10 on Saturday and 10-9 on Sunday. Late mornings and afternoons are when we expect the most family traffic. Don’t worry if you haven’t reserved a volunteer time, just show up if you can.
Thank you so much for your consideration. Please contact Geoff Loui, firstname.lastname@example.org, for more information or if you want to donate.
[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.]
May Race Results
Here are your Top 10 results for May. Please note that this is as reported from USA Cycling - if you're not on the list and should be, check your racing license!
Great job La Grange Racers!
Cycling on the Internet
Cycling on the Internet
with Matthieu Delcourt
Strava Enhancement Suite: https://goo.gl/wxkamE
This month, I present you a nice add on for all of you Stravaddicts! Strava Enhancement Suite: https://goo.gl/wxkamE
The Strava Enhancement Suite allows you to make your Strava life a lot easier visually. For example, it shows all your starred/favorite segments at the top of lists instead of in their geographical order (no need to scroll down for ever to look for your Mandeville PR! Another cool option if you do repeats of certain segment, it will show you the summary statistics at the bottom of your ride web page (fastest, slowest and average times). It also shows you your Variability Index (smoothness of your ride based on your average power). You have the option to hide Virtual rides that have no maps, but also hide route entries, promotions entries, Strava shop links or even Strava challenge entries that populate your Strava feed. Very useful to make your Strava feed a bit cleaner!
All you need is to install the extension in your chrome browser and set the options (top right of your browser).
Redland Criterium - May 7
Thomas Rennier, Cat 3 (1st):
I love Redlands! It has a special place for me because I got my first ever win on this course 2 years ago. It’s the best criterium that nobody talks about. It’s basically Dana Point but with more primes, bigger prize money, a legit pro race, way less crashes, and it’s all in a downtown atmosphere on a technical course.
James Brill taught me when to attack on this course a few years ago (“not on the homestretch when everybody is showing off for mom”). So with 2.5 laps left, I made a move when everybody sat up after a tight u-turn leading to the backside of the course. The field hesitated and I was able to hang on for a win!
Texas Speed Week - May 25-29
Speedweek, or Critweek, depending on who you ask, is the unofficial name TX crit racers call the Bike the Bricks weekend in McKinney, TX just outside of Dallas. Starting Thursday, there was a large crit every day through Monday. Upon the cancellation of Barry Wolfe and a work trip putting me in Texas the same week, I decided to pack a bike.
Thursday: The Driveway Series
I signed up for Cat 3/4 and 1/2/3 for race that takes place on a LeMans car race track. (LG should put on a race on a car race course). The weather was hot and after a long work week I was in no shape to race. The Cat 3/4 race started slow but 3 individuals had a breakaway going. I bridged solo across but I showed up shell’d and couldn’t hold on. Fortunately, my sister-in-law snapped a photo that looks like I’m crushing souls, so it was worth it! Quickly I was out of the race. During the 1/2/3 race, I held on for the entire race but my lips were becoming chapped, I was getting shivers, and goosebumps were on my skin. It was over 90 degrees: I was severely dehydrated. It was a mediocre night and I drank about 3 gallons of water. At a nice Belgium bar afterwards, I drank half a beer over an hour and then gave it to a friend.
Friday: Bike the Bricks
A friendly challenge to a college buddy had me lining up in the 2/3 field. It’s a big race with huge payouts. The 1/2 field had a payout of $11,000! 2/3 had a $2750 purse 20 places deep so I was pretty excited! The crit was at 10:45PM so we were racing late under lights in a downtown setting with a nightlife! Much of the course was on smooth bricks, hence the name. Now even though it was 10:45PM doesn’t mean that it wasn’t a steamy sauna. I couldn’t keep my glasses from fogging over so I just gave them to a friend and raced in the raw!
I lined up in the very back and that was the worst mistake I could have made. From the gun it was strung out and extremely fast. A chain fell off on the bike in front of me and slowed me down. Then I went through a turn and completely misjudged the entire thing, wobbling my bike and barely avoided crashing into a curb, loosing many places I’d just earned. Finally a rider wobbled through a fast turn and it was all I needed to get gapped out and never come back. I DNF’d. The atmosphere was electric for this huge race. ElevateKHS sent a squad, many big names were there, and the whole town was alive with live bands playing.
