South Bay round-up

May 17, 2016 § 8 Comments

Lots happening in the South Bay and environs, especially, say, France.

  1. How do you say “asskicking” in French? Big Orange rider and French transplant Evens Stievenart won the Route de l’Oise, a stage race just north of Paris that has over 200 racers and that includes the town of Compiègne, best known as the starting city for Paris-Roubaix. Evens is best known in the South Bay for riding everyone off his wheel on training rides; what’s less known is that he has only been racing for six years and already has close to 50 Cat 2 wins in France to go along with his most important victory, a win at the local Telo training crit a couple of weeks ago. Congrats, Evens!
  2. Blazingly fast! VC La Grange junior rider Ivy Koester won a state crit title at Barrio Logan Grand Prix on May 8. She is super fast, super smart, and has one of those smiles that let you know she’s having fun.
  3. I’ll have some victory on those pancakes, thanks. Southbay Wheelmen might consider changing its name to “Wheelwomen” thanks to junior rider Makayla Macpherson, who continued her batteringly good year in Bakersfield a couple of weekends ago, winning the Jumpstart crit, the road race, and then placing second in the women’s open 3/4 San Luis Rey road race. Oh yeah, forgot to mention that she’s 13.
  4. For a fistful of dollars. Big Orange junior  Bąđĕŕ Āqîł got his first race win on the challenging tough guy course out at Rosena Ranch this past weekend. Hats off to a dedicated and hardworking young man.
  5. Over the moon. Swami’s junior racer Ryder Moon Phillips picked up two more wins in what has been a breakout year, with victories in the time trial and crit at the Kern County Stage Race. We’re all looking forward to more great things from a talented competitor.
  6. The nerds strike back! Local South Bay riders were assaulted by a cager in a McLaren and they took what is now becoming the default defense for cyclists who are fed up with the casual violence directed against them: They went to the police, in this case the Palos Verdes Estates PD, and filed a complaint. The police not only took them seriously, but they opened an investigation. This clown’s world is about to get a lot more complicated. Please take a minute to read this post to see what you can do to defend yourself when you’ve been buzzed with a deadly weapon.
  7. Return of EA Sports, Inc. Rumor has it that the most feared sprunter in the South Bay, and the nicest guy anywhere, Eric A., is back on his bike after rebuilding his house from the nails up. Be afraid. Be very afraid.
  8. Watering the grass. Joe Yule of StageOne Sports, a company otherwise known for making the best fitting, most comfortable, most stylish apparel in the cycling world (go suck an egg Rapha, ThorfinnDopesquatch, etc.), has single-handedly revived the venerable Torrance institution of the Telo training crit by posting a leaderboard, keeping track of finishes, rustling up sponsorship with the generous help of Dave Perez and Samsung, and has now even created a weekly winner’s jersey (I wear a men’s S, thanks). Telo now regularly hosts the best riders in the South Bay, including Evens S., Smasher Alverson, Derek the Destroyer, Paul Che, and any day now, YOU.
  9. People who make a difference. If you don’t know Joann Zwagerman, you will. A California native, she has come back home from the East Coast and thoroughly embraced cycling. She has singlehandedly created rides that focus on fun, friendliness, and welcoming people regardless of ability (whatever that is) who share the passion to pedal. Her legendary FDR Saturday ride in the South Bay, a wholesome alternative to the Donut Ride, is massive and actually features real donuts. More than that, her smile, her selflessness, her pro knack at getting the best selfie angles, her toughness (did the BWR Wafer ride without a hitch and finished it smiling!), and her willingness to help get done whatever needs doing are unmatched. One Joann has sent out ripples of kindness and enthusiasm that have, at last count, touched thousands.

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It doesn’t smell exactly like teen spirit

September 9, 2011 § 4 Comments

Standing next in line for the Starbucks crapper on a sunny Friday morning is always an anxious thing. You’re there fidgeting because the bran muffin and strong coffee have stomped on the sensors hidden deep in your bowels, and the only real question is whether the person currently in the lockbox is there for a li’l freshen-up or for a seat-clenching full body purge. In my case, the door opened and a plump, middle-aged lady exited. That’s usually a good sign, because for some reason Manhattan Beach women seem embarrassed by leaving major detonation fumes when there’s a line. Perhaps it’s because there’s something that conceptually clashes with a $400 pair of yoga pants and a corn-studded, 14-karat bowl buster, or perhaps it’s because when they open the door everyone goes, “Eeeeeewwww” and looks them over with what is quite literally the stinkeye. Or perhaps it’s just that everyone knows that fully accessorized women don’t shit boxcars in public.

