Competitor Profile: Josh Rovner

July 11, 2014 in Civic Center Crit, HANNEL ET, News, Rider Spotlight by Roadblock

   

Competitor Profile: Team Blake’s Josh Rovner

Five years ago Josh Rovner left his job in film to become a bike courier. Today, at 25, he is not only a messenger for Clementine Courier, a small messenger-owned and operated company in New York City, but he is also an impassioned competitive racer.

“I hated my job to enough to decide I was going to start working because I was enjoying what I was doing, not because of money or what I thought could be a career path,” Rovner says, “and I just remembered what I really liked; I just always really liked riding a bicycle, so I was like ‘Yeah, I think this might be a pretty good fit for me.’”

Rovner’s voice rings cool and bright as he recounts his path into racing from the middle of Wisconsin, halfway through the Tour of America’s Dairyland. It is day six at one of the country’s most challenging stage races, consisting of 11 days of criterium racing, and the background rumbles with encouragement and cheers as the narrowing field ascends a grueling climb in the last race of the day.

Rovner is there with Lupus Racing, an elite racing development team of Cat 1/2 racers, where he will compete in 10 races over the 11 days.

“I’ve crashed two of the five days, and I’ve got five days to go,” he says. “I’m not broken and neither is my bike so I’ll keep going. Every day is a new crit.”

His love for racing bikes is effusive, even over the phone. The New Jersey native found himself first racing bikes at 21, one year into falling into courier work. The transition was as natural as his move to the Big Apple; it started with alleycats, then came Cyclocross. This year he is in his second season of racing road, and active on the National Crit Circuit (NCC).

“I moved up the ranks pretty quick,” Rovner says. “I started because of my friend Sean, “Maestro”—he’s this messenger in San Francisco and he owned a bike shop with his wife Gina called King Cog—he wanted to start a bike racing team. He totally got me into it.”

Now he is hooked, and his days and nights are filled with hours on the bike, whether it be working, training or racing.

“It can totally consume your entire world,” Rovner says. “It can consume your time, whether it be training, or eating right; it can consume so much mental energy—and it can be really discouraging or really positive, but in one way or another people become totally obsessed with racing bicycles, and it’s addictive.”

Rovner won’t pretend he’s not competitive, but there’s more to racing than that, he says.

“You can develop relationships based on racing bicycles that are stronger than a lot of other relationships in your life.”

Those relationships are what drew him to the crit last year, where he knew he’d be able to take to the course with friends he’d met in other cities, and have a chance to get a little more time in on the streets of L.A.

“I was out for the Westside Invite when it was in L.A. [in 2012] and we did this crit downtown through one of the tunnels. I thought it was super neat and when I found out Don [Ward] was throwing this race I thought it would be super fun for us to all go out there.”

 

 

Rovner came out to the Civic Center Crit last year with Austin Horse, and Stephan Hoffman, fellow NYC bike messengers. This year the trio is returning, and will race under Team Blake as ode to their friend, Blake Bedoya.

“It’s kind of our tribute to him just getting really positive and having a really healthy perspective on racing bikes,” Rovner says, “especially because it’s something that people can lose track of. It’s a world that people can get totally caught up in and Blake is a grounded dude, so we thought it would be pretty funny just to put his name on a jersey and his face is on the back of it.”

Rovner and his Team Blake teammates strive to keep the big picture in mind when they get in the saddle. The discipline, the adrenaline, and the places racing takes him are all a part of why Rovner is hooked on racing, but there is one greater element to it that really makes the magic in racing.

“Racing bikes is about people,” he says, “It’s not so much a physical game as it is psychological, and it’s totally intriguing. I don’t need to be stronger than you, I just need to be smarter than you. Understanding people gets you a lot farther than being faster. That being said, you have to get to know people to do that.”

Racers’ personalities bare themselves when every competitor gets up close and personal in the peloton, where strengths and weaknesses become evident. As the body of racers that is the peloton travels through the course, the sprinters, climbers, power breakway riders show themselves. Those working alone and with their teams are exposed over the inches and seconds as the lap count creeps upward.

“Understanding people’s personalities, especially in the peloton, is what drives bike racing,” Rovner says. “Not only do i get to know these people on the bike and how they ride and what they’re good at, but I get to know them off the bike too, and you become completely sympathetic for these people in a way that when they’re suffering alongside of you—I don’t know if you can form that relationship not in that circumstance.”

At the first Civic Center Crit in 2013, Rovner competed in the road category, which was single-handedly turned on its ear by 14-year-old Sean McElroy.