Saturday: Saturday Night Fever
A race around Fair Park in Dallas with disco blasting out of a Red Bull truck. After two mediocre days on the bike, I sat this one out as a spectator and watched Elevate take the win while the spectators had a disco dance competition. But earlier in the day I got to ride the country roads with some friends, so the legs might start coming back.
Sunday: TX Age-Based Criterium Championships
This was in downtown Greenville. It was an old town with significantly less smooth roads than Bike the Bricks. Thunderstorms loomed all around us but no rain yet. They lumped my 30-34 field in with the U23, 20-20, 35-40 fields. This meant I was racing against ElevateKHS, Tristan Uhl, and any other national badasses that were there. The crit went over a big bridge and then u-turned back to do a lap around downtown. I was EXTREMELY NERVOUS. My heart rate was 115bpm while standing at the line. Cory Williams is behind me and I just say “hey, do you just want to move up here?” and I just move a slot back. I hold on and think everything is OK after the first lap. By the third lap I’m sprinting to hold on to the gunshow….and then….I’m off the back. But as the motorcycle ref comes by me, he stops the entire race due to lightening! It starts downpouring rain and I’m cursing on whether to do this wet race on real bricks. Since I had nowhere else to be, I found a local pub and ate some food while the 2.5 hour rain delay occurs.
RESTART! Actually this was good for me! About 1/3 of the field went home! I knew it was a game of attrition as the field was mainly all 20-30 year olds. Just finish the race and I might actually get on the age group podium. And we’re off again! The roads are a bit wet and I feel the back in slip every so slightly through some turns, but everything dries up over the next hour. After 4 laps of sprinting to just hang out, I’m off the back. OK. Well I find somebody and this somebody and I get into a rhythm for the next 45 minutes and finish the race out. He is the same age as me so we’re competitors! We reach an agreement that I would lead into every corner and we picked which parts of the course we’d switch out. It worked well, especially because I got the perfect lines. We get lapped (twice) and on the final lap I bomb into the brick section and sprint out to the finish, taking 4th place in the 30-34 field but second to last finisher.
FUN NOTE! One of the Elevate guys comes up to me and says that La Grange was his first team! For seven years! Erdo was his name. I then went and met the director Heath Blackgrove and he laughed when he saw my jersey, telling me I was a long way from home.
Monday: TX Skill Based Criterium
This was again in downtown Greenville, but now the course was INSANE! 0.6 miles, about a minute and a half per lap, 60 minutes and TEN CORNERS! Oh and it had the brick section again. Yes, this was my dream course. It made me so happy! As soon as you finished one turn you were turning your head and throwing your bike the other way! In fact, you were setting up the next turn while going into the current turn! Tuesday, my body was a new kind of sore and my neck was crazy painful. The roads had “features” and spectators could walk a few feet and see all parts of the course. My plan was to lock in 8th to 10th wheel and fight for that position. Never chase. Never work. Just make sure to stay up there to avoid getting gapped and to be in front of any crash. And that’s how the race played out. I surfed that spot constantly. I heard crashes behind me but never looked back. I heard that people were gapping and dropping like flies but that wasn’t my concern. After 45 minutes, fatigue was really setting in. These guys knew how to corner, and they knew how to move up spots in turns. It was exhilarating! Not only did I have to take good lines but I also had to put some slight style to the turns to guard against opportunistic racers. A few shoulder leans, a few concessions, and a few daring games of chicken. I was having so much fun! Going into 2 laps to go, the front was packed with talent and I took some risky moves to try moving up. On the final lap, I moved up into 6th and was wanted to attack out of turn 7 while everyone soft pedaled a nasty bump right there but I was redlined and fatigued. I went into the bricks 6th and sprinted up the final hill to the finish, staying in 6th place.
It was hot out and it took me a good 30 minutes to see straight. I accidentally walked onto the course during the women’s race and they rightfully yelled at me. So bonked! So fun!
