The first stage of the 2017 La Grange Cup, the 500M Sprint at the Encino Velodrome, is coming. This weekend, Saturday May 6 at noon!
Before I remind you of why you should come out and participate, here is what I know you have all been waiting for - the socks!
Putting aside the free custom socks for a moment, the Encino 500M is an event that any member should be able to handle: riding 500 meters on your bicycle! Yes, that is all it requires. The entire effort should take you between 35 seconds and a couple hours, depending on how hard you decide to pedal. We hope you can make it.
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. Here is the complete schedule:
- Sat, May 6: La Grange Cup #1. 500M time trial on the track at the Encino Velodrome.
- Sat, Jun 24: La Grange Cup #2. 20K time trial from Trancas Canyon to (almost) The Rock.
- Sat, Sep 16: La Grange Cup #3. Piuma Hill Climb.
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!
Come Watch the Mt. Baldy Stage
with La Grange!
The 2017 Amgen Tour of California is loaded with its strongest lineup of racers everand will be contested next month from May 11 to May 20. Best of all, the fan favorite "Queen Stage" with the mountaintop finish on Mt. Baldy is back, Thursday, May 18. For those who can make it out, we will have the La Grange van out on the climb with food and drink. So you can ride up and hang out and watch the race La Grange style! Rich Hirschinger has volunteered to drive the van and set up, and has provided all the details below, so go ahead and request the day off now so you can join us!
Mt. Baldy Stage 5 on Thursday, May 18, 2017
La Grange van departure time is 9:45 am and will depart on time so if you are bringing your bike, be at the van location at least 20 minutes before we depart. The departure location will be determined. If you have a suggestion where people can park for free in West LA please let me [Rich Hirschinger] know. Planned arrival at designated parking spot is 11:30 am. We can accommodate 9 passengers and a dozen bikes, and confirmation is required since space is limited. We can drop off anyone in Claremont who wants to ride the full climb but you and your bike must ride to the designated van location as your last stop. The race is scheduled to end at 3:45 pm and I’m sure there will be a lot of congestion to get off the mountain so expect to return to the parking location in the early evening.
Here is a Q and A from the Amgen Tour of California rep [Ed: Ryan Ung, make sure you thank him if you see him out on the road]:
What time will be the course be closed to cars?
The Mt Baldy course goes up the lower half of Mt. Baldy Road around 12:00 – 1:00pm so there will be a brief closure but it will reopen again for an hour or so afterwards. It’s probably best to get up Mt. Baldy Road before this time. You can watch the race twice if you see the riders turn left onto Glendora Ridge Road near Mt. Baldy Village (see map).
What time do we need to have the van parked by?
Definitely before 12pm.
What time will the course be closed to bikes?
You can ride all day. The police will just ask everyone to move to the side of the road about 10 minutes before the first rider.
The van and La Grange tent will be at the last switchback corner before the downhill (see map)
434-634 Mt Baldy Rd
Mt Baldy, CA 91759
Coordinates are: 34.259751, -117.634530
Where the road block usually begins, 3k to the summit
434-634 Mt Baldy Rd
Mt Baldy, CA 91759
Coordinates are: 34.258442, -117.636541
Stage link: http://amgentourofcalifornia.com/stage5
Stage route details:
Day: Thursday, May 18, 2017
Stage Start: Ontario - 12:00 PM PT
Stage Finish: Mt. Baldy - Est. 3:45 PM PT
Miles: 77.9 mi
Kilometers: 125.5 km
Elevation Gain: 11000 ft
Upcoming Events May 2017
May 1: LAVRA Monday Night Sprints, VSC Carson
May 2: El Dorado Race Series, Long Beach
May 3: Six Weeks of Spring Racing, Encino Velodrome
May 3-7: Redlands Bicycle Classic, Redlands
May 6: La Grange Cup #1: 500M Sprint, Encino
May 6: Barrio Logan Gran Prix, San Diego
May 6-7: UCI Supercross World Cup # 1, Chula Vista
May 6: Helen’s Monthly Group Ride, 7:45 am Helen’s SM
May 7: Redlands Downtown Criteriums, Redlands
May 7: LAVRA Chris Reed Memorial Madison Omnium, VSC Carson
May 7: Helen’s Cycles / TriFit Beginner Ride, 7:45 am Helen’s / Santa Monica
May 9: El Dorado Race Series, Long Beach
May 9: Citrus Race Skills, Redlands
May 10: Six Weeks of Spring Racing, Encino Velodrome
May 10: Board of Directors Meeting – All current members are welcome to attend!! 7 pm Yahoo! Center across the street from Helen’s Cycles Santa Monica
May 13: SLR Road Race (Masters & Elite RR State Championships), Bonsall
May 13: LAVRA Main Event Elite Omnium Series 3, VSC Carson
May 13-14: Kern County Jumpstart Junior Stage Race, Bakersfield
May 13: Curt Sutliff Memorial Santiago Cyn TT, Mission Viejo
