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Steed Cycles Race Team 2013 – The Introductions

Team Photo

May 19th, 2013

For 2013 Steed Cycles is hitting the dirt and the pavement hard with a roster of racers in multiple disciplines.  Based out of the Steed Cycles World Headquarters right here in North Vancouver, 16 racers will be vying for positions on podiums in different sports.

Without further ado we introduce the Team for 2013.

Kim Steed 
Disciplines: Mountain biking, XC, CX and Road
Chosen Occupation: Business Owner/Store Janitor
2013 Goal: Win the BC Cup CX Masters Championship, Podium in Provincial and National CX race.

Dan Gronross
Disciplines
: Road and CX, with some trail running thrown in for good measure.
Chosen Occupation: Consulting Engineer/Team Manager/Ex-Mtber
2013 Goal: Podium at BC Superweek, Race all BC CX races, podium at a CX Race, get into Cat 2 for road in prep for 2014 goal of racing Gastown Grandprix.

Kelly Jones
Disciplines: CX, mountain biking, trail running and has been known to race a criterium or two.
Chosen Occupation: SMU Pattern Maker at Arc’teryx.
2013 Goal: Top ten in Elite at CX Nationals.

Mike Murphy
Disciplines: trail running, mtb, cyclocross, triathlon.
Chosen Occupation: retired engineer; out of work helicopter pilot; currently a communications network administrator (part time), but more importantly stay-at-home dad.
2013 Goal: strong finish at the Knee Knacker; defend my title at MYM50 (ultra-marathon); not get totally worked over in masters 1/2 in cyclocross.

Justin Mark
Disciplines: XC mountain biking, trail running, cyclocross, road racing, Adventure Racing.
Chosen Occupation: High School Teacher
2013 Goal: There are many:
Beat my PR at Dirty Duo and podium in Solo Catergory
Run Juan de Fuca Trail
Run West Coast Trail
Compete in 3 Island Cup XC Races
Compete in 3 Island Road Races and 1 Grand Fondo
Race “Cross on the Rock” CX Series in Expert category
Beat PR for the Nimby50
Beat PR for Test of Metal
Compete in Cumberland MOMAR and podium

Carey Mark
Disciplines: XC mountain biking, cyclocross, road and triathlon
Chosen Occupation: High school teacher
2013 Goals: BC Bike Race top overall in my category, podium at Island Cup races, repeat first place win in Test of Metal for my category, rank top 5 in the Cross on the Rock CX race series.

Eric “Crampfest” Hung
Disciplines: Road Cat 3/4, XC mtb, Trail running, snowshoeing, Power Yoga.
Chosen Occupation: Investment Adviser
2013 Goal: Stay fit, have fun, spread the good word about biking, fatherhood, build upon last year’s races such as Penticton GF (T-16th), Fraser Valley GF (5th), Whistler GF (7th), Victoria GF (13th), Cypress Challenge (16th), test out the sprint legs in some criteriums.

Rob Mulder
Disciplines
: Track, Crits,Time trial,Mt Bike and Cyclocross National Track Champion in Sprint and endurance ominums 2010, Provincial Crit and time trial past multiple champion.
Chosen Occupation: Carbon fiber manufacturing
Goals: Ride as much as I can so I can eat lots of food and enjoy some fun rides with friends and if I get fit during that I am planning on going to Master track Worlds in the fall.

Ian Hoffman, aka “thehoffmanian”
Disciplines: Road, Cross, and Mtb once in a while
Chosen Occupation: Manager of Creative Services at SUGOI Performance Apparel
Goals:  Same as last year (I am a slow learner – or maybe just slow?) Win a Tuesday-Nighter/CAT 4, Top 10 in provincial Cross – Masters, Podium CAT 4 Cross if I don’t get to CAT 3 – get into CAT 3.

