October 30, 2018 § 1 Comment
I was at Phil’s Cookie Fondo on Saturday doing a lot of nothing as I walked around the exhibitor area. There was a tent on the corner painted green, Dr. Seuss green, and it had some stuff written on it along with a pile of green socks out front.
I started talking with the lady but she was a bit difficult to understand at first as she wasn’t a native English speaker but rather a Canadian. Soon however she understood my “dudes” and I understood her “Eys” and with the help of some sign language and Google translate we were getting along famously.
Over in a chair sat a dude, also dressed in green, with a green gimme cap and an extremely relaxed attitude. His name was Joel and the lady I was talking to was Jillian. I don’t know if they got married because of the alliteration, but “Joel & Jillian” is pretty hard to beat.
“So what’s this that you guys do?” I asked.
“Before we get to that let me ask you the big question,” Jillian said. “The one that matters.”
“Solid green or green polka dots?”
“Which sock design do you want? Solid or polka dot?”
“I’m kind of a polka dot guy as of late,” I mumbled. “And green.” She handed me a pair of free socks. “So what is it that you guys do?”
What it is that those guys do
Joel and Jillian used to be developers in Alberta, which is one of the nicest places on earth for about six days in July [cf. David Miller a/k/a Cat 5 Dave]. Those other days Alberta is pretty terrible, for example the day that we were chatting in our shirt sleeves at Phil’s Fondo on Saturday, the Albertans were already tromping around in over 19 feet of snow.
As Jillian was telling me about their life outside of Puerto Vallarta, where they lived with their kids because PV has 360 amazing days a year and zero feet of snow anytime, I thought about the last time I had taken a trip overseas. Here’s how it went:
- Got to Slovakia.
- Slept in hotel.
- Ate breakfast.
- Milled around with drunken tourists.
- Stepped in barf.
- Opened up my phone and did a search for “Bike Rental.”
- Walked a lot, got lost a lot, finally found the bike rental place.
- Sat in front of closed bike rental place for a long time.
- Criss-crossed the city looking for a rental bike.
- Didn’t find one.
- Finally found one, a real POS.
- Rode it until the seat broke and almost punctured my ass.
- Returned the bike.
- Walked back to hotel, sad face.
I was thinking about this because Jillian had just asked, “Have you ever gone on a trip and wanted to rent a bike?”
“Oh. You don’t cycle?”
“Just not on vacation?”
“It’s not that I have ever gone on a trip and wanted to rent a bike, it’s that I have never NOT gone a trip and wanted to rent a bike. But it is such a shit show and plus, where do you ride? So it’s basically massive frustration.”
Enter the chill green guy in the lounge chair
Turns out that my experience is common. So common that Joel came up with the idea to create a browse-and-book service for traveling cyclists, i.e. everyone. The idea led to an app and a business and the amazing fruition of an idea, putting cyclists in touch with local ride guides around the globe.
Now in 63 countries not including Antarctica, their Velo Guide app lets you check out amazing destinations, communicate with your potential guide, and resolve forever the painfully vexing question of “WTF am I going to do on this trip without a bike and place to ride it?”
October 25, 2018 § 10 Comments
Have you ever wondered where rest stops come from?
You’ll be out in the middle of nowhere, famished, both bottles empty, halfway between nowhere and purgatory, alone, miserable, regretting the last-minute decision to do the stupid ride, and then bam! You’ll see a rest stop on the side of the road.
It will have water and drink mix, bananas and pbj squares, cookies (if you’re at Phil’s Fondo), and all manner of heavenly delights. It seems so natural, but really, it’s kind of amazing. Let’s go over it again:
- You are in the middle of nowhere.
- On a bicycle.
- Starving and thirsty.
- Wishing you were dead.
- Up pops a fully staffed aid station.
How does it get there? Does someone plant seeds the year before, water them, and then they magically grow, perfectly timed?
The birds and the bees and the bacon
Actually, aid stations occur because these mystery things called “volunteers” get up long before dawn, drive to the start/finish, load their car with tents, food, water, and pickle juice, drive way out into nowhere, and set it all up.
Take, for example, last Saturday on the Circle of Doom, where the first rest stop atop Crystal Lake wasn’t simply an assortment of bananas and energy drink, no, it was something way more awesome than that. It was fried taters and bacon.
Scientists have concluded that the very finest fondo food is bacon and taters, and at the Circle of Doom, this magic was created by the Flawless Diamonds, a group of women who donate their time, energy, and money to feeding children, feeding the homeless, and feeding the hungry in southeast L.A. In other words, they know how to fry up bacon.
