2013 Midnight Drag Race Video Recap by 2071

September 9, 2013 in Los Angeles, Midnight Drag Race, News, video, Wolfpack A by Roadblock

I absolutely love Rafael’s work.

Last Call for Civic Center Crit shirts!

July 10, 2013 in Civic Center Crit, Los Angeles by Roadblock

OFFICIAL CIVIC CENTER CRIT T-SHIRTS

LAST CALL TO ORDER The Official 100% cotton T-Shirt (FAST Delivery Limited stock left selling out the last batch) FREE STICKERS and souvenir race number included.
CHOOSE YOUR SIZE

Competitor Spotlight: Lynn Kennedy

June 20, 2013 in Civic Center Crit, Los Angeles, Marathon Crash Race, News, Rider Spotlight by Sara Bond

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.

 

Competitor Spotlight: Evan Stade

June 18, 2013 in Civic Center Crit, Los Angeles, Marathon Crash Race, News, Rider Spotlight by Sara Bond

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?

 Video Of Evan Learning How to Ride 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.

Competitor Spotlight: Austin Horse

June 3, 2013 in Civic Center Crit, Los Angeles, News, Rider Spotlight by Sara Bond

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!

Photo by Takuya Sakamoto

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.

Photo by Takuya Sakamoto

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.

Photo by Takuya Sakamoto

“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!”

Photo by Takuya Sakamoto

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.”

Photo by Takuya Sakamoto

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.”

Photo by Takuya Sakamoto

Ride in Peace Legend. Chris Cono

May 28, 2013 in LA Legends, Los Angeles, Rider Spotlight by Roadblock

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.

 

Competitor Spotlight: Asia Morris

April 30, 2013 in Los Angeles, Marathon Crash Race, News, Race Events, Race Results, Rider Spotlight by Sara Bond

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.

 

Competitor Spotlight: Veronica Volok

April 23, 2013 in HANNEL ET, Los Angeles, Marathon Crash Race, News, Rider Spotlight by Sara Bond

Veronica Volok received her first set of Dog Tags at the Wolfpack Marathon Crash Race this year in Los Angeles as 1st Ladies’ Fixed. Born in Russia and raised in the Bay area, Veronica slangs coffee at the quaint coffee shop, Cento, and runs the Coffee Bar at CHROME Industries in San Francisco. She rides for DESTROY BIKES and with her ladies in FWOD (Fixed Without Dix), an all girl bike club based out of Oakland.

 

“FWOD is an all ladies and trans only bike club that hosts a ride every Wednesday night in Oakland (Rain or shine). New riders are always welcomed and encouraged to come out every week! Despite FWOD standing for fixed-with-out-dix, all bike types can come and ride. The most important part is having a lady/trans bike community since many bike rides and bike clubs are male dominated. We throw events like alleycats, fundraisers and co-ed rides with a theme. It’s easy to spot us because most of us are wearing brown vests with our FWOD patches on the back. People associate and confuse us as being a “bike gang”, which has a negative connotation with it. We are a social bike club that organizes social bike rides and events.”

In October 2011, Veronica competed in her first race ever at the WOB’s Judgment Day Time Trials placing 2nd in the women’s fixed category. In 2012, she competed in teams of three on a 68 mile route from Pittsburg to Sacramento in MASH’s fixed gear only Time Trial Race to the HAHB’s. Her team, Team Beaver, only a few miles from the finish line suffered a loss when Veronica flew off her bike into a pole, which resulted in a broken collarbone and a hefty surgery bill.

“I was off my bike for three months, which feels like forever when you’re told you can’t ride a bike for that long. But once I recovered, I got back on my bike and went to the Hellyer Velodrome in San Jose!”

Entering into this year’s Mission Bay Crit hosted by Crihs Tian, she describes it as “one of the hardest and most intimidating races I have ever experienced,” Veronica placed first. “There were these moments I wanted to give up, but I clenched my teeth and kept pushing and pulling and spinning until I knew it was over. Can’t stop. Never Stop.”

 

One on one with Veronica Volok:

What influenced you to pursue racing? Why? 

It sounds cheesy, but my boyfriend is my biggest influence in racing. He is the one who first suggested that I should try racing, and even though I was hesitant, I took his suggestion and was surprised with the results. If it weren’t for him, I wouldn’t be where I am.