Doug Mulder
Disciplines: Pavement: Road Races, Circuit Races, Time Trials and Stage Races
Chosen Occupation: Letter Carrier! Canada Post
Goals: Top 10 Provincial ITT (Masters) Top 25 Senior Men

Scott McGregor
Disciplines: CX, XC and Road
Chosen Occupation: Environmental Physicist
Goals: Have my best races and results at CX Provincials and Nationals

Erin Redl
Disciplines: Road racing
Chosen Occupation: Bridge Engineer
Goals: Get a podium picture wearing green. Ride aggressively and take some chances during the BC Superweek races.

James Birkenbeul
Disciplines: Cyclocross, Mountian Bike
Chosen Occupation:  Carpenter
Goals: Podium at Cyclocross Provincials (and beat Kim in at least one cross race where it was not due to a mechanical).

Paul Mc Carthy 
Disciplines: XC, Cyclocross and road
Chosen Occupation: Sales Manager at Steed Cycles.
Goal: Mtb: To improve my results and times at Test of Metal, Gear Jammer and Nimby 50. Race the Canada Cup Finals and select rounds. Cyclocross: Compete in Master’s 3-4 Category at start of season and progress into Master’s 1-2 and challenge for podiums.  Road: Try my hand at UBC Crits and some select races if they fit into season.

Steve Savage
Disciplines: Road/MTN
Chosen Occupation: General manager Steed Cycles (it’s a bike shop if you didn’t know…)
Goals: Get out and have fun. Try road racing for the first time. Honestly I don’t have any specific plans for 2013 but I am doing a couple of half marathon road running races as well.

Hunter Lowden
Disciplines: Road
Chosen Occupation: To be discovered
Goals: Move up to cat 3.

Shawn Pettersen
Disciplines: Cyclo-cross, road
Chosen Occupation: Contractor/Plasterer
Goals: 2013 Goal – Main focus will be Cyclo-cross with some road criteriums and road races thrown into the mix.  Want to crack the top 3 after finishing 6th in Masters 1/2 CX.  Also enjoy ride leading for the Shop Rides on Sunday and Wednesdays.

You will find the Team at the UBC Tuesday Nighters, BC Superweek, many of the BC Cup XC Events, Nimby50, Vancouver CX, Island CX, and some running races as well.

Stop by the tent and say hi if you see us.

 

 

 

The Road Travelled Thus Far….

Photo Tim Sherstobitoff

Photo Tim Sherstobitoff

April 18th, 2013

Or in my case, the best laid plans go to waste.

As I type this I had hoped to be packing for the Tour of Walla Walla in the far south east of Washington state.  But instead I am on the mend from a stomach issue that I am told happens to all racers at some point in their lives.  So basically I chalk that up to me being some what pro!  If stomach issues can sideline seasoned pro’s like Tom Boonen, then obviously that puts me up in their ranks.

All joking aside, I had to take the month of April off racing so that I could properly recover after each race.  To some this would be an easy feat, but ask my girlfriend and she will definitely tell you otherwise.  It wasn’t supposed to be like this, I was supposed to be racing and hopefully winning.  I weighted 30 pounds less than I did last year!!!! I mean COME ON!

It’s not about the Bike!

Sure Lance, like anyone would believe you now!  While I do agree that the engine is the most important part of any racer, having it wrapped in a Mclaren GT body sure beats it clothed in a minivan!  That is how I feel about my bike this year.  Somewhere far far away all the stars alined and I ended up with a 2013 Specialized S-Works Venge.  Basically 15.5 lbs of carbon and fun!  Complete with (now outdated) 2013 Sram Red and some super trick 60 mm carbon wheels, the thing looks fast standing still.  I feel sometimes like one of the monkeys that they sent to space before humans.   More detail on the bike in another post.

DSC07974

I did manage to squeak in some races prior to the stomach implosion.  The list includes: Spring Series Races including Aldergrove Short RR, River Road RR and Bradner RR.  I raced Cat B and finished in the top ten of the later two, and the just outside the lead pack in the first one.  The Gorge Roubaix in Oregon and the Spring Series 3 Day Stage Race had to be cancelled due to the stomach issues.  But there was no way that I was going to give up on Barry’s Roubaix and the new Barry’s Roubaix TT.

