Interview With Efren Flores

Efren 1

Photo Credit: Danny Munson

San Diego, CA resident Efren Flores is a new addition to our KHS-Maxxis-JLVelo team. At 19 years old, he is our youngest rider. He brings many things to the team including an impressive ability to climb and work well with the team as a whole. His first event pm the squad was the Redlands Bicycle Classic and he dove in head first, covering moves, initiating breakaways and spending the majority of the Yucaipa/Oak Glen stage up the road in a breakaway. His commitment to the team goal was impressive, as is his ability to ride his bicycle. We asked him several questions about his experience so far on the program and what the rest of the season may hold for this young talent.

KHS: You joined the team right before the Redlands Bicycle Classic, so it was a bit of ‘baptism by fire.’ How did your first NRC race, and first race with the team, go? 

EF: My first NRC race was one of the greatest and most valuable race/TEAM experiences I’ve ever had. It was another level above any races I’ve ever participated in. The Redlands Classic was by far the most organized and professional eventsI have ever been to, so thank you to all who put it on and put in the hard work to keep the race going.

I had a great race experience on the first stage, just being gapped off from the front at the end. Stage 2, I was feeling great but due to (day of) big adjustments on the TT bike for UCI regulations, the chain came over the last cog and got stuck between the frame and gears, so I had to get off the bike to fix it losing valuable time. So I was given orders that night to get in the break on stage 3 and I was very determined to redeem myself in any sort of way and help designated team mates to move up on G.C. During the stage I attacked hard 3 times before finally got away with one other rider as the field was relentless in not letting anyone go. I was off the front for close to 2 laps before being caught close to the K.O.M. on the final lap.

Stage 4 criterium, I was pretty beat from my efforts the previous days and just survived to the time limit. Stage 5 on Sunset, I had lost contact with the field at 50 miles into the race and I was chasing hard. As I was nearing making contact again, I had a mechanical on the last lap and unfortunately I was unable to finish.

All in all, it was a great experience for my first NRC race.  As far as the team goes, I immediately felt right at home and comfortable with everyone on the team from day one. It really is a team in every sense of the word and more. So to say the least, Redlands Bicycle Classic and my first experience with the team was a great success.

KHS: Describe DS/Owner Paul Abrahams up in 3 words.

EF: Hard to choose 3 words but: Leader, Knowledgeable, Genuine

KHS: Being a new addition to the team, what was your experience hitting the road and going to Sea Otter with the team? 

EF: Going on a road trip to Sea Otter with the team was a very fun experience. I got to spend quality time with my new team mates, and we had the privilege of staying at perhaps one of the most beautiful host houses we have ever seen in the woods of Santa Cruz.

KHS: You are quite the accomplished climber – what is your favorite climb in Southern California to tackle? 

EF: I would say my favorite climb in SoCal is Mt. Palomar. It is a very gradual climb with switchbacks.

KHS: Looking forwards to the rest of the season, what event(s) are you most looking forward to and why? 

EF: The events I am most looking forward to are U23 National Road Race in Tahoe, TT Championships, and Cascade Cycling Classic. These are very big events that I am targeting.

KHS: Having just joined our team, what are you most looking forward to being part of the KHS program?

EF: I am most looking forward to more great racing experiences and being on the road with the team as well as accomplishing great result as a team, because knowing that you contributed a vital effort for the team is a great feeling.

KHS: What are 3 things we probably don’t know about you, but are super interesting? I know you have some! 

EF: I have a handful of other passions alongside cycling. They include music, motorcycles, cars, and photography.

Photo Credit: Danny Munson

Photo Credit: Danny Munson

Thank you to our sponsors: KHS Bicycles, Maxxis Tires, JLVelo, Serfas, Shimano, Velo Saddles, Praxis Works, Xpedo Pedals, Kali Protectives, NDXSports, Bike Religion, Bicycle Blue Book, WD-40 BIKE, Chamois Butt’r, Cycling Illustrated, Rennie & Associates, Kramp Krushers, Ultra Cycle, and Q2.

Follow the team on social media –

Facebook: KHS-Maxxis-JLVelo

Twitter: @iPA_Sports

Instagram: @ipasports

The post Interview With Efren Flores appeared first on KHS MAXXIS JL VELO Cycling Race Team 2015.

Sea Otter Classic 2015

Sea Otter Criterium Podium

Sea Otter Criterium Podium

Sea Otter Classic is always a favorite for out team because we have the opportunity to race our bicycles and see so many of our fantastic sponsors and partners. This years event did not disappoint with podium finishes in all three of the racing events along with many great meet ups and conversations with our partners.

