Herbalife24 presented by Marc Pro - Strava

Cycling Team

With a new title sponsor, Herbalife 24, joining the Marc Pro - Strava team for the 2015 season, it was clear we were going to change up the look and branding of the team. Luckily for me I had Nick Shaffner of Orbital Labs on my side, willing and able to take the lead in designing and mocking up the kits.

Nick had a clear vision for the look: 1) a base of green and black to represent H24 and Marc Pro. 2) a colorful strip on the back based off an infographic explaining the products of the H24 line and tying in the colorful bikes from Giant USA. 3) a yellow band on the arm of the jersey to represent Mavic's Classic yellow color and the yellow of our team issue Spy Optic Screw sunglasses. Fourteen iterations later, this design was finalized and approved by all of our team sponsors. The kit you see the riders wearing today was born!

Jakroo Custom Apparel has been a sponsor of the program for 2 years. The company owns every step of its process end to end. Jakroo USA has a base of operations locally here in the Bay Area, in Pleasanton, CA. They entered the cycling space under the Jakroo brand name 5 years ago, although they have been producing and designing custom clothing for 20 years. They have nailed their niche in the market: top quality, low order volume, amazing customer service, and an absolutely incredible turnaround time. The experience I had ordering our team kit exemplifies their smooth operation.

I first sent Michael Hernandez, local NCNCA cycling legend and Director of Sales at Jakroo, the mockup of the kit on January 5th. The very next day, January 6th, he emailed me a link to authorize and finalize our kit designs. Along with this, he sent me codes that would authorize riders to order a specified dollar amount of clothing. The in-house Jakroo designers replicated Nick's vision to perfection, and I was able to approve the design on the first go. As soon as I authorized it, our online store was open (you can still order more kit here: (http://shop.jakroo.com/storefront/Herbalife-MarcPro-Strava-2015). The date was Jan 6th.

I gave riders 4 days to submit their orders. They specified the clothing they wanted, some wanted 3 skin suits, others wanted cold weather riding gear, etc. By letting them choose their own kit allocation, they were able to get exactly what they wanted. They could specify both the size and the fit (Standard or Slim) for each item. To top it off, each rider could customize their kit with their "custom name", an incredibly cool and unique feature giving the kit a personalized feel. Riders entered their code specifying their allotment of kit and could easily order more if they saw fit. Finally, they entered their home shipping addresses. That's right, no sorting out the kit from a big order by hand, making big piles and lots of headaches. The brand new kit would be delivered right to our doorsteps.

The delivery to each riders doorstep happened perfectly. Boxes arrived at their houses on Jan 26. That's right, the kit was produced and delivered 21 days after first contacting Jakroo and 16 days after ordering it. Incredible! And get this, we're able to reorder new kit every two weeks that will be delivered 14 days later at 3-5 piece bulk pricing for a single piece. No more having to reserve a stock of kit for riders that go down, I can always just order more!

Out of the box, the colors really pop. The attention to detail is incredible. Reflective tabs. A zipper pocket on the back. A super quality chamois. A perfect fit. Both myself and my riders couldn't be happier with our Jakroo experience. In summary: just use Jakroo to make your custom team kit. They're the best.

The joke at the start was 'I didn't make the team for Snelling'.  While 9 of my teammates were out in the Central Valley, Ariel and I were in the Central Cold for the UC-Santa Cruz road race.  I'm a graduate student at UCSC and live less than 3 miles from the course so when the roster was being drafted for Snelling, I told our director Phil that I'd already planned on racing at home instead of away.  It's also great to support the collegiate teams and do a race that really is 'just for fun'.

For those who haven't done it, the UCSC road race (or the University Road Race) is a 4.3 km course with roughly 400 ft of elevation gain.  The collegiate version of the race is slightly sorter with 18 laps (for those doing the math, that equates to more than 6,000 feet of climbing).

I went into this race somewhat nervous.  The day before, for the first time this season I wasn't able to do my workout, legs just weren't cooperating I was sucking air like crazy and everything hurt, it was bad.  It put me in a mood all day because I knew that the University race course was not forgiving at all to those kinds of sensations.  I tried to put it out of my mind and I made a mental note for the rest of the season: Take your recovery EXTREMELY seriously.  This time of year I do what's called 'block training' where you string together 3-5 workouts that absolutely crush you, then you recover for a couple days and do it again.  I was foolish and rode too much and too hard on those days and as a result I lost one of my days to fatigue.  I've been racing for 10 years, but still learning.

