La Voix - February 2017

Dear members,

The year is starting to kick into full gear and so we have a pretty packed La Voix this month. Make sure to scroll all the way down to see everything - it's virtually certain that your email browser truncates or clips emails this big. Go ahead, look and check!

OK back to the news this month. First off, our annual Helen's Night on Monday was a great success. Thanks to all of you who came out to support our LBS sponsor Helen's Cycles, as well as other sponsors in attendance like Cannondale, Giro, Mavic, Bonk Breaker, TriFit LA, Seth Davidson Law, Lee Ziff and Rich Hirschinger. Also, thanks to all the volunteers who helped with food, drink and setup. Everyone was well fed and nourished thanks to you!

While most of the amazing deals offered by Helen's were one-night-only specials, the pro deals on Cannondale bikes and Mavic wheels are open until February 10. Here are the order forms with the pro deal pricing - PLEASE KEEP THIS PRICING CONFIDENTIAL and do not publicize or distribute outside of the club,

These new Mavic carbon wheels are SWEET! And Helen's and Mavic have partnered to offer them to you for 35% off. Even better, if you want to demo a set, just call Dan Weinberg (his contact info is on the deal sheet) and he can get you set up. Helen's will even swap out your brake pads for you!

Finally, if you bought a Giro Synthe helmet last night and didn't get your custom La Grange decals (or if you screwed up putting them on Monday night), swing by Helen's Cycles Santa Monica or Westwood and they can help you out. And the same goes for your 2017 La Grange membership cards - if you didn't pick yours up Monday night, they are available for pickup at both the Westwood and Santa Monica Helen's Cycles locations.

OK now let's switch gears to racing. Despite the rainiest winter in memory, our racers got off to a great start in 2017, including our first win of the season. Here are some of the podium photos from this past weekend's racing:

Katie Rollins with the win in the Womens Cat 4 race at the Santa Barbara Road Race!

Katie Rollins with the win in the Womens Cat 4 race at the Santa Barbara Road Race!

Maddy Ward takes 2nd in the Womens P123 race at the Santa Barbara Road Race!

Maddy Ward takes 2nd in the Womens P123 race at the Santa Barbara Road Race!

Eric Bryan on the podium in 3rd place in the Mens P12 race at the Santa Barbara Road Race!

Eric Bryan on the podium in 3rd place in the Mens P12 race at the Santa Barbara Road Race!

Upcoming Events February 2017

Feb 4: Helen’s Monthly Group Ride, 7:45 am Helen’s SM
Feb 5: Super-Bike Sunday Crit, Redlands
Feb 5: Helen’s Cycles / TriFit Beginner Ride, 7:45 am Helen’s / Santa Monica
Feb 8: Board of Directors Meeting – All current members are welcome to attend!! 7 pm Yahoo! Center across the street from Helen’s Cycles Santa Monica
Feb 11: UCLA Road Race, Pearblossom
Feb 11: LAVRA Main Event Omnium, VSC Carson
Feb 11: LAVRA Juniors Rule Omnium, VSC Carson
Feb 11: Helen’s Monthly MTB ride, 7:45 am Helen’s SM
Feb 11: Helen’s MDR Monthly Group Ride, 7:45 am Helen’s SM
Feb 12: The Rock Cobbler, Bakersfield
Feb 12: Roger Millikan Memorial Crit, Brea
Feb 12: LAVRA Time Trial Series, VSC Carson
Feb 13: LAVRA Monday Night Sprints, VSC Carson
Feb 17-19: Valley of the Sun Stage Race, Phoenix
Feb 18: LAVRA Main Event Omnium, VSC Carson
Feb 18: Helen’s Cycles Women Only Group Ride, 7:45 am Helen’s Santa Monica
Feb 19: CBR Crit, Carson
Feb 19: Helen’s Cycles / TriFit Beginner Ride, 7:45 am Helen’s / Santa Monica
Feb 25-26: Tissot UCI Track Cycling World Cup, VSC Carson
Feb 25: Rosena Ranch Circuit Race, San Bernardino
Feb 26: Dare to Race Crit, Ontario
Feb 26: Vlees Huis Ronde Road Race, Bakersfield

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!