I stepped into the toilet and immediately realized that the ol’ gal before me had dispensed with embarrassment and answered with a hearty “Amen” what must have been a mighty loud call of nature. “Fuck you,” I thought, “game fucking on.” Yes, it would be a battle of the toilet gases, and no chick in a pink leotard was going to overwhelm the mighty issue of my crack if I had any say in the matter. Plus, everyone thinks their own shit smells good, so the sooner I let loose the sooner my vent would overpower hers, or at least neutralize it.

The cranking and rumbling and grumbling that ensued must have struck terror into those waiting outside. Combined with not one, not two, but three industrial flushes that shook the door on its hinges, the poor bastards outside were being put on notice that the next person inside the closet of doom would likely suffer permanent brain damage. With the bran muffin leading the charge, I fired off a reverse burping growl and plunk that sounded like a logging truck had dumped its cargo off a 40-foot cliff into a very deep lake. The folks in line were bathed in a cold sweat. When I finished, I boldly threw open the door just as a kindly old fellow looked up with a stir stick in his mocha latte. The eyes of everyone in line were glued to my hands, hoping and praying that I’d washed them before touching the handle (I hadn’t). The elderly fellow dropped his stir stick as the fumes triggered long repressed memories of mustard gas in the trenches at Passchendaele. I strode proudly out into the sunlight, a spring in my step, five pounds lighter and ready for the day.

Genius where you least expect it

Much as I had been surprised to see that sweet lady in the pink leotard unabashedly doing what she had to do, living in the South Bay cycling scene is likewise a life of continuous surprises. Sometimes it’s the surprise, shock, and awe at the sheer genius that resides in our midst. Over the last few years a seed has germinated here, grown into a mature plant, and spread its seeds quite literally across the globe. Whether you’re aware of it or not, the look of cycling has changed, and continues to change, and to change for the better, thanks in large part to Joe Yule.

Joe’s work is glaring for its simplicity and elegance. Although since the 80’s, cycling attire has been synonymous with “ugly,” for decades before that the cycling jersey motif was classy and attractive. Think Faema, Molteni, Peugeot…designs that were used when a team only had one sponsor and the real estate of the jersey didn’t have to be shared with fifteen other logos. In the hyper-modern world of cycling where everyone can have a team kit, where everyone can have his logo on the team kit, and where everyone can have input into how the kit should look, it’s no surprise that designing an attractive kit is hard to do.

Through his design and production company, StageOne Sports, Joe has done the impossible: he has made cycling clothing look good again, reconciled the noisiness of multiple sponsor logos, and effectively muzzled well-intentioned would-be contributors who are nonetheless fashion idiots. Would you let the cleaning guy advise your surgeon about which clamp to use? Joe’s genius is that he can accept your input and not make you feel bad that your idea is stupid and ugly and that he’s not going to use it. His work is a triumph of art, of will, and of gentle, skilled diplomacy.

You can see the effect that Joe has had on cycling’s new look by watching the various clothing iterations of the Garmin team. Although the Red Bull-crazed designers at RadioShack and BMC have still not grasped the Universal Law of Fashion, “Red Only in Small Amounts, Especially in the Crotch Area,” they have clearly adopted some of Joe’s theories of simplicity. Leopard-Trek’s designers might have done an internship with him. HTC-Highroad, unfortunately, is still using the teenage kid who’s a “whiz” with PhotoShop and who does those great montages where he can put a shark’s head on a cricket’s ass.

The effect of Joe’s genius is more glaring on local rides, however. Leaving aside that most new club kits coming out of the LA area are designed by him, the people who are still “rolling their own” have taken a cue from his lines, his simplicity, and his powerful use of understated color. The effect is that summertime airborne visual pollution is way down, and that fewer children wind up in the emergency room needing their stomachs pumped after accidentally ingesting the view of a passing peloton. One of my favorite companies on Planet Earth, Spy Optics, has rolled out its 2012 team kit designed by StageOne that is–to use the proper artistic term–motherfucking unbelievably fucking awesome. And you can quote me on that.

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