Remember that slow, "offseason" time of year we talked about the last couple months? Well, that is OVER! It's full gas now, so sit back, buckle up, and prepare for a Z5 way-over-threshold edition of La Voix, your official monthly club newsletter. There's a lot in here, so here we go...
President, Velo Club La Grange
Watch the La Grange Women Race on Zwift Tonight!
Is the La Grange Womens Race Team racing at I. Martin or in a virtual computer-generated world? Is the team composed of humans or avatars? Red pill or blue pill? Find answers to these existential cycling questions TONIGHT. Actually, LG board member and racer Tracy Paaso can explain it better than I ever could:
Race time 8pm sharp, warm ups, arrivals, beer, and they are promising pizza starting at 7pm.
Too far to drive, then watch live via Twitch or Facebook/Zwift Community Live as Rahsaan Bahati provides race commentary!!"
Twitter live stream: https://www.twitch.tv/zwiftcommunitylive
Live Stream on Zwift Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/gozwift/
Helen's Night - February 26
Our annual Helen's Night extravaganza is coming up! So if you haven't already, mark your calendar for 7pm on Monday, February 26 at Helen's Cycles Santa Monica.
We have some exciting news to share with you, but first let’s stick to what we all know and love about Helen’s Night:
- Members only pro deals on bikes, helmets, shoes, tires, tubes, nutrition and a lot more
- All you can eat pizza, pasta and salad from Pitfire Pizza – yes, we will have drinks too
- 2018 membership cards if you didn’t get yours at last month’s club photo
- Hanging out with your other La Grange members and our sponsors!
While all of that had made for awesome Helen’s Night in the past, we pleased to announce an expanded relationship with Helen’s Cycles just in time for this year’s Helen’s Night:
Yes, that’s right, we are now expanding our members-only pro bike deals beyond Cannondale to also include Trek! While I personally ride a Cannondale and LOVE it, we want to give you more bike choices as a La Grange member and give you every reason to buy your next bike from the best bike shop in the known universe – Helen’s Cycles. If you see our Cannondale rep Mike Miranda out and about, please thank him for graciously facilitating this for La Grange. To be clear, we are NOT parting ways with Cannondale. Far from it, instead we are simply expanding your bike choices to include Trek. We're working with Helen's now on bike order sheets and we will circulate as soon as we can, so you can start making the tough choices as to which bike is for you and how you are going to explain it to your significant other.
And if that was not enough, we have some really exciting news on helmets and shoes. First, allow me to introduce you to the official helmet of the 2018 La Grange Race Team, the Giro Vanquish MIPS in Red/Black:
The visor is optional! Here are photos of the helmet sans visor, including the rear that reminds us of a stealth fighter:
Why did we select the Vanquish MIPS in Red/Black as our official team helmet? First, it has some legit racing RED in it! Red is one of the core colors in the La Grange palette and this year we made a conscious effort to get more red in the 2018 kit! And these helmets are gonna look awesome with the red Tralyx and Sintryx glasses (the red Tralyx is the official sunglass of the Race Team, and the Sintryx is another great option). You can get these glasses and any other glasses you like from Rudy Project with the code special >50% off code “lagrange.”
We also have it on good authority from Jim Manton at ERO Sports that this is one fast helmet. Here is the aero data if you are into that sort of thing (I am). Oh and it also includes a visor if that floats your boat. But it also works well if you want to ditch the glasses and show off your Rudy shades. Have I convinced you on the Vanquish but for some reason don’t want the official Red/Black team colorway? Guess what – Helen’s has you covered as you can pre-order any color Vanquish at Helen’s Night. Like all the Helen's Night special deals, you must show up (or enlist a fellow La Granger) to get this deal!
