Fun In The Sun, Racing San Luis Rey Road Race

Photo Credit: Danny MunsonAuthor Brian McCulloch. Photo Credit: Danny Munson

By Brian McCulloch

The San Luis Rey Road Race has been a fixture in the Southern California cycling season for over 25 years. The course has changed over the years as the area has become more populated, but the competitiveness of the field has never diminished. The race course features varied terrain with a solid climb to the finish as well as plenty of rolling windy sections to create an event that is very challenging and selective for the racers.

It has been a few years since our team has sent a full squad to this event due to travel conflicts with other events. However, for 2014 Team KHS-Maxxis pb JAKROO was back and we lined up ready to race hard from the outset with five team members clad in our vivid yellow and blue kits.

The team strategy was simple. Make the race hard. Ensure that a break-away would roll early in the race and strengthen it with teammates. Then give-it-hell in the final to bring home the bacon…or in this case the bottle of wine that was awarded to the winner. I can tell you that we completed our plan as outlined, except for the final result, but that is where the story begins.

The energy in the peloton was palpable as the Race Referee/Chief Commissaire could barely keep the attention of the collected peloton. After our pre-race instructions, we were on our way on the open road. With my favorite partners-in-crime, David Santos, Fabrizion Von Nacher, Cory Williams, and Steven Davis we set out to make the race hard. As if the 103 miles somehow would not already be challenging enough. It did not take but a few minutes and the attacks were already coming fast and thick, each time with a KHS-Maxxis pb JAKROO rider present. The peloton was moving fast and we covered a lot of ground while the inevitable rubber band effect of attacks, accelerations, and then regrouping of the peloton took place.

Photo Credit: Danny MunsonPhoto Credit: Danny Munson

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Belize Cross Country Classic UCI Race: By Cory Williams

My trip to Belize was awesome! I have been planning on doing the Cross Country Classic UCI race ever since I started racing. My dad who was born and raised in Belize has been top 5 at the event and my older brother Justin was 4th last year. I have never raced in Belize before, so there was a lot of pressure on me to perform in front of my family and the country’s cycling association.

The first day I got there I went out for a ride on the road the race takes place on. The road was bumpy but fast and there was not much around to protect you from the wind. The race was 144 miles long with 3,000-4,000 feet of climbing in the race. I went to the event with teammate David Santos, my brother Justin and our dad, as well as Rahsaan Bahati.

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On race day my whole family showed up to show their support for one of the biggest events in the country. As the race started, people began going crazy because of all the station prizes put together by different communities along the way which included a cow and a refrigerator. I didn’t expect the race to start out so hard! We averaged around 30mph for the first hour with attacks going left and right. I didn’t let any of it change my plan. The plan was chill for the first 60 miles and let the early break go and chase it on the way back since the course was an out and back design. On the return, everyone started chasing and we were bringing the break back but then with 40 miles to go, there was a big crash in the front of the race taking 20 of the 35 guys out and eliminating the chase.

 

Photo Credit: Danny Munson

Photo Credit: Danny Munson

Unfortunately my dad, my brother and Rahsaan crashed and I was left alone as Santos was up the road in the break of 5 riders. With 15 miles to go, I got into a 3 man break only to be caught with 6 miles to go. I took a deep breath and just waited for the sprint. With a mile and a half to the finish, someone took a flyer and the Belize National Champion jumped to chase and I was right on him. With 1k to go, I attacked the group holding it all the way to the line for 11th place. The race was a great experience and I was happy to share it with one of my teammates David Santos who ended up 5th in the race.

Photo Credit: Danny Munson

Photo Credit: Danny Munson

Thank you KHS, Maxxis, JAKROO Custom Apparel, Shimano, Serfas, Hammer Nutrition, Rudy Project, IRT Wheels, Xpedo, Velo Saddles, Praxis Works, Rennie & Associates, Q2, Bike Religion, Chamois Butter, WD-40 Bike, Bicycle Blue Book and the Management of IPA sports.

