I absolutely love Rafael’s work.
Lynn Kennedy is a Wolfpack Hustle Dog Tag holder. She placed 1st Ladies’ Fixed and 1st Overall in the female category at the 2011 Wolfpack Marathon Crash Race.
Lynn has been riding bikes for 10 of her adult years, 6 years fixed and she has only competed in street races and track racing at the Encino Velodrome for the past few years. In 2012, Lynn crashed and shattered her right elbow. With a permanent metal plate and screws in her elbow, she had to take six months off from riding to heal. “My accident happened while riding with the guys on a Wolfpack Hustle ride two weeks before the 2012 MCR. I was super bummed that I couldn’t compete to defend my title.” Not being able to train and prepare for the last year because of her accident, Lynn is happy to have placed in the top ten in the ladies’ category taking 4th place in the MCR this year.
Currently, Lynn works at the store, Velo Love, in Los Angeles, which is owned by the urban cycling apparel company, Swrve. Lynn also helps organize races and other events for both Swrve and Velo Love.
One on one with Lynn Kennedy:
What influenced you to pursue racing? Why?
I started racing street races for fun and found out that I was good at it and it inspired me to race more. In the fall of 2010, I signed up for a six-week intro class to track at the Encino Velodrome and had done well in the Summer Series races held there. Racing is still a fun thing for me. Once I get a road bike I plan on becoming more serious about racing. My goal is to race my first sanctioned race this year.
What have been your results this year in “sanctioned” and “unsanctioned” races?
The only race I have done this year is the Wolfpack Marathon Crash Race where I placed 4th in Ladies’ Fixed and 9th Overall in the Ladies’ Category. I did the 26.2 miles in one hour and six minutes. The last race I did before this year’s Crash Race was Cranksgiving in November 2012. For that race I placed 1st female and 17th out of forty-one racers.
What do you think about when you train for races?
I make a goal to win and think about winning while training. Anything can happen in a race and I know sometimes winning is not in the cards, but I set my goals high and I try my best.
What interests do you have outside of cycling?
I enjoy cooking and occasionally baking, traveling when I can, shopping and spending time getting my hair done with my friend Julio that owns ASE Salon on Melrose Ave across the street from Orange 20 Bike Shop. ASE Salon is like my second home when I am not training or racing.
What is your all-time favorite racing moment to this day?
Honestly, my all-time favorite racing moment to this day is when I won the Crash Race in 2011. That year it was pouring rain the entire race and freezing. It was the most suffering in a race I have ever experienced. It was like going through Hell and coming back. I was so excited when Roadblock put that set of dog tags around my neck. It is definitely a moment in my life I will never forget.
What are you looking forward to this year whether in “sanctioned” races or “unsanctioned”?
I am looking forward to the turnout that the Wolfpack Unified Title Race Series will bring out and I am hoping to still place well in the next 2 races of the series.
On March 17th, at approximately 5:15am, Evan Stade took 1st overall and 1st Men’s Freewheel in the Wolfpack Marathon Crash Race.
Evan describes himself as, “Just an average Joe with a day job and an indifference to suffering. A no-talent hack propelled by wiles, willpower and a steady intake of chicken burritos.”
The first Group ride Evan ever attended was Root Run, one of the many fast rides in Los Angeles birthed from Wolfpack Hustle, where he spent many months suffering to keep up. In 2009, he started riding with Wolfpack Hustle, surviving his first ride “by the skin of my teeth.” The second time he was dropped within two blocks of the start. “Those beat downs weren’t fun, but I always came back for more. Eventually, I was the one handing out the punishment.” In 2010, a group of friends “cajoled” him into participating in SOCAL sanctioned races. “The first race was such an adrenaline rush, I was hooked.”
Professionally, Evan says he’s a software engineer at Google and cycling is just a hobby. He’s closing in on his Cat 1 upgrade (In sanctioned races, Cat 1 is considered “the best of the best”) as he races most weekends, currently holding 8th on the P12 SOCAL Cup Points Series.
Evan is one of the few racers who have participated in the Wolfpack Marathon Crash Race all four years. The first two years, he flatted out early, “Very frustrating.” And with the chaos of last year’s false start, he only managed 2nd place. “Second and first don’t sound very different, but it turns out, they’re worlds apart.”
One on one with Evan Stade:
When did you start riding a bike?
What do you think about when you train for races?
How lucky I am to be young, healthy, free and living in LA.
What interests do you have outside of cycling?
