Sunday, August 16, 2009

Crossroads Classic 2009.

Figured it was about time the Team Manager gave some personal race updates. I competed at a few races during the Crossroads Classic week long event. It was a great series put on by Gene and his crew at, that concluded the morning of the Presbetyrian Crit in Charlotte with the Hanes Park Classic looming the Sunday after. I'm not too proud of my personal results, but I can say that I had one helluva time! I missed racing and I'm so happy to be back at it. That being said, I have my work cut out for me before next season and I'm looking forward to REALLY getting back into the swing of things!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Points and Points and Points and Points.

As some of you may or may not know, in the sport of cycling there are points awarded at different series of races in different locales in different disciplines. Some count towards a series leader, a state leader or a national points leader. Now, many states determine their state champions in a lot of different ways. Some, like in North Carolina and California have one-day competitions in pursuit of finding their "state's best" for the given year. In Ohio, it works much differently. The Birthplace of Flight makes an effort to track points of the most consistent and consistently successful rider throughout the given race season.

We here at KindHuman Sports aren't too wrapped up in winning, winning, winning! Albeit, podiums and first place medals are nice...who doesn't like that? We here are more concerned with the fun aspects of the sport and the natural development of our riders. We don't mind being the underdogs and the 'where did that guy come froms'...because in any given city across this great nation, there might only be one of us at any given race on any given day going head-to-head with local juggernauts on the road and in the mountains.

Team TOMS Shoes p/b KindHuman Sports rider, John Proppe, is the perfect example of the aforementioned type of rider. All season, since the inception of this team leading all of the way up to the Ohio State Championships... John has performed and garnered consistent and progressively successful results weekend in-weekend out.

In John's first 100-mile mountain bike race, the Wilderness 101, he finished with a time of 9:26...that's right y'all, nine hours and twenty-six grueling minutes of mud, roots and according to John some very technical terrain.

John deserves a huge congratulations for even finishing the 101 mile effort, let alone his stand-out time and the extra points he's stacking up towards that Ohio State Championship Title.

Currently, John is sitting in first place in his class for the overall. I along with the rest of the team and sponsors would like to wish him the best of luck in his journey towards that title. In the end, we're just proud of him for his progress thus far! Congratulations JP, keep up the good work!

Monday, August 10, 2009

John's First Podium!

Here's a little race recap from one of our NorCal Team Members, John Nguyen...

"I finally got a chance to do another race since that poo-mud endurance race...(see poo-mud race photo, below)... was the Howell Mountain Challenge near Napa Valley in a little town called Angwin. It was a bit over 100 degrees today so we were burning up out there. The course was super fun and it definitely had some technical descents as well as climbs especially the Hike-A-bike, my cyclocross experience definitely helped out in that area :) Other than that, I had one minor fall and was cramping up bad towards the last few climbs of the race. At about that time, I totally thought I was at the very end of the pack. I couldn't see anyone behind me and I knew the person in front of me was at least a minute up. At one point, I even thought I was going the wrong way and was saying to myself, "where the hell is everybody?"

The race finally ended and I cleaned up, had a bite to eat, I figured I did okay because I finished and it was a tough course...and on the plus side, MTB races are always fun. The race was pretty crowded, so I felt super slow when one of the expert guys lapped me on a SingleSpeed. I really didn't bother checking the results, but my girlfriend did. When she said I got 3rd place I totally thought she was lying. Checked it myself, and what do you know...there's my name. So happy...FIRST PODIUM!!!! I'm super stoked about that and have some motivation to do more mountain bike races. -John"

I think a huge CONGRATULATIONS is due for our little=buddy in the Top-Half of the Golden State. John is a guy who never gives up and always has a smile on his face no matter how bad he is hurting out there (unless he is monging on granola bars post-race). Great work, John and good luck with your upcoming Cyclocross season!

Monday, August 3, 2009

Mud, mud and mud.

