Seth Davidson, bike advocate, bike racer, bike lawyer, bike racing/team sponsor, creator of the South Bay Cycling Awards, producer of the Cycling in the South Bay Network, and self-described “Wanker,” was kind enough to help write our team bios.
Subscribe to Seth's blog at: https://pvcycling.wordpress.com
Subaru Santa Monica Racing is proud to introduce the following riders for 2019:
Alex is easily one of the strongest and most talented young riders on our team. We only slightly hold it against him that he went to Oxford and speaks funny. Alex quickly moved up through the ranks with a minimum of skin loss and is now an elite road racer. As one of the first Brexit exports, we’re glad to have picked him up at a bargain contract price that included some fish, some chips, and a few crates of musty old 18th Century British novels. Alex is powerful on the climbs, and also has the ability to put down power on the flats. Alex is a core rider in the 1/2 elite squad, and we’re looking forward to great results from him after we hire a team interpreter who can translate his English into English. Barnes, in his second year with the team, has consistently shown an amazing refusal to quit even when it’s clearly the most sensible thing to do, as if there were anything sensible in cycling. Alex loves to hog the front almost as much as he loves to insert his face into yawning vats of peanut butter, although at 60kg they are obviously mini-vats. Alex is on the bike race Kool-Aid because it provides unlimited opportunity to push to the limit and then keep going, while crushing the egos and carefully laid plans of others whenever possible. Alex’s main contribution to the squad was falsely claiming to be a social media magician with millions of followers who would get unlimited exposure for sponsors.
Raised on the mean streets of Orange County, CA, Dan has traded in his days as a member of the local SAT gang for membership with the rough but hopefully not tumbling too much Subaru Santa Monica Racing. With a year of racing under his belt, and thrice as many years posing, Dan is particularly strong on climbs, rollers, and anything requiring excessive grit. His main weaknesses are tendons. Among his notable wins, by far his biggest “close” was marrying his awesome wife. Dan is gregarious and hard-working, and has definite opinions about riding in the rain and its concomitant coefficients of friction. Dan brings the team huge amounts of positivity and computer coding skills (ask Chad for details), so don’t leave your FB account open while he’s around. Dan is also devastatingly handsome, the webmaster of this site, and cooler than the rest of the team combined.
Eric is another northern import and although it has taken him time to learn to speak proper SoCalinese, he needs no instruction when it comes to riding. Almost too young to be living on his own, with three years of road racing experience he’s fully independent on the bike. Feared for his climbing prowess, he is not feared for his non-climbing prowess as he tilts the kitchen countertop scale at a whopping 60kg. Nor do your jeer affect him; his GF thinks he’s way hot. Eric’s plans this year are to wholly overdo it, just like in 2017 when he pinned on a number fifty different times. Despite his suspect NorCal origins, he’s a committed red meat eater and loves to win, but, as he likes to say, “Since I don’t do that enough, I love the competition.” A proven “ride in the rain” refusenik, Eric stays inside on wetty days because a) It Never Rains in California, b) He has no rain gear, c) It dirties his white shoes, d) He has to clean and overhaul his bike, and e) Despite all of the above he does it anyway [Choose one]. Eager to learn from friends, teammates, and especially sworn enemies, he is a team player through and through and through and through.
Although David comes from New Jersey he still hasn’t been arrested, and that’s partially because he rides away on the hills. He has no weird diet fetishes, which is really weird, and at 128 lbs. everyone has kind of agreed that diets don’t need to play a major role in his life. Self-coached, he loves racing but hates dopers. Although he doubts that he will make the team better, claiming “I might be making them worse,” those who have ridden with him know otherwise.
Mark Fluss, age Precambrian. Mark lives abroad most of the year in the Principality of Orange, a tiny enclave of people reigned over by a benevolent king. Every time there’s a tough road race, however, he leaves the Orange Curtain, gets an exit visa, and travels with the squad to crack skulls and smush egos with his unique brand of savvy and fitness. He also runs CTL Cycling Studio in Dana Point, and is a lover of old bikes. Mark is one of the nicest guys in the bunch, unless you pass a Del Taco and don't stop, then "Bad Mark" appears. Mark is a relative newcomer to the sport, with only 32 years of experience, however he plans to make it through #33 with the aid of his best training tool, kids cereal, fast food and other high performance nutritional sources. When asked what keeps him in the sport, he quickly answers, “The smugness.” The only team member who publicly admits to riding in the rain, Mark won the Mouscron Kermesse in 1994 doing just that. So he’s forgiven. Mark’s primary contribution will be the inspiration he gives to others: Who wants to be beaten by a 50+ racer? Generally forthright and honest, he cops to telling The Big Lie to get the bike/kit discount: “I'll shave my legs this year, I swear.”