“When you don’t know racers you don’t know what they’re capable of,” Rovner says of young dynamo. “Nine times out of 10 if you’re riding off the front of the race solo, you’re gonna get caught.  When I watched [Sean] ride off the front I was OK with him riding off the front.  I don’t think he will be allowed to do so this year.”

Competitor Spotlight: Alonso Tal

June 21, 2013 in Civic Center Crit, News, Rider Spotlight by Sara Bond

A Brief History:

Born and raised in Los Angeles, CA via Watts then later moving to Leimert Park area & attending Birmingham High School in the San Fernando valley, I now live in Mt. Washington.
I can say 1st intro to bikes came around the age of six or seven when one of my cousin got his first 10 speed road bike it was a blue schwinn, note he was 15 years old at the time so the bike was way to big for me to try and ride let alone learning to ride but I had no cares there was only one thing on my young mind at that time and that was trying to ride that bike. after begging all day to ride, He finally asked me if i wanted to ride and if i knew how to, knowing that I couldn’t I quickly said YES!… He asked again and I said yes. He helped me on the bike and my feet could barley reach the pedals form over the top tube but some way how I was able to pedal the bike… note I never rode a bike until then so it never accrued to me that not only was i riding a bike that was why over sized for me and I learned how to ride a bike that quick. Guess I can say i was a natural.
The Racing Bite:
Racing came by way of alley cat & other underground races thrown by cyclist & bike shop around LA. Some of those people I still know very well & ride with today, like Mikes Bike & Board shop on pico, Sean Martin, Downtown LA Massager, Hern Montengro, Orange 20 bike shop & many others like Don “Road Block” & Micheal Bowers “ Cool ass Mike”  who have all played a good part in building a really great cycling community here in Los Angeles, and some more then others.
My inspiration came & continues to come from many angles such as, riding with buddies like Kapo , Micheal Lohr of mikes bikes, group rides around LA,  my CBNC Teammates, bike massagers, kids that are just starting to race or getting they’re first bike, events like cyclavia but i have to say there is one pro cyclist named Rahsaan Bahati that caught my eye some time back in my earlier riding years. He also happened to be from the same city I grow up in, just watching this guy tear up the road cycling world in the way did & to continue to watch Him do it witch style & grace just gave me all the inspiration I needed even though I haven’t crossed over to focus on road races witch I will be preparing to do at the ending of this 2013 summer. (I remember buying a $150 Rock racing jersey because i seen him wearing one – lol)
I kinda have a lone ranger story as to being in the urban cycling world, it started with group ride a around the LA and I think i’ve gone to just all of them once or at least showed up to them for the most part hahah, along with racing some of the local alley cats that are thrown witch I continue to still race today and even some in other city like San Francisco for Quick City Rumble.
I’ve been commuting around Los Angeles for some time just 9 years and about 6 of them races, I even did some private currier work for two summers 09 – 10 for a media production company out of culver city witch paid great, I think I took home $80 to $140 everyday that I worked and it was sweet because I was all under the able money.
But in all honesty just being apart of the cycling community is a joy the group ride, races, protest for more cycling self rode, rising money for fallen cyclist thats been hurt on the job, hurt while commuting or in a race it didn’t matter, your nationally didn’t matter, you’re gender didn’t matter, how fast or how slow you was didn’t matter the only thing that did was the love you had for it cycling community
No I’m not a cat racer but I will be soon, i have a running joke  “ I’m cat 2 commuters lol ”. I just truly enjoy fixed gear cycling and theirs not many things that can take me away from it, besides myself.
My stats this year, is to continue training for my road racing next year, it’s been ago long time coming.
Racing Across the U.S.

I’ve rode in San francisco, Las Vegas, San Diego, Washington, Arizona, Mexico, and many more. It depends on the the city’s cycling population the more the better. Be you know never know what you’re going to get in any city, its like a box chocolate and thats the truth! The other city’s are meh… i love LA – sorry. just saying!

