If you noticed fewer La Grange members at the weekend group rides this past month, that might be because so many have been off racing their bikes, with a lot of success!
Each of the mens, womens and juniors teams have put forth great racer turnout. It's not uncommon to see 10 or more La Grange racers in some of the fields! The racers are putting in hard work, are getting results and having fun doing it. We are very proud of their efforts and are looking forward to further success as the season progresses.
For all of our members who are not USAC licensed racers, you can race too! The annual La Grange Cup is coming up - a three event "intramural" race series designed for ALL La Grange members. It's totally free to participate, and you can make it as serious or casual as you'd like. 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. Not a climber? The first event is just 500 meters on the track and will most likely take you less that a minute. Too short? Then the second event, the 20km time trial on PCH may suit you. Or the third and final leg of the La Grange Cup - the Piuma Hill Climb, the event that started it all.
Check the schedule below, clear your calendar and plan to join your fellow club members for the fun. It's FREE, there are prizes, including custom jerseys, and no license or prior experience is required. Further details soon!
President, Velo Club La Grange
Upcoming in March
Mar 5: Vlees Huis Ronde Road Race, Bakersfield
Mar 5-6: Kenda Cup Vail Lake, Temecula
Mar 5: Helen’s Cycles Monthly Group Ride, 7:45 am Helen’s / Santa Monica
Mar 6: CBR #3 of 6, Compton
Mar 6: CicLAvia The Valley, San Fernando Valley
Mar 6: Helen’s Cycles / TriFit Beginner Ride, 7:45 am Helen’s / Santa Monica
Mar 7: LAVRA Monday Night Sprints, VSC Carson
Mar 9: Board of Directors Meeting – All members welcome. 7 pm Yahoo! Centeracross the street from Helen’s Cycles Santa Monica
Mar 11-13: Tour of Murrieta, Murrieta
Mar 12: LAVRA Cat 5 Upgrade Omnium, VSC Carson
Mar 12-13: US Cup / Bonelli Park XC #1, San Dimas
Mar 12: Helen’s MDR Monthly Group Ride, 7:45 Helen’s / Marina Del Rey
Mar 12: Helen’s Cycles Monthly MTB Group Ride, 7:45 am Helen’s / Santa Monica
Mar 15: El Dorado Park, Long Beach
Mar 19: Chuck Pontius Castaic Lake Road Race - SCNCA Masters RR Champs, Santa Clarita
Mar 19-20: Keyesville Classic, Lake Isabella
Mar 19: Helen’s Cycles Women Only Group Ride, 7:45 am Helen’s Santa Monica
Mar 20: Chuck Pontius Memorial Criterium, Santa Clarita
Mar 20: Helen’s Cycles / TriFit Beginner Ride, 7:45 am Helen’s / Santa Monica
Mar 22: El Dorado Park, Long Beach
Mar 26: Nine Mile Canyon Omnium, Ridgecrest CA
Mar 26: Majestic Cycling Crit, San Bernardino
Mar 26: LAVRA Junior & Masters Omnium, VSC Carson
Mar 27: Easter Sunday Grand Prix, Jurupa Valley
Mar 27: LAVRA TT Series, VSC Carson
Mar 29: 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:
April 9: La Grange Cup Stage #1: 500 Meter Sprint at Encino Velodrome
May 7: La Grange Century / Santa Barbara
May 8: Supplemental kit order #2 opens
May 17: Supplemental kit order #2 closes
May 30: La Grange Memorial Day Holiday Ride
June 25: La Grange Cup Stage #2: 20km Time Trial from Trancas to (almost) The Rock
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
with Matthieu Delcourt
Changes over the years in our cycling practices, training and equipment often come from actual independent scientific research done in the laboratory. And the good news is that you can freely access and check by yourself the veracity of what you have heard on some random website. This month, I introduce to you the Journal of Science and Cycling.
This scientific journal is peer-reviewed, focuses exclusively on cycling (road, track, cyclocross, mtb…) and addresses topics such as training sessions efficacy, pedaling techniques, physics of bike position, power analyses and physiology of nutrition …etc. Every month get the last results from the scientific research and even download the .pdf of the article.
Dash for Cash Criterium
February 7 - Dominguez Hills
Cat 3 (1st)
by Robert Efthimos
A crash last year at a February CBR criterium cost me a lost season, a separated shoulder and the out of pocket maximum on my health insurance. So of course I decided that a February CBR criterium would mark my first race of the 2016 season.
