The Waiting Game

Are we there yet?

It has only been two months into 2017 and I find myself bored of all the waiting for the new season, so I grew this beard in the process. While a big part of me wishes last season never ended, this off-season has given me time to look back, reminisce, and imagine what to look forward to this year.

2016 was an action-packed year filled with training, races, sweat, laughs, projects, fun rides, lessons, friends, and of course…lycra. It’s difficult to grasp how I managed to do it all while maintaining a full-time job and a personal life. It certainly took a lot of sacrifice and time management, but I suppose when you love something - you will always find time for it. 

6 Days of Kissena and the Twilight Series was a big introduction to tracking racing at the velodrome for my Drop Crank Society teammates and I. I’ve expressed in previous posts about the big learning curve, especially at the start of the season. Many lessons were learned. But by sticking with it, we always came out a stronger and smarter rider after each race. That is probably true for everyone. I’m grateful for the support of my teammates, family, sponsors, fellow competitors at the track, and the NYC cycling community. You all rock!

Photo by Kenji Edmonds

Now in my sophomore year of track racing, I anticipate to perform more confidently and effectively. For this off-season, I’ve committed myself to a specific training regime with a proper balance of time on the bike, weight training, and rest. The sacrifices and necessary time management hasn’t changed, but I’m smarter about it than last year. Thanks to our mild New York winter, I’ve been managing to even clock in a fair amount of outdoor miles each week. It’s great, but just don’t die on us Mother Earth. 

I will be stronger this season. However, I’m not the only one putting in the work. The competition will be stronger, too (as I’ve been noticing). 

My early experiences at the track resulted in creating my first Spoke and Word video, which featured Jesse Shotland. It’s no secret this interview series is my favorite part of operating BYC simply because it allows me to display the human side of cycling. Moreover, I’m granted the opportunity to meet people, learn their story, and retell it in a creative way. Jesse was the ideal subject for my first video. He was absolute class, a great sport, and patient during the whole process. I’m very proud of the final product and looking forward to creating more.

Filming for the next S&W already started last summer. There were hopes to put it out at the end of Fall, but unfortunately its release had to be post-poned. As much as I wanted to publish the video, I felt I didn’t have all the footage I needed and it became harder to get it with the change of season(s). Since I’m a person more concerned about quality than quantity, I did not want to disappoint the subject. Filming will resume in the spring and you will see it at the end of this year.

Continuing down the row of firsts, I participated in Red Hook Crit No.9 which was a load of fun even despite not qualifying for any of the races. Let’s be serious - one should always look to do one’s best, but getting into the Last Chance race would’ve been a massive achievement for me. I left the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal at the end of the night with a full understanding of the charm and passion RHC brings out in people. It is an amazing atmosphere and a great spectator sport. I highly recommend it to anyone to go watch on April 29th, even if you don’t know anything about cycling. 

With the changes in RHC registration, I hope Drop Crank Society will be represented at Brooklyn No.10. With the experience of online registration from last year’s race, if you can successfully register for RHC Brooklyn then you are already a winner. 

Fixed-gear crits, in my opinion, are more stimulating than going around in circles. I filled my calendar with local crits, such as Ward’s Island Crit and the Black Friday Crit. These crits are very entertaining because held in our own background and hosted by people within the community. The turnout is usually good and passion runs high. 

Sometimes with all the training and competitive nature of these races, you tend to lose sight of the fun bikes bring. Riding takes on a new meaning once you take it more seriously. So when I heard The Warriors Race was back for 4th of July weekend, I did not hesitate to send out a call for a team. It didn’t take too long put one together and what a motley crew it was! The Boyle Avenue Bombers rode through the Bronx, Manhattan, and Brooklyn checking off a wild list of challenges until the break dawn. We were such a diverse group, yet we complimented each other so well. It had been a long time since I laughed that much and the event easily became one of the highlights of my year. Hands down. A Coney Island sunrise after 9 hours of riding ain’t too shabby of a reward either. If and when the next one comes around, I highly recommend you not to miss it

Alongside what looks to be a promising year of races and fun rides is another opportunity for BYC to expand and explore with more news stories, interviews, and videos. Simply put - I'm not going anywhere too soon. It may get silent at times, but quality over quantity - remember? 