Ryan or D.C Regional Manager, his girlfriend Jen our badass designer and her little brother, Mitch, our newest addition to the KindHuman Family all made a trip the New Jersey State Fair for what has to be, the FIRST cyclocross race of the year. Ryan wrote such a detailed report, I’m just going to post his here…

“Friday: Rain Rain Rain. What a way to start off your cyclocross season. (Not to mention 9 weeks before cross really even starts).

We showed up to the fair at around 1pm, by 2pm the skies opened up. The fair had lost power on the mid way and the arena due to a few traffic accidents, so I helped the organizers set up the course while Mitch took a clinic from Ben Popper. Afterward we rode a few laps, we went in to get some fair food and avoid the rain the best we could. As the sun was setting, I was trying to keep my legs warm while I cheered for Mitch, Jen, Julie Popper and a slew of Proteus riders that made their way to the fair. One more pre lap before staging and I'm in line for the "B Main Event". That means Elite Juniors, Men's B, and Elite Women all on the line together. Ay-yie-yie, last time Deedee Winfield raced with the boys in the mud, she lapped the WHOLE FIELD. Not this time Deedee, sorry. Somewhere in the middle of the race, I could feel all of the bumps coming through my rear wheel. Uhoh, this feels kinda flat, and it was, with one to go, damnit! Chicagoan and friend Chris Jensen slipped away from me when I washed out around a slick corner and took 6th in our category. I ended up 8th in our category, and something like 16th overall - totally mid pack. Mid pack in the Bs around here seemed relatively familiar to me, so I wasn't UPSET, but I wanted to do better.

7:30am on Saturday, Jen is kicking me. BUT I DON'T WANT TO GO TO SCHOOL MOM. Oh, it’s time to race? Cool. A stop at the Home Depot to fix Mitch's bartape and Dunkin Donuts to fuel me during the race, and we were at the fair by 8. Register, pre-ride with Mitch, talk about the changes in the course, and 10am is there before we know it. I'm running around giving Mitch his first ever water hand ups and cheering for a bunch of Proteus riders and photographer Kevin Dillard (and feeding them water as well) as the C men kicked off the day on a still slippery course. Mitch finished strong in 12th, beating out 13th in a sprint finish through the demolition derby mud. He is learning to pace himself a lot better (single tear). So proud.

We went and washed Mitch's bike and went in to the fair for some lunch. Mmmmm cabbage. I love holushki, and I was super excited to find it at a state fair. So excited, I got 3 servings in the 2 days we were there. We made a camp between our 3 cars (Popper's, ours, and Jim V's) by tying tarps and blankets between them. A lot of Tom Foolery and 2:00 is approaching. I'm feeling sick. Let me eat a bit of blooming onion. Get me a Mountain Dew. Oh God its hot out. I'm not ready for this.Oh crap, I'm on the line. When did I get here? Ohmygodohmygodohmygod. I hate staging. Call ups suck. Starting in the back sucks. I have a whole arsenal of excuses. Today's races are presented by Beth Mason. She's fast, so I'm shooting the shit with her on the line. All staged. Everybody is so serious, guys, this is cyclocross. 30 seconds. 15. Whistle.Slick yet tacky. I can't even describe what is happening underneath me. Everybody is cheering, I can see the leaders, and we are back out into grass. I'm passing people through every turn. People are saying my name. I am doing my best to keep the leaders in my sight, but 1 2 and 3 gapped really far in the second or third lap. I would see them when we were riding through the muddy spiral of demolition death, but once we got out into the grass, they were gone. Mitch is handing me bottles as I pass the pit, and a lot of people are yelling for me, so I must be doing pretty good. On the fourth lap, Jen tells me I'm in sixth. Chris (Jensen) and two others are working together to try and catch me, I'm doing the cyclocross time trial trying to catch fifth. I bridge. I gap. Oh my, this is what top five in a B race looks like? whole race is struggling to keep my 5th place seat. With 2 to go, a HUP United rider launches an attack and bridges. He gets a small gap on me, but I bridge back. We are 5 and 6 coming in to the bell lap. Through the grass, I make a pass. I know I have to gap before the straight going back into the derby area, because the singlespeed isn't going to outsprint him. I get into the dirt first, but I can feel him on my wheel as we are coming back down the second straight. He takes the inside through the ruts, and we are wheel to wheel. I have to let him ahead before the next turn so I can try to make my move, he is clearly faster on the straights. Coming though the big puddle and into the last turn, he is one length ahead and I can see him slipping. I stand up and sprint into the last straight. I'm at his saddle. The back of his wheel. I push my bike forward over the line and he gets it by half of a wheel. Such a good race, such a great finish, and he takes the sprint for fifth. I ride out to the water cooler and drink practically a whole bottle right away. The HUP rider was Matt Allyn, and we congratulate each other on a great race.