Just a few points shy of my Cat 2 upgrade, I vowed after that crash to never again race in the Cat 3s, but instead to race solely masters and P123, under the theory that the racing is generally smoother and safer in those categories. But in the days leading up to this Cat 3 race, more and more of my buddies were signed up. So I couldn't resist and pre-registered a few hours before the deadline.
With a 15 day old infant at home, I was low on sleep and this was my training leading up to the race (the chart includes two hours on the bike on race day - the star), so things weren't looking terribly promising for me:
Fortunately, we had a strong group of guys that would play for the break - Dan Cobley, James Cowan, Jonathan Paris and Thomas Rennier - with Christian Quant and Todd Schoenbaum looking to cover moves, inflitrate breaks opportunistically or be there for a sprint finish. We were all ready to deliver our designated sprinter - James Brill - to the line should things come down to a field sprint, but James was forced to pull out of the race the night before due to a foot infection from a crash he had suffered a week or so before the race.
With James Brill out, we adjusted and prioritized establishing a breakaway. Christian put in the first attack of the race, and from there it was constant attacks and counterattacks from the team. Dan, Jonathan, James Cowan and Thomas all put in multiple attacks and were spending time off the front in breaks. James Cowan put in a hard attack with only a few laps to go, and his move looked promising, only to be brought back on the bell lap.
With the field now together, I was sitting 12th wheel coming out of Turn 3, with just a slight uphill to Turn 4 and the sprint finish. It was a long way to go, but I knew it was time. I put in a little kick, made up ground, saw an Endo sprinter peeking back to his right, so made sure to pass him on his left. He never saw it coming and I was able to slip past him, the rest of the field, and hold it to the finish.
The team did a great job softening up the field with all their attacks, paving the way for a great team win! My last Cat 3 race turned out to be one I'll never forget. And all because I had friends who had committed, signed up, and I wanted to race with them.
Pine Flat Road Race
February 15 - Pine Flat Reservoir
45+ P123 (1st)
by Jaycee Cary
My First Win!
Maybe you've heard, "Winning is all mental". Ok, well maybe mostly mental. I mean, your legs have to do your bidding, right? If you've got no legs then it doesn't matter want mantra or affirmation you use, you probably won't win. But if you DO have the legs, well… then it's time to get your head together.
I am not the smartest or strongest or most talented bike racer out there. Nothing really comes easy for me so I work hard at it. I train a lot and I am always learning how to be better. I know my strengths and my weaknesses. For me, strength on the bike is a cumulative result of years of riding, racing and training. This year, I feel like my hard work is paying off. I feel good and strong enough to ride near the front of races and really get in the mix (though not always smart enough, but I digress). I can respond to moves and often put myself in contention for a good placing.
So at the Santa Barbara Road Race, I screwed up. I was riding near the front near the end of the race and I watched a late break go up the road. I just watched it go and did nothing about it. I felt good but I was worried that if I went with the break and blew up then I would fail. I was racing with no real confidence. I ended up 22nd. I was so mad at myself. You see, I was "racing not to lose". I wasn't "RACING TO WIN". Never again! That crap would end then and there.
A couple of weeks later, I found myself at the 60-mile Pine Flat Road Race outside Fresno, CA. Pine Flat finishes with a 15 mile 3-percent average grade with some 11-12% in the final kilometer. This is a road race that friends said I could do well at. I was ready to Race to Win. I was gonna go for it…PERIOD. It was a small turnout so I knew that hiding wouldn't be easy. This was going to be a battle. Team Dayka Hackett had multiple riders and they attacked immediately. I waited and watched and then felt something had to be done, so I chased down the attacker. This went on for miles and miles. I enjoyed the cat-and-mouse game but I also knew I was burning matches needlessly. I was aware that the other Dayka rider was sitting-in and letting me tire myself out. I smartened up. For the next 40 miles, there were numerous attacks and flyers (including one by me) but nothing stuck.
With about 15 miles to go, a Dayka Hackett rider took off on a solo break. We were on the final climb and with limited firepower for a chase, it seemed likely he would stay away. I have to admit that I had earlier moments where I was on the rivet and had even detached a few times. But I wasn't about to give up. We made a turn only a steeper section with about 10 miles to go and I just surged ahead. It wasn't really an attack but nobody seemed to be following me. So I accelerated! Now the mental kicked it. In my head, I was screaming, "GO, GO, GO. Kill It! Win this thing! GO". And I went. Soon I saw the solo break and I targeted him with all my focus. I was going to catch him and win. I could tell on every climb he was slowing. I felt a surge of strength. With 3 miles to go, I caught him and then sped ahead. He wasn't able to follow, He was done! Now I attack the final kilometer with all my might! There is no way I am losing this race after all the work I put in. It was very steep and hard and I dug deep. I crossed the line first and said a not-so-silent, "Hell Yeah!".