When He’s off the Bike:
I have a pretty good career going in brand management, and the moment I’ve working for Clae footwear as their concept store manger, I’ve also been hoarding my artwork & photography for the last 6 years but other then that Im always good for a turn up.
What’s Next:
Definitely going to try to make as many races as I can the for what’s left of 2013, but I really wanna make some of the out of state & even out of the country races.
Alonso Tal on Wolfpack: 
I’ll just say I like wolfpack, Don’s my man. There used to be a time I could make it to their ride, but time & circumstance kept me away, but maybe in the future I can make a few rides.
Final Thoughts before Alonso Takes to the Streets:
“If you never take off you’re brake, you’ll never learn how to skid to save you’re life”

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: Marc Marino

June 20, 2013 in Civic Center Crit, News, Rider Spotlight by Sara Bond

I was born and raised in Connecticut and made the great move West to California when I was 18.  I gave BMX racing a chance when I was younger. But I would say I reintroduced myself to cycling in the fall of 2007 when I bought a Bianchi Pista off Craigslist on a whim.

I initially found my way in to racing out of my own curiosity.  I started doing the intro to track racing sessions at Hellyer back in 2008.  Once I started racing, it was the friends I’ve made that inspire me.  Sure there’s the handful of pros that everyone looks up to.. but the homies that I have to chase up Mt. Tam, or the ones calling me because I slept through my alarms, that’s true inspiration.

My history within the urban racing world has had its ups and downs for sure. I think I started doing alleycats here in San Francisco years ago, I was the kid showing up from the suburbs getting lost and finishing ultra DFL.  But I still had an amazing time.  I remember my first criterium was the House of Commons crit at Interbike in ’09, where I finished 3rd behind Hern and another guy from LA.  I do hold a USAC license and am a Cat3 on the road and a Cat2 on the track.  I do both sanctioned and unsanctioned racing.

My USAC results can be found here: http://www.usacycling.org/results/?compid=315958

2013 Non-USAC results:

Mission Bay Crit: 3rd

Red Hook Crit: 22nd

RHC Navy Yard: 3rd

I’ve raced all over the Bay Area, and Northern California, Portland, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, New York, and Jakarta.  I’ve ridden all over those cities, but also spent a few days exploring Kyoto and the surrounding hills with some close friends.  It’s hard for me to compare cities.  They’re all so wildly different.  I’m from SF so I’ll have nothing to talk about except the hills, the trolly tracks, the shitty Muni drivers, the inconsistent flow, and the weather.  I love New York.  The way Manhattan works is incredible, and you can get around so easily, and in Japan the pavement was pristine.  You could run tubulars with 160psi and not be bummed out.  Careful though, you have to have brakes.  Which was a law I was not informed of on arrival.  Luckily I didn’t get caught.  Jakarta was another beast completely.  The traffic was unreal, scooters everywhere, and intersections the size of a city block in the financial district here.  Watching our amazing hosts dip in and out of traffic like it was nothing is something I’ll never forgot.

When I’m not racing or training (bro) you can find me at work serving up some of San Francisco’s finest coffee or at home resting and eating.  Working full time and riding as many hours a week as I can without burning out is a job all in itself.  Nothing beats a good night’s sleep.

Well since it’s the most fresh, my favorite race moment has to be the last three turns on the final lap at the RHC Navy Yards.  With Neil and Kyle escaping so early in, it turned in to a battle of luck and where you put yourself in those last two turns.  Seeing the 1 lap to go card out I knew where I had to be when I had to be there.  I made a move to the front out of turn 5, held it through the cobbles, and kept my face in the wind all the way to the finish.  Hitting those last three turns, a thousand people screaming at you, ringing the cowbells, and banging on the barriers, was (from my perspective) deafening.  I will never forget it.  My favorite part of cycling is just getting out on the road.  Hard work really pays off, and the satisfaction you get from achieving a goal you set for yourself is beyond description.

For the rest of 2013 I can tell you I will absolutely be heading to the final two rounds of the Red Hook Criterium to defend my current standing in the series.  There is also lightweight talk with some friends about riding to Interbike again, but to make an adventure out of it.  And maybe get weird.  More to come!

I think what you guys (Wolfpack) are doing for a car drowned Los Angeles is amazing.  The huge community you have formed, the rides and races.  To do that in such a place like LA is truly remarkable.  I have never personally been on theMonday Night Ride, but I did attempt the Marathon Crash race a few years ago.  2010 maybe?  It was a lot to take in.  So many racers.  I got lost in Beverly Hills somehow, and finished mid-pack?  Still had a great time.  For this Sunday.. I feel like a million dollars.  Looking forward to pre-riding the course.

“It never gets easier, you just go faster.”  Greg Lemond

Competitor Spotlight: Mel Seeger

June 20, 2013 in Civic Center Crit, Rider Spotlight by Sara Bond

A brief history:

I’m originally from Herndon, Va, a suburb of Washington, D.C.  I lived in Richmond, Va while attending the University of Virginia before I moved to San Francisco after graduating in 2010.  I commuted by bike while I was in school and continued to commute by bike while in San Francisco, where I sold my car after living there for almost a year.