Apr 29: LG Cup Stage 1 - 500M Encino Sprint
Jun 24: LG Cup Stage 2 - 20K PCH Time Trial
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

From the Desk of Seth Davidson Law

Race Smart

By Seth Davidson
(424) 241-8118, 24/7
Bike Injury Lawyer and 2017 Velo Club La Grange Sponsor
Every year someone gets hurt in a bike race and asks me if they have a case against the promoter. The answer is almost always “no.” That’s because the waiver you sign before you race has been held up time and time again in court. When it says you risk death or serious injury by participating, that’s exactly what it means.

Of course there are always exceptions, but for the most part if it’s the normal race with the normal cast of characters doing the normal things people do in bike races, the promoter generally isn’t responsible if you get hurt.

However, this doesn’t mean that all races are created equal. Some races are simply more risky than others. Since every race has the potential to put you in the ER, how do you judge “risky” when it comes to bike racing, especially since what’s risky for one person may not be as risky for another? We all know about the supposedly “safe” ITT, where countless people have had horrific crashes because they don’t know how to handle the twitchiness of time trial bars.

In the quest to return home with as many trinkets and as few open wounds as possible, here are some things to consider before you race:

  1. Does this race terrify you more than others? Listen to your gut.
  2. Does this race have a reputation for being a crashfest? Race reputations come about for a reason.
  3. Is your particular comfort zone a bad fit for the race, i.e. you hate jostling and it’s an early-season, crowded and twisty crit?
  4. How early in the season is it? Races are notoriously gnarlier the earlier they appear on the calendar.
  5. How’s your fitness? If you’re not where you need to be, rest assured that the demands of a hard race will increase risk since you’ll be diverting precious mental energy into simply surviving.
  6. How’s your equipment? Have you had the folks at Helen’s make sure you’re race ready?
  7. If the race is one that really sets your teeth on edge, do you really need to go? Why?

There are other factors but going through these will help weed at least a few events off of your calendar that you might simply be better off not doing. Because it’s a hobby, not a jobby.

[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.]

Santa Barbara Stories


On January 28, the La Grange race team headed up for the Santa Barbara Road Race f/k/a Poor College Kids Road Race. Before we get to the race reports, no story of this day would be complete without mention of the crash that occurred at the sprint finish of the Mens Cat 3 Race. If you haven't already seen the video, take a look. I can virtually guarantee you've never seen a crash like this one!

Well, at least that had a (relatively) happy ending. Here is a photo of the racer's bike below the bridge:

Now that we have that out of the way, our race team all stayed safe and had some great results on the day. Here is what our racers had to say after some hard racing up north:

Katie Rollins, Cat 4 Women (1st): I won! Sprinted around the pack with about 1 mile to go because I was bored, they were going too slow. There was a crash behind me and 5 of us girls sprinted for the finish.

Eric Bryan, Cat P/1/2 Men (3rd): This was my first P/1/2 race, and the first race of the year, so I had little to no expectations for this race. Pair that with the fact I’ve never had a good result here, the course suits none of my strengths, and the field was large and strong, I just wanted to get a race in my legs without crashing or getting dropped. That said, I knew that the early break was the move to be in, so I tried hard to make my way to the front and started attacking asap to catch the move. I spent a couple matches before figuring the break was gone, and there was no way I would bridge the now 1 minute gap. 

I went back into the pack, but sure enough, as soon as I left the front I was at the back. I spent the next 3 laps desperately trying to move up and not get dropped, but I never made it past mid pack before getting sucked in and swarmed. My luck changed on the 4th lap. The early move made a wrong turn on the course, which opened the race back up. People started attacking and I could move up a bit more until one guy took a massive dig up the side pulling me all the way up to the top 5 wheels. I knew that this was my opportunity, so I made sure to never get out of the top 15 wheels, which proved crucial coming into the last lap. 

4 guys silently made their way off the front with half a lap to go, and my UCLA teammate on Big O RJ was in it. I don’t know many people in the P/1/2 field, but I know RJ is strong and willing to work. Drew tells me that the move might stick, and that convinced me to take a gutsy move to avoid a sprint. I dug a deeper hole than I’ve ever dug and railed my way across the 20 second gap to bridge just before the climb. I desperately hung on the climb, recovered on the descent, and then work hard to keep the move stuck. My calves started cramping hard and spasming because I had missed my bottle feed, but luckily it didn’t hurt like it normally does; it just made it harder to pedal smoothly.

Coming into the final straight we had 40 seconds, which was enough for the break to start playing finish line games, as toasted as we were. I let the last move get just too far away, and then RJ beat me in the sprint as always, but I hung on for a third-place podium, which was more than I could have hoped for.