This was my first road race win and it felt good. The funny thing about a win is it really increases your confidence. Now when I race, I "Race to Win". And I mean it.
Rosena Ranch Circuit Race
February 20 - San Bernadino
35+ Cat 4/5
by Bruce Malarky
While we could still breathe going up Mandeville Canyon a few weeks ago, Stephen Kennelly mentioned that a group of Cat 4 riders was going to a race in San Bernardino and asked if I was up for it. Stephen called it the “Rosena Ranch Sign Up Ride” on his Strava feed b/c he hooked a couple of other guys on the same ride. Anyway, after watching all the race reports and seeing the awesome La Grange team van on Facebook and rolling around town, I jumped right in.
After registering for the race and getting added to the super-secret team chat, we had 11 pre-registered riders in the 35+ 4/5 race in a field of 49. The final field count was 12 in a field of 61 so our slice represented almost 20%, which was pretty exciting and a great show of force for La Grange. We got together on the Friday morning before the race and rolled over to Westchester Parkway for a training session where we discussed and practiced team tactics under the tutelage of Joey Santa Cruz and the always affable Jaycee Carey.
Fast forward to Saturday and the boys in blue were a dominant presence at the start line and throughout the race. There were more than a few comments regarding where we all came from and what our strategy was but suffice it to say, the numbers were stacked in our favor. In terms of results, while we were limited to a 4th and a prime, our individual and collective assessments highlighted some areas to improve and some to sustain. Overall we felt comfortable with what we learned and the impact we believe it will have on future races.
More important than individual results was what happened to the group as a whole. As cyclists, we all know that running a solo break into the wind is a fool’s folly because the power of the pack will easily overwhelm. I don’t know the exact metric but I’d guess you need to sustain about 20% more power to hold a break, not to mention the initial burst. More importantly, the lesson is that the power of a team transcends the individual members and, as a result, makes each of them stronger. Beyond the simple numbers, the growth and motivation resulting from membership on a team has the ability to transform far beyond what can be accomplished alone. Aside from getting to know each other a little bit better, what we experienced was a cohesiveness that, like a great break, will help us grow and vastly expand the possibilities going forward. The season is yet to fully bloom but after this race, we’re more than a little encouraged that it will be both enjoyable and productive for the entire group and a fine representation of what La Grange is all about.
Now to keep up the momentum and get ready for the next race!
February 21 - Dominguez Hills
Cat 3 (1st)
by Thomas Rennier
It was 15 minutes into the 60 minute criterium at CBR and I found myself in a 5-man break with my teammate, Dan Cobley. We had an 18 second gap on the field and eventually raised it to 30 seconds where it stayed until the end of the race. Most of our Cat 3 team had raced the day before at Rosena Ranch and I told Patrick Barrett that I planned to sit in most of the race, but here I was in a break. It happened 10 minutes into the race when Dan Cobley had ridden up the road with another guy. I was sitting near the front of the peloton when a 3rd guy started to bridge to them, so I just took the free ride behind this guy. The four of us joined up and started a rotation. Eventually a 5th guy made a solo bridge across and we had enough fire power to make it work.
The break was only successful thanks to teammates Drew Kogon, Patrick Barrett, James Brill, Marco Fabrizio, Christian Quant, and Todd Schoenbaum controlling the peloton for us. They followed every surge and set a good tempo at the front of the peloton, just fast enough to deter other riders from coming to the front and getting organized.
Meanwhile, in the break, we were about 15 minutes from the finish and it was becoming clear that it was going to stick, unfortunately I was hurting really bad. But Dan looked strong and was putting in some monster pulls to make up for my short pulls in the rotation. Since we had 2 of 5 guys, it was really up to us to win the race. Luckily, with about 5 minutes left I started feeling better and getting my legs back. When we came around for the last lap, we hit the back stretch with Dan pulling us with only 2 turns to go. I was last in the pace line. Dan, in a good strategic move, slowed the pace down and all 3 guys followed him as he pulled towards the inside. I was the one guy that didn't follow him. I went super wide and made a jump going into turn 3. The 3 guys kept sitting behind Dan, as if he was going to help them, and by the time they reacted it was too late. It made sense for me or Dan to make an attack since we had 2 guys because it leaves the other guy in position to draft all the way to the finish line with no responsibility to pull. I turned the last corner, put my head down, elbows on the bars, and got in the most aero position I could find. I was over-geared but I made a decision not to change it, I decided to grind it as long as I could hold 32 mph. And luckily I got to the finish line first and we got the 2nd Cat 3 victory for the year.