The Racer Bite:

My first race was the Macaframa Broke Bones alley cat.  A couple of my roommates at the time told me about it and went with me.  I think I did about half of the check points but I still had a great time.  I had just started riding brakeless, I rode with bmx platforms, reload fgfs type straps, and my doc martin boots – haha! My first alley cat also introduced me to a lot of people in the cycling community in San Francisco.  From then on I would try to go to as many races as I could, if not to race then at least to support.  I am not a cat racer, I finally got a cyclocross bike so I plan on racing that when the season starts again.

Racing in Cities Across the U.S.:

I have raced in SF, Oakland/East Bay, and Richmond, Va.  I’ve ridden in New York, Philadelphia, and Washington, D.C.  All those cities are different, but LA is definitely the least cycling friendly.  It took me a while to be comfortable riding around.  However, I have seen a lot of progress in the short year and a half that I’ve been here.

Off Season:

I work full time for a sign company in Atwater Village, I also have my own vinyl decal business, Luv Sik Grafix.

Pure Enjoyment:

Since I got my cyclocross bike, I try to explore trails as often as possible.  It’s fun and exciting, I never know what I’m going to find.

What’s Next for Mel:

There is the Where’s Waldo alley cat the day before the crit.  I’m planning on going to SF for Quake City Rumble.  Of course I plan on doing the Wolfpack Drag Race.  I want to race the summer series at Encino Velodrome.  And as many cyclocross races as I can make it to.

on Wolfpack Hustle: 

I haven’t been able to make it to monday night ride yet.  I did the crash race for the first time this year.  It was like critical mass on steroids, I’m not sure how I did but I’m just glad I didn’t crash – haha!  I’m nervous and excited because I have never done a crit before.

Mel leaves us with, “My advice when it comes to races: Don’t forget to have fun!  I would also like to thank my sponsors: CBNC, Alabici, Met Helmets, and Unknown Bikes.”

Competitor Spotlight: Jason Clary

June 18, 2013 in Civic Center Crit, News, Rider Spotlight by Sara Bond

In early May of this year, Jason Clary returned to the saddle of competition for the first time since 2012, at Red Bull ‘Ride N Style’, taking 1st place. And a week and a half ago, signed with Mehdi Farsi of State Bicycle joining the ranks with Craig Streit and Scott Piercefield.

Photo by Colin Arlin

With the passing of his Mother and marrying his girlfriend, the last eight months for Jason have been extremely turbulent.

Jason tells me that he “just didn’t have the heart. I’d get on my bike but I didn’t have the passion or that edge that it takes to put yourself out there to win races. I wasn’t going to participate in Red Bull Ride N Style. I was at the point where I was really slowing down, but my father and my wife and my friends all came out to the race. They all got behind me. It wasn’t training, it was just heart and I exceeded everyone’s expectations, even my own.”

Brief History Lesson:

“My father motor-crossed and introduced me to cycling because of his injuries. I BMXed in the ABA from ages 7 to 16. In high school, I got more into skateboarding and street BMX riding.

“Fast forward a little bit to my early twenties when I broke my shoulder skateboarding, I started cross training on fixed gear bikes without really knowing about the subculture. I just really like riding track bikes: the clean lines and not having a lot of components. I was managing a dealership in Fremont, California, and commuting by bike from the city when I did my first alley cat, East Bay Mice Summer Series in 2006. I ended up doing really well.

“At the time, a good friend from high school was working for Broakland Bicycles, based out of Oakland, so I moved to Oakland and got sponsored by Brooklyn Bicycles. I was doing both sides, I was competitive on my road bike and still doing tricks on my track bike before they morphed into these BMX trick bikes.”

And then, Jason started working for Zip Car. “It was not a real bike messengering job, but I was on the bike for a couple of years in the city as a fleet technician and got to delegate all the tasks for the Zip Car fleets on bicycles. This opened a lot of doors in the city and I was hanging out with the MASH guys and I just ran with it. I always attribute where I am today with MASH. Some of those guys are my best friends and they inspired me. In the early years, I didn’t know how to skid, I didn’t know how to stop, I hate to say it, but I mimicked their stuff.  I faked it till I made it.

In 2008, Jason was a part of a video called “No Cassettes,” which was produced by Chris Fonseca. Once its release in 2009, Jason tells me he closed this part of his life and began to switch avenues.