State TTT Championships - May 27
A well-executed TTT lends itself to only a very brief race report, and indeed, this was one such effort. In fact, so little went off script, that it’s hard to say much more about this race than: Monty pulled, then Matthieu pulled, then I pulled, then finally Thomas pulled, and we repeated this sequence for 49 minutes and 19.52 seconds. Sure there were a few minor inefficiencies—we had the misfortune of catching our two minute team right before turn two and had to wait until after the turn to make a clean pass, and we mixed our order a little bit in turn four—but it was a smooth effort. There were no gaps in the line, no confusion, and we finished three after Matthieu took one final long pull with only 10 minutes left to race.
But the real story is the effort we put into getting it that smooth. Monty, Matthieu, and Thomas roped me into this endeavor a few months back, and we agreed to practice once every week or two to iron out the efforts. We’d meet at 6:45am on the corner of Westchester and Pershing, of NPR fame. We rode many laps on Westchester, dialing in our order, our timing, our pace, and getting comfortable riding right on each other’s wheels. We even caught NPR once or twice. And we finished each session by debriefing over coffee, and planning for the next session.
On race day, we finished in third, only 43.32 seconds behind the winning team, all on road bikes.
Until next time, “A” team. ;-)
A Tale of Two Time Trials and Tribulations
State ITT and TTT Championships - May 20 & 27
California ex-pat and LA Circuit Race promoter Brad House is known for many things, not the least of which are his 8 (approximately) State Tandem Time Trial Championships. He is known for this not because other racers take note, but because he mentions these titles early and often when he discusses cycling. And we all know how much cyclists enjoy discussing cycling. I remember first hearing of Brad's tandem palmares a few years ago and thought, "hey we need to get a tandem bike and go after one of these soft Bear Jerseys."
I don't mean to insult the sport of tandem time trialing, but if going up against Tony Manzella for an individual TT Bear Jersey is like trying to wrestle a grizzly bear with rabies hopped up on Peet's Coffee, then winning a tandem TT Bear Jersey has to be more like cuddling a soft Teddy Bear. So when it came time to launch a plan to capture a TT tandem state title, I turned to my favorite Teddy Bear, David Miller.
Now Dave was just coming off a race season that saw him win the Raymond Fouquet Trophy so I liked out chances. We just needed to find a tandem! But before I could beg, borrow or steal one, Dave made a startling confession: As a non-'Merican Canadien, he was not eligible for a Bear Jersey. And even more damning, he would "infect" any TT team that he raced with, making any red-blooded 'Merican (like me) ineligible for the Bear. So just like that, my dream of a soft Bear jersey died. Not having a tandem bike did soften the blow.
Fast forward to earlier this year. Larry Goodman made a comment in passing about the club owning a tandem and that it was taking up space in his garage. My previously shattered dreams had new life! I asked Larry about the tandem and mentioned my plans and he responded with something like "I don't think this is the bike you are looking for. It's at least 30 years old, weighs about 85 pounds (approximately) and it might disintegrate if you manage to take it above 18mph (paraphrasing)." I told him to nevermind all that and send me a picture of this beast. And he did:
"When can I pick it up?"
Like a savvy watcher of HGTV and formulaic home renovation programming, I didn't see the tandem for what it was, but rather what it could be. I knew that Erick Rodas and Helen's Cycles work bicycling miracles on a daily basis, and so with a little work, we took the bike from 6 speed to Dura-Ace 10 speed and ended up with this:
Alright, so miracle might be a bit of a stretch. We still had a triple crank, cantilever brakes and a frame that was out of alignment (Jay Wolfe may or may not have had me sign a waiver to pedal it out of the shop). But it would have to do. With the bike solved, now I just needed a partner in this crime. I needed someone who, like me, was a bit off in the head, who was absolutely fearless and could put his head down and smash the pedals like none other. The answer was easy and obvious and it wasn't even close: James Cowan.
There was only one problem. James is a Commonwealther just like Dave and he has the British accent to prove it. But to my great relief, not only was James willing to race with me, but it turns out he is a full card-carrying "Merican and so my Teddy Bear plan was in play. I love James and so this was going to be fun.