OK so what if you still aren’t sold on the Vanquish? In that case, Helen’s will also be offering any color Synthe MIPS that you want, again on a pre-order basis. Personally, I am really excited about the Matte Black Flash colorway. By day, it looks like just another super cool, stylish black helmet:
But when light hits it (think a car approaching you from behind on an early morning or late night ride), the helmet lights up like this:
It’s really amazing to see in person. But hey, remember what we said - you can pre-order any colorway Synthe MIPS helmet. Here are a few of the options available - pick the one that you like best:
So there you have it – more helmet options than ever before – any colorway that you want, as long as Giro has it in stock!
Now that we have your head covered, let's talk shoe deals! I will get right to the point and you may start to sense a theme here. We are offering FIVE models of Giro shoes and FOUR models of Shimano shoes, all on a pre-order basis. Helen's will have a size run available for you to try on in the store and make sure you get the right size.
NOTE: Helen's has found that many of their customers need a different size than what they wear in "other" shoes, so make sure you either already know your Giro size or make sure to try them on in the store! This means don't send a friend to buy them for you if you aren't already sure of your size! FWIW, I wear the same size in my Giro Empires that I wore in Sidi Wires, but as they say, YMMV.
Here is the lineup you can choose from at Helen’s Night:
- Giro Prolight Techlace
- Giro Factor Techlace
- Giro Empire SLX
- Giro Empire ACC
- Giro Empire E70 Knit
- Shimano S-Phyre RC9
- Shimano RC7
- Shimano XC9 (MTB)
- Shimano XC7 (MTB)
Giro Prolight Techlace:
Giro Factor Techlace:
Giro Empire SLX:
Giro Empire ACC:
Giro Empire Knit:
That's a LOT of shoe options but not even all of the colorways that will be available! And if you thought the reflective Synthe helmet was cool, Giro offers several reflective shoes for added safety while still looking ultra cool. Want a pair that matches the reflective Synthe helmet? Giro has you covered! Here's what the Giro Empire ACC Black Dazzle shoes look like before and after hit by light:
And finally, here is a cool video from Giro showing just how visible their reflective shoes are:
All of this stuff – bikes, helmets and shoes – will be priced at special members-only prices so low we can’t publish them publicly, which means...
** Keep an eye on your email for the order sheets with pricing **
Oh and don’t forget – there will also be deals on tires, tubes, nutrition and more. You have to show up to get in on the deals, so plan accordingly. This is a night you can’t afford to miss! Also, n+1.
Thank you to all who came out and breezed the cold to come out for our annual club photo! And a very special thank you to Michael Roe for volunteering his time and fancy equipment to make us all look great (or at least a lot better than we really look). Just kidding, you all look awesome, especially in your new 2018 kit! When the photos are ready, we will post public links so you can download and use for your 2018 holiday cards (married people) and Tinder profiles (single people).
Team Camp Report - Day 3
“Red vs. Blue”
by Patrick Barrett, Men’s 3/4/5 Captain
9 warriors dressed in pristine new LG red kits, 9 warriors dressed in battle worn LG blue kits. The inaugural Race Simulation Day at Team Camp rolled out the door with me, the architect of the ride, publicly stating "oh boy I hope this isn't a terrible idea..."
80-mile loop with three 'race segments.’ The riders would ride neutral until the start of each segment, where each team would split and come up with a plan to execute against each other. The segments were as follows:
- 13.3 mile non-technical false flat downhill;
- 10.1 mile segment with a 2.5-mile power climb at the end; and
- 16.5 mile course filled with rollers and one large hill in the middle
The first three riders across the line would score points: 10, 7, and 3, and any rider who earned points (a podium) would be ineligible to score points on future segments. A tie breaker would go to the team with the most podiums.
Red Team: Elijah Szasz, Jeremy Dixon, James Cowan, Mike Clodfelter, Liutauras Rusaitis, Sam Selfidge, Tony Mezidis, Martin Sanders, Austin Vanhuizen, Steve Walter
Blue Team: Joe Camacho, Zach LaBry, Ryan Doody, Matthieu Delcourt, Jaycee Cary, Patrick Barrett, Alex DeRoche, Charlie Herndon, Dan Funk
[Spoiler Alert] The overall winner was Joe Camacho, clinching the overall title based on style and class criteria (see below).