Photo by Colin Arlin

Red Bull’s ‘Ride N Style':

“In 2011, for the Red Bull first ever Ride N Style, they didn’t have open qualifiers, it was who they picked to race, who they wanted to participate. When the race came up, I wasn’t chosen for it. It was a mixture of the most competitive riders and the some of the biggest names in the scene.

“Rainier Schaefer didn’t want to race, so I took his spot as an alternate and my best friend Kell Mckenzie, he took James Newman’s spot. I took first place and Kell took second. This win put me in a professional status rather than just another street racer. It was nice because we weren’t supposed to be in the event and it opened a lot of doors for me.

“The feeling of taking first was great because my parents were there, and at that point I was in my mid-twenties and they were kinda rocky. I was trying to find myself and things weren’t working out the way I expected

After Jason won the Red Bull race in 2011, he rode with LDG, Livery Design Gruppe out of Hunting Beach, for about a year and then switched over to an independent company in 2012.

Riding & life in & outside America:

“I have been to South East Asia and Puerto Rico, Malaysia, Indonesia – getting out of the country really gave me a whole new perspective on life.

“I come from a skate background and I hate to say it, but skaters are kind of cliquey, they don’t really share spots, the camaraderie isn’t the same. In the cycling scene, it’s better. I’m kind of biased because they know me when I visit these countries so they treat me really well. But they have their trick bike, their BMX bike, fixed gear free-style or track bike or skateboard – they’re a little more open and I just see within their crews they help each other out. Everyone I see does more with less. They make less money, work harder. And in Malaysia, especially where I went to the Kuala Lumpur International Fixed Gear Tournament – these guys, they don’t drink, they don’t party like we do, they just seem like they have more of a positive outlook on life. And it’s kind of nice when I get out of my day to day world and I get to touch base with these guys’ points of view and when I come back to the states, I get to bring that with me.”

Jason on Body English in Track vs. Road Bikes:  

“Fixed gear is a subculture and the demographic that we’re going with is not as big as road cycling or even skateboarding, but I don’t see it stopping. I’ve had my track bike for years, I always go back to riding my track bike. Coming from a motorcycle discipline, my Dad always said, “body english.” I feel like on a track bike you have more control if it’s going into a slide. We live in that blind spot and being able to control your bike, the revolution of the back wheel and being able to have that “body english” is its skid sliding or doing a wheelie or popping up the curb, I feel like a track bike is easier than a road bike, at least for me, especially after all the time I’ve spent on one. At any point of the cadence or revolution of the cranks you can bunny hop or do a wheelie, but with a road bike, you don’t have that positive feedback from the cranks.

“The bikes are our paintbrush and the streets are our canvas,” Jason muses. I don’t know where I pulled that – from somebody. It was in my interview in Urban Velo.”

On Sanctioned Races and Pro Status:

“I don’t do any sanctioned races although I do race against category racers. I’ve done the Red Hook Crit and I’ve done a Crit race in Puerto Rico. My teammates are Craig Streit and Scott Peterson who are CAT 1 racers. I’ve raced in the velodrome in Asia, but I don’t have a license.

“In my eyes, after all the time and dedication that I have put in on the bike, I am pro, but as far as any certification, I’m not. I don’t see that any time soon they are going to sanction street races, alley cats or sprints – the stuff that I do. There’s always been that kind of feud between those who are category racers in the Wolfpack Marathon Crash Race, but I hang with the category racers, so….. what does that make me? Just because I don’t CAT up, does that not make me the same level?

“I’ll tell you this from the bottom of my heart, I’m the epitome of a street bike rider and I’ve always wanted to keep it that way. It’s not that I don’t want to ride crits, it’s just that I like riding in the street. There’s more dynamic, there’s more going on. I do the crits because that’s part of my sponsorship, but that’s not what I get off on. What I get off on: riding in different cities through the thickest traffic, in the most sketchiest times of day.”

Photo by Colin Arlin

Being a Roll Model:

“There are some races in Kuala Lumpur and the people there follow Macaframa and MASH and all of us. I can’t even have my messages on my Facebook turned on because the fans, the kids, they contact me, they really look up to me. They’re like, “When are you coming back to Malaysia?”

“And I’ve noticed that even with me, I’m going to be 31 in August, and I’ve been skating for almost twenty years, riding track bikes for over a decade now and even I looked up to some of the most famous skaters. It’s nice when they respond or instagram or facebook. A lot of the guys I’ve always looked up to, it’s like, “Dude, you’re at the same level.” So, when you’re a younger guy and you just reach out cause you want to talk to somebody about gear ratio or what chainring your using or tire, I try my best to get back to the kids. I really hope that I can make a positive impact.