What have been your results this year in “sanctioned” and “unsanctioned” races?

I haven’t done any sanctioned races this year…yet.
I’ve only done two unsanctioned races this year; The Mission Bay Crit, which I placed in women’s 1st; and the Crash Marathon Race, which I placed in women’s 1st fixed.

What do you think about when you train for races? 

When I train for races I think about what I did in the previous race and how I can improve. There’s always room for improvement.

What interests do you have outside of cycling?

Dogs! I’m a total nerd for dogs and love taking my dog out on adventures, especially on bike rides. I also really enjoy running. Its a good way for me to let out the stress and anxiety that builds ups.

What is your all-time favorite racing moment to this day?

Winning first placed fixed in the Crash Marathon Race this year. Hands down. Even though it wasn’t made official, I was overwhelmed with so many emotions. I remember walking over to Steve, the president of Chrome Industries, and saying, “I did it…I won…” and he gave me the fattest hug as tears exploded from my eyes. Next thing I knew the Chrome family was shaking bottles of champagne and spraying me down. It was surreal. I was crying, laughing, and shaking at the same time. It felt so good to make so many people proud.

What are you looking forward to this year whether in “sanctioned” races or the “Wolfpack Unified Title Race Series”?

I’m really looking forward to participate at the Hellyer Velodrome races in San Jose this year, but my biggest excitement will be the Wolfpack Unified Title Race Series. It will be my first time racing in those events so we’ll see how it goes! I just want to have fun and see what happens.

 

 

Competitor Spotlight: Craig Streit

April 23, 2013 in Civic Center Crit, HANNEL ET, Los Angeles, Marathon Crash Race, Rider Spotlight by Sara Bond

On a cold rainy night in 2011, Craig Streit and a couple team mates quietly crept into LA, grabbed a set of Dog Tags and escaped across the Arizona border. Ever since, Craig and his team, State Bicycle, have made it a point to disrupt any plans to keep the Dog Tags within city limits again winning 1st Men’s Fixed and 2nd Overall at this year’s Marathon Crash Race.

Iowa raised, Craig moved to Arizona in 2001. Over the years he’s ridden in group rides, local fundraiser rides, mountain bike trips, a Trans-America ride and ten years ago, he got into competitive road racing.

For Craig 2007 is when he began to get serious about road racing and moved from Cat 4 to Cat 1 (In sanctioned races, Cat 1 is considered “the best of the best”). “I started racing on a Velo Vie, which was owned by Homay Farsi, Mehdi’s father. I built a relationship with Homay and over the next 4 years I raced on a Velo Vie.” At the same time, he went to the World Track Championships in Carson, CA and got hooked on track racing. “It was the coolest thing I had ever seen. I purchased a track bike the week I got back. Unfortunately, there isn’t a track in AZ so I would only get 2-3 track weekends a year and the occasional fixed crit.”

Homay introduced Craig to Mehdi when they started State Bicycle Company (SBC) and asked him if he’d race fixed for them. At first, it was a local crit race or two, but then, it blossomed into events like the Marathon Crash Race. “Every year, State Bicycle Company finds new, awesome events!!!”

 

 

One on One with Craig Streit:

What/Who influenced you to pursue racing? Why?

I guess I can’t really put my finger on a specific person or event.  I’m a competitive person so racing was just a natural progression.

 

What have been your results this year in “sanctioned” and “unsanctioned” races?

I’ve had a great season so far both with my Body by Vi road team and State Bicycle Co. Fixed team.  Here are a few of my results:

Road:                                                                                                               Fixed:

Avondale Crit #1 – 2nd (35+)                                                                     Not So Underground Crit – 1st

U of A Crit – 4th (Pro/1/2)                                                                          Wolfpack Hustle Marathon Crash Race – 1st

Sun Devil Crit – 1st (Pro/1/2)                                                                     Red Hook Crit – 11th

McDowell Circuit Race – 2nd (Pro/1/2)                                                 El Tour Twilight Crit – 1st

Avondale Crit #2 – 2nd (35+)                                                                    Red Bull Road to Ride in Style – 1st

Avondale Crit #2 – 5th (Pro/1/2)

San Tan Crit – 1st (Pro/1/2)

El Tour Twilight Crit – 1st (Pro/1/2)

Tour de Mesa – 1st (overall)

What do you think about when you train for races?