May 13-14: UCI Supercross World Cup # 1, Chula Vista
May 13: Helen’s Monthly MTB ride, 7:45 am Helen’s SM
May 14: LAVRA TT Series, VSC Carson
May 14-19: Amgen Tour of California
May 18: ATOC / Mt. Baldy Ride
May 16: El Dorado Race Series, Long Beach
May 16: Citrus Race Skills, Redlands
May 20: SCNCA Elite, Masters & Juniors ITT Championships, Lake Los Angeles
May 20: Rosena Ranch Circuit Race, San Bernardino
May 20: Helen’s Cycles Women Only Group Ride, 7:45 am Helen’s SM
May 21: LAVRA Chris Reed Memorial Madison Omnium, VSC Carson
May 21: Cervelo Belgian Waffle Ride, San Marcos
May 21: Ontario Mid-Season Criterium, Ontario
May 21: Helen’s Cycles Women Only MTB Ride, 7:45 am Helen’s SM
May 21: Helen’s Cycles / TriFit Beginner Ride, 7:45 am Helen’s SM
May 23: El Dorado Race Series, Long Beach
May 23: Citrus Race Skills, Redlands
May 27: SCNCA Team Time Trial Championships, Lake Los Angeles
May 27: LAVRA Main Event Elite Omnium Series 3, VSC Carson
May 27: LAVRA Juniors Rule Omnium Series, VSC Carson
May 28: Barry Wolfe Grand Prix, Westlake Village
May 29: CBR 5 of 6, Dominguez Hills
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!
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
A Message from Sponsor
Seth Davidson Law - Bike Injury Lawyer
Fight or not fight?
By Seth Davidson
(424) 241-8118, 24/7
Bike Injury Lawyer and 2017 Velo Club La Grange Sponsor
I’ve gotten several calls this past month about stop sign citations being written by the Palos Verdes Estates Police Department. People want to know if it’s worth fighting or if they should just pay the fine.
The answer of course is “it depends."
The city of PVE is in a massive funding crunch right now due to the voters’ rejection of a tax measure that has left them with an estimated $7 million shortfall. The primary place this is being felt is in the city’s police department. Specifically, the city has ordered the police department to drastically curtail overtime except when absolutely necessary.
When officers have to go to court to testify for traffic tickets, the city pays them overtime. This past month not a single PVE police officer has showed on a bicycle infraction that was calendared for trial in which I’ve been involved. When the officer doesn’t show, the ticket is dismissed.
So if you really want to fight the ticket, you have to go to court twice. Once to plead not guilty, and the other time for trial to see if the officer shows up. If he does, you will likely end up with a conviction. Still, until the city passes a new funding measure in March 2018, I’d say the odds are good that the PVE police will not be appearing for bicycle infractions. That’s not a guarantee, of course.
The other approach is to show up for the arraignment and take the “deal” they will offer you. If you plead guilty or no contest the commissioner will usually knock the ticket down from $150+ to $25 or $30 dollars. So it’s a steep discount, as I’ve never heard of the Torrance court reporting bicycle infractions to the DMV to have points put on your license (although the law allows them to do so). This is the choice most people will make.
If your ticket was written by the Hermosa, Redondo, or Torrance police, or by the L.A. Sheriff’s Department, the chance is much higher that the officer will show up for trial, so it’s often better to just take the plea deal.
[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.]
April Race Results
There was a TON of action for the La Grange Race Team in April. Before we get into the stories, here are your Top 10 results for April. Please note that this is as reported from USA Cycling only and does not include our international results, which you can read all about right below the chart.
Great job La Grange Racers!
La Ruta del Vino - Ensenada, Mexico - April 9
VictorFest/LG Spring Break
by Patrick Barrett
TLDR: We rode, laughed, drank a lot, ate amazing food, and absolutely dominated one of the best road race courses we've ever done. 3 first places and 1 second place. Mexico is rad.
After driving north for 15 years to consistently race in the USA for Velo Club La Grange, La Grange finally sent a crew down to Ensenada, Mexico to celebrate and race with Victor Ayala.
Holy crap. We're left wondering why he comes up to the USA at all.
The van rolled out Friday with James Cowan, Cari, Maykol, myself, and Joe Camacho at the wheel. We made sure to keep the occupants as relaxed as possible for the trip, which brought out a James Cowan comedy show that didn't stop until presumably Monday morning. After making it through the border chaos (20 lanes down to 4 with 3 180 degree turns) and only hopping one curb, we were in another country. We drove along a gorgeous cliffside descent into Ensenada bay during the golden hour and through sunset. The van almost tipped over as all passengers were glued to the right side window.