“I’ve had some really off the wall questions and even if it is off the wall, I try my best to be a positive roll model for these kids, especially in these countries where they feed off the internet, they want to be so Americanized: the style and the dress and the bicycles we ride.

These kids will tag me in these photos and they’ll say, when they grow up, they want to be like me, I’m their idol – I don’t want to come off as narcissistic – but when I wake up in the morning and someone on the other side of the world says that who I am changes the way they feel and inspires them, that’s what makes me want to ride harder and continue to do what I do and try to make the urban racing scene grow.

“I guess looking back, professional riders and skaters that were mean to me, it really set a precedence – I didn’t want to be that way. I mean, plus, I’m not that way.”

Loves about Cycling:

“When I get off the plane and I’m in some random country and I don’t know where to go, so I build my bike and then sprint out into the streets with heavy traffic accompanied by new friends – that’s what I live for. I’m a creature of change. Cycling has opened so many doors of opportunity. I’m really excited about State Bicycle because I think they’re going to make it possible for me to continue to travel the world, which is pretty much my main objective.”

on Wolfpack Hustle:

Jason has raced the 2010, 2011, 2012 Wolfpack Crash Race. Looking back on the 2012 Crash race, he tells me:

“I trained for that race. I was with the lead pack. I was doing really well and then, they had the false start and we all got strung out. I ended up getting tenth fixed that year.

“I have mixed feelings about that race. I’m always going to go back to the street side of it, I loved it! It’s really intense, it’s sketchy and scary, but it’s hard.

“Going back to sanctioned bike races where you’ve got people like me who know how to ride and then you’ve got the kids that are out there not holding their line. I saw a kid take out a stop sign at full speed.

“I think it’s a great race and I think it should continue. I’m always wholeheartedly behind Don (Roadblock) and anything that has to do with Wolfpack because I think the image is great. Don is trying to create something that isn’t anywhere else, only in Los Angeles.”

“In the last month, Mehdi Farsi, of State Bicycle, put the Wolfpack CVC CTR CRIT on my calendar. So, I’ve been doing training for the past couple weeks, putting my nose to the bar, making sure I’m going to look decent out there and become that professional bike rider again, live up to my reputation – get back into it!”

“I’m a little apprehensive about the firepower that’s coming out to this race, but I’m just gonna take it like I always do and go out there, smile and have fun. If I’m not having fun, I’m doing something wrong.”

Photo by Colin Arlin

 

“In my heart, I’m a racer. Riding is my passion. Anything with wheels. As long as I’m on the bike my life works out right. Bottom line, I’m going to keep riding as long as I can.”

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: Chas Christansen

June 11, 2013 in Civic Center Crit, News, Rider Spotlight by Sara Bond

Originally from the pacific northwest, Chas was born in Eugene Oregon, grew up in Olympia, WA. and with family in Southern California, he has strong ties to the west coast.

In and interview Chas was kind enough to talk with me about his life as a bicycle racer. He starts off by saying, “I’ve always ridden a bike, really for transportation to and from elementary school and high school. I had a car for a little while, I liked driving really fast and got 19 speeding tickets, so they took away my license – never had an accident though. In Portland I would ride a bike to get to and from work – Portland is a bike friendly city.

Getting into Racing:

“In Portland eight years ago, I had a cross bike and one of the guys I worked with asked if I had ever raced. When I said no, he took me to my first cross race, Cross Crusade. It was pretty wild – I loved it. There were these guys guys racing track bikes in the dirt and eventually i got up the balls to talk to them and found out they were bike messengers. They nonchalantly said, “yeah, these are just the bikes we ride.” Which this meeting then introduced me to the alley cat race.”

At this time, Chas was working as a butcher when one of the messenger racer guys told him was moving to NY, offering Chas his spot as a bike messenger. “And that’s how i got into bike messengering: just racing alley cats and being a part of that bike culture.”

SAN FRANCISCO:

“I then moved to San Francisco worked as a courier for 3 years before starting TCB and am now the owner of TCB “Taking Care of Business” Courier, which is the largest bike courier service in San Francisco. I do a lot of international and statewide racing. I’m sponsored by Cinelli and ride with the San Francisco Team, MASH. I am a Cat 2 cyclocross racer and have been racing for 8 years now.”