Kate Wymbs, P123 Women (6th): Three laps of the SBCRR (climb about half way through the lap) in a field of about 15 Pro/1/2/3 women with two pros. The first lap was uneventful besides unnecessary jockeying for position on the flats and butting up against the center line and the shoulder. The second time up the hill came the decisive attack: I was on the left side trailing SDBC's Ester when the Colavita rider went half way up. Ester chased, pulled off and I closed. After suckin wheel for the remainder of the climb I looked back and found there were six of us with the pack out of site coming into the descent: two pros, my teammate Maddy, Ester and the 14 year old junior Megan.

The next lap was the smoothest rolling paceline I had ever participated in. THIS is what a P123 road race should feel like!   Chase group of 4 at 20 seconds, 35 seconds, 50 seconds! The final time up the hill I was poorly position in second wheel behind the Colavita rider setting the pace. I slowly let a gap open and the other four riders accelerated around me. Gap! I spent the rest of the race with their pace car in sight but unable to bridge. I kept the pace up chanting to myself "if they [chase of 4] don't catch you they can't draft you" and hoping the leaders would slow down enough as they set up for the sprint that I could bridge.

Alas, I held my position and finished 6th. Ester, Megan and Maddy teamed up against the pros and with a killer lead out by Ester, finished 1/2/3 (Megan/Maddy/Ester)! Such a fun road race!!

Austin Cooper (Cat 4): This was my first Cat 4 race, and as such, a learning experience. I was anxious prior to the race, expecting the field to hold a much higher pace than what I was used to in Cat 5. The pace ended up being slower than I expected and I realized by our final lap (second, not third) that the race would probably end in a bunch sprint. Along Dominion Rd on the last lap, I was jostling for position to be within the top 15 riders for the final sprint – given that the road was so tight and the pack so large that it would be really hard to move up during the final kilometers.

When we turned right onto Foxen Canyon I got into fourth position and kept to the right of the road so no one could pass me. I compromised position for slightly more wind resistance. With maybe two kilometers to go, Matthieu came to the front of the group and was leading me out for some hundred meters. That scared the riders behind and they jumped. After Matt ran out of gas and a Big O rider passed to the left I caught his wheel and followed. By the time we reached a hundred meters or so from the bridge, I was cramping and out of gas. The sprinters passed me by and I crossed the line in disappointment. I placed 30th out of 62 finishers.

Matthieu and I were not in good position to sustain energy for the final sprint. But even if I was better shielded prior to the sprint, I don’t think I could have contended. Thus, I learned the disappointing way that I am not a sprinter and that non-sprinters should not sit in the pack and wait for the final sprint. Instead, the only chance we have of winning is by strategically attacking ahead of the pack and digging as deep as we can to stay away. We all saw Eric Bryan successfully do this – an inspirational La Grange triumph.

Marco Fabrizio (Cat 3): I bridged back to the group after getting dropped and chasing the group with 5 others for 20 mins then working my way all the way back to the front to try and help position other teammates. Probably my first time ever bridging back to a group in a road race.

Matthieu Delcourt (Cat 4): I had looked carefully at the map and wanted to attack at one mile to go near the palm trees. Managed to be at the front at the right time but the BigO train was too quick to respond to the move so I changed plan to keep Austin protected at the front by pulling the pack.

Nigel Stewart (35+ 4/5): I failed miserably! Ah well at least I pinned a # on and it gave my inspiration to improve.

Glenn Savarese (60+): Results: Masters 60+ Cat 1-4: 6th place

Ari Elkins (Cat 4): 24/75ish not a bad day.

Cycling on the Internet

Cycling on the Internet
with Matthieu Delcourt


You arrived late at your race? You want to skip the line to get your bib number? You want more time to warmup? Here are two simple solutions:

First trick:
As soon as you registered online to your race print your waiver/release form and bring it with you to the race at pre-reg. It's ALREADY FILLED OUT for you!
It's a simple trick that can save you time and release the unnecessary stress! All you have to do is sign it.

Below shows you where you can locate that PDF file. Just go to your USAC account page and look at the bottom right of the screen, under "My Registrations".

Second trick:
Some races like UCLA may have limited 3G/wifi connection so download the USAC application on your phone and save your License info as a screenshot on your phone rather than waiting desperately for the signal! See example below.

Now you probably saved 10min which you can use to get your heart rate as high as possible before the start of your race!