Words by Lynn
Jasmin from the SfiDARE Crit Team Japan invited me to race both in Korea for King of Track and to race the Crit in Japan his team organized called the SfiDARE Crit. This trip was my first time racing internationally. While in Japan I went to Nagoya, Gifu, & Tokyo.
The SfiDARE Crit team were super cool, friendly, and a lot of fun to spend time with. While on the trip one of their team members Pro Keirin racer Toshifumi Kodama set up a few fun and special activities for us to do. He arranged for us to train at the most beautiful track I have ever seen in Gifu.
The velodrome was surrounded by water and had a garden and bridge going over the water in the center of the velodrome. He also arranged for us to go to spectate a Pro Keirin race as special guests with VIP passes.
The SfiDARE Crit is a Fixed Crit series held in the countryside of Japan. The race I participated in was located at Kiso Sansen Park in Gifu. The race was to be held rain or shine and it was definitely raining that day! The park reminded me of a CX course, because the rest of the park was wet and muddy. And my road shoes and cleats were completely covered in thick sticky mud. It turns out a lot of the race volunteers are also part of Japan’s CX community. ️ The course was mostly on the paved narrow windy walkway of the park and also through a parking lot where they created a hairpin turn. The course was very wet and even had large puddles we raced through. The woman who placed first in the race is a pro road and track racer Yasue Nakahara, she was really pushing the pace. In this race my front tire lost traction on the hairpin turn with 3 laps to go. I ended up crashing on my left arm, hip, and head. The crash felt like I was in slow motion while hitting the ground and sliding. Nothing too bad just road rash and ripped skinsuit. As soon as I realized that I had not broken anything I got up to finish the 3 laps, but at this point completely lost the pack.
I ended up getting 4th place and accumulating points towards the Fixed Nations Cup. After these races moving up to 5th overall for US Women. Fixed Nations Cup is a fixed crit series that is being held in Dijon, France in 2019.
After podiums for the race I met Pro Keirin racer Theo Bos. This was his first time participating in a fixed crit! It was interesting to hear that participating in a fixed crit is out of his comfort level and that he wants to try to race more of them. He is a 5x World Champion and Silver Medalist for the 2004 Olympics.
The next few days after the race I went to Tokyo to hangout and stayed with Junpei Nakata, Japan’s Director of Tracklocross. He was an amazing host and rad guy.
The race trip was an experience that I will never forget. Looking forward to traveling more for races. Next destination Dijon, France
Words By Lynn
King of Track is a race that has been held in South Korea for the past 13 years. Most years it has been held on a velodrome. This year King of Track hosted a fixed crit in Goyang City for it’s 13th year. The race was organized very well. The King of Track vibe reminds me of Red Hook Crit. There were many racers and spectators and of course all the fun.
This year was special because it was the inauguration of a womens field for the race. I had the pleasure of racing with Kazuyo Kodama from SfiDARE Crit Japan team and with two friends from LA Evelyn Delgado (Engine 11) and Ginger Boyd (MFF). The rest of the womens field were racers from Korea that I did not know.
The race was short and fast. We only had 10 laps. I started out strong enough from the beginning to create a gap from the field with Kazuyo, Ginger, Evelyn, and a racer from Team Constantine.
Unfortunately I made a mistake thinking it was the last lap and sprinted past the racer from Team Constantine only to find out I had 1 lap to go.
When we came towards the finish line for the final sprint I did not have enough to sprint past her again. I ended up placing one spot away from the podium taking 4th place. Kazuyo took 1st, Evelyn 2nd, and the racer from Team Constantine placed 3rd. I was a little disappointed with the mistake I made, but I tried my best and was grateful for the opportunity to race in a foreign country.
WE ARE SO STOKED THAT CX SEASON IS FINALLY HERE! 2018 IS OUR 5TH YEAR RACING CYCLOCROSS AND WE ARE SHOOTING FOR A TOP 5 TEAM FINISH IN THE SOCAL CROSS PRESTIGE SERIES.
SHOUT OUT TO THOMAS FORSYTH BICYCLE ATTORNEY FOR SUPPORTING US THIS SEASON.
MEET THE 2018 SWAT CX TEAM!!!