For the most part, NOTHING.  Riding is my time to relax and forget about the world.  There are definitely times that I replay past races in my head… and imagine future ones.

 

What interests do you have outside of cycling?

Cycling is by far my biggest hobby (lifestyle); however, I also enjoy hunting/shooting, camping, hiking, climbing, and motorcycling rides… basically anything out door or that involves adrenaline.

 

What is your all-time favorite racing moment to this day?

Probably winning the Cat 3 overall at Superweek.  It’s a 16 day long race series in the Chicago/Milwaukee area.  It was back when I was a Cat 3, but it was such a great experience to race every day for 16 days in a row.  It was my first really big win against riders from all around the country.  And it’s close to home, Iowa, so a bunch of my family was able to come watch parts of the series.

What are you looking forward to this year whether in “sanctioned” races or “unsanctioned”?

On the roadside of things, I’m looking forward to the Memorial Day Weekend Races back in Iowa (specifically Snake alley…. look it up), Tulsa Tough, and hopefully Boise Twilight.  I’m super excited about all the new cool fixed gear races/events.  The Unified Title Race Series is an awesome series.  I’m hoping to make it to Europe for at least one more of the Red Hook Events, maybe both.  Lastly, Puerto Rico was an awesome trip this past fall and I’m hoping to return again.

 

If in 2014 the UCI decides to move forward and enforce the unsanctioned rule how will you react considering all your latest work in unsanctioned racing?

I haven’t really given it too much thought.  I have a really hard time believing it will ever come to be enforced.  There are just too many races outside the USAC and UCI that can and will push back on this rule.  It’s just a sanctioned vs. unsanctioned issue.  There are plenty of events that are sanctioned by different bodies that would also be affected (mountain and cross events, grand fondos, etc.).  I’ll cross that bridge when/if needed.

OFFICIAL RESULTS, RECAP and THANK YOU LIST:
Wolfpack Hustle 2013 Marathon Crash Race
presented by Red Bull and Chrome

March 25, 2013 in Crash Race Sponsors, Los Angeles, Marathon Crash Race, News by Roadblock

The Wolfpack Hustle 2013 Marathon Crash Race presented by Red Bull and Chrome is now in the history books. This year, like every year, was a celebration and a hard fought battle to bring you the best of our best to accomodate the riders. The people that compete in this race are no ordinary men and women. To compete in a race like this, you need to be in TOP athletic form, ready for a battle and you need to be at minimum, slightly insane. LAPD estimates that 4000 people showed up at Tang’s Donut at 4am to participate in this, the largest unsanctioned street race in the world. Our thanks and gratitude go out to ALL of the people who participated in this event.

Our complete thank you list appears below, but the short list begins once again with Officer Gordon Helper of the LAPD who time and again has put his reputation on the line for the LA cycling community. Without his work both from the inside and in his skills leading rides and understanding rider behaviour on the streets… this race would not happen or be as safe as it manages to be considering the circumstances.

This was the 4th year of the Marathon Crash Race and the best yet thanks in large part to our series partners and especially to our presentation partners Chrome and Red Bull. Both brands have been extremely supportive and have each provided value beyond just financial backing. We intend to get every brand we work with involved in our events. We thank City Grounds for hosting our registration online. More than 2063 people registered.Thats quite a responsibility. We thank Aventón bikes for deciding to back us and allow us the privilege of introducing their frames to you. we thank Mr. Thomas Forsyth for his unwavering support of bicycle culture in LA through our events.

The weather couldnt have been better for the 4AM(ish) start this year.

 

2013 Marathon Crash Race OFFICIAL RESULTS:

Our official finish line judge of the 2013 Marathon Crash Race is the honorable and knowledge-able Kieron Menzies of Ride The Black Line. Kieron compiled the results after literally hours of video review and screen capture. We would also like to thank the crowd for helping ID some of the 4000 riders we were attempting to track. We appreciate all the feedback on our FB page pertaining to our process and the circumstances of our race. Most of all we appreciate your patience.

The following top 16 in the men and women’s divisions get free entry into the second race in the Unified Title Series: The Los Angeles Criterium.