I'll be out there... racing, creating, or just having a beer. Keep calm it's just another year. 

RED HOOK CRIT: YOU NEVER FORGET YOUR FIRST

Red Hook Crit, Brooklyn No.9
For those who don’t know, RHC is probably la crème de la crème of fixed-gear crits. For many New Yorkers, this is probably the one cycling event marked on all our calendars. Competing is a whole other story. While many have such high hopes to qualify into the main race, successfully registering to participate in qualifications is already an accomplishment in itself due to its continuously growing popularity. 

I, along with my DCS teammates, were lucky enough to get on the roster for qualifications. Part of me did feel a bit guilty as I knew there were plenty more skilled and deserving riders who couldn’t participate because of limited slots for registration. However, it is considered an amateur race and knowing very well the competition’s roots and history - I needed to get my feet wet at a RHC. 

You’d think despite being an unsanctioned race, RHC would be a total mess. Even through all its controversy (both past and present), it is a very well-organized and runs a lot smoother than say Monster Track. But let’s not compare a closed circuit race to a street race in open traffic. They’re day and night. Both with very strong followings and respective cultures of their own.

Unsanctioned or not, Red Hook has gotten so big that there is a lot of waiting around, so I hope you didn’t leave a casserole baking in the oven. It could be a while. That’s cool in my opinion - it is an amazing atmosphere to be at. With riders coming from all over the country and globe to NYC, the range of diversity makes RHC Brooklyn to be so much more fitting and special. Needless to say, there is a lot of love going around whether in the form of comradery or simply passion for cycling.

While this was the first of four RHC’s for many sponsored riders, it was the only one I raced this year. The range of talent abilities is far wider than Kissena. It’s a different world. There is more concern about technique and navigation throughout the course. One slip could cause a crash. Yet, it is certainly more fun than a velodrome.

I entered RHC with little to no expectation. As a result, when I failed to qualify for neither the main race nor Last Chance - I wasn’t at all disappointed. Nevertheless, there were plenty of gains and I was thrilled to watch and support my peers from alley cats and the track make it through to the Last Chance and Final race.

With all the technical malfunctions, controversial penalty reports, and Olympic winners throughout the year (at Brooklyn, London, Barcelona, and Milan), it’s not easy being David Trimble. There are some concerns on the future of this crit as the cycling world continues to take notice.

How much longer will this race be open to the public both as competitor and spectator without restriction? If the day comes, then one door opens as another closes.

Until that day arrives, I’ll see you next year Red Hook! 

(Next Blog Post - "Spoke & Word: Behind the Scenes")

TRACK AIN'T WHACK

Wow! Something new! This post is long overdue. While I’m sure many people were believing I rode off a cliff on my bike playing Pokemon Go (is that still a thing?), I’ve had a very busy five months actively competing, training, and brainstorming new material.

A lot has been happened since my last blog post, so I’m finally going to starting recapping my experiences all these months. Let’s start with the velodrome.

6 Days of Kissena & The Twilight Series
If I had the legs of Chris Hoy, I’d tell you right away that competing at the track has been a breeze. Well, I don’t...and it hasn’t been. My inaugural season at the track is best described in one word: FUN. It’s safe to say 6 Days of Kissena brought out some serious competition in all categories and Cat 5 was no exception. Many talented messengers and riders from the NYC Alley Cat scene were also making their debut and having a crack at velodrome glory. Of course - not to mention teams, such as Redbeard, King Kog, Crankshift, Pink Rhino, Formula Femme, and Nomad (just to name a few). It was a tough group of riders the whole six days. That said, I may have picked a hard time to get into track racing.

Photo by Kenji Edmonds

Photo by Kenji Edmonds

After completing 6 Days and two race days into the Twilight Series, I decided to “cat-up.” I won't lie to you. A part of me was hesitant to do it knowing the competition wasn't going to get any easier, but it was ultimately the best decision to make if I wanted safer riding and improve overall. [Enter inspiring quote here]

For any newcomer getting into track next season, DO NOT get discouraged if you don’t place or get podium. This is coming from a racer who probably gets DFL in almost all of his track races. 

Winning isn’t even all that important. 