Victor and Jaycee, whom arrived with his wife earlier in the day, meet up with us and immediately we head to eat tacos, drink cervezas, and find tequila. Well, the tacos were insane and Victor made sure to point out how gringo we are with our poor tequila choices. So we challenge him to do better and he takes us to the oldest cantina in town! There, we dance, we boogie, and sing a long to a roaming (not mariachi) band that played guitar, bass, and gave Matthieu a run for his money on the accordian. But how did we park the huge van? Well Victor got out, and asserted his mighty mighty influence on the town and parked cars just moved out of the way for "her majesty." This guy is King of Ensenada.
Oh yes, the tequila...Victor begins ordering banderita shots. Or as we were confusingly calling them "MANderitas," thinking we were about to take part of something manly and un-margarita like. Well it was 3 shots: green, white, and red like Mexico flag. Lime juice, tequila, and sangrita. You take them back to back. Afterwards James goes "well that was a lot of overhead to get some tequila" while Jaycee absolutely schools us on the time-trial competition, downing them before we could even capture the spectacle.
I swear we did a bike race, and dominated it. But that's still 36 hours away...
We wake up and Joe has cooked up a marvelous breakfast. He had walked to a local market and brought back freshly pulled queso, fresh breads, spanish chorizo he's cooking, tortillas, and other delectables. Once we're filled (and I unplug a toilet...good chorizo), we ride over to Victor's cafe where we eat Pay de Manzanas and assortments of coffee drinks that impress everyone. It's now 10AM and we're ready to ride in Mexico!
Victor takes us up his equivalent of PCH. Nobody crashes from pot holes or trucks or "thongs & tequila" billboards but everyone is curious how this will be a good racecourse. We reach the base of the first climb on the course and all civility shatters as Jaycee, Cowan, and Maykol rev their engines. We were only going to do the first climb, not the second, but we have so much fun that we climb all the way up. Their was a big fondo going on so we saw a lot of riders of all types bombing the descent while we went up. Later, when we were in town, all the wonderful volunteers guided us through traffic with cheer and smiles, only to go into red-alert screaming mode when we went off-course not knowing we weren't with the fondo. It was highly entertaining. OK back the ride; James and I descended how James and I descend and regrouped to head to lunch. In the process James and Jaycee almost died when we went under a bridge and the pavement turned to land mines. We lost a lot of good men out there in Mexico.
Lunch. The words I'm about to write should be written by a real writer. I can't express what happened here or how incredible this was. Just go next year. Or quit your job and go now. It was on a gorgeous marina and they were pulling in the food from the ocean while we sat. Ceviche, octopus, shrimp empenadas, cervezas, roasted jalapenos, fresh fish, and more. This food was incredible. Mindblowing. Fresh fresh fresh. We watched sea lions bark and eat fish in the marina in unison to our tostadas covered in octopus and fish and colorful vegetables topped with avocado being devoured by our spandex clad team.
So James convinces some of us we need to go ride more, and we break off and go do our own thing. My tire starts erupting orange seal but it seals up after a stop and I stop being high maintenance about it. We go on a lovely ride on a road that is straight out of Tattoine with boulders all around cut through canyons that's not quite ready for prime time. I see a couch on the side of the road and yell "couch! stop! photo!" but James doesn't here me and crashes right into Cari. Fortunately James was taking a superb picture of me at the time, and I cherish his dedication. We take the couch into the road and it's funky picture time! We keep rolling, Cari crashes into a boulder that magically appeared and get's quite bloody. (I'm not making this up, look at her cover photo carefully). The road was perfectly imperfect and made for some great unique riding. But then it was time to head back into town, specifically taking the more touristy/spring break route in downtown where James says "hey! Let's stop for one beer!"
We're still going to dominate a race in 18 hours. That did happen. Just not yet.
"Cuatro cervezas por favor!" We're sitting in the sun, watching the enormous Mexican flag wave over the marina, drinking beer, laughing and cheering everything about the weekend. "This is great! Sun, beer, live music coming out of a stereo" says James. He's enjoying it so much he suggests some tequila and washing it down with another cervezas before headed back to see Joe and his Jamon he has been looking forward to carving upon our return. We cheers! We drink the tequila and we pop a fresh cervezas! Cari starts dancing to the "live music" and we all agree that this has been a good idea, but not yet great, and order another tequila and cervezas! But this time we talk to the nice lady to determine the right tequila to drink...it was in a bottle...I'm sure it was fine. This continues until we've each had 3 tequilas and 5 cervezas, plenty of sun, smiles, banter with the staff, and decide to head back as the sun is almost set. We get thoroughly lost and ride in circles until somehow we reach the house we're staying at and grumpy Joe welcomes us with no Jarmon and just grumblings about not being invited.