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3rd place at SoCal Cup Criterium: By Steven Davis

Photo Credit: Danny Munson

Photo Credit: Danny Munson

Team KHS-Maxxis p/b JAKROO raced the California Bicycle Racing Series Criterium on Sunday in the Carson, CA.  We had 5 guys for the race – Fabrizio Von Nacher, Brian McCulloch, David Santos, Cory Williams and myself. Being naturally hungry for another win as well as wanting to work on some various team tactics, we decided to ride aggressively. We were aiming for a breakaway with a minimum of 2 KHS riders represented.

The course was the famed four-turn criterium route, with a duration of 75 minutes and as one of my teammates noted, “so, we are turning right today”. The race started off as we planned with attacks coming from David and Brian. The day was a rather windy affair, and with the course profile being that of steady flat terrain, drafting becomes ever more critical because the speeds are very high. This began what we in cycling call ‘The Welding Convention’. This basically means that as one rider or multiple riders attack, other riders essentially grab the wheel in front of them as fast as possible, slipping onto their slipstream and conserving energy. We knew this would take place early on and that no other teams would really let a group of riders go up the road. We hoped that with persistency we could break the will of the group and earn the breakaway we were looking for via aggressive riding.

There were multiple breakaways and splits in the main field throughout. Fabrizio Von Nacher, David Santos, and myself either initiating, following, or counter-attacking anything that seemed suspicious.  As a teammate in the peloton, having been brought back after an attack, looking up the road, I can not remember a time during the race when Brian McCulloch was not in the move. There were attacks that I was with Brian, we were brought back by the field, and then he was off the front again. It was really awesome to see how strong our riders are when they are given the GO to ride hard.

Photo Credit: Danny Munson

Photo Credit: Danny Munson

After numerous attempts at trying to make the breakaway stick, the race was entering the 60 minute mark and it appeared that is was working. Gaps were opening, the field was in three different groups at times, and a rather large group had finally created a significant gap after David had countered a move that had Brian and one other rider involved. This split had solid team representation of Socalcycling, Surf City Cycling, RockForm, and 2 KHS riders! But with the lack of cooperation from the large group and the racers ambition in the peloton, this move would be brought back as well. At this point, it was feeling like the race was inevitably going to finish in a field sprint.

Once again, Brian was on the move and David was with him. Soon there were a few other guys up the road, with Charon Smith, a Surf City rider bridging across to the breakaway. This left myself, Corey Williams, and Fabrizio as well as the Surf City team in the field, certainly not willing to chase down their own team up the road. This break would almost be caught on the final lap and Fabrizio and Corey were lined up, ready for their shot at the finish if it were all to come together.

With the help of Brian, David was dropped off in good position coming around the final corner, but the seasoned sprinter Charon Smith created a gap with his quick sprint and it was too much for Dave to come around. David finished on the podium in 3rd, with Fabrizio Von Nacher and Corey Williams rounding out the top 10 respectively.

Behind the scenes:

Photo Credit: Danny Munson

Photo Credit: Danny Munson

Something that not everyone gets to experience, see, or appreciate is the little things that go on behind the scenes of our team.  Yes, we raced hard, had fun, and did our jobs. But it is the intangibles that I am thankful for. After the race, all the other riders had gone home, the CBR crew cleaned the course and jetted off. We as a team got together and talked shop. This happens at the conclusion of all of our races. Five lawn-chairs filled with teammates and our director Paul Abrahams asking the important questions.  This is where we really learn as bike racers. These are the moments where we all get better. Accountability is high when everyone is not afraid to ask the hard questions.  This is where I am thankful to be a part of this program because at the end of the day, we do not go our separate ways. We reflect, ask questions, and learn. We are expected to ride and race at 100% focus and effort, but not expected to know every answer to every situation. The teaching level and patience within this team is remarkable and these are the reasons why this program has been such a success and why all of us will continue to get better!

