October 10, 2008
I don't know why, but as I was cruising around the inter-web-net I read Mike Hernandez' post on the BAWC dinner thing coming up....and it mentioned Sarah Bamberger as being in attendance..which got me thinking about old teammates. Specifically it got me thinking about the team we had at Sycip in 2000 - 2003.
Sycip is a frame builder of National repute - making nice stuff out of steel (& Aluminum & Carbon too). Jay & Jeremy not only make sweet bikes, they are genuinely cool, nice, down to earth and just a little bit crazy! They also managed to cobble together one of the best teams I've ever ridden on - but probably didn't realize it at the time. Let's do a quick recap on who was on the team and just how bad-ass they were....
Leading the charge - John Funke...come on if you know nor-cal CX history you know how fast Funke is. Always, I mean ALWAYS in the mix with the big dogs, John would come out of nowhere each August or September to do a few road races (crits mostly) in the run up to the start of 'cross. Then when the season started John would be rippin' at the front in full-charge mode against Justin R, Damon K, Jackson S, Dave W, Andy J-M, Josh S - I mean really, really good riders! Top 3 in the '03 Surf City Series, 3rd in '02.
Next Up - speedster Sarah Bamberger. She was just getting fired up in cycling when she rode for Sycip. I've been pleasantly amazed at her growth in the sport. She is proof positive of what a slice of talent and a ton of dedication will do. She's really become one of the best riders in the country.
Don't Forget - Lauren Costantini. She'd just moved to the Bay area and was only a couple of years into her riding..but what a talent! Lauren progressed so fast and had such visible talent that it was a pleasure to watch her ride. She rode pretty much anything. I know she podiumed at CX Nationals in 2004, and I'm pretty sure she has a National Championship in MTB as well. Oh yea, and she's a PhD....Fast and smart!
Steve Paleaz - He of World Cup track competence. Steven always looks sweet on a bike! That he's developed world class leg speed and talent to match over the past few years is way cool!
Rachel Lloyd - she was really only on the team the first year I was, but she did win some serious races, including National Championships I think. Rachel is a true rennisance woman of the peloton. She raced pro XC and DH in the same season - wow!
Jon Brown - Jon came to the team from Colorado with a developing reputation as an adventure racer. Little did we all know that Jon was seriously good! I only raced with him at Tour of the Gila (well, he was in a different category so it was mostly hagn out time at the hotel...but he proved to be a good racer and a great guy. He's gone on to stardom on the Salomon/Crested Butte Professional Adventure racing team. He can do it all - run, climb, ride, raft, swim - pretty much anything athletic and endurance based. Awesome
There were many other great riders on that team - Hans Kellner, Santiago Bolon, Scott Francis, Kelsey Aldrich...just a very good team all around. As I look through cycling I continue to see how small our community is. The old adage 6 degrees of separation is probably only 1 or 2 in cycling, for everyone. That's kinda cool....