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To be a good cyclist takes a few certain innate personality traits—determination, perseverance, drive, and a willingness to endure much physical and mental
pain. To be a great cyclist, one must have all of the qualities above, as well as an intense curiosity. A great cyclist always asks, “What can I do better and how can I do it better?” Great cyclists scour their training and race data, as well as the latest books, magazines, and forums for answers that lead toreal, visible results: a podium finish, a personal best, or a qualifying time. For a lucky few, this tactic works. But for most of us mere mortals, an extra ingredient is needed. Like Richard La China (detailed below) figured out, a Cycling Coach is the missing key and can provide the great, curious cyclist the springboard for success.
Richard La China started mountain bike racing as a junior. He was great a rider whose natural talent and ever-present drive to improve led him to race in the expert category by his early twenties. Richard was having a great time racing but at some point, like many of us, Richard decided to take some time off to focus on other things in life. That time off turned into 13 years off the bike.
In 2008, Richard decided it was time to return to cycling. He re-kindled his passion (and his fitness) beginning with a cross bike and later transitioning back to a mountain bike. In 2010 Richard entered the Rim Nordic Series as a Clydesdale and had a very competitive comeback, culminating with a 1st place overall in the series for his class.
Richard attempted to continue riding this wave of success the following race year, but found it difficult to compete in a new category—a 45 day European cycling trip resulted in a 30 pound weight loss, thus rendering him ineligible to compete in the Clydesdale class. Richard spent hours reading every bicycle magazine, blog, and training bible, trying to come up with a plan that would take him back to the podium, but nothing seemed to be working. Finally, with three races left to go in the year’s US Cup Series, Richard decided that he couldn’t do it on his own, so he hired a Cycling coach.
Coach Jesse Eisner proved to be that elusive, missing link for Richard. Jesse helped him focus his race tactics, pacing strategies,
and develop his top end speed. By the end of the US Cup series, Richard had moved up rapidly and finished off his season with a win in the Rim Nordic stage race, as well as the 1st place overall Rim Nordic series.
Richard and his coach have worked hard to address his weaknesses and all of that hard work has paid off.
“Richard La China is a dedicated and disciplined cyclist. He is eager to learn and always looking for feedback. He takes his training and racing seriously and it shows in his performance.” ~Jesse Eisner
More information about Richard La China (LaChina) can be found at http://richardlachina.wordpress.com
About Jesse Eisner:
Jesse is a USA Cycling certified coach, and a cat 3 racer. He has also coached collegiate and elite cycling teams, and works with cyclists ranging from weekend warriors to beginners and professionals racers across multiple disciplines.
If you are ready to work hard and need a coach to help guide you, encourage you, and help you reach your goals, we know that we can help you.
You can read about Jesse and the other Crank Cycling coaches at http://www.crankcycling.com
Rim Nordic has always been one of my favorite places to race. I raced there the first time in 1995, right after moving to California. And while I have
come and gone and come again to the mountain bike racing scene over the years, when I am racing, I know for sure that Rim Nordic will be a great experience. Bev and her team have been terrific and I am fortunate and grateful to have such top-notch race organization so close to home.
So, just a quick re-cap on the race. The day prior to the XC, I raced the Super-D and ended up with the third fastest time overall. I am relativity happy with my result as Derek Hermon (Pro) had the number 1 time and Michal Page (my super-d arch enemy/friend) had the number 2 spot.
I was trying out a new set of carbon Roval wheels and for whatever reason just didn’t feel as confident on them as my non-carbon (1.5lb heavier) set. No worries though, I quickly overcame that confidence issue when it came to the XC race on Sunday. These wheels are freaking in-cred-i-ble — Justin Mann (RnR / Sho-Air) said it best when he called them ‘cheater wheels’. Hah!!