It was a solid weekend of results. A great weekend of effort put forth, and another weekend to learn and get better.

CBR Criterium: 1st Charon Smith; 2nd Cristian Tamayo; 3rd David Santos

CBR Criterium: 1st Charon Smith; 2nd Cristian Tamayo; 3rd David Santos

Joy McCulloch finished 3rd in the women’s P1/2/3 race, adding to the teams podium count for the weekend!

CBR Criterium: 1st Priscilla Calderon; 2nd Kate Wilson; 3rd Joy McCulloch

CBR Criterium: 1st Priscilla Calderon; 2nd Kate Wilson; 3rd Joy McCulloch

Thank you KHS, Maxxis, JAKROO Custom Apparel, Shimano, Serfas, Hammer Nutrition, Rudy Project, IRT Wheels, Xpedo, Velo Saddles, Praxis Works, Rennie & Associates, Q2, Bike Religion, Chamois Butter, WD-40 Bike, Bicycle Blue Book and the Management of IPA sports.

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Ontario Easter Sunday Grand Prix: 2nd Place

Ontario Easter Sunday Grand Prix: Channeling my Inner Giraffe by Joy McCulloch

Photo Credit: Danny Munson

Photo Credit: Danny Munson

The first criterium I won was at Ontario. I snuck into a 3-rider breakaway in the women’s 1/2/3 race and as an unknown new category 3, I out-sprinted the others for the win. I had never practiced sprinting on a road bike and I really have no idea how I won. I just did it. Fast-forward 5 years down the road, things are much different.

Going into Sunday’s event, I knew it would be challenging. It was not the pace or the duration that would be an issue for me, it would be the thinking! I have spent much of the my road racing “career” as a domestique and lead-out for the final sprint, leaving me slightly befuddled at figuring out how to win a bike race for myself. Knowing the race was only 40 minutes long and would include categories 1-4, patience would be my biggest ally.

The players of the day would be SCVelo who had 5 riders and LaGrange with 3. There were also a handful of ladies who reminded me of my raw self five years ago: novice, strong and hungry. The best-case scenario for me would be to get up the road in a breakaway with one rider from SCVelo and LaGrange plus one of the strong “rogue” riders. However, I soon realized that nobody wanted to lose and everybody wanted to be in the move. What this creates is a snake-like string of riders welding moves back together so that they can be at the front. As frustrating as that is for me, I know all too well that this is how I raced my bike for a long time. I could throw power around like it was confetti, but when it came time to be there in the finish, the piñata had already been broken and I was left with tootsie rolls.

Photo Credit: Danny Munson

Photo Credit: Danny Munson

Being able to accept the course the peloton has chosen is tough. Half way through the race I knew the group would not allow a break and me trying to initiate one was like banging my head against a brick wall. The field sprint was inevitable which provided me a great opportunity for growth. I also realized I was an extremely marked women with a very large target on my back. I will take that as compliment, as I have worked hard to be a trusted wheel in the peloton, but it can still be just a bit annoying. It also pushes me to think, think, think – which is what I really need!

With 5 laps to go, I relaxed and settled into position out of the wind but also out of the fray. SCVelo and LaGrange had the chance to set up their lead-outs and I had the opportunity to surf their wheels and capitalize on their efforts. Coming into the final few turns of the last lap, I was on Angelica Frayre’s wheel, SCVelo’s sprinter. Her teammate Pam Schuster was leading the charge and took her through the last turn. Angelica jumped early as I followed, knowing the long drag-strip of the finish would be a tough one for me to conquer. Angelica started to fade and I felt the hot breath of the chasing riders on my neck, I knew I had kick it into gear and start my sprint.

It literally seemed like forever, and it was pretty close. Looking at my file from the race, I sprinted for 18 seconds – that’s over two bull rides at the rodeo! FOREVER! Keely Brooks of LaGrange had smartly tucked herself on my wheel and nipped me by a tire length at the line as we threw our bicycles to contest the victory.