Young, a great climber, a quick time trailer, and famed for not doing a very good job filling out his team race resume questionnaire, Drew focuses on quick-witted banter and psychological warfare to vanquish his rivals and get his professors to allow him to turn in his papers late. He craves salty foods, including pickles and sauerkraut, and has been known to refuse race winnings unless paid in kimchi. He’s funny and smart and tough. What else do you need to know?
Tony has inspired generations of athletes to give up cycling after taking them for a brief pedal through stomping grounds that include Mandeville Canyon, PCH northbound to the moon, and, of course, the dreaded Dogtown Ride. Tony is that rare leader who, as co-founder of the team, speaks mostly through actions. Thoughtful, analytical, and currently enrolled in a long-term Strava rehab program, Tony’s athleticism is almost as renowned as that green-spotted-with-black-leopard-pattern skinsuit he wore on the Holiday Ride this past Labor Day, a ride that saw entire age demographics give up in despair as he twisted the throttle at the head of a 200-strong peloton. Tony was the anchor of the squad’s team time trial state championship last year, the winner of some of SoCal’s most grueling road races, and a pretty chill dude (note: as long as you don’t put him on a bike).
Matias is our mystery rider, bringing secret talents heretofore unused in road racing, but which by their very surprising nature can be expected to garner massive laurels in 2017. As a non-recovering ice cream addict, Matias feasts on McDonald’s ice cream before every race, unaware that there is neither ice nor cream in that completely synthetic product. His ability to digest pure plastic-and-benzene is a key explanation of his ability to suffer on the bike. He was born in Argentina, moved to Kenya at six until college and got lapped by Kenyan runners at every running meet, where he learned all the swear words in Swahili and eventually recognized that cycling was a much better fit. An expert trash talker, Matias is always able to string out the group with cutting gibes; his only known weaknesses is taking a pull. Mentored by Brandon Gritters, Matias lives by the mantra of “Go hard and don’t make excuses when you don’t win; but don’t quit eating ice cream, either.”
Ethan is a Los Angeles County prosecutor, feared in his own right by the minions of evil and is also a regular source of destruction on the weekly NOW Ride. But! If there’s one thing that has to drive the son of a famous movie screenwriter crazy it’s mentioning that he’s the son of a famous movie director: in Ethan’s case, John Milius. Remember Big Wednesday? Well, listen up! I remember when they were shooting that thing and got Gerry Lopez to do the surf scenes. I even scored a pair of Lightning Bolt flip-flops. Ethan is a super chill guy as long as you’re not out murdering people or asking him about Big Wednesday.
Chad is our movie star Hollywood dude and reigning SoCal Cup champ. We’d be glad to have him around even if he rode with training wheels; he’s so handsome that it makes the rest of us look good. Okay, almost good. But when you factor in that Chad can sprint, climb, drink beer, and flash a winning smile on the podiums, well, what’s not to like? In 2018 Chad will continue to make people uncomfortable with speeds that are too speedy, attacks that are too attacky, and climbing that is way too climby. Last year’s KOMs diaper changing, baby burping, and pram pushing will, in 2018, give way to KOMs on the bike. At least that’s what he promised to get the bike/kit discount.
Eamon hails from Anchorage, Alaska, one of the sunnier spots on the globe, especially in July. Coached by Eamon O’Reilly, in addition to his very Irish name his strengths include the first few minutes of a climb, whereas his weaknesses encompass pretty much everything else. Coach O’Reilly’s diet mantra is “eat everything except the cauliflower.” A huge fan of bike racing because of the “pain shakes,” Eamon is one of four racers in SoCal who loves racing in the rain. Eamon brings to the team maturity and the realization that this isn't as serious as we all think, i.e., he is pretty “out there.” A bike commuter and surgeon, he’s the go-to guy when the team needs someone to set a collarbone or do a quick brain transplant.
Words can’t describe TR. Oh, wait, yes they can. He big. He strong. He friendly. He kick your butt. He earned a place in SoCal history by donating a body part in a bike race. He earns respect on every ride with relentless efforts that leave others in a profound state of thumb-suckery. His strengths are 5-8 minute VO2 max efforts, so in any 5-8 minute long rolling road race he is a cinch. He also grinds people into meat lumps on short steep climbs, technical crit courses, or rolling TTs. His primary weakness is any race longer than 69.99999999999 miles; at the 70-mile mark he cramps and falls off his bicycle, so he is looking forward to all of the 2018 Pro/1/2 hilly road races. When asked why he is so awesome he will humbly look down and tell you it’s because he eats ice cream the night before a big race. Um, okay. His favorite banned substances were all the chemo meds he took at one point in his life. He’s fully recovered, as you’ll find out if you have to race with him.