THANK YOU AGAIN THOMAS FORSYTH BICYCLE ATTORNEY #SWATpbTFBA
COME RACE, SPECTATE, HECKLE AND HAND UP AT OUR SEASON OPENER OCTOBER 21ST
CALIMESA CX CLASSIC
Words: Diana Sjol
When you come to a fork in the road, how many paths do you see? Some see two and may choose the path of least resistance while others will choose the path that will test their limits. Some will only see one path, the easy path. Then there are those that only see the hard line, the path that will test their strength, a lonely road where despair lurks but the outcome is glorious.
After a disappointing cyclocross season I knew it was time to face some fears and get on a mountain
bike, for me this was no longer a choice but something that had to be done. My problem? I was scared. Everything about mountain biking scared me. Steep, technical, rocky single track wasn’t for me.
In March I bought my first mountain bike, a 28 pound steel Kona. I hated it! It was heavy, it forced me
out of my happy place. I got in a couple of rides on familiar fire roads before signing up for my first
mountain bike race that same month. I went out and pre rode the course the day before the race and I was freaking out. The course took me through rocky and technical single track along some mountainside cliffs. I was sure I was going to die. After that ride I couldn’t imagine ever riding those trails on my cross bike and I wasn’t even sure I wanted to race the next day. It was an unfamiliar fear because I’ve mostly avoided trails like these and now they were hitting me smack in the face. That whole night I had to reassure myself that I could do it, I could ride the trails, and I would race.
The next morning I did just that. I raced three whole laps that tested my strengths, weaknesses, and
fears. Looking back, I know this race is where everything began to change for me. I went from someone who was afraid and didn’t even want to race mountain bikes, to racing three laps on a course I never would have imagined doing before.
Since that first race I have continued to test myself and have ridden trails and overcome fears I honestly didn’t think I ever would or could. Reflecting on all my accomplishments these past few months, I know they have stemmed from a desire to be a greater athlete than I was. Along the way, there have been plenty of frustrations, cuts, bruises, and setbacks, and I’m certain there will be many more in the future. But I’m okay with that.
Be relentless in your pursuit for greatness.
I've been promising to lead a beginner friendly Campout and intro to bike camping for SWAT for awhile now. Over the past few years I've fallen in love with bike packing and try to explore new places as much as I can. There are so many options just outside of LA.
I wanted to make it "mild" and not a total suffer fest so those new to bike camping wouldn't be intimidated, but also take folks somewhere they probably hadn't been before that you can only access by foot or by bike. Crystal Cove primitive sites were the perfect “mild” back country spot. The trailhead is only 25 miles south of Long Beach. We stayed at Lower Moro, a three mile (not so mild) climb from the coast on a well maintained gravel road offering 360 views.
Riders borrowed gear and made it work keeping it minimal. Lynn carried all her stuff in her giant roadrunner backpack which Taylor nicknamed "the mini fridge". Jenn strapped a water melon to her rack. Rita aka Mary Poppins (another Taylor nickname) kept pulling everything and anything anyone asked for out of her magical panniers. Diana sewed her own frame bag following a DIY tutorial.
Mad love for all of these riders. It was such an AMAZING group. A mix of first time bike campers, bikepackers and tourers. Old friends and new ones. This was the largest group of WTF folks I’ve ever camped with and the energy was contagious.
Stay tuned for a lot more of this in the future!
Plan your own trip and take our route! Make sure to pack in water and pack out your trash.
Ride with GPS route ridewithgps.com/routes/28103312
Ride Zine with Cue sheets
Crystal Cove Back country site info http://www.crystalcovestatepark.org/camping-in-the-backcountry/
Photos: Kyla, Ana, and Susie
Our first CX NATS was tough, terrifying, freezing, intense, liberating, motivating and an all around amazing experience. The trip, the racing, and the CX community went above and beyond our wildest dreams. We are ready to continue to grow the LA CX scene and keep the stoke alive for the rest of 2018!!!
DIARY OF A DFL DIRTFOO
I came into this season with no game. I'd taken a job out of town in August and didn’t get back until mid November, causing me to miss the first half of the season. In the first few months on the road I got in some weekend MTB rides and even a race (hell yeah wild west CX!) but it was impossible to ride during the week. I got back on a Friday and showed up to race that weekend. It happened to be our LA UCI race. I sat out the A race and decided to just race single speed. In my head I thought even though I wasn’t in race shape my handling skills could still keep me in the race. I had a good start but could only hang with the lead group for half a lap. Slowly I got passed by the rest of the pack over the next 3 laps until I was DFL. So that was humbling AF.