I’ve made my diet a lot healthier over the last year so I spend a lot of time focusing on finding new and delicious foods that were previously off my radar. Think Brussels sprouts, oatmeal, homemade salads, fish, nuts, dried fruit. I bought a house about a year and a half ago and spend a good deal of free time on home improvement tasks.
What is your all-time favorite racing moment to this day?
That’s hard to pin down. I will say that the Belgian Waffle Ride which I did last Sunday was the most PRO experience I’ve ever been a part of. From the race caravan to the Coca-Cola hand ups to the constantly shuffling lead group, the brutal distance and never-ending climbing, the rabid tifosi, everything about it made me feel like I was on TV. The first time I lapped the field in a p12 crit was a pretty good one too. It made me think, “Hey! Maybe I don’t suck at this so badly after all…”
What are you looking forward to this year whether in “sanctioned” races or “unsanctioned”?
Well my goals for the season will be a top 5 in the SoCal cup points series (that’s just a combination of all the sanctioned road races) and winning the Wolfpack series as well. I’m also targeting the state championship TT in May — a win will be hard but a podium might be possible. And of course the number one goal is to complete my cat 1 upgrade.
With less than three weeks til Wolfpack Hustle’s second installment of the 2013 Unified Title Race Series: The CVC CTR CRIT, the pressure is on. Add Champion Red Bull Athlete Austin Horse, into the mix, and things get uncomfortable for series favorites like decorated 2 time Dog Tag holder Craig Streit!
I chatted with Austin as he was passing through Los Angeles to launch a new company called Spinlister,a peer to peer bike rental company going bi-coastal. Austin tells me Spinlister, of which he is one of three partners, is “a departure for me as I’m parlaying my bike world knowledge, expertise and connections into a tech job.”
Born in Orange County, California, raised in Houston, Texas, Austin moved to New York City to be closer to his extended family. He’s been working as a bike messenger for the last eight years and also works with a group in NY called, Time’s Up (an environmental direct action group). They operate two bike co-ops in Brooklyn and Manhattan.
Austin began racing In January 2005, the year NYC hosted the 13th Annual Cycle Messenger World Championships: “For much of the spring, there was a lot of energy being put into that. It was difficult to be riding your bike around the city and not be exposed to others preparing for the event. At this time, Time’s Up headquarters was in the same building that the World Championships headquarters was based out of so I really couldn’t avoid it. And that was when I did my first Alley Cat, getting really lost, and then later that year, I began to win a few.”
“I felt racing was something I excelled at and thought, now I’m going to apply myself to this and it’s been wonderful,” he says with a smile, humbly adding, “I’ve won a lot of races.”
Austin’s resume is a laundry list of alley cat races and tours spanning the United States and the World: Japan, China, most of Europe, Mexico, Canada. He was the stunt double for Joseph Gordon-Levitt in the 2012 movie, Premium Rush, he beat a Mercedes-Benz from the Upper West Side of Manhattan to Brooklyn and prefers traveling with his Brooklyn Machine Works’ track bike.
Austin tells me that 2008 was the first year he visited LA… with a bike. Racing the Blade Runner Alley Cat and the Velo City Tour at the Encino Velodrome, enjoying LA Bike Culture’s hospitality and FUN with a kickass place to crash and a day of play at the Bike Film Festival’s after party outside Orange 20. He also participated in the Burrito Project and rode the weekly Monday night Wolfpack Hustle bike ride.
Austin Horse on Wolfpack Hustle:
“I really liked that in 2008 there were different types of people riding the Hustle ride. There were roadies, fixes, t-shirts, spandex – it was a big mix. And it was nice that everyone would regroup. I liked the vibe. It was an exploration of LA. You’re going really fast, you’re covering a lot of ground, you’re seeing parts of the city that you would think aren’t really worth going to visit because to drive there is a drag. The distance is kind of daunting and you’re thinking, “Oh my god, fifty miles!” But really when you’re going fast on a road bike, fifty miles is nothing. If to ride is your agenda, then to cover this ground is part of the experience. Every time I come back to the east side of LA I try to make the ride.”
Cycling in NYC vs. LA:
“The seasonality is definitely more pronounced in New York because Los Angeles enjoys year round ridable weather. To the LA person you can hop on a bike in February and probably be okay. Whereas in NY to be that person who gets on a bike in February, you have to plan it, you have to be prepared and you have to be committed. I do feel that a broader pool embrace the Bike Scene in LA closely. Whereas in NY the pool of people who embrace it is limited by the hardship of it. In NY, You are always going to have your seasonal riders, “Woohoo! It’s awesome!” But their bike sits in their closet for four months. In LA, that same type of person would be more likely to not leave their bike in the closet for four months and to make it more of year long part of their identity.