The real reward here is the opportunity to race and monitoring your progress after every omnium. I’m a beginner at the velodrome. It has been hard and at times left me feeling defeated, especially with no winning results. The key to continue pedaling forward and overcoming your ego is acceptance. You make a plan and train harder. There is no easy mode in racing, but you must realize the many others gains of this sport.

Track racing has opened a whole new outlet to cycling for me, as well as my DCS teammates. It has provided us with more structure and routine in our own personal lives. We all gave up some bad habits for something ultimately good - our love of cycling. It’s safe to say, we are probably in the best cycling shape we’ve ever been. With the support and amiability of the people at the velo, life at the track has been a beautiful experience. Competing with and against a group of people who are so passionate about cycling week-in and week-out is great energy to be around. It would be almost impossible to not come away with at least one new friend at the end of the season. You race together. You suffer together. Comradery at its finest. 

Life at the track is special and worth experiencing. 

The 2016 track season is over. I feel proud to have done it. My main goal was met, which was to mature as a rider. There were certainly the other ones, but as the saying goes "There is always next year."

Let the off-season commence!

 

Next week's post - "Red Hook Crit: You Never Forget Your First"

VELODROME SYNDROME

Ahhhh Spring is in the air.

Who are we kidding, right? It certainly doesn’t feel like it. If you were at the Kissena Velodrome last Sunday, you’d know what I’m talking about and agree with little to no contention. 

Despite the abysmal windy conditions, there was no stopping 93 racers from reaping their chances at glory. Not even with 50-60 mph wind gusts.

The atmosphere was exciting and electric. Participants were noticeably eager, yet nervous. For several, including myself, this wasn’t just the first official race of the season, but also their first ever official race on a track. And what a day for it, huh?!

6 Days of Kissena #1 brought out several familiar riders. Quite a few whom I’ve seen at alley cats and other bike-related events. I heard through the grapevine this season was going to bring out a lot of fresh faces and Cat 5 would going to be competitive. So far from the looks of it, it appears to be true. 

I didn’t come away with much from my three races on Sunday. I finished dead last in all three. There isn’t anything I could say to justify my placement either. My legs just weren’t there. I had even felt them slacking the week going into race day. Self-loathing aside, there were positives which came out of the experience. Based on a talented display by the riders in my group, the result showed me my weaknesses and the areas I need to work on. 

Several of my peers have extended their hand by giving me pointers or offering to help me improve. It goes to show the kind of atmosphere the velodrome can be. Those gestures don’t go unrecognized or unappreciated. 

Since then, I’ve been gradually introducing strength-building exercises into my routine to improve my power. 

Come 6 Days of Kissena #2 - I’m sprinting to write a different story. 

UP TO SPEED

Well, we are three months into 2016. The year started out a bit slow, but things are now really starting to pick-up.

The last we left off - I was being a gluttonous pig enjoying the fine food and wine offered in France and Italy. Let’s just say the end of 2015 was a relaxing one. Perhaps too relaxing to the point I packed on those infamous holiday pounds. 

With the anticipation of 2016 playing out to be my debut year in competitive cycling, I needed to begin disciplining myself and take my diet more seriously, as well as exercise routinely again. The first change was to control my alcohol consumption. For those who know me, I do love me a good pint or glass. I made a pact prior to entering the new year by giving my liver a break and going through the whole month of January without consuming any alcohol. It was a rough start to say the least. By substituting drinking with high-intensity 30-minute exercises (P90X3) 4-5 days a week, that extra weight stripped right off. The results were visible and I physically, as well as psychologically, felt great. 

(Oh! and I grew a sweet beard, too!)

I was preparing to enter the velodrome and crits this year lone wolf-style. However, I’ll officially announce it here that I’ve recently joined a fresh team of cyclists representing Drop Crank Society led by Edouard Hall. Ed is a popular figure in the cycling community, known for his DCS parties and profession as a trainer. There was an opportunity to join a group of local gentlemen on the same level and train on a set schedule together. It was a no brainer when he came calling to represent his team. You may have already got the hit on my recent posts on Instagram at the gym, spin class, or doing team laps at Central Park.

I’m not saying by any means that we’re going to destroy the competition. We ARE, however, going to compete, give 100%, and try to create waves wherever we go. THAT I can guarantee!