The event started bright and early Thursday morning with a 60 minute criterium at 9am. We had five racers in the field navigating the two tight 180-degree turns along the Laguna Seca Raceway. As the clock wound down, it was apparent that the race would finish with a field sprint. Brian McCulloch, Ulises Castillo and Chris Barton lined up the lead out for Fabrizio Von Nacher who finished 2nd on the stage with Chris Barton close on his heals in 5th. The podiums at Sea Otter are a great experience with the big stage, backdrop champaign and fanfare.

Kali Helmets

Kali Protective Helmets

As quickly as the riders raced, they quickly changed into their street clothes so we could begin making the rounds to see our sponsors. Kali Protectives are on board with our program for the first year, so meeting Saris and Brian and the rest of the Saris team was a great chance to learn more about the Phenom helmets we race with as well as their broad line of MTB, Downhill, Moto and BMX helmets.

WD-40 Bike

WD-40 Bike

This year our sponsor WD-40 Bike was providing a bike wash which was a huge hit especially with all the gravity racers and enthusiasts. We took some time to check out the clean and lube products on hand and even give a short tutorial for some up and coming racers.

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On Friday, the team took on the challenging 67 mile road race through the Fort Ord wilderness. The length is deceiving as the course contains punchy climbs winding through the tight roads. After completing 8 laps of the course, the group finished the race up a 2K climb that gained in gradient as the finish line approached. Efren Flores had spent much of the race in the early breakaway, setting teammate Ulises Castillo up perfectly to follow the late-race attacks which placed him in the winning move. The numbers shook out to not be in his favor, however, as he was joined by two riders from AirGas in the finishing kilometers of the race. In the end, he worked hard for well-earned 2nd place finish on the day and the teams 3rd podium of the event.

Sea Otter Road Race Podium

Sea Otter Road Race Podium

We were excited to see Dean from KHS with Ron and the Kramp Krusher team. They have created a great product for on the bike nutrition and electrolytes that we are happy to be fueled by in our racing and training.

KK

Praxis Works provides our slick BB30 conversation bottom brackets which have kept us running smooth all season. Thank you Adam for all the support!

Praxis

With no road racing events on Saturday, we decided to head home Friday afternoon so the riders could have some extra R&R at home after a big block of racing and travel. Chris Barton, however, had the chance to stay in Monterey for a few more days and he tackled the Circuit Race on Sunday, placing 5th and adding one more stop on at the podium for the team. The Circuit Race is bucket-list race for many as the racers get to race the full Laguna Seca Raceway including the super steep corkscrew. The race was super dynamic with lots of moves up the road, and Chris was active through out the event, eventually sprinting it out in the finale to place 5th.

Sea Otter Circuit Race Podium

Sea Otter Circuit Race Podium

Our favorite part of Sea Otter is being able to see our fellow KHS Athletes Logan and Kevin of the KHS Factory Mountain Bike Team. These two stellar athletes raced both Downhill and Dual Slalom where Logan finished 2nd!

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We were lucky enough to be hosted by Brian, Karyn and Soren Mehus in Soquel, CA for the event. As soon as Brian saw our team wrapped vehicles he said “wait a minute, I need to get something from the garage!” Out he came with this retro KHS Bicycle! It just needed some air in the tires and it would be good to go. Thank you to the Mehus Family for a great stay and the awesome hospitality.

 

 

 

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Thank you to our sponsors: KHS Bicycles, Maxxis Tires, JLVelo, Serfas, Shimano, Velo Saddles, Praxis Works, Xpedo Pedals, Kali Protectives, NDXSports, Bike Religion, Bicycle Blue Book, WD-40 BIKE, Chamois Butt’r, Cycling Illustrated, Rennie & Associates, Kramp Krushers, Ultra Cycle, and Q2.

Follow the team on social media –

Facebook: KHS-Maxxis-JLVelo

Twitter: @iPA_Sports

Instagram: @ipasports

The post Sea Otter Classic 2015 appeared first on KHS MAXXIS JL VELO Cycling Race Team 2015.

Redlands Bicycle Classic: From Brian McCulloch’s Viewpoint

Photo Credit: Danny MunsonPhoto Credit: Danny Munson

Stage 1: Highland Circuit Race

This year is the second running of the Highland Stage for the Redlands Bicycle Classic. Last year, we did not know what to predict, and so we chose to race a little bit more conservatively. This year, with an idea of how the race would play out from 2014, we decided to be aggressive from the start.

Photo Credit: Danny MunsonPhoto Credit: Danny Munson

We chose to have several of our riders race for the breakaways, while keeping Fabrizio Von Nacher and Ulises Castillo protected and fresh for the finish. I was tasked with trying to take early KOM points at the top of the climb and to also try and infiltrate the day’s breakaways. The pace was extremely difficult on the climb that featured a 15% grade that lasted around 2 minutes. At the end, a breakaway was not meant to be despite our efforts putting racers into several potentially good moves. With 5 laps to go, it was evident it was going to be a good day for Fabrizio and the sprinters.