So we pop a bottle of wine open and clean up while waiting for Victor to take us to one of the local breweries for dinner and mas cervezas! We cram the van with 10 people and blast Metallica over the speakers while rolling to this brewery. Again, Victor waves his arms and cars part for "her majesty." We roll in and their is a huge table that is on a platform higher than the rest of the restaurant with a sign that says "Reservado." Victor is king. Now here's where things get a bit fuzzy...we ordered stouts, IPAs, pizza, tostados, fries, and mezcal w/ oranges. But this is from photo records and group recollections. We did meet a lot of Victors great friends who were to race with us the next day. Sociable and energetic, these folks were getting us excited for the next day and happy to race with people that we now know! All cat 2 racers racing in the 2da Fuenza category with Maykol, Lizbeth and I. This brewery was great. They had a beer called "Humpy Humpy." We left at some time and we got to bed ready to pack up and race the next day.
I promise you, the next day we destroyed the race we came down for.
Some of us woke up next to a bottle of water. Some had headaches listening to a shower head drip all night. But everyone woke up excited about the day as well as terrified we were about to do another Lake Elizabeth road race given our recon results from the day before. A similar climb with significant wind. But first we had to get there. Joe drove like a man on a mission and when we were blocked from leaving town due to street closures and a local marathon event; Victor's arms wave and runners and barricades part for "her majesty." We roll up and like a well oiled machine of chaos, Victor and Joe get us all registered while we have mere minutes to suit up, pin up, and line up. But we do and it's time to race! It's a crazy scene. Huge teams with big camps set up. People are cutting through the staging area and while we had no clue what was happening, there was a harmony to the chaos that all the locals understood.
The masters take off and then the 2da Fuenza category 10 minutes later. A ton of racing occurs over two laps of the best road course I've ever raced on with a dynamic I've never experienced. Teams are driving support vehicles everywhere for their family and riders providing feeds anywhere they can. Cars have people hanging out of them shouting encouragement to their riders. It was the most pro feeling ever while being so chaotic and impromptu that it was the complete opposite of pro. Center line rule? You'll get honked at but it was basically fair game to attack while a semi truck was coming straight at you. The bike handling was madness and wheels rubbing and insane swerves were par for the course. A crash occured while we were going uphilll at 16 mph. The riders seemed to change line whenever they accelerated. I've never used my hands more in a race for pack control but after 20 minutes you got used to it. I shoved a kid out of my way when he sat up in the pack and was swerving 3 feet to either side. Another ride came up to me and thanked me because "he does that every race." You've seen latin dancers? Well that's how these guys rode, lots of hips and swaying and fancy circular hand motions while holding their bikes.
2da Fueza race recap: basically civil for the first lap. I attacked a few times to energize the field and one rider stayed off the front after the big climb on the first lap. On the descent of the second lap, I brought the field to within bridge distance and Maykol and one rider took off on the flat and held a 3 man break for half a lap. On the big climb, we all made it to the steep u-turn attack part and that's where the attacks came and separation occurred. My tire spewed orange seal right at this pivotal moment and was loosing pressure fast while my competitors were covered in sealant. 7 riders made it up the road with 100m on me but I was able to gather a few folks to try and bring them back cresting the hill with 8km to go. I couldn't get the group to work with me and one guy just kept pulling ahead and supatuck. I yelled at him to pedal and he looked at me like I was crazy. I yelled that the lead group is "right there!" and somebody said "I'm a sprinter" and I thought "to hell with you guys not racing to win" and launched an attack on a steep roller to bridge solo across. I was deep in the pain cave going from 5km out. I caught 2 riders with 200m to go but the final 5 were crossing the line 20 seconds ahead of me. Maykol and Lizbeth finish within minutes and we are stoked for such a great course.
We learn James and Jaycee won their respective races! I finished ~5th or 6th. Then we hear Cari won her race! The gringos did it!!! By the way, the start/finish area was a giant party. So so so many people were there. SoCal is not doing road races right. The fields were big, the atmosphere electric, and many tents were cooking amazing food for their racers and family. OK maybe I was a bit energized by the loud enthusiastic announcer who at any moment could have yelled "GOOOOOAAAAAALLLL" and I wouldn't have been surprised.