“The other difference is that a lot of the streets you’ll be riding on in LA there’s a greater disparity between the cyclists speed and the car’s speed. That’s where I don’t like riding, when I’m going twenty and a car’s speeding fifty. That’s alarming, right? And if it’s close to you then it’s really brutal. When I’m riding in NY and I’m going twenty-five and the cars are going twenty or thirty and I’m passing them, it’s more typical in NY that I’ll be passing cars that are just poking along or stuck. And so, actually, it’s safer because the driver’s are reacting to you instead of in LA where you’re reacting to them. So, that’s probably the most challenging thing to LA and unnerving to all cyclists, cars are going to be passing you much faster.”
Biking in Los Angeles:
“At one point, on the Blade Runner Alley cat in 2008, we had to go to a bikini bar. So, I run in wearing my helmet looking for the person that’s going to sign my manifest, but to no avail. And then, some young lady in a bikini comes up to me saying, “Oh! You guys are bike riders! I love riding bikes!” It was the first time that an attractive woman had ever talked to me because I was wearing a bike helmet,” Austin laughs, “Actually, maybe, it still hasn’t happened again. But that was my wake up about how cool LA is.”
On Bike Helmets:
“When I’m biking for practical reasons it doesn’t seem like it should be the sort of thing where you need a helmet to safeguard myself because this is just a routine part of my life and I treat it like that and I’m as careful as I would be doing other routine parts of my life. Like walking down the stairs. When I’m racing or riding recreation-ally, then it’s a different story because at that point the bike is no longer a tool, it’s a toy. And so, if I’m on a toy there’s no excuse for wrecking myself.”
Favorite type of race:
“I love a good alley cat. I love riding in traffic. I love the adventure and the discovery of it. I love the unexpected challenges that arise and having to overcome them. However, when they’re not organized well, they’re not nearly as much fun as a mediocre road or mountain bike race. There is sort of a standard that those are always going to be at, that is to be expected, but the fun of an alley cat can exceed those because there is no format for an alley cat. A good organizer can really shine and when that happens it’s awesome. But I like feeling my tires slip around so, dirt stuff is cool.”
On Going Pro and being coached:
“No. I’m thirty. It’s just not an option. When I was in my teens doing mountain bike races, I was like, ‘Oh! What’s up with the pro stuff? Looks like I have to do EPO (Performance Enhancing Drugs), I don’t want to do that. In the nineties, the racing sport seemed like it was stuck in that and wasn’t going to change any time soon. Also, going pro is a huge amount of work and a commitment. God bless everybody who dedicates their life to the full amount that they need to excel on the ultimate level of the professional racing circuit cause I don’t think it’s worth it for me. That being said, I just started getting coached for the first time ever. It’s nice and fun, it’s good to have structure. I always felt weird about it before or maybe it was a trust thing, an uncertainty about the whole situation. But I’m really looking forward to working with Aram and Ramsey at Pro Cycling Coaches, they run the Predator Cycling team where I will race cross for them this fall.”
Favorite race moment:
“We were riding from Berlin to a town just over the border in Poland and it happened to be this one racer’s hometown and he was the only messenger in that town. He was really psyched that the global messenger community was going to visit his town and he wanted to celebrate by having a race offering the winner a frame. As we leave Berlin, I’m thinking that I don’t want to do this, I just want to have fun and see the countryside, because the rides between the cities are not meant to be raced, they’re just a good, solid cruise. It’s like 400 to 500 miles in five days and basically one road to get there and you’re just making ground. Behind us, there were these huge thunder clouds and they’re pushing this wind and the tale wind is amazing! And a couple of guys went for a breakaway and it’s fun to chase things, so I chase them down. And Lucas Brunelle actually went with me and we rode with them and they were in floppy shoes and fixed gears, so they peeled off, but we kept pushing it. Lucas says, “The people behind us are too strong, we’re not going to make it.” And I’m like, “I’m not even racing, I’m just enjoying this.” Apparently, we had been out of sight of everyone behind us for a long time, so Lucas Brunelle and I ending up winning it together. It was amazing! It was an 85 mile dual-solo breakaway!”