This past weekend was my first Monster Track (as a racer). It didn't necessarily go as I would've hoped and no - I wasn't expecting to make podium. The Financial District and Lower Manhattan was going to give me trouble. I knew it was going to be my weakness going in, even before the race. Before those checkpoints, I was making good time with uptown and midtown. An error I made on Park Avenue set me back and by the time I reached downtown - my routes and pace weren't the best. My slow ass reached Sophie's Bar with completed manifest at 9pm, but the party had already moved to the Beast of Bourbon. I contemplated not even going to the after-party, but I did anyway for the briefest of moments to complete the MT experience.

Even though I finished Monster Track, I certainly didn't feel the joy I expected at the end. Something didn't feel right. It may have  just been because I was too burned out, cold, or rocking a huge tear in my jeans. Maybe because the race started two hours behind schedule. Maybe because I was pissed there were NO checkpoint volunteers at none of the downtown locations by the time I got there (and having to take selfies as a result). It's probably all of it. I don't even know what I placed, but at that point (or even now) - I don't care. All I can do is work harder and strive for better at the next race. It was a learning experience for sure. I congratulate all the winners and participants on a grueling race.

MT means a great deal to a lot of urban cyclists, especially the messenger community. It is still the grand stage to prove your speed, knowledge of the city, and demonstrate one’s open-traffic skills. It’s a race for bragging rights and how you rank among other riders, which is worth more to many people than a Chrome Jersey or trophy.

The integrity of MT, however, has been getting a lot of heat these past days. I won't echo the comments and theories floating around, but I'm sure they're not hard to find if you care enough to know them. From personal experience, all I can say is it was highly unorganized. But perhaps, it's not new to anyone and this probably happens every year. I guess when it's an alley cat bringing in 200+ people out to battle in the streets in NYC - things don't always go according to plan. You'd figure, though, for a race in its 17th edition - it would be a tight operation.

Would I race again next year? Sure.

Now that MT is all finished - I can now focus on the start of track season and…Red Hook Crit. With some intervention from the cycling gods, I successfully registered for Red Hook Crit Brooklyn on April 30th along with two of my teammates. Rumor has it that open registration for the men’s race sold out in 45 seconds. A LOT of people were waitlisted, including several of my peers. I’ll openly admit it – many who were waitlisted are probably more deserving for a place to race than I am. None the less, it doesn’t mean I’m taking the crit lightly. I’m hungry! While people may want the “experience,” I want to race, compete with the best, and prove I was worthy of registration. The next 51 days will be filled with blood, sweat, and tears.

Red Hook Crit Brooklyn 2015

Red Hook Crit Brooklyn 2015

Note to David Trimble and the RHC organizers – if you are reading this, I think it’s time to restructure registration.

This heavy schedule may lead to BYC being a little less present here on the page, but I certainly have new things in the works. Whether it’s racing, supporting, snapping photos, or taking on new projects/ideas - I’ll be there.

Count on it.


Season's End

Aix-La-Fayette / Auvergne, France

Aix-La-Fayette / Auvergne, France

Despite all the fantastic NYC weather, my riding season is ironically finished for 2015. December usually comes as a time for me to recharge for the upcoming year. 

Besides this blog post, I wouldn’t expect anything new on the homepage until 2016 which will be a big year not only for BYC, but also for me as a cyclist. I’ve shared already with several within the cycling community on some ideas and goals. Particularly, how I will be entering velodrome and crit racing. Late this year, I already began with alley cats and quickly learned my place among many of NY’s best. My competitive spirit and will to challenge myself wants to continue to grow and perform better as a cyclist. 

Velodrome and crit racing will be in no way easy. It will take time, sacrifice, and training. All of which I’m ready to do as of January 1st, 2016. 

Right now, I’m currently enjoying the beautiful countryside in Auvergne, France. The fresh-air, open landscapes, slow pace, and silence is a friendly reminder that solitude can also be blissful.  

No matter how much one loves the city, all New Yorkers need a change of scenery once in awhile. To get away from the noise pollution, congested spaces, and ultimately the rush. Yes, it is in itself…tiring. Living in the “greatest city in the world” isn’t an excuse to become a NY hermit and avoid experiencing something different and new outside the city (or country for that matter.) Traveling is an absolute blessing.