And fry it they did, as Flawless Diamonds Toni Smith, Valerie Casborn, and Special Jones lugged their deep fry skillets, cooking oil, cooking utensils, and everything else up the mountain, setting it up, and cranking out the best bacon ever served anywhere, much less on a bike ride.
Even though they fried up what looked like a hundred pounds, the riders scarfed it so quickly that the stragglers almost didn’t get any. It was inhaled.
Of course no good deed goes unpunished, because as they were driving to the set-up, a CHP motorcycle cop cited them for DWB. No matter that the cop could have pulled over dozens of other cars for crossing the yellow line in order to safely pass the cyclists, DWB is apparently a very serious crime in the San Gabriel Valley.
They didn’t let it dent their day, though. They set up, fed the hungry, then broke camp and did it all over again at the start/finish party area. I guess it doesn’t really take a village. It just takes the Flawless Diamonds. And bacon.
October 23, 2016 § 16 Comments
The Fourth Annual South Bay Cycling Awards wrapped up with hardly any controversy! There are too many people to list for their wonderful contributions. No, wait, that’s not true. This is the Internet and there is absolutely no limit. So here goes!
First off is Diego Binatena, from Base Cartel. Why Diego? Because I fucking forgot to thank him last night, out of all the people who deserved mention. Bottom line? Buy his shit. It’s awesome and he’s a good dude.
This year the event hit the medium-time thanks to the Southern California and Nevada Cycling Association. They kicked in a ton of money and funded the toilets, the lights, the sound, the stage, free food, chairs, tables, pro photography services, and half the beer. In short, they made the event! My only question is this: Where were all the SCNCA award recipients? Jeez! What is it about “free food, free beer, and cash prizes” that you bike racers don’t understand?
The plus side was that there were plenty of SCNCA recipients to come collect their trophies and cash, and no group better represented the spirit of the night than the crew from SC Velo. What fantastic bunch of kids. I think they may have even learned new cuss word or two. I always take pride in mentoring the youth.
Anyway, on to the thanks!
Jan Luke, SCNCA President. Made shit happen. Made this partnership happen. Lugged in the trophies. Lugged out the trophies. Was awesome in every way!
Chris Black, SCNCA Vice President.
David Huntsman, SCNCA Secretary. Lawyer, advocate, friend, guy who has done so much to breathe new life into SCNCA.
Armin Rahm, SCNCA Board Member. Racer, dad, promoter, businessman, friend. Showed up to show the Amis how a Bavarian drinks beer.
Justin Williams, SCNCA Board Member. Racer, cool guy, friend. Ready with a quip and encouragement, hell of a bike racer.
Suzanne Sonye, SCNCA Board Member. Legend, legend, legend. Oh, and legend.
Matt Wikstrom, SCNCA Board Member. Mr. Git R Done. Handed out checks, coordinated everything for two months before the shit show, brought more goodwill, enthusiasm, and execution to the event than anyone ever. Plus kicked the shit out of everyone on the Donut. Except those two pesky juniors.
Sean Wilson, SCNCA Board Member.
Omar Lozano, SCNCA Board Member. Promoter, dad, husband, and part of the “new face” of bike racing promotion in SoCal. Enthusiastic hard working dude who supports juniors, local, and binational racing.
Dan Munson: Simply the best. Pro photographer. Even as I write this he’s putting together a folio of the amazing evening. Prepare to be blown away.
StageOne: Designed everything. Logo, t-shirts, patches, bar tape, banners, posters, and virtually every kit worth looking at in the South Bay.
South Bay Wheelmen: Local bike club that kicked in hard cash to buy flowers for the lovely deserving recipients.
Wend Wax: Chain wax. Look. This shit works. So go get some. Ryan Dahl generously donated 20 sets of Wend Wax, a billion dollar retail value, for the award winners’ swag kits. So frigging cool. He also gives me all the wax I can use.
JoJe Bars: Energy bars. John Abate and Jessica Cera’s amazing energy bars that are organic, wholesome, taste great, and give you an amazing kick in the shorts when you need a boost on the bike or off.
Beachbody Performance: Everything you need to win, to finish, or to prop your legs up on the couch and watch the Cubs win instead of riding your bike. Beachbody has been the number one step up and deliver new sponsor for cycling in 2016.
BonkBreaker: Provided awesome swag bags to award winners containing energy snacks, energy chews, and super cool musette bags. Thank you!