I was super pumped! But I lost! Yes indeed I did, but I did several things I have never done in a race before which need to be tallied in the “win” column. I sprinted from the field and placed on the podium. I threw my bike in the finish. And I sprinted the way I have been practicing – thanks to my coach Paul Abrahams. I have had the opportunity to do several motor-pacing sessions with him and work on sprinting with some quality feedback. This is way less glamorous than it sounds. Having a skill broken down and viewed under a microscope can be very humbling and slightly humiliating. My first few attempts were compared to “a baby giraffe playing the piano” and that’s how my Spirit Animal was born. Since that fateful day, I have been assigned “giraffe work” on the bike and I am more than pleased to say that we are all seeing improvements.

Although I did not repeat my win of 5 years ago, I achieved many small victories which I know will culminate in more success down the road. Seeing the eager cat 4s and new racers compete with unabashed excitement was really cool and I am encouraged that the future of women’s cycling in Southern California is very bright.

Ontario Grand Prix Women 1/2/3: 1st Keely Brooks - LaGrange; 2nd Joy McCulloch - KHS-Maxxis pb JAKROO; 3rd Hannah Swan - Strive Racing.

Ontario Grand Prix Women 1/2/3: 1st Keely Brooks – LaGrange; 2nd Joy McCulloch – KHS-Maxxis pb JAKROO; 3rd Hannah Swan – Strive Racing.

Thank you KHS, Maxxis, JAKROO Custom Apparel, Shimano, Serfas, Hammer Nutrition, Rudy Project, IRT Wheels, Xpedo, Velo Saddles, Praxis Works, Rennie & Associates, Q2, Bike Religion, Chamois Butter, WD-40 Bike, Bicycle Blue Book and the Management of IPA sports.

The post Ontario Easter Sunday Grand Prix: 2nd Place appeared first on KHS MAXXIS JAKROO Cycling Race Team 2014.

Sea Otter Classic 2014

Sea Otter Classic is always an exciting event for our team with a great combination of racing and meeting up with our great sponsors. We took a quick two day break after the Redlands Bicycle Classic before packing up the team cars and heading north for three more days of racing. Riders Thomas Jondall, Cory Williams, Fabrizio Von Nacher, Steven Davis and Joy McCulloch were able to make the trip and soak up the cooler coastal weather.

Criterium: Our riders lined up for the Sea Otter Criterium bright and early on Thursday as Joy raced the Pro1/2 women’s event at 8am, placing 9th. For the men, their event followed the ladies on the same course the ripped around the Laguna Seca Raceway and through the pit area with tight 180-degree turns. The men’s field quickly split into multiple pieces, with Fabi and Thomas representing our squad in the front group. In the final, Fabrizio sprinted to a 5th place finish.

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The fun really started once we entered the massive expo and had the opportunity to connect with our fellow KHS Bicycles athletes with the KHS Factory Racing Team. Logan Binggeli and Kevin Aiello are two of the best Downhill Mountain Bike racers in the country and Quinton and Monique Spaulding run an amazing program. It is always awesome to spend time with this portion of the KHS family.

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Road Race: The Sea Otter Classic Road Race is deceivingly challenging. The women covered 5 laps of the circuit and the men did 8. Each lap traversed rarely used roads on Fort Ord with cracks in chip seal with weeds growing through them. The lap had two dominant climbs that created selections in both of the races. Coming through the steep feedzone climb, riders had to fight for postiion as the atacks were being launched. The field for the men’s road race was very talented, with riders from Hincapie Devo, Kenda/5-Hour Energy, Garneau-Quebecor Cycling Team, and even the legend Ned Overend. As the laps whittled down, so did the field. Fabrizio and Steven maintained position in the front group where Steven finished 18th on the 3K climb to the finish.

10177401_652735841448235_6666413040157019918_nThank you Chamois Buttr for the great products and support!