February 21 - Dominguez Hills
by Brian Arfmann
Not only was this the first P12 team crit. of the year where we had a full team, but it was my first for myself as well. The last crit I raced was in Melbourne almost a full year ago. Going into the race I was anxious and curious about the coveted crit. scene in SoCal. I knew I could rely on my fundamental skills developed from racing earlier in my career in Chicago. There are only a few things to remember racing a crit- “this is going to suck for x amount of time and yes, you will suffer, but the pace will always slow down.” In fact, I usually don’t even look at my Garmin because I don’t need a computer telling me how much I am suffering.
Before the race, during our team meeting it was clear that the larger teams, which I’m still getting acquainted with, were going to control the race either from the breakaway or line up a train and take the field sprint. It was our first priority to get into the break from the start. Unfortunately, we didn’t line up together as a team which is inexcusable. We should be more attentive before the race even starts so we don’t waste energy getting to the front. After the fire of the gun, the race started fast and furious. Our goal was to be in the break or set Sean up for the field sprint. Austin and Sean was off the front a couple of times, however proved to be too late. McNulty and Clarke were already gone together and out of sight with the confusion in between primes and half effort groups not working together. I found myself out of energy and lacked the power to gain any separation at the front, especially on the back stretch where I felt the wind the most. About halfway through the race, the field realized we were racing for 3rd. At this point until the last 5 laps, the pace significantly slowed and Incycle did the majority of the work. Sean, Austin, Rod, Dan, and I tried sticking together; however we lacked the communication in organizing ourselves. The pace picked up the last 5 laps as Incycle assembled their lead out train. I was together with Austin, but we couldn’t solidify a spot in the pack so we were racing on the outside of the field. We most likely did more work than we needed to. Next time, we need to ride more aggressive and find our positions in the field earlier at the front. Sean sprinted to a 5th place which was super impressive against other powerhouse teams even when our train didn’t materialize.
Overall, I believe this was a good start as a team to the season. We had numbers in the field, but I believe still raced our own races to some degree and not as a collective unit. To start, we need to pay more attention at the start! We need to communicate with each other in the field so we can work together and protect on another from other teams cutting us off or pushing us out. This will make the race easier for us and will most likely lead to a better result at the end. I believe each of us is also after different goals which we will have to be more transparent on if we want to work together.
The Month in Pictures
Seth Davidson Law
By Seth Davidson
(424) 241-8118, 24/7
Bike Injury Lawyer and 2016 Velo Club La Grange Sponsor
When you get hit by a car you get hurt. The easiest injuries to take account of are physical. Broken bones, contusions, blood, and lots of pain let you know when you've injured your body.
But whether you get hit by a car or fall down in the middle of a crit, you almost always wind up with another kind of injury that is much harder to evaluate, diagnose, and treat. It's the mental trauma that accompanies the physical injury.
Formally recognized as post traumatic stress disorder, as cyclists we're all familiar with it in different guises. Here are a few:
- Fear of descending after a downhill spill.
- Fear of riding near others after you've fallen in a group.
- Anxiety about the proximity of cars after you've been hit by an auto.
- Anxiety about your tires/wheels/frame after you've fallen because of an equipment failure.
For many cyclists, these fears can be much more debilitating than the bones and torn skin that eventually heal. The joy and freedom of cycling, for many riders, vanishes forever after they've been clocked by a car and carted off to the ER in an ambulance.
Whether you got hit by a car or slid out in a turn, these anxieties can completely ruin cycling for you. Along with that, you can lose much more than fitness. When the healthy lifestyle that often accompanies cycling is replaced by sedentary behavior, it can have a ripple affect that upsets work, family relationships, and the fundamental building block of your existence, your health.
From a legal perspective, this type of injury is compensable. A cager who whacks you and breaks your leg and bike is also on the hook for the resulting fear and anxiety that he has now brought into your life, especially when your PTSD wreaks havoc in your home and with your work.
But whether your trauma was caused by a motorist or your own bad judgment, your behavior should be the same. Fear and anxiety about riding should be treated by a licensed healthcare professional. "Get back on the horse" is the ultimate goal, but there are therapeutic ways to get there that are safe, healthy, and effective.
So if you find yourself unable to pedal after your physical injuries have healed due to anxiety or fear, get help.
[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.]