Ok, so onward to the XC race. I wasn’t sure what kind of turnout to expect as in previous year the Autumn Cup had a smaller showing. Not this year however — it felt like a regular series race and many of the usual contenders. I did my usual warm up in the Snow Valley parking lot and rolled up to the staging area a couple of minutes prior to the start. I thought I might have the race in the bag until Derek Oldfield (Acqua Al 2/SDBC) and Kermit McGovern (Celo Pacific) rolled up next to me. As this was the last race at Rim Nordic for the season, I intended to give it everything I had – I was glad to have some horse-power to battle with and to keep me motivated.
At the start the pack slowly rolled off the line and I peddled easy waiting for someone to come around to set the pace for the 1st climb. Derek came around and I latched on to his wheel and Kermit latched on to mine. About 3/4 of the way up the 1st climb Kermit said we had made a small gap on the rest of the riders. The three of us pushed on at a moderate / strong pace towards the top of the climb at the fire road. Kermit had fallen back just a little by the time we reached the top.
Just before the gate, Derek’s chain was making a ton of noise and he jumped off his bike to address the issue. I road by him to the water station and brought my pace down waiting for him to catch back up. Maybe this was a bad idea because as soon as I let off the gas my right calf started cramping. Out of no-where Kermit is back on my wheel, he said Derek was back on his bike. At this point waiting for Derek was over, I manged to work through the cramping leg and Kermit and I picked things back up for a fast (and super fun) descent. I seemed to be pulling away from Kermit on the fireroad climbs back towards the start line and he seemed to be gaining on me on the descents.
I rolled across the start/finish line and didn’t see Kermit behind me anymore. I let off the gas again in preparation for the up-coming climb on lap 2. Just as I got to the climb I saw Kermit coming around the corner through the trees — maybe 45 seconds behind me. I hammered up the climb and worked hard to create a good size gap as I knew he’d be able to catch me again on the descents. This is where I discovered my ‘ugly face’, I am not sure what came over me but I am super glad there weren’t any photographers around. As drool came out of my mouth and somehow connected to my nose, I almost uncontrollably made this deep grunting sound like I was turning in the Incedible Hulk or something, only I didn’t turn green or get any faster. Anyway…
Every time I looked back I could see Kermit coming for me — more power, bigger gear, push .. he was relentless!
Made it to the fire road and gave it absolutely everything I had — I felt like I had the power left in me to bring home the win; I just needed to ride smart, keep the power on and get it done. Smokin’ down the single track, the fastest I’ve ever ridden it. Whew! Damn hardtail — I could just picture Kermit floating over everything with full suspension and I could hear him gaining on me. When I got to the last fire-road climb I got out the saddle and rode with ugly face all the way to the finish. Whew! I got it! First XC win of the entire season!
What a race — Kermit finished 35 seconds behind me (well done sir!). Derek ended up making some ground and then broke his chain (repaired it) and still finished #5.
It was another Epic race at Rim Noridc – looking forward to 2012. Special thanks to Sho-Air, Rock N’ Road Cyclery, Specialized (all our team sponsors) and Team Velosport for all the support this year. And of course to Jesse Eisner (Best Coach Ever!) and Crank Cycling.
One race left for 2012 — Specialized State Championships October 2! Sooo ready to end this year strong.. :)
For a father, although there is no difference in the amount of love that he has for a daughter or a son, there does exist something that makes the father-daughter relationship very special. I think the “special-ness” is a result of how difficult it is to cultivate that tight bond, one that seems so natural between a mother and her daughter.
I can attest to this because of my experience with my daughter, Paige.
Like most little girls her age, Paige had always been closer with her mom, and did not really understand, or take much interest in, the sweat, dirt, and competitive vibes that so dominate my mountain bike world. However, all of that changed this past summer after Paige learned how to ride her bike and competed in her first race……
It was a beautiful summer morning, and Paige, then 5 years old, had accompanied me to a Racers and Chasers race in San Diego, California. I brought Paige’s bike–a customized baby pink bike she helped me build with spare parts– with us thinking she might want to practice riding around a little while I was getting ready for my race. My friend, Stephen (a former Canadian pro rider), and I had taught her how to ride her bike a few weeks prior. Like a true athlete with previously untapped potential, she learned quickly. After only two and a half hours in Balboa Park, she was riding her pink bike (without training wheels!) like a young Lea Davison.