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Redlands Bicycle Classic

Big_Bear_TT-2_originalAuthor Steven Davis at the start of the Time Trial in Big Bear, CA. Photo Credit Danny Munson.

“No Longer Green at Redlands” 

By Steven Davis

The 2014 Redlands Bicycle Classic celebrated their 30th year anniversary and I earned the chance to race this ‘Epic’ for the first time.  Racing for KHS-Maxxis p/b JAKROO was an honor as well as a great experience.  Where to begin?

First and foremost, I simply have to say ‘Thank You’.  This was my second ever NRC (National Racing Calendar) race but first time on an actual team. When I say team, I want the emphasis to be on ‘team’.  For those that might be unfamiliar with the ‘behind the scenes’, this sport is bloody impossible without a team.  This extends from your actual teammates, to the director, managers, mechanics, soigneurs, and hosts for housing.  The details behind the curtain are near unimaginable, and a special ‘thank you’ goes out to all those that make it possible for us to show up and race our bikes.

Photo Credit: Danny MunsonPhoto Credit: Danny Munson

For their 30th edition, the Classic decided to add an extra day of racing with the famed Highland Circuit, stage 1. This stage of the race that has not been used in several years, and upped the amount of racing from 4 to 5 days.  Even though I was born and raised in Pennsylvania, living in southern California now, I think it is okay for me to use the local vernacular in describing the course as Gnarly.  It consisted of 20 laps on a 3 mile course.  There was one climb on the course that was rumored to max out at a near 14% gradient.  The race was moderately fast, fun, technical, and essentially a day that would begin a week-long war of attrition.  Although most of the 200+ starters finished, it was enough to get a glimpse at how 5 days of quality racing would saturate the system.

Redlands_Highland_Circuit_Race-6_originalPhoto Credit: Danny Munson

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San Dimas Stage Race: Criterium – Von Nacher 3rd!

Author Fabrizio Von Nacher. Photo Credit: Danny Munson

Author Fabrizio Von Nacher. Photo Credit: Danny Munson

The third stage which was the criterium at the San Dimas Stage Race and it was a hard race. The 90 minute race started and I went to the front as soon as possible because I knew it was going to be hard. The course had a uphill part where the group normally went single file and super hard. Then the down hill part came where you couldn’t rest that much because then you would lose positions and finish in the back.

Photo Credit: Danny Munson

Photo Credit: Danny Munson

The peloton was going fast, so it was hard for breaks to stick. After I followed some moves, I realized that breaks we’re going to be hard to stick, so I focused on staying in the front of the peloton waiting for the field sprint. In the last laps, a beak with a good number of guys went up the road. But the yellow jersey’s team went to the front and started riding to bring them back a couple of laps later.

Photo Credit: Danny Munson

Photo Credit: Danny Munson

When they brought that back, another break with 3 riders went up the road with 3 laps to go. Jelly Belly went to the front and started the lead out and I was top 10, trying to stay in the front and in good position for the sprint. With one lap to go, Jelly Belly kept leading the field and on the downhill, my teammate Dave Santos past their train and I was on his wheel. Dave went all-in into the last corner where I took the turn first and started my sprint. At the end of the sprint I ended up in 3rd and gave the team the second podium of the weekend.

San Dimas Stage Race Criterium Podium. Fabrizio Von Nacher 3rd. Photo Credit: Danny Munson

San Dimas Stage Race Criterium Podium. Fabrizio Von Nacher 3rd. Photo Credit: Danny Munson

I want to thank all the team sponsors, Quality Post my personal sponsor, my teammates and team behind the riders make in this program possible.

Thank you KHS, Maxxis, JAKROO Custom Apparel, Serfas, Hammer Nutrition, Rudy Project, IRT Wheels, Xpedo, Velo Saddles, Praxis Works, Rennie & Associates, Q2, Bike Religion, Chamois Butter, WD-40 Bike, Bicycle Blue Book and the Management of IPA sports.

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