Evan Stade of Wolfpack A crossed the line first over all. Repeat Dog Tag Winner, Jo Celso 1st Woman Overall crossed only 14 seconds later bringing the gap ever closer between men and women competitors. Celso stayed with the front pack right up until the final sprint on San Vicente and Ocean.

In the fixed gear category Craig Streit State Bicycle team member and 2011 Marathon Crash Champ returned to the podium to take men’s first fixed coming in a split second behind men’s first overall. Chrome team mate Veronika Volok took first place women’s fixed gear.


Photo by Devon Tsuno

Evan Stade crosses the line. photo by Tyler Quinn

 


Last year’s Champ Robbie Miranda putting in WORK. We saw footage of Robbie RIPPING away from the pack this year. Video soon…



Evan Stade sporting the 2013 Chrome coveted jersey. Photo by Mikey Wally


First Fixed Woman Veronica Volok sporting the 2013 Chrome Coveted Jersey photo by Mikey Wally


Evan sporting his brand new Marathon Crash Jersey by Endo Customs with Craig Streit who once again has removed the Dog Tags from their native land…. photo by Mikey Wally


The Unified Title Series Standings as of March 17, 2013

The Unified Title Series presented by Red Bull and Chrome is more than just a battle between fixed and freewheel bicycles. Since each rider may choose different categories from race to race, this series is truly a series of individual strategy. Choosing to ride freewheel for the road race may make sense depending on the field. Riders are also permitted to enter both categories in the Los Angeles Criterium. The best placing achieved determines which points and category the rider gets to carry forward in the series.
WE SINCERELY THANK EVERYONE who stood in line at the reg party. We were restricted to a guest list due to city legal requirements. Next year we will work to alleviate this. Some good times were had:

 

THANK YOU and CREDITS
This list is long and not complete.
PLEASE email and forgive me for not including you or spelling your name wrong…

The City of Los Angeles
LAPD OLYMPIC DIVISION
Senior Lead Officer Gordon Helper
Commander William Scott
Captain Anne Clark
SMPD Sergeant Phillbo Rubish
The City of Santa Monica
BHPD and the City of Beverly Hills

Sara Bond – Producer / Production Coordinator
Don Ward – Race Director / Executive Producer
Swank One – Graphic Art
Justin Garcia – EMS Coordinator

Ace Carretero – Film / Media
Mikey Wally – Film / Media
Rafael Hernandez – Film / Media
Dennis Gonzales – Scooter / Media
Donnie Walker – Motorcycle / Media

Kieron Menzies – Finish line Judge / Race logistics
Stephan Andranian – Rolling Start / Legal Waiver
Gern Trowbridge – Lighting / Finish line Production
LaHarr – Rambo ass mofugga
Don Ward – Finish line Camera
Tyler Quinn – Finish line Camera
Hans Wagner – Assistant Camera

Norma Herrera – Merchandise
Lauren Robison – Merchandise
Chris Barnes – LACBC Bike Parking
JJ Hoffman – LACBC

DJ Patrick Miller
FUZZBEAST – Projector Bike
Dj Mikey Wally

Warren Kommers
Lee Diskin
Rick Darge
Rick Kleinsmith
Hern Montenegro
Richie Trimble
Devon Tsuno

The Volunteers -

John Osnap
Hamilton
Palucha
Paul Cooley
Mikey Adamski
Jimmy Zaffina
Albert Soto
Chris Redwine
Krista Nicole Carlson
James Hawkes
Edward Mirzakhanian
Omo Abode
Alex Alcantar
July Cardoza
Jae Marin
Melody Brocious
Jesse Ramon
Nick Perez
Junu Kang
Alya Stern
Micah Hart
Ruben DeClay
Armando Almendarez
Pako Flores
Henny Alamillo
Kat Namey

Mom Ridaz
Jeff Parker – The Vortex

Steve Kelty – Red Bull
Mike Tunney – Red Bull
Pat Stahl – Red Bull

Steve McCallion – Chrome
Kenny Arimoto – Chrome
Tara Moeller – Chrome
The Team – Chrome

Mr. Thomas Forsyth

Jianwei – Aventón Bikes
Gus Peraza Aventón Bikes

Paul Ku- City Grounds
Jack Ku- City Grounds
Kevin Coleman – City Grounds

Kathleen Barnes – Angel City Brewery
Kru Vodka
CrankLA Clothing