We wait a long time for the podium shots and the winner spray down the crowd with Champagne! Glorious La Grange! We get word that I may have done better than 5th or 6th because the juniors were scored separately, but when we go to check with the officials they show top 3 in 2da Fuenza category as not being me. So we make the call to leave because Victor's been holding a table at a local barbacoa restaurant in the country. There, we eat family style a ridiculous spread of local cuisine raised right there and drink orange juice straight from the trees outside. Tacos, enchiladas, burritos, maiz pancakes, and more and like nothing you've ever had. It was the perfect way to end the trip and we celebrated Victor with La Grange, meats, and our new friends from the race that joined us for lunch!
Then we drove home and just after passing the border Victor calls and tells us that I got 2nd place in 2da Fuenza category and at the podium they were just yelling for "La Grange! La Grange!" So I missed my podium due to our failure to understand what the hell was going on...I was so happy and so pissed all at the same time!
An incredible weekend with no regrets and plenty of "fuzzy" memories and bike domination.
Sea Otter Classic: April 20-23
Before we get to our Sea Otter coverage below, here is the story of how one La Grange racer decided to make his way from Venice Beach to Laguna Seca in Monterey for the weekend of racing. Yes, you guessed it, James Cowan was back at it yet again.
The Road to Sea Otter
by James Cowan
I woke up at 5:20am on Thursday, as I do every Thursday, to climb Las Flores. Only this time my head wasn’t with me, it was dancing with the idea of biking to Sea Otter to hang out with my fellow La Grangers at the most amazing bike festival. The Strava route planner had repeatedly crashed when asked to simply get me there from Venice, I hadn’t requested time off work, and perhaps this was just too big of a ride. Liutaurus didn’t know that I was pre-occupied and attacked me on the first switchback. He’s getting stronger every week, but I couldn’t let it happen. So, as he passed Hume I secretly made the left onto Hume to be alone with my thoughts, therefor nullifying his victory – sorry Leo, I’m not good at biking and thinking at the same time.
Why would you want to do this? Why can’t you just be normal? Why not wait until PCH re-opens? And then an old hashtag came into sight: #YOLO. Yup, I was going to go for it, because there’s no telling if I would ever have a reason like this again.
I swung by Helen’s on my way home from work and grabbed 4 Bonk Breakers. I’d have liked more, but my jersey can only carry so much, after all, I had to carry 3 battery chargers to keep my Social Media alive. A pasta dinner and I was ready for bed by 9pm. I changed my alarm from 5:20 to 11:30, turned out the lights, and set my mind adrift with the impossibility of undertaking the greatest challenge of my life. WAIT! Did I switch the AM/PM? The alarm was set for 11:30am, that was close. With just 2 ½ hours sleep I woke, had a coffee, read the latest FB feed and applied some sunscreen. At exactly 12:00AM I took my first pedal stroke North.
It was 65 when I left Venice and moderately breezy. As I cruised up the PCH the stars came down to greet me. Big Rock came and went, it was dark in Ventura, and as I rode through Hope Ranch the sun matched my smile and I registered that I was biking to Sea Otter. I reached for my phone and let the world know that once again, I was “out there”.
Once on the 101 I packed myself tightly behind my Garmin and rode towards Gaviota. The wind in the tunnel promised to turn me around, but I pushed on and arrived in wine country at 9am. Los Olivos is the furthest north I have ridden, so now I was in unchartered territory. As I approached San Luis Obispo I loaded the Strava route on my Garmin to get turn by turn directions. Navigate to Start – Yes / No? That would be No…. No…. No….. wait, why aren’t you accepting No? Frozen at 177 miles. Reboot after reboot just brought back the same screen. Google said a master reset was the only solution and so that’s what I did, wiping out my ride. As I moved forward, setting up data screens, pairing devices and adding sensors I hit a low point. I struggled to get going, I was relying on my iPhone to get directions and my brain couldn’t hold any navigation data in the 85-degree heat. I got on the 46 heading East when I should have been going West for a nice 20-mile detour. Once turned around I was 93 miles from Sea Otter, the sun was starting to set, and the wind was picking up. The headwind for the next few hours kept me below 15mph and I started to face the reality that this wasn’t going to happen. Messages were coming in that a car was going to be sent for me. I was devastated. I ate my last Bonk Breaker and took more photos than pedal strokes. But then I realized that nothing mattered. It didn’t matter if it took all night, it didn’t matter if it wasn’t on Strava, it didn’t matter if I even made it, what mattered was that I could devise and attempt a ride like this. My closest friends were out there watching my LiveTrack, encouraging me through their monitors to complete this challenge. I imagined Matthieu analyzing the wind patterns and creating a hole through this impenetrable barrier. And so I got back into it and inched towards Monterey as the sun set. The indigo hues were replaced by the deepest black night and I was once again drenched with stars.