Did I mention that I actually like climbing.... less and less? Photo Credit Doug Brons

Did I mention that I actually like climbing…. less and less? Photo Credit Doug Brons

The Barry’s Roubaix TT finish was not where I had wanted to be, mainly because I forgot the HR strap and tried to run the course by feel.  At the half way point I knew that a blind rat could have been going faster than I was and my finish was 28th overall I think.  The real prize was on Sunday.  Just like the Professional equivalent, the race was my own personal Hell.   I raced really well, taking the lead on many of the laps, but in the end the cold and the rain got the better of me.  At the corner into the gravel section along the dyke on the second to last lap my left arm froze and I couldn’t move it fast enough to get it off the handlebars.   Then when I stopped I felt as if someone pulled the plug on the heat in my body and it literally “drained” from me and I started to shake and shiver uncontrollably.  My race was over.

Taking the lead on the road. Photo Credit Tim Stobitoff.

Taking the lead on the road. Photo Credit Tim Sherstobitoff.

Outside of riding continuously all winter in the darkest of the dark hours of the night, which in the BC means 4:00 pm, there are a few other steps that I took that have helped immensely over the last few months.   Racing is not easy, and when you have a goal as lofty as mine, serious work has to go into it.  The goal you ask?  Race Gastown GrandPrix in 2014.  Will I get there?  I think so, and it is with the help of the following people and services that have gotten me where I am today.  These may come across as blatant promotion but these things have shaped my life for the better in the last 6 to 8 months

In the middle of the CX season (CX = cyclocross, for those not in the knobby skinny tire know) I got a coach.  I discovered Ben Chaddock years back after completing the Whistler Grand Fondo.  As a resident of Whistler and a professional rider he had been interviewed by Pique Magazine to discuss the explosion of road cycling.  His analogy of coffee to describe the difference between mountain biking and road biking caught my attention and once meeting the guy I knew he was a good fit.  Racing now as part of the Team SmartStop/Mountain Khakis and the 2012 Canadian Criterium Champion, with a history as a ski racer and Cyclocross rider, the guy is a wealth of knowledge and experience.  Many of my successes can be attributed to him talking me through rough experiences.  cyclinginatoque.blogspot.ca  Check him out, he also has a program called B.I.K.E.S which schools children in elementary school on the benefits of cycling.

As part of the of season training every Wednesday night my girl and I headed down to TAG Cycling to have our legs torn off by whomever was the coach Wednesday Night.  I know, I know… spin classes, isn’t that something that women from the 80’s did? Push ups on the bike and bad music?  You see TAG Cycling is different, real cyclists lead the classes and many of the times their workouts are tailored to certain stages of certain races.  Rest assured you will have fun and get a killer workout.  Visit www.tagcycling.com.

Cycling shoe on the left with a custom fit Kintec Orthodic and Moonshoe on the right with an equally custom fit Orthodic. Solid feet mean good cycling and running.

Cycling shoe on the left with a custom fit Kintec Orthodic and Moonshoe on the right with an equally custom fit Orthodic. Solid feet mean good cycling and running.

Running.  Is one word that can instill fear into the hearts and minds of anyone.  Again as part of my off season training the coach had me running.  I hated him and running at the beginning but as it progressed I have actually come to enjoy it.  A fresh pair of new shoes (or moon boots as the guys at the shop call em) and some swank new insoles provided by Kintec and I was out there actually enjoying the forest.  Heck, I even started to wear my Ipod.  Yeah the aesthetics of the shoes leave less to be desired but they don’t hurt my feet.
Check em out www.kintec.net

So there you have it.  My season thus far.  I have signed up for Provincials in Victoria at the beginning of June and have put my name down for ever event the organizers will let a Cat 3 racer participate in for BC Super Week.

There are obviously some more people that I need to thank:

The Girl.  Kelly has seen it all and heard it all.  For being there through this mess, for dealing with my ability to explode and spread my gear every where I go, I am super glad that you have been there.