Anyways, the race.  My plan was to make the first 4 laps super fast, to force the selection, then ease up for a few laps, then make the final laps hard again.  I followed my early plan and rode away from the group with Stefano Profumo, Craig Fellars, Ariel, and a Canadian rider from Alberta (John?).

The 3 of us worked together to gap the field.

The 3 of us worked together to gap the field.

In the final couple laps down to Stefano and me and we traded off pulling up the climb (me) and down the descent (Stefano).  It was especially fun because Stefano is a professor of physics at UCSC and we frequent the same weekday training rides (when I don't have class).

He is incredibly strong and we both had our families cheering on the sidelines.  I was determined not to botch the 2-up sprint and gave it everything I had up the last pitch to the end.

Sprinting for the win, on the hoods.

Sprinting for the win, on the hoods.

It was a super fun race and great training for things to come.

[caption id="attachment_7353" align="aligncenter" width="533"]
First and Second after the race, good times!  THANKS to Tesla Profumo for snapping these pictures!
First and Second after the race, good times!
THANKS to Tesla Profumo for snapping these pictures![/caption]

Thanks for reading see you in March!

"And, your old too!" Phil Mooney yelled while simultaneously showing me his middle finger as he rolled away.

Let me start from the beginning.

After reading some Facebook stuff, I brought it up with Phil after the lunch ride that we had too many people registered at Snelling and we needed fewer. When I was done talking, he said "OK, and.."

Me- "So we should do something about it now!"

P- "OK, your off the team."

Me- "But I'm the face of the team"

P- "No, that would be HD, your too ugly"

Me- "The bad boy of the team?"

P- "Nope that's Kessler"

Me-"The new guy, the dark-horse?"

P- "That would be Sam Cerruti"

Me-"The crazy/weird guy who everyone likes?"

P-"Willie"

Me- "What about that time I sharpened the pencils for the Hotel survey, that's got to count for something!"

P- "Sorry, we need to have less guys at Snelling."

Me-"Fine! I'll go join a team and rival you guys then!" Then Phil flipped me off, said what he had to say and rode off into the sunset.

So, I called Roman and asked about being on Mikes. He told me to meet him by "the duck pond" and hung up. I found a duck pond and waited for several hours, but he never showed. While I was waiting I called AJ Kennedy about getting on Vuluminati. He said I hurt his feelings too much to help me out, and like Roman, he hung up on me.

What to do now?
(adapted from my own blog)

The Folsom Winter Crit has always been a fun race for me. It was my first bike race ever in 2010, and as a Cat 5, I thought that 35 minutes was the hardest thing I had ever done. I got hooked on bike racing at this event, so I always enjoy going back. The sun was out this year, and it was one of the warmest days in February, making for a pretty good turnout and a fun race environment.

First off, I love this photo from the race. (Thanks Alex Chiu!) Hopefully 2015 will see a lot more of this than 2014 did: The grin of Huck Chutcheson  while he attacks as hard as his old bones will let him.

Chuck Smash.

Chuck Smash.

The race started off with a few different breaks, getting away, then coming back, many of which our team was well represented in. I got into a couple of moves myself, but to no avail. Below you can see teammate Nate Freed mixing it up off the front.

IMG_1892-XL

This photo does no justice to the size of Randy's legs. Photo Credit Alex Chiu

I also MUST point out to everyone who has not seen Randy Bramblett of CoreTechs Cycling (Winner of Coppertown Circuit Race 2015) in person yet this season: his legs are massive. I mean massive. These things are swollen. They may even put Garret Hankins' (Team Mike's Bikes) swollen leg syndrome to shame. But that aside, the move pictured above did not stick.

About 35 minutes into the race, a break did seem to be getting away clean. In it, along with a few other teams, were 3 of my Herbalife p/b Marc Pro - Strava teammates: Jared "the Judge" Kessler, Nate Freed, and Jonathan "Teets McGeets" Teeter. Maybe we could call Nate "Nate Dogg"... anyone having suggestions should leave them in the comments section below. The move up the road was one that looked quite promising, and I was looking for any opportunity to get across to it.

Soon enough, I found that opportunity, bridging across with a group of three to join that break at about the 45 minute mark. We now had a break of about 10 riders, and we knew that having 4 guys in it would land most of the work to keep it going on our shoulders. Jared, Nate, and Teeter worked hard to keep the move alive, while everyone in the break also seemed to work pretty cohesively.

Herbalife p/b Marc Pro - Strava riders working together to drive the pace. Photo credit Alex Chiu

Herbalife p/b Marc Pro - Strava riders working together to drive the pace. Photo credit Alex Chiu

Over the next 15 minutes, it became apparent that we would be successful in staying away from the main field. On the final lap, the team worked hard together with their leadout to deliver me to final turn in great position.