Photo Credit: Danny MunsonPhoto Credit: Danny Munson

Chris Barton and Fabrizio rode well to stay at the front, and position themselves for the sprint. In the chaos of the final assault up the climb, Ulises was able to stay with the front group to take a chance at a GC position. He was able to finish just 3 seconds off the leaders time. Read more

Redlands Bicycle Classic: Time Trial Success Words By Chris Barton

Photo Credit: Danny Munson

Photo Credit: Danny Munson

For us, the Redlands time trial began a few months ago. After one of our local races, I rode up to Big Bear with the team to look at the roads the course would be on. We knew there were going to be a few tricky corners and seeing and practicing riding them would give us an advantage come race day. Between then and the race, we rode up to Big Bear several more times and practiced riding the course a handful of times. In addition to getting good at riding the turns, it was helpful to practice going hard at a high altitude (about 7,000ft) and learning how to pace yourself. Redlands is a big race for our team, and we had all put so much effort into training this year that we wanted to make sure that we had every advantage when it was time to race.
The morning of the time trial the weather was perfect. Kind of chilly, but sunny and calm. I warmed up a little longer than usual to loosen the legs up from the previous day’s race, and I was ready to go. Initially, I had planned on riding conservatively for the first 1/3 of the time trial because it is easy to blow yourself up at altitude. By the time I was ready to go, however, there was a strong headwind for the first half of the course and tailwind for the second half. This meant there would be more to gain from going hard for the windy first half and less to gain from saving myself for the second half.
Photo Credit: Danny Munson

Photo Credit: Danny Munson

Once I shot down the starting ramp, I quickly settled in to a rhythm I knew I could sustain for about 80 percent of the course. I made it through the tight turns on the way out, executed the turn-around perfectly, and dug as hard as I could on the way back. About 3km from the finish line my lungs were burning and I was ready for the pain to be over. I kept my head down and hung on through the fast tailwind descent and it was over.
Photo Credit: Danny Munson

Photo Credit: Danny Munson

When I turned around and headed back to our team car, I saw my teammate Brian McCulloch jumping up and down. “You have the fastest time!” Perfect! All of our preparation had payed off and now it was time to sit and wait to see if anyone would ride a better time than me. In the end, I was bested only by Tom Zirbel and Ryan Roth which meant that I got to take the third place spot on the podium! I am proud to have raced so well at one of my biggest targets for the season and I sincerely couldn’t have done it without everyone on KHS-Maxxis-JLVelo helping with my preparation.
Photo Credit: Danny Munson

Photo Credit: Danny Munson

Thank you to our sponsors: KHS Bicycles, Maxxis Tires, JLVelo, Serfas, Shimano, Velo Saddles, Praxis Works, Xpedo Pedals, Kali Protectives, NDXSports, Bike Religion, Bicycle Blue Book, WD-40 BIKE, Chamois Butt’r, Cycling Illustrated, Rennie & Associates, Kramp Krushers, Ultra Cycle, and Q2.

Follow the team on social media –

Facebook: KHS-Maxxis-JLVelo

Twitter: @iPA_Sports

Instagram: @ipasports

Photo Credit: Danny Munson

Photo Credit: Danny Munson

The post Redlands Bicycle Classic: Time Trial Success Words By Chris Barton appeared first on KHS MAXXIS JL VELO Cycling Race Team 2015.

Redlands Bicycle Classic: Podium for Castillo!

Photo Credit: Danny Munson

Photo Credit: Danny Munson

Team rider Ulises Castillo had a breakthrough ride at his first crack at the Redlands Bicycle Classic. He finished 3rd on Saturday’s Criterium, and was one of the few riders to enter the Downtown Circuits the next day at the end of the Sunset Circuit Race. I asked Ulises to tell me about his experience over the two final stages, and I have paraphrased his experience here.

Stage 4 RBC Criterium, 90 minutes:

This was one of the hardest criteriums I have ever raced. This was my first NRC Stage Race, so everything was new. For the criterium, I was not sure what to expect, but I did know I wanted to be in the breakaway. However, I did not set myself up very well for that. I was warming up with the team before the race, and when we went to line up, we were the last guys in the peloton. This was a big mistake, because it was very hard for me to move up through the field. I had to move up on the outside of the pack in order to pass guys, and it took me 30 minutes to get to the front of the race.