I’ll be happy to share images from Auvergne and the other cities I’ll be visiting throughout this trip. BYC is as much about going out there and experiencing new things as it is about cycling. I owe a lot to traveling because it has not only helped me grow as a person, but also allowed me to rediscover cycling while in Amsterdam during a 2011 European trip. Here we are now…BYC is two-years-old.

As this will be my last update for a few weeks, I wish everyone Happy Holidays and a Happy New Year. You will be seeing a lot more of me in 2016. (Sorry).

The Milestone Locomotive

When you start cycling, you tend to go through many firsts. From your first flat, first fall, first commute to work, etc. - they’re all milestones and they don’t stop the deeper you get into cycling. 

I’ve experienced several firsts these past three months. One of the most recent was completing my first 100 miles in a single day at the NYC Century. I’ve done the Five Borough Bike Tour and Tour de Bronx before, but this particular event combined features of both tours by passing through several boroughs in open traffic.

I’d be lying if I said I did some intense training for the ride. Only two days of riding fifty miles were dedicated in the month leading to the century. The idea of riding 100 miles did seem a little intimidating, but figuring that I was already riding approximately five days a week on a fixed-gear, I had a feeling my legs would be just fine on a road bike. And…they were. 

Despite the early 6 A.M. wake-up call to be at Central Park, there wasn’t much to complain about. A century of miles is a lot for anyone, but it’s great to be able to suffer along with other New Yorkers and make friends along the way. Even though there were no street closures, you still ride with a sense of security and the rest stops really take care of your needs.

The century was a mental and physical hurdle. In other words, it was a milestone I felt I had to reach. Like anything else in life, creating goals for yourself is to progress.  Having checked off the century allows me to now move on to the next. Setting new goals. Reaching other milestones. Earning other achievements. 

A week later, I raced the NYC Suffer Cat, which would technically be considered my first Alley Cat AND first time riding brakeless. I didn't die and placed 16th out of 30/40 other competitors. Another accomplishment - I survived.

From centuries, street races, a new fixed-gear bike, to having a photo used in Eurobike - the cycling world has been leaving me fulfilled, yet hungry.

2015 isn’t even over, but I’m already looking towards the new year.

2016 is already rolling in possibility.

West Side Stories with Jean Padilla

Last Sunday, Jean Padilla came back to his native New York and wasted no time in throwing an Alley Cat inspired by his racing experiences in his newly adopted Bay Area home in California. Despite the short visit, several local riders came out enthusiastically to have a taste of the West Coast and appease their own curiosity on this different approach on a race. Jean shared with Bike Your City on life on west side and the influence behind his appropriately named Alley Cat - West Side Stories.

How long have you been living in California?
I’ve been living in Oakland for about eight months now since New Year’s Eve. New place, new year, new everything! Just experiencing the world in a different perspective, as well as enjoying the forever sunshine.

What has the experience been like moving from the Big Apple to out west?
It has been a good adjustment. I went out there not knowing anyone at all at first. I had to network and got to know a lot more people that way. 

How have you managed with those hills?
Oh man, those hills! I’ll tell you this. My first shift in San Francisco I worked the one shift that had all the hills and I swear I thought I wasn’t going to make it through the first day. I almost literally quit, but I didn’t. Luckily, I’m here today to tell the story. 

Image provided by Jean Padilla

Image provided by Jean Padilla

Aside from working as a courier, do you participate in races over there?
Yeah, I’ve been competing a lot. I’ve been progressing a lot in sanctioned races. Like this year, I started with cyclocross and joined the King Kog scene in Oakland, which I’m taking very seriously and will continue with sanctioned races a lot more. Of course - messenger racing and being a messenger will always be a part of me because that’s how I started and that’s where my heart is really going to be at the end of the day. 

When it comes to Alley Cats, how do SF and NYC differ?
In SF, everyone is low-key. For you to promote races, it’s not to do it through social media. It’s more word of mouth, handing out flyers, talking to people who are going to courier companies, and letting everybody know what’s the situation.