With 60 miles left I picked up some beef jerky and put it under my jersey as insurance. I couldn’t eat, but if I collapsed I’d have something to suck on. 32 miles to go, oh boy, now I was delirious and cheering myself on. 20 miles to go, I was starting to pick up the pace, 10 miles to go – I could ride this with a flat tire. I pulled into the Laguna Seca Race Track and I was done! Now to find the camp site. I saw a couple in a pick-up truck and rolled over to get directions. “Up the road, straight up there”. Jeepers, not sure what I just saw there, but ok. As I hit the last mile the road turned up, hitting 20% in some sections. A pick-up truck pulled alongside and I got heckled. Like I needed this. I couldn’t see straight and they had 20 flash lights blinding me. But then I recognized the voices, it was the La Grange crew: Captain Patrick Barrett, Coach Chris Miller, Lead Mechanic Ryan Doody, and the International Sensation Cari Smulyan! They had come to cheer me on, to witness the madness. That was one of the best moments of my life, I kicked a few times and the hill melted away. And there it was, 366 miles in 23 ¾ hours on 4 Bonk Breakers. Give me a reason and I’ll be there. #YOLO
La Grange racer Cari Smulyan had this report from this year's Sea Otter Classic:
In the van ride down to Mexico, Patrick Barrett said that his goal was to create race weekends that are experiences not just an hour on Sundays. Since joining La Grange last December I have had the privilege of participating in many of these experiences and loved every minute of it. Our team is unique because while we love to race and podium, we are more committed to supporting one another and sharing experiences. Sea Otter Classic was everything that makes La Grange race team special, it was a weekend of experiences, great racing, and a couple of podiums.
While I was preparing for my first race of the weekend I could hear Cat 5 racer, Ryan Doody, screaming my name as he rolled into the campsite, he had finally finished his first Crit successfully, and we celebrated his victory with a dance party. Patrick slayed the competition in his first race of the weekend sprinting to a second place finish and was even able to part take in the podium this time.
Friday as we awaited Cowan’s arrival, Patrick and I experienced the rush of racing on the Laguna Seca track and the thrill of the famous corkscrew during each of our circuit races. As the afternoon sun took, we traveled the expo looking for free swag, road bikes that operated blenders, got electroshock stimulated massages and watched Cowan get lost on Garmin live tracker. However, the most important event of the day was still ahead of the Cliff Bar Klunker Race. Chris Miller won the gold medal for heckling and was knocked off his hay bail so many times I believe he got a concussion. Ryan Doody left his bike along the course, and it was taken out by the peloton. I am happy to report that Ryan’s bike was able to be peddled away unharmed.
As the sunset, our little band of misfits went for a sunset cruise on Laguna Seca and to help Ryan and Chris prepare for their Circuit races the next day. As we cooked dinner and wondered where Cowan was as we want to go to bed soon, we reflected on the events of the day and how tired we were and bets were placed on if Cowan would make it. William Hughes arrived, and we watched him struggle to put together what can only be described as the worst tent erection in history…well, certainly La Grange history. I believe the tent is still at Campsite A lot 177 if anyone wants it.
Thanks to living tracker we learn Cowan is close, so we pile ourselves into Patrick’s truck and park ourselves at the bottom of the hill that leads to the Sea Otter Entrance with the lights off, prepared to surprise our crazy friend when he arrived. However delirious and half blind not knowing it was us, Cowan rolled up to the truck and asked us if we knew where campsite A was. Patrick not missing a beat said in a disguised voice that it was just up the hill to the right. We proceeded to heckle him up the hill and into our campsite, where we finally welcomed and celebrated his accomplishment. The boys all danced naked around the campfire but I went to bed, guys are weird sometimes.
Saturday after watching Chris Miller and Ryan Doody have their turn on the corkscrew, Patrick took James and me out for an epic ride in the dirt. Patrick and I both agreed that Cowan had an engine installed somewhere because he still managed to beat us both. We returned just in time for the biggest and most anticipated event of the weekend, the men’s Cat 3/4 cyclocross. Again Chris won the gold for the best heckler, and unfortunately, Patrick couldn’t get his shit together, but yet again Cowan kept going and managed to take third place, a podium he nearly missed and was totally sober for, said no one ever. We danced the night away to cyclist, and DJ extraordinaire Jeremy Powers and Patrick and Ryan lost their glasses but were given new ones by ski jumper Chuck Mumford. We ended the night introducing Cowan to smores, and now he is planning his next ride to Hersey, Penn to stock up on chocolate.
Sunday was pretty uneventful a couple of minor spills, a hospital visit but all parties are healing nicely. What one will do to get out of breaking down the campsite. It was a weekend of experiences. A weekend of what it means to be a team and cheer each other on. I have reminded once again how lucky I am to be part of such a wonderful club and incredible race team.