Jason is a foreigner, living in the wild and unsettled regions of far northern California, up beyond Alaska, in the small Danish town of Solvang. Although generally considered a strong climber and a particularly nasty threat in SoCal’s hillier road races, Jason can be a factor in any race where you need someone to make everyone else wish they were in ballet class. A state champ as well, Jason only comes out of his Viking man cave to eat raw roadie meat on the toughest of courses. Jason is a trained kinesiologist and a coach at CTS (looking after some of his own teammates as well), and is therefore one of the few people you’ll meet who both rides competitively AND can read hard words. Jason claims his addiction to racing is a result of his love of pushing himself to the edge of sanity, which is not much of a distance given where he starts from. He also thrives on putting himself on the line for others and helping others win; it’s not his fault if he helps them too much and solos for the win like at State Championships that one time. Jason is a very highly regarded mentor for established racers and junior riders; he’s one of the guys who really does give back. Best racing advice? “Light your savings on fire, over and over again, and see if you like it. You do? You’ll love racing.”
Ryan is the team’s token tri-dork, and rides with the team because he’s beastly strong despite that weird running and swimming thing he does. He’s in his fourth season with the squad, and when he’s not thrashing around in the water, hiking some disgustingly long mountain or smashing delusions on the Saturday NOW Ride, he’s working as the director for a small local affair called the Amgen Tour of California. He’s held that post since 2010 and has helped the race go from being the best race in the Americas to one of the best races on the UCI Pro Tour calendar. Ryan is famed for getting in shape in a short period of time, chasing down breakaways and spitting on the corpses, and punching it on steep corners. He’s also famed for thinking he’s in good enough shape to win no matter how little he’s been training. This misapprehension is frequently (but not always!) corrected on race day. A fan of Big Salad Mondays, he claims to weigh 150 but in truth barely tips the pediatric ward scales at 148. Favorite banned substance? Bourbon Barrel Aged Stouts.
A Chicago native, Austin joins the squad for 2018, bringing unmatched skills in karaoke, natty dressing, admirable social graces, and awesome climbing skills (if he were able to stay on a diet). Clocking in at 158, he actually weighs 162, which is not much of a distortion in the cycling world. Austin is an true Subaru Santa Monica rider; he likes racing because it hurts. Austin brings the team some much-needed boyish charm, is an expert reference for how not to climb or corner, and provides world-class hand-ups after he’s been dropped. Just don’t plan on being the one who drops him!
As part of the first round of Brexit negotiations, the UK traded Robin to the team for a classic Mini-Cooper. With four-ish years of racing under his cleats, he fits the British stereotype of being monstrously strong in the time trial, with a twist: His climbing is beastly, a word that we are using here to show we’ve watched British TV before. Robin’s actual weight is measured in stones but we haven’t watched enough British TV to do that conversion, so we’re just calling him a giant dude who climbs like a mofo. His one cycling weakness, well documented, is peanut butter. He has never beaten a jar of peanut butter. Robin's goal-orientation is singular, as in “win.” Team mentors are trying to explain the concept of balance but none of them understand it either so it is a perfect fit. Good natured and funny when you can understand him, don’t bother talking when he puts his head down.
There’s no one word that sums up the team's co-founder Matt Wikstrom, but there are many words that don’t. “Slow,” “poor climber,” and “non-competitive” are perhaps the least apropos descriptors for the guy who regularly wins the hardest road races, knows exactly when to twist the knife in his adversaries, and does it all while flashing a completely demoralizing smile to all and sundry. One of the team’s co-founders, Matt has helped develop Subaru Santa Monica Racing from a collection of raw meat eaters (except Barnes) into a frenzied yet organized gang of piranhas. He’s always the easiest guy to find in the peloton. Look for the red shoes and bike or the guy crossing the line first. Matt’s favorite training ride is Ring 9 of Dante’s Inferno, where he spends all of his non-working hours and vacation time. As the team captain Matt has earned this esteemed position due to his ability to pour dish soap on cookies, sweets and other heavenly good things that he has thrown away so he won’t eat it. Putting them in the trash isn’t enough; he has and will go in there. Matt also never misses a race, and is the mythical “closer.” Committed to racing because of the competition, strategy, and the thrill of things you can’t control, Matt also hates the things you can’t control, which makes for an interesting case study. Blond but going gray fast, Matt hopes to replicate his 2017 win at the Valley of the Sun Road Race, where, as he approached the finish, the guy in the break who had done no work asked if Matt would give him the win, to which Matt said “Of course!” then snapped him in half like a twig. After crossing the finish line, the unhappy wheelsucker asked about his promised win, to which Matt said, “Oh, you meant this race?”