Last Saturday afternoon was the 2nd annual East West Smashup presented by Beaver Beavs and Takeover LA. Thankfully there was no rain even though the wind was high and the temperature was low. Even though I hadn’t been on the bike in over a month, I definitely want to at least show up and show my loves for Sean and Beav!
Ten minutes before the start, Sean announced the one checkpoint: the boathouse at Echo Park Lake. All the racers had to do was ride to Echo Park Lake, snap a photo of the statue and return to the start. As soon as the checkpoint was announced, racers started plotting their routes and planning strategies.
I definitely didn’t much feel like racing. This was my first day on pedals since January 22nd and my legs literally felt gelatinous. On top of that, I had just gotten over a cold so I was in no condition to race. I told Beaver I was just going to chill and ride the course easy since it was my first time back on the bike and my collarbone isn’t even finished healing yet.
A Le Mans start and we’re off! Within a few blocks, most of the racers fanned out and split into separate mini groups, each with their own idea of the quickest way to get to Echo Park. I didn’t have much of a plan except to head East on Palms which would take me the first mile or two — beyond that I was just going to improvise.
I ended up with Riccardo and a few others who also rode down Palms. He’s a fast rider both in the street and on the track. I asked him what his route was and it sounded like a decent plan so we worked together. Well you don’t ride with Riccardo in a race unless you’re racing too so I guess that means I’m racing now.
I navigated the Westside and Riccardo showed the way through the Eastside. We made a lot of turns and took many sidestreets but when we made it to Echo Park Lake it seemed like we had done so in decent time.
[Proving that we did it. My checkpoint photo.]
Snapped our photos at the statue and headed back West. As we were leaving Echo Park, we saw some random riders rolling up which made me think that our time wasn’t that decent after all. Maybe we took too many turns?
Again, Riccardo navigated the way through the Eastside and I knew where to go in the Westside. Only this time there was an intense headwind the whole way back. Thinking that all the sidestreets and shortcuts were doing more harm than good, I wanted to get down to Venice Blvd for a straight shot back to the start. That’s where we REALLY felt the headwinds.
We both took turns drafting off each other down Venice but a few miles from the finish, I knew I was dying. Riccardo — being the awesome dude he is — asked me if we should finish together or sprint for the finish. We’re technically racing in different categories, him on his fixed gear track bike and me on my geared road bike. I told him I’m basically dead so if he wants to take off I won’t mind. I tell Riccardo the one last right turn to get to the start and then watch him slowly disappear as he rides off into the horizon.
[Me and Riccardo at the end of the race. Photo by Tim of Trafik.]
After Riccardo broke away, all the pressure was off. I’m definitely not trying to win I sat up and rode easy for the remaining miles back to the start. I was definitely confused when I rolled up to park where we had taken off from and didn’t see Riccardo or any of the other racers there. Sean and Beaver were there to greet me and tell me I came in first. Whaaat???
As I was showing Sean my checkpoint photo, Riccardo rolls up. Apparently he turned left when he shoulda turned right. Suucks! He still got first place fixed. Hernan came in third (second place fixed) a couple minutes later. Three track riders on the podium!
After the rest of the racers came in Sean distributed the prizes. A month off the bike, a cracked collarbone and the tail end of a cold earned me one of those coveted Chrome jerseys. Not sure how that happened. Probably a little bit of luck a lot of teamwork with my man Riccardo. Overall a great alleycat event and big thanks go out to Sean and Beaver for throwing it.
I knew there was going to be an overwhelming amount of media coming out of the UCI Track World Cup in Manchester last weekend. I’ve spent the past couple of days sifting through Flickr streams and picking out my favorite photos from my favorite photographers…
It was a very long day of racing with seven different fields each contesting an Omnium — that’s 21 races in total, not including the Match Sprints. There were a lot of riders on deck in each field. The Men’s Cat 4/5 field was at capacity and that’s always awesome to watch.
There were many notable performances. The Cat 1/2 field was fast and furious but former British Olympian Shaun Wallace is amazing, always kicking it into high gear just in time to take the finish. Aram Goganian was able to outsmart and outpower San Diego’s young talent Simon Ferguson in an epic Match Sprint tournament. Meanwhile, our pal Christopher Reed earned himself a new nickname for his intense race face: “Sabretooth” (in the PAA/Remax kit below).
Aside from watching the races, it’s always fun just to walk around and drool over all the pretty bicycles. We spotted Robert Smith’s glorious 3Rensho track bike (below) on the way to the snack machines and just had to take a minute to admire it. Robert has owned this bike since he got it new in the early 80’s and yes he’s still racing it!
Overall a great day of racing. Next time (March 5th) I’m hoping to be on track but it’s definitely fun to be a spectator once in a while. Many thanks to Beaver for rollin’ out with me and taking all the rad photos!
Results will be posted here when they become available.
Cattle Call Bike Rodeo (Imperial Valley, CA) » Second of two crit races presented by Imperial Valley Velo Club this weekend.
Mini Bike Winter (Portland, OR) » Zoobomb’s annual weekend of mini bike hooliganry. Best annual bike event in Portlandia!
UCI Track World Cup (Manchester Velodrome) » International track cycling superstars (well… as superstar as you can get in this bizniss) face off against each other in the final round of this year’s World Cup Classics.