Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Wheelmen Rider Spotlight #10: Adam O'Camb

Although it has become a less frequent segment, in an attempt to become well acquainted with the 2014-15 Cal Poly San Luis Obispo Wheelmen community, Adam O'Camb marks the tenth rider spotlight. The following information was provided as a set list of questions that O'Camb swiftly answered. All responses are unedited.
Adam O'Camb. Credit: Adam O'Camb's Facebook profile. 
How long have you been a member of the Cal Poly San Luis Obispo Wheelmen or Wheelwomen?
3 years

What is your favorite part of the Wheelmen and cycling, in general?
The camaraderie of riding and racing with a team. And sometimes I also enjoy getting rad.

What cycling disciplines are you involved with?
Road and mountain

Adam O'Camb. Credit: Adam O'Camb's Facebook profile. 
Please describe your favorite San Luis Obispo ride.
I like going out to Avila via Perfumo and See Canyon.

What are you interested in accomplishing, with the Wheelmen, throughout 2014 and 2015?
Having fun and riding a bunch

What are you studying at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo?
Mechanical Engineering

What is your favorite genre of music and your favorite song?
I don’t think I can pin that down very well, but alternative is what I listen to the most. A song that I really like is “American Pie” by Don McLean.

Do you prefer “SLO Donut Company” or “Old West Cinnamon Rolls”?
Old West Cinnamon Rolls

Please provide us with one interesting fact about yourself.
I competed in Taekwondo for like 4 years before I started cycling.

Aside from cycling and education, what occupies your time?
I’m an engineer so nothing. But actually I rock climb and backpack a bit.

Be sure to examine the Cal Poly Wheelmen website and the Cal Poly Wheelmen Facebook page, for our most recent news! Thank you for reading.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Thereabouts #1: Depicting The Journey

While Lachlan Morton, of Jelly Belly Cycling, has drastically experienced both rises and falls in the sport of professional cycling, the bicycle is more than a tool for racing.

Captured in Thereabouts #1, Lachlan Morton and brother Angus (Gus) Morton rekindle a passion for cycling.

"Bike racing... there's a lot of hate about it. It's just, it's the necessary evil to be able to ride your bike every day. I love the simple idea of riding. My feelings for that and my need for that are great enough that I deal with all the shit. That's how I justify it." -Lachlan Morton

The mellow Lachlan Morton. Credit: Lachlan Morton's Facebook profile. 
Viewing this documentary and speaking with family members motivated me to reflect on personal experiences within cycling and racing. 

As a child, partaking in a variety of athletic endeavors never caused me to fully realize the power of pedaling. Basketball, baseball, cross-country running, and swimming consistently made the weekend calendar, at various points in the year. 

However, once high school rolled around, cycling began to encapsulate my life. 

Between an interest in both road riding and mountain bike riding, I had plenty of routes, races, and footage to keep me occupied. 

When I was not riding a bicycle, reading in-depth cycling articles or viewing intriguing race footage was taking place.

The simple thought of cycling and adventure has motivated me, since my early high school days. 

During high school, I began to heavily compete in multiple cycling disciplines. Mountain biking attracted my attention, through the National Interscholastic Cycling Association (NICA) and the SoCal High School Cycling League. Soon, road racing began to fill free weekends.

As a junior in high school, I began working with cycling coaches and more structured training plans, but only for a short period of time.  

After upgrading to a Category 3 road cyclist, I had the opportunity to spend two months of summer vacation, between my senior year of high school and my first year of university, in Belgium. While in Belgium, I competed in kermesse racing and stage racing, with Team Rokform Junior Development and the Belgian-based JBC Cycling. 

In 2014, between February and August, I competed in 37 races. For me, 37 separate races was by no means an overload. However, I learned quickly that travel and unfortunate crashes quickly remind a cyclist that health is paramount, luck is essential, and invincibility is bogus. 

While in Belgium, reflection occurred often. 

In the past year, I have realized that cycling is more than a weekend competition or lonely training. 