My teammate Chris Barton had been in the first breakaway of the race and a new move had just gone up the road when I reached the front. Luis Amaran from Jamis and I bridged across to the two riders up the road, and we were soon joined by two more riders, which would make the final break of the day with 60 minutes remaining on the technical, 9-turn course.

Photo Credit: Danny Munson

Photo Credit: Danny Munson

I had to work very, very hard to keep the breakaway away from the field as they were chasing very hard. Several riders in the breakaway crashed in a turn, so it was pretty chaotic.  With four turns to go, I went to the front because I wanted to be first through 3 turns to go. The Cal Giant rider, who won the race, came fast on my inside. This  pushed me out, and Amaran stayed on Cal Giant’s wheel. I was able to hold onto 3rd for the finish.

Photo Credit: Danny Munson

Photo Credit: Danny Munson

Stage 5 RBC Sunset Circuit Race, 95 miles:

Being the 5th and final stage of the event, this race was challenging. The course is very hard, but I like these types of stages because thing climbing isn’t all at once. But racing 12 laps of it was really tough. The laps were 7 mile loops with 500+ feet of climbing on a punchy route. The loop is so short, so many racers get pulled so that the groups wouldn’t overlap. This means that the peloton whittles down from over 150 riders to 40 in the finish circuits downtown. On the descent leading into town, I attacked with 10K to go. I was off the front with a Hincapie rider, but he did not want to work, so we just went back to the peloton.

Photo Credit: Danny Munson

Photo Credit: Danny Munson

Once we got into town, we had 5 laps of the criterium course. On the last lap I was 4th wheel, and I really just couldn’t hold on any longer. The finish came down to a sprint of about 20 riders out of the 40 that came into the circuits, and did the best I could to finish top 30.

Photo Credit: Danny Munson

Photo Credit: Danny Munson

I felt positive about the whole week of racing. It was a very hard week on the bicycle, but a great experience and training, and great event for the whole team.

Thank you to our sponsors: KHS Bicycles, Maxxis Tires, JLVelo, Serfas, Shimano, Velo Saddles, Praxis Works, Xpedo Pedals, Kali Protectives, NDXSports, Bike Religion, Bicycle Blue Book, WD-40 BIKE, Chamois Butt’r, Cycling Illustrated, Rennie & Associates, Kramp Krushers, Ultra Cycle, and Q2.

Follow the team on social media –

Facebook: KHS-Maxxis-JLVelo

Twitter: @iPA_Sports

Instagram: @ipasports

The post Redlands Bicycle Classic: Podium for Castillo! appeared first on KHS MAXXIS JL VELO Cycling Race Team 2015.

Redlands Bicycle Classic School Visits

School visit 3

The National Racing Calendar is about to begin at the Redlands Bicycle Classic. The event covers 5 grueling days of racing, but one of the highlights of the event is the community involvement. Leading into the event, the race hosts over 30 school visits around the Redlands and Yucaipa area to promote bicycle safety, healthy living, sportsmanship, and the event itself. Our riders always have a great time sharing their stories about racing, traveling, and all the great people they get to meet on the road. We had the opportunty to visit three different schools including Kimberly Elementary in Redlands, the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians, as well as the Competitive Edge Charter Academy in Yucaipa.

Talking with the children also provides the athletes an excellent opportunity to showcase all of their special sponsor items ranging from their KHS Bicycles to their JLVelo speed suits. It was great to be able to meet with the kids outside so the riders could show a bottle hand-up, how to clip in correctly and just how important it is to wear your helmets the proper way.

Schoolvisti2

The students were amazed at how light the bicycles were and how well they matched the riders kits. They all wanted to pick up the bikes, check out the great paint job, and touch the super skinny wheels. They were most interested in the amount of food the athletes would eat while training and racing, and why in the world their outfits were so tight. They had more questions than we had time to answer!

SchoolVisti1

As a farewell and thank you to the riders for coming to visit the students at Kimberly Elementary, they all chanted K-H-S before heading back to class. We are hoping they stop by at the races this week for a high-five, have a photo-op or autograph session our team. Click the link to watch the video Kimberly Elementary School Visit!

Thank you to our sponsors: KHS Bicycles, Maxxis Tires, JLVelo, Serfas, Shimano, Velo Saddles, Praxis Works, Xpedo Pedals, Kali Protectives, NDXSports, Bike Religion, Bicycle Blue Book, WD-40 BIKE, Chamois Butt’r, Cycling Illustrated, Rennie & Associates, Kramp Krushers, Ultra Cycle, and Q2.

Follow the team on social media –

Facebook: KHS-Maxxis-JLVelo

Twitter: @iPA_Sports

Instagram: @ipasports

The post Redlands Bicycle Classic School Visits appeared first on KHS MAXXIS JL VELO Cycling Race Team 2015.