The man, the myth, the once green haired legend Kim Steed.  For supporting me the Team and me this far, I can’t thank you enough!

Tim Abercrombie, Andrew Pinfold, Dave Vukets, Sherwood Plant, Matt Horland, Brett Wakefield and Kevin Calhoun.  You guys get the brunt of my questions when I don’t like the answer that Kelly gives me regarding gear/training or when she doesn’t know (which is NEVER).  Will be great to head out on the tracks whether it be dirt or pavement with you this year.

In closing, there is one thing that I have learned that when it is all said and done you still have to have fun.  It can’t all be training and worrying about what you are eating or if someone stole your KOM.

Cake

And in my case that means eating a gluten free vegan chocolate cake after a ride. Photo Credit Kelly Jones.

 

 

 

Steed Cycles Team Report – Spring Series RR #1 Aldergrove

Doug Brons Photograpghy

Doug Brons Photography

March 5, 2013

Road racing is like chess at 38 km/hr. And I don’t know how to play chess.

This past Sunday ushered in the start of Escape Velocity’s Annual Spring Series Race Season with the Aldergrove RR in the sticks of the Lower Mainland.

It is still early in the season so only many of the other Steed Cycles Team were still hibernating, washing their hair or getting one of the last fixes of the white stuff. For those that attended, Eric Hung, Kelly Jones (in a supporting role) and I, the sun gods gave the racers an early season gift with nothing but sun. Okay, it wasn’t all perfect solar goodness as there was a stiff side wind blowing from the America’s to the south that left all the racers scrambling for the coveted slipstream.

The course was basically a square with two hills; one right before the finish and one on the opposite side of the course, 5 corners and one long flat section that ran along a 3’ ditch that separates good old Canada from our neighbours to the south.

Racing Category B had Eric Hung, 56 other racers and I doing a full 14 laps around the course. There were so many racers between the categories that the organizers had to ask racers to upgrade to allow for more even categories.

Eric Hung put a great showing in, maintaining his position in the lead pack until he unseasoned legs called in and he pulled out with a few laps to go. Eric doubled his annual mileage with his race so it shows how much training he has done in prep! Solid effort!

Back to the chess analogy. I am still new in the road race world, but after a solid season in cyclocross, and a mediocre lifetime in Dh I have some idea of racing. I know how to play checkers and I can imagine how much there is to learn about chess. Racing is like chess, with the added variable of speed. It is a art that has to be learned by experience. Some strategic errors were made on my part and apparently I spent too much time at the front taking the wind. I finished somewhere in the top 20 and am happy with that. Racing is learning and takes time.

Special thanks to Escape Velocity for continuing on with the Spring Series. Based on the numbers that raced on Sunday we are coming into a solid season of well supported racing.

This Saturday finds everyone at the River Road Race on and for the hearty bunch a double bill at the Armstrong Road Race.

Pre-registration is recommended and can be found at www.escapevelocity.bc.ca

Not From Around These Parts

In an endeavor to further my racing abilities in my newly minted “Favorite Sport Ever”, I ventured across the Georgia Straight two weeks ago and into the American wilderness to race this past weekend.

Cross on the Rock (Vancouver Island is the rock) is one of the best organized series out there.  Seeing what we have on the mainland (don’t get me wrong it is good) and comparing it to the COTR series isn’t fair.  It was explained to me by one of the locals that the fact that you had to take a ferry off the island kept all the crazies there.  Judging by the community that was there I could try and explain it better but it is not worth the virtual ink.

Kelly and I headed over to a buddies house in Brentwood Bay late Saturday night after the first BC Cup in Abottsford so we could be at Gorge Park in the morning to prep for the race.