We didn't have much time before the big race and so our entire practice on the tandem amounted to maybe 45 minutes - 4 laps on Westchester Parkway. We didn't crash and so considered ourselves race ready.
We arrived at Lake Los Angeles and after a short warm-up where again we failed to crash, we lined up at the start. We set off into a cross headwind and I noticed the bike shoot up to almost 30 mph. "Oh, this is what those bottom bracket motors feel like. No wonder Cancellara and Hesjedal had their mechanics install one in their bike."
It was a quite pleasant ride, I let James do all the pedaling while I checked emails and did my best Liutauras Rusaitis impression by taking selfies at 35mph on my phone. When I saw we were approaching the race photographer, I put my phone away so he could take these photos:
Have I told you how much I love James? We (he) kept riding all the way to the finish line and I looked down at my Garmin. With unfavorable wind conditions, we had clocked right around 50 minutes. Not bad!
But if you look at the photos, you can see that while we made the best of the bike, it simply didn't fit me the way my normal TT bike does. So while you can throw James on any bike, any saddle and any position and he'll just smash it and not blink an eye, I am much more of a dainty flower and so my inner thighs were as tight as piano wires when we got back to Camp LG. So tight that this had to happen to get me out of my shoes:
Have I told you how much I love James?
With the shoes finally off, it was time to check results. We had managed to squeak in just under 50 minutes at 49:59 (this number is actually real) and sure enough, we had won our category. In fact, the only two teams with faster times were both on dedicated tandem time trial bikes and were propelled by racers with tandem national championships on their race resumes. So all in all, we considered it a great day. Bear Jerseys!
Have I told you how much I love James?"
A couple days later, after I had regained the use of my legs, it was time to focus on the weekend's 4-man Team Time Trial Championships. I was in a team with Jaycee Cary, James Chao and Andy Burke. These three guys are all time trial animals and through what must have been a clerical mix-up, I was on their team.
Jaycee and I had traveled down to San Clemente about a month before the race to get in some practice with James and Andy. It went really well. We knew we had a shot at the Bear.
Due to our advanced age and infirmity we were eligible for the 180+, 140+ and Open categories. Our friends at SMBMW were signed up for the 140+ but for some reason no one seemed to want to race against them (hard to figure why!). We thought about the 180+ but decided against it, and that decision had nothing to do with the fact that Louie Amelburu, Thurlow Rogers and the Park Bros. has signed up for that category. Nope, we saw that the Open category had the most teams entered and so that seemed like fun and so Open it was!
The starter counted us down and we were off. Jaycee, James and Andy were pulling HARD and I thought "hmm, this seems a tad more difficult than our dress rehearsal run." But I took my pulls and we raced forward. I was right there with the guys until, whoops... I wasn't.
Just 8 miles in to the 23.5 mile race, I was popped and dropped. A few minutes later, the SMBMW team came flying by. They were going so fast that it was hard to see in the blur, but it looked like they only had three racers. Sure enough, I could see that one of them had been dropped right around the same spot as me. That was a bit of a shock, but alas, provided me with no solace.
I looped back to the finish and waited for Jaycee, James and Andy. The TTT time is taken on the third rider to cross the line, so they had no choice but to stick together. And stick together they did, managing to finish with a great time of 48:39. I didn't know much about the other teams in the Open category and started to think that maybe we (they) had a chance after all. Could it be?
The results sheet got posted and I made my way over to look. And there it was:
THREE SECONDS!!! We (I) had lost by three seconds. To put that in perspective, the team that beat us went 0.09944% faster. Less than one tenth of one percent. Their average speed was 0.03 mph faster.
I've never felt worse after a race, despite the fact that my body felt perfectly fine. There's really nothing you can say after you cost your teammates a State Championship. Don't get me wrong, I said a lot, just none of it managed to change the result. Thankfully, Jaycee, James and Andy are way better adjusted than I am and shrugged it off, vowing that we would come back next year and make things right. Have I mentioned how much I love these guys?
I made sure they knew that if they wanted to "Pete Best" me from the band, that I would totally understand. But next year's TTT is only 361 days away and I'm already beginning preparations for 2018.