For me, cycling is about adventure, nature, enjoyment, social stimulation and, at times, a mental/physical escape. Adventure, in Thereabouts #1, is a positive stimulus and a necessary escape.

I have to come to realize that competing provides the ability to find a new limit or break a previous boundary, without becoming disappointed and overcome with stress.  

At the end of the day, amateur cyclists possess varying goals and understandings of the sport. However, lightening up and enjoying the ride increases passion and a consistent love for cycling. 

Thereabouts #1 allowed me to find my niche in cycling and a deeper purpose. Now, I recommend that you do the same. 

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Wheelmen Rider Spotlight #9: Anthony Fryer

Anthony Fryer leading the charge. Credit: Anthony Fryer's Facebook profile. 
Although it has become a less frequent segment, in an attempt to become well acquainted with the 2014-15 Cal Poly San Luis Obispo Wheelmen community, Anthony Fryer marks the ninth rider spotlight. The following information was provided as a set list of questions that Fryer thoroughly answered. Be sure to check out some rad music suggestions. All responses are unedited.

How long have you been a member of the Cal Poly San Luis Obispo Wheelmen or Wheelwomen?
This is my third year as a Wheelmen, and my first on the officer core.  I’ve tried running for Women’s / Wheelwomen social coordinator but never get voted in. 

What is your favorite part of the Wheelmen and cycling, in general?
Cycling is the best therapy, but being on the wheelmen is even better.  Riding with likeminded individuals, training and racing together can create great memories and bonds. 

What cycling disciplines are you involved with?
Anything in spandex. 

Please describe your favorite San Luis Obispo ride.
A south county loop that includes a stop at Old West Cinnamon Rolls or the beach and ends with a rip down Prefumo Canyon. 

What are you interested in accomplishing, with the Wheelmen, throughout 2014 and 2015?
Creating a more social club atmosphere while also traveling and racing the WCCC calendar. 

What are you studying at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo?
Mechanical Engineering. 

What is your favorite genre of music and your favorite song?
90’s Hip Hop, but I appreciate anything funky.  Favorite song is “It Wasn’t Me” by Shaggy, ‘cause if you can’t groove to that there’s something wrong with you.  

Do you prefer “SLO Donut Company” or “Old West Cinnamon Rolls”?
Back when I was trying to pick a school, my Dad took me to Old West.  Now I’m here at Cal Poly, so I guess you could say I really really like Old West. 

Please provide us with one interesting fact about yourself.
I did a triathlon in a speedo one time.  Thankfully my triathletitis didn’t develop into a serious issue. 

Aside from cycling and education, what occupies your time?
Kids are able to do stuff other than ride and school? But I do like an occasional yoga class.

Be sure to examine the Cal Poly Wheelmen website, for recent news, and the Cal Poly Wheelmen Facebook page! Thank you for reading.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Race Report: Chuck Pontius Road Race, Spring Classic Grand Prix

In an action-packed weekend, which was full of adventures, both the Chuck Pontius Road Race and the Spring Classic Grand Prix proved to be worthwhile competitions.

In short, the Chuck Pontius Road Race was based in Castaic, Calif. and it played host to the elite road race state championships.

Unfortunately, my outing was not superior. While I felt comfortable on rolling sections, of the course, and pure climbs, I did not have the sheer confidence to blast down unknown descents.

After resembling Thibaut Pinot more than Vincenzo Nibali, in my descending, I managed to complete a startling Saturday of road racing.

For Sunday, I attended the Spring Classic Grand Prix in Ontario, Calif., with numerous Team Rokform teammates.

Junior racers, of Team Rokform, blasted the morning races with multiple victories.

I managed to arrive in the early afternoon for the Category 3 criterium. It was a joy to race with a plethora of Team Rokform teammates, especially Kendal James. While he typically resides in North Carolina, James has been located in Southern California for the racing season. Throughout this past summer, we shared the privilege of competing on Belgian soil together.

Throughout the Category 3 criterium, Team Rokform members launched an onslaught of consistent attacks. As one move was captured, another managed to form quickly.