Tour of the Gila: April 20-23
Jaycee Cary provided the the following running diary of his experience racing the 2017 Tour of the Gila with teammate Nick Gillock. The Tour of the Gila is a 4-day stage race in New Mexico, attracting top-level national and international racers.
Stage 1: The Inner Loop Road Race (75 miles)
This is the story of Dead Man's Bend. The corner that has foiled Nick and his aspirations at Gila for years now. He's never gotten through it without having to stop and lose time. This was the year he would conquer it. The day starts with a 1000 foot climb up to Mt. Pinos. The pace was moderate with many just testing their legs. Over the top, we descend a twisty path into the beautiful Gila National Forest. Here, Nick decides to be the master of his own destiny and take corners his way so he goes on a flyer. Nick was only away a short time but his confidence was boosted. He was going to own this descent. Speeds are high and we are both in the first four or five guys down this tricky technical descent. The corner of doom soon approaches and Nick carves it perfectly. Before long we are at the valley floor. The monster has been vanquished.
The group has reduced to 15 and we have 30 miles of rolling valley floor to traverse. One rider is up the road at 45 seconds. We could catch him however the peloton is unmotivated and is not working together. This could be bad. Everybody is worried about the final climb so nobody is working. The leaders advantage grows to two minutes 20 seconds and the peloton starts to panic. Nick and I try to instigate the group or get away in a small break but nothing sticks or works. The gap grows to three minutes 30 seconds and the group is resigned to racing for second place. This is a disappointing way to race and we are pissed.
The final climb is actually a series of climbs; 6 miles at 5% average. There were a couple of fliers but everything was brought back. I was exasperated with our speed, so I pushed hard on the second climb and we dropped several guys, including Nick. (Sorry, Nick). Guys start attacking in the final 2K. I'm in great position and go into the finishing straight first wheel. I start my sprint at about 400m to go but it's uphill and it's too far. I start to fade and guys pass me. I finished 6th and Nick finishes 11th. We never did catch the breakaway who finished two minutes 40 seconds ahead of us. NOTE: I moved up to fourth on GC courtesy of a one second time bonus in a sprint. Imagine that! I am now nine seconds out of second place but first place is a much bigger challenge. Tomorrow is the time trial, and we like our chances.
Stage 2: Dan Potts Memorial Individual Time Trial (16.15 miles)
Jaycee WINS the Dan Potts Memorial Time Trial! BOOM! This time trial is 16.15 Miles with 1200 feet of climbing. It also features screaming 50 MPH descents. Sometimes the wind can be a problem here (up to 30 miles per hour) but today it was perfect for racing. I got a nice long warm up and my legs felt pretty good. The race started and my breathing was immediately labored. The first 15 minutes of this race is critical and you have to put out maximum but sustainable pace. Looking at my power numbers, I really thought I went out too hard but I couldn't stop. I pushed and pushed. I caught my one minute man at the turn around.
On the way back I pushed my big gears on descent and tried to stay within myself on the climbs but I was really starting to feel the pain. The last climb is about 3KM at 7-8% and I was really hurting. I really thought I was going to pay for my earlier hard efforts but somehow I made it over the top. The last 7KM is basically downhill or flat and I gave it everything I had, pushing my 55x11. I passed one more racer and drove across the finish line (is that blood I taste?). I thought my time was good but you never know if it's good enough. It was today. I moved into 2nd place in GC, about 2 minutes down to 1st.
Tomorrow is a crit and my job is only to stay safe and alert and near the front. Thanks for reading.
Stage 3: Downtown Silver City Criterium (16.2 miles)
Today was the Downtown Silver City Criterium. Our race was 16 miles and about 1200 feet of elevation. Our goal was to stay safe and stay vigilant near the front. Nick and I both did that pretty well. We had good legs. I was perhaps on the front too much but I felt safe there and was riding well within myself, not hammering. Anytime I lost focus and drifted toward the back, Nick would urge me up and toward the front we would go again.
With one lap to go, the 3rd place GC rider attacked and created a gap. I was third wheel and the first two riders chose not to chase so I went around them and charged up the hill. I couldn't quite bring him back and he ended up winning, gaining 13 seconds on me. I'm still 45 seconds ahead of him and I hear he is not a great climber but this was a tactical mistake on our part and I was a little bummed about it. I finished 10th and Nick 12th. But tomorrow is the Gila Monster and we're prepared to go for the win.