It seems like they try to keep these races strictly to messengers. However, here it's quite the contrary. In New York, you’ll find people from all professions and walks of life. Is that safe to say?
Yeah, that’s actually very true. When I first moved out there, I would heard about races only after they had taken place. I often wondered why I didn't know about them? That’s when I realized I had to really socialize and go out in the world, speak to people, and get to know them personally for who they are and what they are about, especially the actual messengers who race or organize these races. Otherwise, I wouldn’t have any knowledge about them. 

When speaking to people about cycling in NYC, what has been the general consensus?
Whenever they think about or speak upon NYC - it’s always a situation of traffic and craziness. They think they can’t handle it. However, it’s almost the same if you are in downtown SF. It’s just as congested and flat for as long you’re in downtown because there are flat parts and really hilly parts in SF, just like any other place. 

What made you want to come here and organize an Alley Cat?
Well, what made me want to organize an Alley Cat based on a SF and LA style was knowing it was going to be something totally different. An Oakland based group called 'FWOD' throw a race every Tuesday night. Since it's every Tuesday, there are not enough checkpoint workers and they always tend to run out of ideas. It results to them getting creative, like having a checkpoint at Karaoke bar or going to a 7-Eleven to buy a drink and bringing back the receipt to show proof etc. I'm bringing it here to NYC and see how everyone likes or dislikes it. Also, I was going to be in New York after not being here for eight months since I had left. I was really excited and I wanted to make everyone else excited by bringing something totally new to the ball game that people may not have experienced yet. To give people a chance to experience something I’ve been doing out in the West Coast a lot more.

If you were to do the opposite and organize a race called 'NYC Stories,' what would it entail?
I’ve been trying to think about that for a little while. It’d probably have a lot of small short-term checkpoints. I will have them go to a checkpoint address, but it won't be at the exact address. Instead, it would be around the corner wherever the messenger centers are located. It would take a person of that specific knowledge and experience to know where these points would be. Otherwise, you won't find the checkpoint. The challenging part about NYC couriers is finding these messengers centers.

What's next for you?
Right now, this is just a living and learning experience since it's my first time hosting an Alley Cat. Next, I'm actually going to be living in Milwaukee, Wisconsin for the month of October because I'll be at the Vessel Workshop working on a new collection. It seems like the perfection situation to bring another continuum of the West Side Stories out there. We'll be going on a cross country tour in the states promoting the product, throwing races, and hosting events to get people together.

Be sure to follow Jean on his Instagram (@jcpedaling).

Congratulations to the winners - James (1st), David (2nd), and Squid (3rd)! Here are some photos taken from last Sunday's West Side Stories.


RECAP: DropCrankShift Birthday (Backyard Sprints)

There was cake, laughs, gold sprints, and lots of alcohol on a great night with friends to celebrate birthdays of two members of Crank Shift NYC - Chelsea and Emily. 

Happy Birthday again you two! Many thanks for letting me be a part of it. A special shout-out to Drop Crank Society for the sweet set-up and good times as always.

From Paris to Peugeot

The loss of "Le Paris” a few months was a major letdown for two reasons: 1) it left me without a road bike 2) the Paris Project of converting it into a dedicated track bike failed before it could even start. 

Since losing Le Paris, I already went on to purchase myself a dedicated fixed-gear bike and the idea of getting another road bike just rolled away and didn’t seem at all appealing. It wasn’t until my registration for next month’s NYC Century and my experience at the Le Tour del Diablo that I truly felt unprepared. 

Enter Peugeot.

What is it about Peugeot bicycles that attracts me so much? I honestly can’t tell you. I don’t even know myself.

Maybe because it was the Louis XIV of the French cycling industry, automobiles, and…uh…pepper shakers many decades ago. Maybe it’s that rad lion on the logo. Maybe I just have a soft spot for vintage bikes, which symbolizes a time when competitive cycling was raw and not so consumed on aerodynamic equipment and marketing. 

Whatever the reason may be…I wanted one. After itching for a Peugeot for several years, I turned to the used market on eBay and found what could’ve been the ONE. However, I experienced another disappointment in losing out on it, but as the saying goes - “when one door closes, another opens.” The Sun King himself must’ve smiled upon me on the day I found a similar Peugeot just a few weeks later on a Craigslist ad posted by a very friendly seller (and bad-ass cyclist, too, may I add). There couldn’t have been a better script when she added in a correspondence that her father used to work Peugeot. 