Marc Spivey: Wanky Committee member who filled the venue with the right sound at the exact right time. Marc’s lifetime in the music and entertainment industry, and his passion for music has meant that every single year we’ve had sound that matches or exceeds the most famous award ceremonies anywhere.
Derek Brauch: With the help of Jami, put together the most awesome Wanky Swag Bags™ ever. Provided us with meeting space for our numerous and redundant meetings, the best analytical mind around to improve, question, improve, question, and improve until we were even better than the year before.
Trey Smith: The ghost in the machine. Every year Trey provides us with incredible sound that makes the whole thing happen.
Keedar Whittle: Fantastic comedian who kept people in stitches, hit the great stuff, didn’t shy away from politics, race, and biking, and left us all happy and glad he came.
Michelle Landes: Arranged flowers, total selflessness, and was there with a smile, encouragement, and assistance every step of the way.
Chris Gregory: Truly the Spirt of the Wankies. Whether it was ordering the Hall of Fame figurines, designing and making, the necklaces, choosing and assembling the invitations, recording and double-checking RSVPs, taking photos at the event, making elegant podium presentations, keeping things running smoothly, and always helping me just when the confusion was at its max, “thank you” doesn’t even begin to do it.
Lisa Conrad, Sherri Foxworthy, Stephanie Lin, Chris Gregroy: These four amazing women have been with the event since its inception, if “inception” is what you call a bunch of drunks in a dive bar trying to give away awards to passers-by. From the minute we said “Wankies” they donned their evening finest and showed up with shimmering with beauty, poised, happy, funny, gentle, and they’ve been here every year since. Truly, no matter how rough and sort-of-ready the biker gang crowd is, they give us all the class you can’t get all sweated up on a bike.
Jami Brauch: Jami artfully designed and stocked the swag bags despite having a newborn to care for–the bags were so great this year that people simply couldn’t resist stealing them. Can’t wait for next year!
Kristie Fox: She helped with the swag bags, she set up and managed the sales table (books, socks, bar tape, patches, t-shirts), and she singlehandedly ordered and delivered the most massive and awesome cake in the history of the awards. And cupcakes! And done with a smile and ruthless efficiency.
Strand Brewing Co.: No mere words can thank Joel Elliott and Rich Marcello for this amazing venue, for their support of grass roots cycling, and for providing the infrastructure and support to pull of this best-ever event. Oh, minor detail! FREE take-home growlers of White Sands DIPA, their top-shelf, brew, to every adult who showed up.
Tony Manzella and Echelon Color: Printed and delivered the amazing award ceremony posters. Ansel Adams said it: “The negative is the score, but the print is the performance.” And what a performance by Echelon Color it was!
Tara Unversagt: Tara worked to get SBW sponsorship involved, helped with swag bag materials, and did the ultimate job of Cub Scout Den Mother by keeping me organized and on track throughout the event. So much fantasticness in one person!
Phil Gaimon: Best UCI US pro road racer, attended our event, made us look semi-sort of legit, and promoted what is the best Grand Fondue on the calendar: Phil’s Malibu Cookie Dough Gran Fondo. Register here, register now. Phil drove straight from Clovis, NM, to make the event. How awesome is that? Very awesome!
Daniel Holloway: As if Phil Gaimon weren’t enough, reigning US road/crit champ Daniel Holloway brought the star power and picked up right where he left off. Being a part of the South Bay community. Thank you so much for sharing.
The 2016 South Bay Cycling Awards award winners were:
- 2016 Greatest Advocate: Sarah Barraclough for BMUFL/Master Safety Plan advocates
- 2016 Best Bike Shop: Performance Bicycle
- 2016Best Young Rider: Ivy Koester
- 2016 Best Old Rider: George Pommel
- 2016 Most Improved: David Holland
- 2016 Best Club: Long Beach Freddies
- 2016 Best Event: Dana Point Grand Prix
- 2016 Wanker of the Year: Denis Faye
- 2016 Belgian Award: James Cowan
- 2016 Group Ride Champion: Elijah Shabazz
- 2016 Best Sponsor: Beachbody Performance
- 2016 Best Male Racer: Justin Williams
- 2016 Best Female Racer: Katie Donovan
- 2016 GC Award: Joe Yule
- 2016 Crashtacular Fred: Marvin Campbell
- 2016 Strava KOM: Chris Tregillis
- 2016 Most Happy to Help others: Chris Gregory
- 2016 Most Fun: Sochin Lee
- 2016 Best Spouse/SO: Jeanette Seyranian
- 2016 Ian Davidson South Bay Rider of the Year: Tony Manzella
Until next year, thank you!!!
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