We arrived at the first segment, which would be fast thanks to a slight downhill grade. Those of us on the Blue Team devised our strategy: attack a few times and see if we can isolate Austin or Cowan. The race started and within 30 seconds the riders were at 30+ mph. Attacks took place, then counter attacks, and we hear both Red and Blue shouting out orders.
Finally a break established of Martin, Tony, and me: two Reds and one Blue. Looking back to the pack, Matthieu saw that this wasn’t great and bridged across. Now it's 2 vs. 2 and we increased our speed and got a very nice rotation going! (The day before, we practiced breakaway setting and rotating, which the new guys Martin and Tony were now doing excellently).
Chris and Marco drove up in the sporting-press media car, snapped some hero pictures, and let us know that we had a 1 minute gap. Soon, Austin dragged along Eli and Ryan and then dropped back to the pack, leaving one new Red and one new Blue in the break. Eli and Matthieu then attacked the break and in a hard-fought sprint, Matthieu took the top spot!
Round 1 Results:
- 1st: Matthieu
- 2nd: Eli
- 3rd: Martin
Standings after Round 1:
Red 10 points, Blue 10 points
A slow 15-mile roll to the next segment, and we divided up again to prepare for the climbing stage. Blue knew Cowan and Leo would be a threat and they'd be unlikely to chase Alex or me if we attacked the climb early. We started and Alex went wwaaayyyy up the road, only to be caught by a charging Red on the front of the pack. At that point, we took a right off the highway onto the run up to the climb, where Red's true plan game to light: set a completely uncomfortable pace with their big dudes on the rollers leading up to the main climb. Many riders were popped, me included. Leo made an early move at the base of the climb, while Sam and Austin resumed the pace setting during the mid-section of the climb to keep the Red climbers out of the wind. A brief separation took place, when the pace Austin set caused some discord in the remainder of the group, leaving Austin with a modest gap within eyesight of the top of the climb, knowing that the Red team had numbers in the group. However, Blue responded when the ever-strong Zach and the surprisingly punchy Jaycee launched into hot pursuit with the peak in sight. The chase was just a bit too late and the action up the road resulted in Austin taking the win for Red, followed by Zach and Jaycee rounding out the summit climb.
Round 2 Results:
- 1st: Austin
- 2nd: Zach
- 3rd: Jaycee
Standings after Round 2:
Red 20 points, Blue 20 points
The finale was epic.
A downhill into Lompoc and a few miles more had us at the start of Santa Rosa Rd. Both teams knew this hard roller, 16.5-mile segment would determine the winner. With the podium winners from the first two segments set (and unable to score points in this third segment), the contenders for each team to get points were known by all: Sam, Cowan, and Leo for Red and Alex, Patrick, and Charlie for Blue. Tactics would be critical and a crosswind would make separations possible.
Blue huddled and Alex started the talk by saying "Guys, I'm going to win this. I can do this, and it's going to happen. OK? Got it?" Give the man the ball! Blue's plan would be to protect the three contenders and do absolutely nothing prior to the big climb 7 miles in. We'd then go all in, staying with Cowan and Leo, and any of our three contenders that didn't make it over with the lead group would get time trialed by Zach and Jaycee to reestablish contact.
A crosswind had us guttering the competition and echeloning for our teammates. Red send some early attacks, but an early hill which they didn't account for brought them back to the pack to regroup for the big hill in the middle. A mile before the big climb, the contenders started to move towards the front of the pack, and everyone's plans became obvious. Austin, Cowan, and Sam attacked hard, destroying the pack while Alex, me, Leo, Zach, Jaycee, and Charlie followed. The digging was deep and the legs were being flogged. Just before the crest, Charlie and I fell off while Alex made the selection. Austin, Cowan, Sam, and Leo charged hard with Alex on their wheel. This meant that due to the “total podiums” tie breaker, Red would win the whole competition by landing two riders on the final podium. But hot on their heels was the Blue train: Zach, Jaycee, me and Charlie. The Red team kept looking over their shoulder knowing that if Blue reconnected, the competition was no longer locked. Red was going so hard that eventually Leo got popped out the back, leaving 2 Reds that could podium and Alex for Blue. The Blue train was at its limit as Zach and Jaycee kept closing the gap on the Red train. Jaycee fell off on a roller but came back into the rotation a few minutes later. The Blue train was having trouble keeping a stable pace that all riders could sustain but we were all yelling our status. Eventually I popped off when we got within 40 meters of the group and the remaining riders did their best but Zach exploded a few minutes later. Blue didn't catch Red.