Because her skills were so new, I didn’t expect Paige to want to race that day. However, as soon as we got to the event, I noticed Paige checking out all the bikes buzzing around the staging area. She must have felt that exciting, competitive intensity that vibrates the air at MTB races because then, out of the blue, Paige told me she wanted to race.
At the staging area for the kids race I asked her one last time, ‘Are you sure you want to race?’ Wearing her new helmet, gloves, and a huge smile she said without any hesitation at all, ‘Yes! I want to race, Dad!’
She lined up, the raced started and she was off — with a look of pure determination, she pedaled as hard and fast as she could. Paige seemed to have it all under control until she got to a grass section of the course. Paige was slowing down — I ran over to her and jogged beside her as she worked hard to keep her cadence up.
I could see she was getting tired and just about to cry, I told her ‘Pedal baby, keep pedaling — you can do it!’ Right then, something came over her, I could see drive, passion and fire in her eyes… She stood up on her pedals and hammered to the finish line.
Although she didn’t win the race that day, she gave it her all and I couldn’t be more proud. Not only did she show great physical strength, but she also proved that she had great mental toughness, fortitude, and self-confidence, all of which are qualities that will help her achieve success in all aspects of life.
Since then, she’s raced a few more times. She’s had her ups and downs, from beating all the boys to having her chain fall off and not being able to finish the race, but she continues to love it. She loves riding and racing, and the best part is that she loves riding and racing with me..
“A daughter can outgrow your lap, but she can never outgrow your heart.”
Thanks for reading…
Richard La China
A quick recap about my race at the Rim Nordic series final this past weekend..
I started strong with my teammate Moises Molina (Team Velosport / Sho-Air) — we left the start in 4 and 5th position (I was in 4th). As we go to the 1st climb, I was passed by another rider, moving me to 5th. Then Moises passed me, I rode his wheel up 1/2 of the climb and all of sudden he went hard right to avoid hitting a rider in the middle of the climb with a mechanical issue.
I was not as lucky as Moises (or as good of a rider) and I was unable to get around and almost hit the disabled rider. I scrambled and got going again and pushed my way around several riders that had just passed me.
I worked my way back up to having Moises back in sight — he had moved up to position 3 or 4 at this point. I kept pushing and saw Jeff Lewis (was leading from the start, great rider) was down, crashed hard, broken saddle (among other things). This put me in #5 (or so), still pushing to catch up with Moises — he and the other race leaders were in site (but still far away) on the top part of the course.
Quick note, myself, Jeff Lewis and Adam Mccamish were tied for first for the overall series at Rim Nordic. This race was the deciding factor.
I kept the power on and reached the descent. I know I am fast here (I won the Super D the day prior on this part of the XC course) so I pulled out all the stops and hammered down the single track and then.. BAMM, Flat tire!!!! I hit a rock hard and completely blew out the tire.
I was riding a tubeless tires with a tube in it. I know, know.. that’s what I get for being lazy. This was the same tire that flatted the day prior on my pre-ride recon prior to the super-d. I choose to ride it in this race with the tube because it did fine the day prior on the super d. Typically I would never run a tube in a tire in an XC race (pinch flats). Lesson learned.
It took me almost 10 mins to get this tire repaired (nightmare). I got it to the point is was ridable and rode it back to my truck to put some more air in it. Aired it up and jumped back on the bike — riding through the parking lot a spectator walked in front of my as I was headed for the track entrance. I grabbed the brakes to avoid hitting them and ended up crashing right there — in the parking lot, ug.
At this point, I had nothing left in me. Regardless I got back on the track and worked my way back up for an 11th place finish. Jeff (broken saddle guy), also stopped and taped his saddle – he finished 8th (3rd overall for the series).
Moises Molina finished 1st, Adam Mccamish finished 2nd for the race. Although this race was a bummer, I managed to finish 2nd overall for the series (CAT 35-39). Great race regardless, I am lucky to have these experiences — can’t wait for the next one.