Unfortunately, no heroic breakaway managed to succeed. However, Team Rokform did place James in the top-three positions, for an inspirational finish.

While this past weekend of road racing did not recognize any personal records or outstanding feats, it was a pleasure to represent Team Rokform and its consistent sponsors.

Garmin (@Garmin) devices captured ride files for both the Saturday and Sunday competitions. GU Energy (@GUEnergyLabs) provided ridiculous race fuel, in the form of hydration drink mix, drink tabs, energy gels, and Roctane energy gels. DeFeet (@DeFeet) base layers and socks managed to keep me feeling stellar.

While Team Rokform is blessed to work with many sponsors, Garmin, GU Energy Labs, and DeFeet were my big hitters this past weekend.

Thank you to the many supporters and sponsors of Team Rokform, which encourage youth cycling development.

Until next time, "show a lot less hate and a lot more love."

Friday, March 13, 2015

San Luis Obispo Cycling Explorations Blog

Check out my last few months of blogging, through a Cal Poly San Luis Obispo multimedia journalism course.

My WordPress blog, San Luis Obispo Cycling Explorations, reflected the San Luis Obispo cycling community.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Race Report: Bantam Classic

To begin, I am extremely fortunate and thankful to have spent the past weekend in Northern California, with Yuri and Vanessa Hauswald. However, I did not fully realize the extent of sweet activities that would be rapidly occurring.

The Bantam Classic is a local race to Petaluma, Calif. that is in its third year.

Bantam Classic branded shirts were in high demand. 
Leading up to the event, it was intriguing to notice the vast amount of preparation that a race promoter is responsible for accomplishing.

On Friday, March 6, Yuri was consistently checking off the final necessities. I was fortunate enough to drive the full course with Yuri, for a few course markings, to give me a complete understanding of race affairs.

In addition to pre-riding a majority of the course on Thursday, March 5 and Friday, March 6, I was dialed for a Bantam Classic.

On the evening of Friday, March 6, Yuri, Vanessa, and I managed to knock out final administrative tasks.

Primed Marin and Specialized bicycles. 
On the morning of Saturday, March 7, I was eager to take part in the third annual Bantam Classic.

Yuri and I wore GU branded "toques" on a chilly morning. 
Along with a collection of upbeat Northern California cyclists, numerous high profile professional cyclists attended the event.

The masses were assembling early. 
As the full collection of Bantam Classic attendees neutrally rode to the official start location, I was certainly starstruck.

I rolled out behind Geoff Kabush. Kabush is a multi-time Canadian national champion, in both the mountain and cyclocross disciplines. He has also won the U.S. National cross-country and short track cross-country series multiple times, while being a three-time Olympian.

I spoke with Katerina Nash. Nash is a four-time Olympian and winner of both cross-country and cyclocross World Cup events, along with being a Czechoslovakian National Champion.

Levi Leipheimer was on my wheel. Leipheimer is a former professional road cyclist, who has won U.S. National Championship events, claimed Olympic medals, won a variety of stage races, and placed top-five in both the Giro d'Italia and Vuelta a Espana.

Alison Tetrick and Barry Wicks were also in attendance.

After accepting the impressive company that surrounded me, it was time to mentally prepare for a challenging event.

The Bantam Classic is modeled after a Belgian classic, with punchy climbing, sharp descents, and the worst roads that Sonoma County has to offer.

After the first two climbs, a select group of about 20 cyclists had formed, with some riders dwindling off the front. At times, the group was strung out, with one or two riders escaping. I was reminded of my Belgian racing experience this past summer.

By now, I was very comfortable and settling in well. Both GU Electrolyte Brew drink mix and GU Energy Gels kept me well nourished and free of issues, throughout the morning.

GU Energy Labs generously provided race nutrition. 
With a majority of the course accomplished, I was preparing to enter my fox hole and bear down, as Yuri and I discussed on the road.

Levi Leipheimer was solo and he would eventually win. A limited group was second on the road. I was placed in a third group, with approximately fifteen riders.