As the riders crossed the imaginary finish line, minutes and minutes apart, all were destroyed. We found out that, true to his word, Alex crossed the line first. But as we knew while racing, the Red team wound up winning on the tie breaker technicality [Ed: It doesn’t really seem like a “technicality” to me, since that was the rule going in].
Round 3 Results:
- 1st: Alex
- 2nd: Cowan
- 3rd: Sam
Red 30 points, Blue 30 points – Red wins on tiebreaker
Only a few more miles home on dead legs, and everyone was happy about a successful experiment of a ride. In the final moments, we rode through Solvang 2x2, discussing who had the best performance, when we saw the true winner: Joe Camacho. Joe had just finished 78 miles over many a hill, and instead of waiting for us after the last segment, he snuck away and was now sitting casually on the boulevard. Holding a porcelain cup of cappuccino up to the sky with a smile on his face, he saluted us while we rolled by. In this fashion, Joe was determined to be the overall winner of this ride.
Jan 20 Saturday Afternoon Racing Upgrade Series (1/6) Omnium Race - Cat 4/5
by Anthony Metzidis
The Cat 4/5 Omnium Race was a fantastic introduction to track cycling. I was a bit nervous going in, having just obtained my certification a couple weeks earlier, accompanied by a bike I cobbled together with Joe & Zach's help (thanks guys!). Moreover, upon showing up, the Cat 4/5 field seemed pretty competitive with other strong LG riders like Chris, Joe & Alex . I knew it was going to be a challenge, so I was very excited to put my legs to work. Thankfully the race organizers and other riders made the race experience very accessible.
Given that I was completely unfamiliar with the different events, here are the four Omnium events, the same ones that form the new “International Omnium” racing format.
- Tempo -- Race 4 laps neutral, 8 laps for points.
Overall tempo was as expected--medium pace for 4 laps and a half-lap mini-sprint for points.
- Scratch Race -- Race 12 laps, final lap gets points
This race ended up having a medium tempo for 4-6 laps, then the tempo was 9/10 for a few laps, dropping me off the back, so I pulled off to save my legs for the next race. I learned that even slower riders should just stay on the sprinters line (which seemed against my training), even if you're dropped.
- Elimination -- Race 1 lap neutral; every other lap, the last rider is eliminated
A miss-and-out race, the field naturally bunches up at the back during elimination laps. Ability to move through the pack to get in front during elimination laps is critical.
- Points Race -- Race 30 laps, points every 10 laps, final lap gets double points.
More of an endurance race, tempo was slow for almost the entire race, except for the points laps. Being our last event, the field seemed tired.
I'd like to start on what I learned through observations and mistakes that I made. In general, moves occur very quickly and tempo jumps up very fast--which is expected given each event is just a few minutes. I see this as one of the best experiences of the track--it makes road attacks seem slow by comparison. Secondly, moves approach instantly and from all sides, so it's important to work on your awareness skills. During a full-tempo push while deeply banked into a turn, someone dropped on top of my front wheel suddenly--that split second of catching them in the corner of my eye kept the rubber-side down. During the Elimination race, I learned that it's best to pull off onto the apron as soon as possible when your number is called. Finally, I need to practice moving through the pack more and being more assertive--a must in the Elimination event. Overall the LG Team Training Camp was a huge help in laying the foundation for all of these skills.