It was this race that inspired Austin to start The East Coast Messenger Stage Race, an event Austin directs; held this year from September 8th through the 14th, from D.C. to Boston: teams of four, with a suggested donation. He commits to covering the riders housing, basically, racers get a floor, maybe a couch if they’re lucky and he carries their bags from city to city, but otherwise they have to get there themselves…. on a bike.
Another favorite race moment:
“Me and about eight other people rode from Barcelona to Madrid for the European Championships and in four days we covered 800 kilometers. The route we took was really out of the way as we went across all these mountain ranges. It was probably the last long ride I’ve ever done on a brake-less fixed gear and it was just such a…. it was cool. It was groovy. It all felt pretty save but it was really different and exciting. We went through parts of Spain that looked like they were from fifty years ago, riding past castles and stop in these little towns just to fill up our water bottles in fountains. At one point, I had a paper map and what I thought would be a town to fill up in turned out to be just a crossroads. So, we’re out of water and it’s super hot and I continued to be out of water, out of water, with no options. Just when it was really bad, I stopped at the ruble of an old house with an apricot tree growing outside where the kitchen window would have been so I ate bunch of wild apricots and was okay to keep going.”
What does Austin Horse do when he’s not cycling?
“Yeah…. I don’t. I mean, I have political interests and i appreciate art and literature. I do cycling advocacy and I work for candidates that are guaranteed to lose.”
Austin is a CAT 1 Mountain Biker, CAT 2 in Cyclocross. This year he’s won Stuper Bowl and Monster Track. He did the Red Hook crit in New York City: “I did okay, I was with the main pack, I tried to take it away with three to go and had a gap for a little while, but then they caught me and I realized I wasn’t going to win the sprint after my attempt.”
What’s next for Austin Horse:
“In late July, there’s a messenger race event in Paris and then I’ll ride form Paris to Switzerland for the World Championships. From Switzerland I’ll visit friends in Germany, the Dutch Open Championships in Holland and then, the Red Hook Crit in Barcelona, Spain.” But, before he crosses the ocean, he’ll be in Los Angeles racing the Historic Wolfpack CVC CTR CRIT!
Thoughts on the upcoming Wolfpack CVC CTR CRIT:
“I hear that one has got some climbing, but I’m pretty good at power climbs. I’ll probably do that fixed. I’m looking forward to not crashing. I hope I ride well. Cause you know how you can ride and just be hanging on and thinking, ‘Oh, Fuck! This fucking hurts!” or you can be racing and making moves and being an agent of action in the race? It’s about mindset. The funnest part about racing is to be making moves in a race. Cause only one person can win, but a lot of people can make moves. That’s the fun of it. Otherwise, we could all just go on a trainer for an hour and compare oxygen levels at the end, right? So, it’s about making moves.”
As we near the end of our conversation, Austin admits, “Riding bikes is something anyone can do, but it’s also something only a few can do really well. In the words of a peer of mine, “It’s all I know.”
Bike LA, as we here in the LA area know, is a community like no other family in the world. Period. In that family there are characters big and small everyone is a partner in the FUN. Chris Cono was a BIG GIANT character who’s love for FUN and cycling is eternal. And his fire has been going the longest of anyone. No matter what, at any cycling race ride or event that he was at or that he organized, Chris emitted an infectious energy that spread that LA love to everyone present.
It’s unreal to me that just yesterday Chris introduced me to his son and as per usual was excited to talk cycling with me. We were chilling at the Major Motion tent enjoying a beautiful day with Dan and Dianna… Chris was awaiting the elite race at the Public Safety Crit. He was giving me much needed pointers and advice about how things go down at crits interspersed with his brand of comedic insight. Chris was one of those energies that could work up a child like excitement for cycling that would have you caught up too. I was hugely jazzed to hear about the team he was putting together for our crit. In fact this very post was planned to be his competitor spotlight. He was smiling ear to ear because he so deserves the recognition that he gets for what he has done in LA cycling across decades of time. That day it dawned on me that Chris was nearly 50 years old. What a young spirit.
During what would turn out to be Chris’s final race of his life, I approached his son who was dutifully waiting at the finish line with a camera watching for his dad to come around the curve. What a fucking awesome dad to have no? “How is your pops doing?” “I haven’t seen him for a couple laps.” the race was a blur of speed when it came through so I just watched to try to spot Chris and the wolves… Aram and Evan were in the mix… I heard talk of a crash on the other side… That it was serious. But somehow I didn’t connect the dots. Chris was just one of those icons that had been there for so long that its unquestionable that he would always be there. The race ended and people began packing up. I was gathering up my ride and caught up with goodbyes. I had no idea that Chris was inside that ambulance rounding the turn, making a final and unusually slow paced journey across the finish line continuing the course and then quietly disappearing off into the distance….