The finish took place on one final kicker, which numerous riders mistimed. Fortunately, Yuri and I possessed inside knowledge and we went late, to finish in the front of our group. I finished ninth and Yuri took 10th, for a rad day on the road!

After processing the conflicting measures of sheer enjoyment and fatigue, I rolled back to Lagunitas Brewing Company, for the after-party.

Lagunitas Brewing Company was a popping location. 
The post-race celebration was a time of reflection, good eats, and good people. No alcohol for me! I was excited to speak with Katerina Nash, Geoff Kabush, and Alison Tetrick, for extended periods of time, along with Brian Vaughan, who is the Co-Founder/CEO of GU Energy Labs.

Katerina Nash could not be more friendly.
With a full day of bicycles in the books, Yuri, Vanessa, and I cruised home, before enjoying an outstanding evening of pizza and rest. Booyah!

Overall, Northern California does racing right and I had an absolutely amazing weekend!

Wheelmen Report: February Strava Champions Crowned

At its Wednesday evening meeting, the Cal Poly San Luis Obispo Wheelmen cycling team crowned its February Strava champions.

David Waples and Julia Mace were the official champions, for the male and female categories.

Jonathan Schmidt (left) and Christopher Ha (right).

Amanda Strand (left) and Madison Giger (right). 
Adam O'Camb and Kyle Huerman conquered the two targeted Strava segments, for the month of February. O'Camb claimed the "Prefumo Canyon" climb, while Huerman took the "Farm to TV Tower Road" segment.
Adam O'Camb. 
During the month of February, the Wheelmen totaled impressive ride statistics, as a collective unit.
Cal Poly Wheelmen team statistics. 
Strava generously provided prizes, for the competition.

The Wheelmen Strava challenge is a new concept for the 2014-15 academic school year. It encourages cycling, both on a social and competitive basis.

Riders were awarded points for ride time, group riding, and racing. Both group riding and racing provided extra points.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Race Report: Kenda Cup West, Vail Lake

Was the Kenda Cup West, Vail Lake event technically a race? Yes. However, was the competition truly a mere matter of survival? Absolutely.

On the gloomy morning of Sunday, March 1, my father and I took part in the craziness that was the first round of another Kenda Cup West series.

Upon arriving at the venue, torrential rain had captured Vail Lake and its promising miles of flowing mountain bike trails.

However, a full day of racing was still scheduled and 44 miles of an epic adventure took place.

The Vail Lake venue promised six laps, for a total of 44 miles. Over the 44 miles, 5,346 feet of climbing took place.

The tale of the day did not revolve around distance, elevation gain, or race time.

At this event, all competitors who managed to cross the finish line accomplished a massive feat.

For me, this happened to be one of the most disheartening days on a bicycle. Aside from spending a Sunday with my father, I was not having much fun.

After competing with Saint Francis High School, in the SoCal High School Mountain Bike League, which is a subsidiary of the National Interscholastic Cycling Association (NICA), I had been instructed to never quit.

I had to consistently move forward and make progress, in order to eventually complete an event that provided ridiculous amounts of rain, mud, and running sections.

As I am reflecting on this past weekend, I still do not understand my rationale behind competing. I do know that a true adventure occurred.

Unfortunately, few to no pictures documented my experience, as an array of external factors provided me with plenty to balance.

Philip Beckman, a legendary photographer, managed to document a sequence of my father and me.

Overall, after crossing the finish line, I was faced with an extended process of recovery and cleaning. Ultimately, my father majestically managed a majority of the burden. Thank you pops!

I now realize that this past Sunday was a brutal event. From the environmental conditions to unfortunate mechanical incidents, which caused me to run the last three race miles, it was a wild ride.

However, this past Sunday was an experience that is minimal, when compared with a larger picture and international events. It is necessary to keep moments in perspective. I do know that I am fortunate to pedal my bicycle, alongside my father, with the support of my outstanding family.

At the Kenda Cup West, Vail Lake endurance mountain bike event, I managed to win my 19-29 age category. However, although it may sound cliche, on this day everyone was a winner.

Until next time, keep moving forward.