Stage 4: Gila Monster Road Race (68.9 miles)
Today was the Gila Monster Road Race. It was 68.9 miles with 5600 ft of climbing, much of it at the end. I needed 2 min 12 seconds to win the whole shebang. The majority of the race was uneventful. At 10 miles, a break of two went up the road and they established a substantial gap. That’s a long way to the finish so most of us didn’t worry too much. The race leader, Dermot Kealey, was active and admonishing the group to go faster and not let the break get away. Nick and I went to the front a bit but never enough to really weaken us. Much of the peloton did nothing (again).
I was really not feeling great on the flats across the valley. I was struggling to close small gaps and the surges were not feeling great. I was just trying to hold it together for the climb; eat, drink and be smart. We rounded the corner at Sapillo Creek and the climb rose before us. It’s basically steep, forested switchbacks which ascend to an open ridge. I was first onto the climb and attacked. The race leader was at my side but I pushed. He’s still there in the corner of my eye so I push again. Now he’s out of my line of sight. I just put my head down and drove. Now I am all alone and have a nice gap but one rider is bridging across. Good…I can use the help.
We’ve got about 25K to go and the break is 3 minutes up the road. We work well together. My legs feel awesome now. We stay rhythmic on the steeper parts and push bigger on the flats and descents. Now we’re getting time checks to the break: 2:40…2:20…1:40…1:10! My chase mate (Pete) and I are feeling like studs! We are reeling these guys in fast. :40…:20. Now we see them. We roll up behind them and hit the jets. They can’t respond. We have a gap and are gone! The time check to the group behind is unknown so we keep driving. Jeez, I can win this thing.
I overcooked a couple of turns in the twisty descents but made it through. (don’t screw up now, Jaycee!) Time Check: 1:30 to the peloton with 5K to go. We got this. I am starting to get tired but I want to win the damn Tour of the Gila. We pass riders from other fields and hit the 1K marker. My chase mate sits on but I don’t care! I need total time so I have to make that happen. At 500K there is a little rise that requires all my strength to get over. At 200K, Pete sprints around me and I watch him raise his arms in victory. I roll across a few seconds later in 2nd. Have I done enough to win? Not quite. Kealey comes in 1:28 later. I fell 44 seconds short but I am hardly disappointed. I won a stage, won the 50+ classification, dropped the field on the infamous Gila Monster and took 2:30 out a seemingly insurmountable advantage. I rode as strongly as I know how.
Nick Gillock finished 7th on the day and 6th overall. He ended up shadowing Kealey the entire way up the climb, never helping the chase. His teamwork and camaraderie were instrumental in our success. He is a great teammate and well represented La Grange. It’s not often that your hopes and goals mesh with your reality but we did something right because this was an incredibly successful and gratifying racing experience. I encourage everyone to consider the Gila next year. Thanks for reading.
1st Place - 50+ GC
1st Place - Dan Potts Memorial TT, Men's Master B
2nd Place - GC Men's, Master B
2nd Place - Gila Monster Road Race
A Special Thanks to our Sponsors. It's all about teamwork:
Helen's Cycles: helenscycles.com
Rudy Project: rudyprojectusa.com
Bonk Breaker: bonkbreaker.com
Peet's Coffee: peets.com
Lee Ziff: Lee Ziff
APEX Law: apexlaw.com
Seth Davidson Law: Seth Davidson Law
Dr. Rich Hirschinger: facepaindr.com
Dr. Daniel Geller: drdangeller.com
Lane Ochi DDS
LA Circuit Race: April 23
10% Off at Del Rey Deli
The owners of Del Rey Deli in Playa del Rey recently contacted us to let us know that they are very cyclist friendly, have added bike racks to the front of their restaurant, and would like to offer all La Grange members an everyday 10% discount on orders. Just mention that you are a La Grange member. I can personally vouch for this place - it's REALLY good!
Cycling on the Internet
Cycling on the Internet
with Matthieu Delcourt
Last year Strava launched a developers competition and many new apps were created. This is great news for your link of the month section of La Voix. This month, it’s something that should be useful for all bloggers (and race reporters?!!) that we have in La Grange: http://storyteller.fit/
Storyteller syncs and integrates all your Strava rides and turns each of them into a blog post that’s both esthetic and ultra-customizable. It will present your ride with the exact data and even maps from Strava and will let you write your story the way you want it to be. You can also drag and drop any picture that you took during the ride into your blog post (right-click for the picture options if you want to get fancy in the design). Storyteller makes it extremely easy to create the blog post and add all those features such as altitude profiles from veloviewer.com, but also dynamic routes from relive.cc or even any YouTube and Vimeo video that you may have taken during your adventure.
You can share your story on social media too, and on your Strava ride page as well. Storyteller is super easy to use (all you need is just connect it with Strava) and is a very elegant way to blog about your favorite rides.