International Racing:

“I do a lot of International Courier races such as the European Cycle Courier Championships and the Cycle Messenger World Championships. I’ve been traveling to these races for the last four years. I’ve raced on every continent except for South America and Antarctica. I enjoy racing alley cats and criteriums. I’ve raced twice in Indonesia, London, Japan and all over Europe. I just got back from spending three weeks in Africa.

“International travel is one of the biggest things that drew me into messenger racing. The ability to travel and be a part of the international community of bike messengers is amazing.

“I like Germany a lot. I’ve been to Berlin three times. I’ve ridden from Berlin to Warsaw. I like the culture. I think it’s international and accepting. The countryside is beautiful. The races there are pretty good. I went to the European Championships there four years ago, in 2009. They held the race in the abandoned airport – shut down in the 60’s – Templehoff Airport we were racing bikes through tunnels and terminals in the middle of Berlin!

“Having just gotten back from Africa, I would say that Africa is now one my favorite continents to visit .”

Photos by Mike Martin

Racing 2013:

“2013 hasn’t been the greatest year for me in racing. I’ve raced in the Stuper Bowl, Minneapolis, I raced in the red hook crit and placed 18th or 19th. I didn’t really have a super strong race. I got 4th place in Monster Track which is a little disappointing cause I got 3rd place last year. And I’ve been in a couple local races. I’ve been busy running two companies, so there’s not a lot of time for training.”

Although 2013 hasn’t been his best year thus far, Chas currently holds the title of North American Cycle Champion winning the nationals in 2012. Chas has been to LA and ridden her streets, however he’s tells me LA’s “culture doesn’t really speak to him. It’s really close and convenient. I also really like racing fixed gear criteriums, so I’m gonna come down and check it out!”

Biking in San Francisco:

“There are countless microclimate’s, you could be riding around in the Mission, doing loops, and it’s gorgeous and sunny. Then you got to the Marina and it’s cloudy and windy and your flying down hills. It’s kind of nice with working as a messenger. I get to choose what neighborhood I want to work in that day. If I want to get all crazy, I can go to the Haight and smash all around or downtown, depending on how things vary from neighborhood to neighborhood. It’s really nice to live in a city where I can ride a half hour from my door and cross the bridge and be in Marin and the Headlands. It’s relaxing and great for training, great descents and climbing – really nice to have.”

Portland vs. San Francisco vs. New York City:

“There’s a bigger difference in riding in New York than San Francisco, it’s like night and day. Portland is a long city and spread out over fourteen miles, it’s really mellow, you have the river in the middle and it doesn’t compare at all to San Francisco because it’s only seven by seven miles with massive hills.

[On the other hand] “In New York everyone is really aggressive and you have to make your own line, your own space, put yourself out there [as a cyclist] to make it happen. And everyone is sort of an asshole, but it isn’t until you become an asshole yourself and stand up for yourself in terms of riding with traffic and interacting with pedestrians and cars, then it becomes naturally easy flowing through New York traffic and the city of Manhattan itself, like a hot knife through butter. Whereas in San Francisco you don’t have quite the same density, but it still gets hectic a lot of the time in most places in the city. But everyone is a little timid and everyone has that west coast, “Oh, it’s okay, you go.” or “No, no, you go.” Everyone is afraid to really put themselves out there so you have to change your riding style. San Francisco is more bike friendly because pedestrians and traffic are more aware of cyclists and willing to give them the right away, but other than that, I’m not really aware of the bike paths or infrastructure that the city builds.”

Photo by Nick Kova

Favorite Racing Memories:

“Back in 2009, I raced an alley cat in Tokyo, it was a highlight for me because I had never been to a city like Tokyo let alone raced in it. 2008 and 2009 was when I started traveling internationally, so riding through the city with all the people and traffic with some of the best racers that I had heard about but never met, it was pretty amazing.

“The 2012 East Cost Messenger Stage race was a really great experience. Austin Horse did a great job organizing the race. It’s crazy how he puts that whole event together. We raced six days from Washington D.C. to Boston. Some of the Wolfpack guys were out and a whole lot of other messenger racers and we had a really good time. There was this nice group of forty-five people and we hung out every night after the racing was done swapping stories.”