On the technical side, I learned that it's good to bring ample food and water -- the velodrome is very dry so you end up consuming way more than you would expect. It also helps to bring along a chain whip & lockring tool, along with a 15m box wrench and a set of hex keys for last-minute mechanical tweaks.
On the plus side, my stamina came in handy in the 30-lap Points Race. With 5 or 6 laps to go, the pack was a bit bashful and riding high on the track. Coming out of a turn, my eager legs put me in front. Rather than drop back, I figured "what the hell" and turned on the gas, hoping that I'd open up enough of a gap to stave off the sprint. Luckily I had just barely enough to carry the once half-lap lead into the finish line by half a wheel, scoring the double-points win and 2nd overall for that event.
The podium was calculated by adding up points from all four events. Upgrade points were then assigned based on your podium ranking for the entire day.
Overall it was a tremendous experience and I'm looking forward to the remaining upgrade races. Thanks again to Zach, Joe, the race organizers and the fellow riders who made the day a total blast. I'll see you guys at the next race!
Santa Barbara County Road Race - January 27, 2018
by Matthieu Delcourt
It was the first race of the year so I went without much pressure. Woke up at 4am, drove 2.5h listening to Radio Ranchito (92.9FM) playing Vicente Fernandez all day long! Nice night drive to the Santa Barbara County Road Race to race the pro Cat 4/5 35+ field with two beasts: Paul Jackman and Mark Satkiewicz. We knew we could make things happen if we tried and that our best chance was to get a small group over the climb and to the finish. 2 laps weren’t much but the punchy climb could make a difference.
The first lap was pretty chill #easypace (no, really, the true easy pace) 😉 with few solo breakaways that were always kept in sight. We stayed quiet and we saved energy in the pack protected from the wind and the cold. Paul the beast and Mark the beast attacked and counter-attacked a few times, forcing others to do some work. Approaching the climb on the 2nd/last lap, the peloton was still together and most people were still fresh. It felt like approaching the Nichols climb: it’s quiet, you know it’s gonna hurt but you don’t know how bad it’s gonna hurt!
I started the climb in 6th wheel and went all out without looking back for 2min hoping we would end up with few people together before the descent. Near the top Paul the beast got to me from the middle of the pack with a monster effort and a BigO rider joined us. Two La Grange in a breakaway of three was a pretty ideal scenario while Mark the beast was behind controlling a chase that was forming with about 6 other guys. The most difficult part was to keep that momentum over the rollers through the cross wind (my windsocks predictions were correct for once, and I wish they weren’t). I had to skip a pull to catch my breath while Paul the beast kept the pace hard and effortlessly, encouraging me and telling me to dig in. The dude is strong!
The gap increased to about 25 seconds in the rollers. We worked really well together but the headwind wasn’t playing in our favor. Even Froome-ing the descent sitting on the top tube and pedaling wasn’t enough, but I’m not Froome anyway. It was 3 against 6 in the wind and we got caught after 10 min. It was time to save energy for the sprint with 3 La Grange in a group of 10: Paul, Mark and Matthew (someone actually said “the Saints”). We all rotated to secure our advantage on the peloton. We also made sure one escapee who had just gone solo would slowly die in the crosswind. Once we got to him some guys stopped taking pulls thinking maybe they were on NPR on a Tuesday, or maybe on a Thursday.
Two guys went with 1km to go. Paul the beast, Mark the beast and myself were all lined up as the group catches them and Paul the beast launches a long sprint and I quickly followed behind. We ended up having some gap but when we thought we had secured 1st and 2nd two guys went for a much shorter sprint and got us just on the line, typical Nichols-mailboxes move! Lesson learned! But I think I ended up focusing more on Fort La Grange and the smell of the tacos than on the actual finish line, which by the way was just like the NPR finish line: you know it’s somewhere around here but you can’t see it and nobody tells you where it is anyway!
We still finished 3rd, 4th and 6th thanks to some good team efforts. But most of all we had fun!