Needless to say, I added a beautiful 1986 Peugeot Iseran steel road bike to my inventory. Steel is definitely real, but it’s also REALLY heavy. The task ahead is to upgrade some of the bike’s components and shed some of its weight without losing its character and vintage appearance.

This is the Peugeot Project. 

RECAP: Dave's Not Here, Man

Last Thursday night - Lock Foot Posi, friends, and the cycling community came together under one roof to help raise money for Dave Preston Rodebaugh at East River Bar. 

Dave was in a recent bike accident and left in a medically induced coma with severe head trauma.  Medical bills can be a burden for anyone. As a result, there were raffle prizes, Goldsprints, and a silent auction on items in an effort to ease some of the financial strain. 

As I mentioned in a previous post on Instagram, I don’t know Dave personally, but I’ve definitely seen him around at events and even snapped a few photos of him. He always seemed like an approachable guy and based on the turnout last Thursday – he is pretty well-known within the NYC community. It was important for me to attend the fundraiser to show my support because this sort of unfortunate incident could happen to anyone of us who ride in this great city. 

At any point of the night, if you looked around the room - you would never find a more diverse group of people in age, ethnicity, and walk of life. That says A LOT! It’s something to be proud of, but too often do I believe gatherings like this get overlooked because the night captured the essence of New York spirit. We are all here. We are in this together. We are New Yorkers.

Almost every week there appears to be a horror story of a bike-related incident on the news. Send out your positive vibes and keep Dave in your thoughts.

If you'd like to make an online donation, please go to gofundme.com/DPRfund.

Let’s be careful and ride safe out there.

-BYC

RECAP: Le Tour del Diablo 2015

Image provided by The Pop Bar

Image provided by The Pop Bar

This past Sunday may have been an ordinary day to some, but it was particularly significant for two reasons: 1) The Final Stage of the Tour de France and 2) The 1st Edition of Le Tour del Diablo. 

Diablo NYC and Drop Crank Society laid out a 37 mile race for competitors to test their traffic, speed, and climbing skills from The Pop Bar in Astoria, Queens to the Palisades Interstate Park, NJ and back.

It was NOT an Alleycat! (According to Diablo)

Went the wrong direction on Broadway on the return. SMH.

Went the wrong direction on Broadway on the return. SMH.

The route was pre-determined and made public via social media and Strava about two weeks prior to the race. The cycling app was made mandatory for all racers in order to record their route, confirm required checkpoints, and clock in their time.  

LOTS of NYC based riders (and one out-of-towner) came out in numbers to represent a team of three or simply represent themselves. While winning categories were broken down to road/single-speed and track (fixed-gear) for both male and females, everyone battled the clock in reaching the best time. 

This event was especially momentous to me because it marked my first competitive street race since my announcement on a previous blog post.

I opted to go with a fixed-gear bike (more on that in a later post) on this race.  Why? Well, I guess I wanted to challenge myself...and a challenge is exactly what I got! 

What were my expectations in placing? Pretty high. I had to believe if I wanted to maintain a competitive attitude. Nonetheless, my final placement was a rude awakening and I instantly realized I have a looong way to go. I had a dismal finish, just arriving at the start of the award ceremony. 

Strava Tour del Diablo.jpg

I’m not one to create excuses. At the end of the day, while competing with a group of much more experienced riders - I wasn’t good enough.

I finished the race and I’m proud of that.

Riding through Palisades Interstate Park and 9W was rewarding as it was difficult. It was tranquil, green, and scenic at times with gorgeous views of the Hudson. A hawk swooping 15-feet in front of me (twice) was pretty awesome, too.  Or maybe it was waiting for me to give up and have me for dinner?

Le Tour del Diablo was definitely a learning experience and showed me how much more I need to go in order to even consider myself competitive among some of NYC’s best. 

A big thanks to Diablo NYC, Drop Crank Society, and the sponsors for the putting together an amazing race. Hopefully, there will be many more editions to come. Congratulations to all the participants and winners!

Below you’ll find some photos taken by me prior to the race. Sorry, when I finally arrived and finished at the awards ceremony - I only had one thing on my mind. A pint of beer!