Going Pro:

“I’ve pretty much gone as far as I want to go in racing. I already ride my bike for a living. If someone wanted to pay me to do what I enjoy doing on my bike, I think that would really take the fun out of it – I still get the same joy out of it as I did eight years ago when I started racing. I still feel like a kid when I’m smashing through traffic. I think if I started to get paid for it, I think it would cheapen it up for me. And I already have to hustle on a bike for money anyway so it’s kind of nice just to do it for fun. I really appreciate the support of the major companies and individuals which has allowed me to travel and see the world on a bike, spread the good word of bike racing and living on a bike, get out and meet all these new people and experience all these new cultures. I’m pretty happy being where I’m at right now.”

When Chas is Not Racing:

Chas can be found running his messenger business, TCB Courier or working on his new company “OrderNear.” He tells me, “OrderNear will bring same day ASAP delivery of both food and retail products to people all over America.  Your Neighborhood to your doorstep, your favorite local merchants and restaurants powered by local couriers.”

“Both jobs are interesting because one is running a courier service which is pretty down to earth, scummy sometimes and what i am used to, the other is more business oriented.”

Chas lives with his girlfriend in the Mission and enjoys exploring the abandoned buildings throughout the bay area, getting out of the city and going to the river to take some time off. He also enjoys traveling with his lady when they get a free weekend.

What’s up in the future for this MASH racer is to continue working hard at both of his businesses, trying to find the time to train with the possibility of hitting up the Red Hook Crit in Barcelona and this year’s East Coast Messenger Race. But before he goes anywhere else, Chas will be staying on the Westside and visiting LA for the Wolfpack Civic Center Criterium Race! He’s excited to have his whole family come out and see him race. Most of them, through the course of the years, have a small understanding of what I do, so they can actually come and see me. I’m also excited cause Wolfpack is shutting down all the streets in downtown LA and it’s going to be professional with a big production.

Photo by Hiro

Chas reminds racers out there to “just keep it fun. A lot of people take racing especially in the street culture world way too seriously. We’re not pros, we’re not getting paid. Maybe you got a free bike frame from somebody and you feel obligated to put it out there and race for them, that’s all good and fun but I think the bottom line is we’re all here to support the community and build the scene as a whole and it should always be about having a good time. If everyone’s able to have some healthy competition and still ride away from the race, it’s all camaraderie and basically having a good time. This isn’t the Tour de France.”

Competitor Spotlight: Brianna Brannan

June 7, 2013 in Civic Center Crit, News, Rider Spotlight by Sara Bond

At this year’s Marathon Crash Race, Brianna Brannan took 3rd place fixed in her first ever bike race. After riding fixed for the first time in the summer of 2011, she came across midnightridazz.com and decided to check out a random ride from its ride calendar, which just happened to be Wolfpack Hustle. “I will never forget how lost I was with some [of the] other beginner kids, how I used my cell phone as a light and yet still made it to the end. . . about 45 minutes after the leaders.”

It was then that she really began to get into racing, unable to go a day without riding. “What is so amazing about this sport is how close the cycling community is in Los Angeles and how much we got each other’s backs.”

In 2012, she got her track bike and discovered the enjoyment of riding Mt. Baldy and through the Malibu canyons. “I still remember how proud of myself I was for riding from Venice beach to Downtown LA and back. I experienced that same accomplishment when I came in 3rd place at the MCR. However, since then, I’ve certainly stepped up my game, watch out ;)”

 

One on one with Brianna Brannan:

When did you start riding a bike?

I started riding a cheap mountain bike in high school to spend less time at home with my parents. I would take the beach bike path to Santa Monica High School even at 6 in the morning just to not drive to school with my parents (haha!) This was several years before I knew what fixed gear was.

 

What influenced you to pursue racing? Do you race “sanctioned” races as well?  

The Marathon Crash Race was the first race I really tried. I had done the MCR two years prior, but just for fun. I would love to try a sanctioned race!

 

What do you think about when you train for races? 

When I’m training I’m always just reminding myself to stay focused. In my opinion, it’s all about the mentality and training your mind to tell yourself that you can get through the hardest of challenges.

 

What interests do you have outside of cycling?

Outside of cycling I have a full-time retail job and am a full-time undergraduate at UCLA where I study Environmental Science. The plan is to attend graduate school for Urban/City planning – in Los Angeles, of course.

 

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

My favorite moment was after the finish line at the MCR, I saw the faces and ecstatic expressions of my best friend and all the amazing cyclists I’ve trained with and we all knew how well we did. Seriously, we didn’t all make it to the top rankings, but we all made personal records which means were definitely doing something right. I look forward to more of those moments.

 

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

I just love the process of training. I’m looking forward to discovering more canyons and new cities. I’m looking forward to getting stronger and seeing my team and my number one trainer win some races!

 

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