There is a certain camaraderie shared between race organizers where chats and texts sometimes flow “across the lines” with “insider” discussions about race formats, promotion ideas, rider critiques, shit talking, plotting…. I’m gonna miss that connection with Chris – he would always hit me up about his Wednesday rides and I always meant to ride… but I could never get my ass out of bed or find time. Well people, lesson learned. Make time to ride with your friends and with future friends. You never know when someone will no longer be here especially with a sport as dangerous as competitive cycling. I feel like a pillar of LA cycling has collapsed. It’s just not real… it’s like looking at the familiar downtown skyline and seeing one of the skyscrapers now gone.
At 22 and with only one race under her belt, Asia Morris took third overall in the geared ladies category at the 2013 Marathon Crash Race. Born and raised in Long Beach, a college roommate inspired her to trade in her beach cruiser for “a little less clunky” bike. It was then that she started riding avidly on Tuesday nights with a group called the Juggernauts in 2008. Asia was busy acquiring her BA from Scripps College in Claremont when she won a sprint race in Riverside in 2010, and only a week ago she competed in her third race in South Korea at King Track placing 2nd. Natural talent is strong with this one.
“So, I guess you could say you’re catching me at the beginning
of what might be a promising career or just a really fruitful hobby.”
One on One with Asia Morris:
1. What influenced you to pursue racing? Why?
I race because I like to surprise myself. I think the scary part about racing is putting yourself out there, believing that you’re fast, that maybe, just maybe, you’ve put in enough time and training to put yourself above the other competitors. I remember the first time I raced, I hadn’t planned on it at all. I’d been riding for a couple years but not with the hopes of winning any races. I’d always enjoyed the friendly competition with the guys I rode with weekly, but I’d never thought about having any potential to win. I remember I’d tagged along with my boyfriend at the time to watch the Victoria St. Drag Race in Riverside. There were about forty male competitors, some looked pretty serious, others not so serious, and then I noticed there were only five female competitors. I thought, wow, I’ve been riding a lot, maybe I could do well. Just the thought of entering the race gave me butterflies, made me almost sick to my stomach, but that could’ve been the Little Caesars I had just eaten. It was silly, but I won and blew my fears out of the water.
I didn’t race again until Wolfpack this year where a whole new set of fears waited for me, I didn’t exactly blow past them, I mostly crashed into them, twisting my cleat out of place and messing up my knee. I remember falling over before the race even started because I couldn’t get my shoe out in time (I’m kind of new to clip less pedals) I got up and bowed to a round of awkward applause. Then my chain fell off. I’m kind of a klutz so it’s absolutely amazing that I even placed. I expected top sixteen, but 3rd?! That’s crazy. So yea, I race because every time I do well it’s a surprise. Even in Korea, I chose not to expect to do well, but just to do my absolute best. I wanted to go on the trip because it seemed like a crazy thing to do, but I figured if I’m not doing things that seem crazy I’m not really living.
2. What have been your results this year in “sanctioned” and “unsanctioned” races?
This year I placed 3rd in the Wolfpack Crash Race and 2nd in the Women’s Keirin for King of Track in Korea.
3. What do you think about when you train for races?
I usually think about how I’m not training hard enough or how Bud’s rear wheel is getting farther and farther and farther away from me… We’ve been training together for a couple months now and I figure, as long as I can keep up with his chill pace that means I’m pushing myself hard enough. But now I think it’s time to push myself a little bit harder.
4. What interests do you have outside of cycling?
Outside of cycling I’m a creative writer, a visual artist, and sometimes a singer when I’m not paralyzed by shyness. Since graduation, I’ve showed my work three or four times, in a couple galleries and someone’s house, while I just finished up an internship at the Orange County Museum of Art. I’m currently looking for a job in the visual arts and paying the bills as a receptionist.
5. What is your all-time favorite racing moment to this day?
Probably when I lost at King of Track. The other cyclist, MJ, kicked my butt by like half a wheel. I wouldn’t have wanted the finish to be any different. It was so exciting, and I learned what I need to do differently for my next track race. That’s the beautiful thing about racing, you can always lose, but then you just learn, train a little harder, and then go back for more.
6. What are you looking forward to this year whether in “sanctioned” races or “unsanctioned”?
I’m looking forward to meeting other female cyclists, hopefully some that I can train with.