I clean up a little at the car, take my shoes off and throw on a t-shirt. My bibs are wet, but I am feeding Ben water during his race, so I don't have time to deal with that. We watch the pros and have a good time. Before heading out, we go make one more trip through the fair with the Popper's, Chris Jensen, and a couple of new-found friends. I love this sport. Deedee is finishing her warm up so we wish her luck and I thank her for not lapping the WHOLE field again. Her husband asks me if I am "the guy" from TOMS. (meaning Blake) We talk about the team and the company and give our goodbyes for the next 7 weeks.Its 6:30 and I curse my phone for buzzing to wake me up. It’s raining, again. We were hoping to do an epic mountain, oh well, we cook up a nice breakfast and chat about Scout's Honor coming up in two weeks. Their dad is going to fill in for Bryan, who is still sore from a recent crash. I'm bummed Bryan won't be with us, but its going to be pretty awesome to have their dad burning up the trails with us. Overall, this was an amazing race weekend and my legs felt great. Seven weeks until MAC starts, 8 until MABRA. I'm really excited about the season, and I am helping Mitch pick out races up in PA. I love bikes, and I am so happy to have such an amazing group of people supporting me right now.”

We can’t forget Jen’s little win this weekend! At the ‘Cross race, the organizers offered a Best Wreck Prize. Of course, Jen won! I’ll be posting s photo soon…it’s like a Bike-Slip-And-Slide…glorious!

Ryan is such an asset to this team. I’m very proud and thankful to have him and Jen and, now, Mitch on board! Great people.

Our Tennessee Regional Manager, Matt Googe, competed at the Haw Ridge Mountain Bike Race this past weekend. Matt says that when he pre-rode the course it was in perfect shape and was planning on racing on a geared bike. Following with our theme for the weekend, overnight, the skies opened up and down came the rain…

…much to his delight, Matt had brought his SingleSpeed and apparently so did a lot of other riders because Matt had quite the time handling a stacked field of A,B,C riders in the SingleSpeed category. Judging by the photo above, Matt either likes racing in the mud, or he’s just really stoked that he ended up winning the race! Matt is such a strong rider who has been preoccupied with Law School…it’s a testament to his talent when he can show up after time off the bike and win races like he’s won this year. Congrats Matt!

Down in Miami, Sean O’Neill raced the Miami Masters Rosewood Series Crit in the 1,2,3 category. It was a super fast 1.2 mile loop. There were several attacks before the winning break went up the road, Sean unfortunately wasn’t there when it went. With the breakaway’s teams blocking on the front, Sean matched up with an old teammate and chased down the break, which proved to be too difficult with the other chasers sitting, and staring at each other’s freshly glued carbon tubular wheels!

Sean, being the super nice guy that he is, is always looking out for his buddies in the peleton. With one lap to go, Sean made his best Mark Renshaw impression for his old teammate, pulling him around the course. One by one, Sean nabbed the chasers on his way to delivering his buddy to the line for first place!

Considering, this was one of Sean’s first races since his upgrade…I am very proud of Sean’s slow, but steady performance. Maybe steady isn’t the right word, considering he’s flying around with Cat 1’s and 2’s at 40mph! Great work Sean!