Start of the final lap, riding well together. Photo Credit Alex Chiu

Start of the final lap, riding well together. Photo Credit Alex Chiu

Here's a look at the sprint to the finish line:

IMG_2457-XL
Successful teamwork paid off!! Photo Credit Alex Chiu

Successful teamwork paid off!! Photo Credit Alex Chiu

Be sure to take a look at the ride data on Strava using this link: https://www.strava.com/activities/255264736

Thanks for reading!!! - Matt

First weekend of racing for Herbalife p/b Marc Pro – Strava in the books, and I’d say things have started off much better in 2015 than they did last year.  The team rode great and picked up the first win of the year when Matt Chatlaong sprinted to victory in Saturday’s Folsom Winter Crit.

On Sunday we had a little less firepower with just Chuck, Jared and I, but that doesn’t mean we rode conservative and hid in the pack.  If you have never ridden this circuit, I highly recommend you check it out.  It is a simple course on paper, but look deeper and you will see that it is a tactically difficult race to control.  Several races in the past have been won in a myriad of ways, which always makes it exciting to watch and participate.  The course is a roughly 6 mile circuit, and takes you on a small loop through town and an out and back on very smooth rolling pavement, with the finish line about 1k out of town on the way back.

Our race was 90 minutes long and we had about 40 guys line up at the start.  There were a lot of attacks early on that didn’t go anywhere, and after the first 2 laps, Chuck told Jared and me to sit in and follow wheels for a while because everyone was too fresh and the moves weren’t getting away.  I agreed, and with only three of us, I figured following moves was the best way to make sure we didn’t miss anything that had a chance of staying away.  The next couple laps went basically the same with one of the three of us following any attack that went off the front.  At some point, on maybe the fourth or fifth lap, Chuck attacked and got a good gap with a Coretechs rider in tow.  Jared was able to jump across with a Squadra rider and they soon had at least a 10 second gap.  From my position it looked like all four guys were working together, but I’m sure Chuck and Jared did the lion’s share of the work.  At this point I was able to just sit in the pack and let the other teams figure out what they wanted to do.  There was no real chase getting organized, even though no one besides us could have been happy with the move.  They soon increased the gap to about 20 seconds and alarm bells were going off in the pack.  Several guys were combing the group looking for help, some even asked me, to which I responded, “Sure, I’ll chase my own guys down….not.”
16368700058_ea1500287e_o
16530358056_b44f456ea5_o
I thought the break had a real chance to stay away until with about 2 laps to go, I noticed the group up front was down to three.  I could only see one of our guys (Jared), with the Coretechs and Squadra riders.  That meant Chuck was in the lead, on his own.  I don’t think the other two in the break liked their odds against Chuck and Jared and decided not work with them.  Chuck had to make a decision and knowing that he wasn’t going to get much help going forward, he decided going at it alone was the team’s best option.  Not only that, when you have the Giant Propel helping you slice through the wind, going solo doesn’t hurt quite as much it might on another bike.  The pack saw blood in the water and several teams were now taking pulls on the front, especially Randy Bramblett’s full squad of Coretechs riders.  With just under one lap to go, Jared and the other two in the first chase were brought back in the peloton and Chuck was less than 10 seconds ahead.  Chuck saw that he was going to get caught and it looked like he started to conserve.  We hit the 180 degree turn around for the last time, which is at about 3k to go, and I was in position on Bramblett’s wheel.  Jared and Chuck somehow found the energy to stay right up front and neutralized any attacks that were being launched.  At the 1k mark, I was where I needed to be right behind Coretechs, and Chuck was a few riders in front of me.  At about 700m Chuck hit the gas and everyone had to jump.  He took a massive pull for a few hundred meters and I was still in a good spot.  I got kind of pinched at 250m and when Bramblett opened up his sprint at 200m I had to squeeze through a tight gap to stay on his wheel.  I came up alongside Bramblett at 100m but was only able to make up half a bike length at the line.  I didn’t quite have the power to get the win, but was still able to salvage second.  Chuck and Jared rode aggressive, yet smart the whole race and still managed to have some energy to help keep me in good position to have a chance for the win.  I’m sorry I wasn’t able to pull it off, but after such a rough off season with injury, and sickness all of January, I’m happy to be able to compete in February.  Congratulations to Coretechs for getting their first win of the season.  It looks like they are another squad that we will be competing with throughout the year.  I’m happy the 2015 race season is under way, and Herbalife p/b Marc Pro – Strava is going to be ready for any challenges that come our way.
16530337996_a31ce04ed0_o
16530337596_0d7290edb4_o