Now…ONTO THE NEXT!

For more on the Le Tour del Diablo, be sure to check Diablo NYC's homepage.

Next Week...The Spoke & Word: CrankShift NYC (Part Two)

Several months ago, I met with a team of talented NYC riders - CrankShift NYC - and published an introductory interview with three of its members. Finally, your virtuous patience will finally be rewarded. The conclusion to CrankShift's Spoke & Word is coming next week in a Part Two you don't want to miss! If you didn't read the first interview, now is your chance to catch up.

Click here.

Born on the Fourth of July

IMG_2949 LED.jpg

BBQ, beer, and fireworks were on many people's agenda this past 4th of July weekend. Shit, it was definitely on mine. 'Merica! 

Despite BYC not being very active on the site and across social media last week in the build-up to the holiday weekend, my mind certainly didn't check out. 

Since the year started, I've attended and witnessed more cycling events such as Monster Track, Red Hook Crit, The Bridge Battle, the Red Bull Mini-Drome, and gold sprints.  I've mostly attended these events to take photos. There has been an idea cooking for several weeks now and I guess you can say my head finally went DING.

Having already discussed the idea with some of my friends and cycling peers, nearly all have either given me the thumbs up or have said to me, "I'm surprised it has taken you this long." Well, the fever finally got me. I've decided that I want to start competing. 

Why?! To be perfectly honest, I'm growing a bit tired of being on the sidelines. Don't get me wrong - I thoroughly enjoy being behind a camera and snapping photos. Trust me...it's not going to stop. But another reason for making the decision to compete is to prove something to myself. I don't know how far I'm willing to take it, but it's simply a personal test on how I will hold up against some of the city's best riders. 

As much as I will take every race/competition I choose to participate in seriously, I'm also not setting the bar very high. There is a lot of talented and much more experienced cyclists out there.

At the current moment, I've decided to compete in a street race at the end of this month and ride in the NYC Century in September. Now, I know the Century is not a race, but I have the full intention of doing the 100 miles. I figured it give me motivation to start training and get into racing shape. 

See you out there! 

The Racers of the Mini Drome 2015

Shooting at the Red Bull Mini Drome wasn't easy. 

It was crowded, hot, and difficult to position myself to point my camera without any obstructions. Robert Lai definitely had the sweetest location for shooting photos. Jerk. The first couple of photos had some unfortunate glare (at times it worked in favor of the photo), but after changing lens and getting to a better spot - I was finally able to unload and take some decent shots. 

I apologize in advance for not being able to take photos of every racer, but nature calls and so does beer.

Below, you will find a gallery slideshow of the first batch of riders.

RACERS #1-10

 

RACERS #11-20

 

RACERS #21-32

RECAP: Red Bull Mini Drome 2015

Last Friday night, whether it was to compete or spectate - the NYC cycling community came out in numbers to experience and witness something special in Maspeth, Queens.

A combination of teams and last year's participants made up the 64 fixed-gear racers for the 2015 edition of the much anticipated Mini Drome. What made this event so unique? Well...just look at it! It was neither your typical indoor velodrome nor venue. 

Red Bull took (if I dare say) an X-Games approach to a velodrome and literally twisted it into a Figure 8 smack down in the middle of what appeared to be an abandoned and deteriorated dance/recital hall. Hey, I loved that the paint was peeling off, graffiti tags covering the walls, and staircases on its last days. It gave the setting some character. 

I didn't know what quite to expect since it was my first year in attendance. There were several photos and video clips being posted and shared on social media in the lead up to the big event. However after what I saw on Friday night, I damn wished I competed!  

Every racer battled the clock for five laps, whether it was individually or head-to-head, in an effort to achieve the best time.  Yes, there were some spills. Luckily, no one was seriously hurt or injured (I believe). 

Congratulations to the Winners: 
(Team): 1. Deluxe Cycles (Bed-Stuy) 2. Charli&co. (NYC) 3. Dah Shop (LES)
(Individual): 1. Addison Zawada (FL) 2. Ryan Locasicio (Bronx) 3. Matt Reyes (SF)

I leave you with some images from the Mini Drome. Be sure to check out my photos on the blog tomorrow for individual racers performing their runs.