The next week at Turkey Trot I jumped back in the A race knowing I was going to get destroyed, but still feeling like I’d be sandbagging if I raced Bs. By the end of the first lap I was alone. Lynn was leading the B race and caught me in the second lap. We stayed together for a full lap. I yelled at her not to slow through the technical stuff and she motivated me to push hard even though I was already DFL in my race. She ended up beating me by almost 30 seconds but no one else from her race caught us. Then the whole team rallied for a single speed party to race for handups. A high point of the season for sure.
The next week in Griffith Park, at Districts I would hit my low point of the season. Usually I do great at the Griffith course because it’s an endurance course, but I had no race legs yet and was in the pain cave bad by lap two. Staying in the race when my mind, legs and hecklers were telling me to quit was a battle. I was racing against the fastest women on dirt in SoCal and getting destroyed. I finished and just kept riding through the park. My emotions, pride, and the heckles got the best of me. I was a wreck. I was done with racing this season. When I made it back to the team tent I told Diana that I might be done. She wasn’t having any of that. Pop tarts were almost thrown. This is why we need teammates. Seriously I would not still be racing if it wasn’t for the amazing womxn I'm lucky enough to call my teammates and friends.
I worked my ass off the whole month of December even after the series ended trying to get my fitness back for Nationals. Then over new years, just when I was feeling good about racing I crashed my mountain bike. Nothing serious but a very bruised lower back and tail bone that made it really painful to ride my bike. Nationals were two weeks away. The universe was telling me not to go, but thankfully I decided to ignore it. CX Nats went above and beyond any expectations. It was such an amazing and inspiring experience. I raced my age category Friday and single speed Saturday getting my legs ripped off by shredders from all over the country. The crowd at the sandpit was out of control giving me all the extra watts I needed to get through it every lap and up the next hill. 10 out of 10 would do the whole suffer season again just to experience that.
So much stoke. So many memories. Lesson learned, never quit. DFL is always more dope than DNF.
Meeting and watching CX Queens Katie Compton and Ellen Noble battle it out was also dope AF
This past cross season I felt really strong coming right into the season from racing track and fixed crits. The entire season racing the SoCalCross series I was placing in the top 5 consistently in both womens B and womens single speed categories both on my single speed cx bike. I ended up 2nd overall in womens B and 3rd overall in womens single speed even missing a few races in the series.
Going to CX National Championships for the first time was quite the experience. Never have I been so nervous. Before my masters race I felt so nervous at the start line that I felt like I was going to cry. (that has never happened to me before) My field was of 13 women. I was on my single speed because that is all I have to race on. I ended up placing DFL and was pretty bummed about it.
The next day was the single speed race. The womens single speed race was the largest womens field at Nationals consisting of 42 women. This race started off fast and much more aggressively with women putting their elbows out and cutting each other off to get a better starting position. My adrenaline was high and I had a smile from all the chaos and fun from the start line. This race I wanted to do better in to make up for not doing so well in my masters race. The course was full of false flats. During the entire race I felt like my lungs were going to explode. There was a double climb that became steep where I had to unclip towards the top headed into a drop-in off camber section with a sharp right turn into more off camber.
I was making the drop-in fine and running the rest of the section until the last lap... I flew over my handlebars and slid on my chest. The announcer even called out my crash mentioning my first and last name and team name as the leader of the race, Meredith Miller, was passing me while I was on the ground. It made it on the live feed of the race. I was a little embarrassed, but was assured by spectators that my crash was epic and badass. I ended up getting up and finishing the race. I met my goal of doing faster lap times by 1min than in my masters race. In the end I placed 29th out of 42 racers and was stoked about it!
Aside from racing it was super rad to travel road trip style with my friends/teammates. There is something special about spending 8hrs together in a van. Also we made sure to party extra hard after we were done racing. Our team is totally about racing hard and partying hard. Already looking forward to next season and hope that we have the opportunity to go to nationals again and do even better.
CX Nats Race Photos by Jason Shanney