Photo-Steve Pukesh

As this is my first year of racing I am a Cat4 Masters, or that is what my licence says on it.  I walked up to the registration and filled in my name under Masters.  Controversy was brewing without me knowing because as it turns out the Masters field on the Island is 40 plus.  At the ripe old age of 33, that gave me 7 years on the youngest guys in the field.  The race started and I powered through, sitting at the front of the pack the entire race.  I crashed once, wiping out in some tall grass.  I got up, looked around and again there was no one there.  Luck?  Brute strength?  The next Tim Johnson?  Obviously I was beyond happy.

Photo-Steve Pukesh

It was only after they had assembled the results that it was discovered that I was a baby to the field so my points didn’t count.  They gave me the win because they are nice people, but I was told that next time I race there it has to be in Expert.

Needless to say my first experience on the Island was amazing.  The course was killer, the people were great and for a smallish event it was world class.  If you have a chance get over to the Island for one of these races, you will not regret the ferry trip. (Okay you might, but the memories from the event will make the ferry more than tolerable.)

So I was a sandbagger.  I had to whikipedia the meaning behind it and this is what it means:

Sandbagging: deliberately qualifying slower than what the individual can actually perform.

So actually, as it was unintentional, I am free and clear on all charges.  Next time I will read the categories better.

Photo-Steve Pukesh

Next on the list was an MFG race.  These guys are the pros and the race this past Sunday illustrated it well.  Amazing course, amazing vibe, amazing people, the race was top notch.  In an attempt to trump any thoughts of possible sandbagging I registered in Cat 3.  I read the rules and the series is self-seeding and it noted that sandbagging wouldn`t be tolerated.  Sounded scary so I upped my cat by one!

I will admit to being a bit freaked as this was my first big time race.  So I ate well, and prepped well, but my worry had kept me up the night before so I was a bit tired.  I worked on warming up and then headed to the start for the race.  With true Gronross Family luck I ended up at the back between the call-ups and last number call-ups.

But when the horn went I was off, head down, full tilt, and all pistons firing.  I did discover that one of my downfalls is my inability to run in the sand.  There was an 80 meter stretch of sandy beach and due to the large number of racers riding through it was not an option.  I lost a tone of speed there and people passed me like I was walking backwards.

In the end I came in a solid 19th of 58 other racers.  Not what I was hoping for, but great result none the less.

This weekend you will find me attempting my luck at the New Brighton BC Cup on Saturday followed up Sunday with the Vanier Cup BC Cup.  Swing by and see the kids race!

 

Cross it off

The “to-do” list!  I did my first cyclo-cross race and much to my surprise I actually did quite well.  I had worked a plan with old man Kim Steed that I would lead him out and then fake a mechanic al giving him the lead, but for two reasons this didn’t happen.  One, we started at separate times and most importantly I pulled the ever popular “Tail Gunner Gronross” routine.  Between call ups and my talking to a friend at the start line I completely missed my opportunity to jump up and be where I had been warned I needed to be; at the front of the line.  The first few laps were ugly and I reserved myself to a bottom of the pack finish.  On one of the laps cyclo-cross machine Kevin Noiles even reminded me that with the wheels I was rolling with I should probably run up the hill, not walk with a brisk pace as I was doing; okay I was walking.

Mid race all I could do was use my strength and power through the flats.  Each lap I passed more and more racers, coming into the finish after the bell lap, without any idea where I was.  I was finally rewarded with the knowledge that I had actually came in 3rd.  Pretty excited to say the least.

Railing the dusty corner in the +20 heated cyclocross race! Photo: Steve Pukesh

But I have set that bar high and now I have to follow up at Abbotsford this weekend.  Will see what I can pull out of the rabbit’s hat this weekend.

2012 has been a world of change for me.  New friends, new sports and I have even gone so far as to get a coach to help me with the prep for CX and next year’s road race season.  Short, dark winter days will find me out there slugging through the routine.  Why you might ask?   I have never done anything like this in my life but have quietly always wanted to.

Where will this take me?  I have no idea, but after this past summer, the challenges fun and yes, even the pain, I am hooked.  I know that I can do better, and I am willing for the first time to take the steps required to get there.

Thanks to Kelly, Kim, Tim, Scott and everyone else that has given me advice on this journey.