Monday, May 31, 2010

5/30 Ride Report - The ReUnion

Between 50 to 60 riders showed up today for the first ever VeloViet's ReUnion Ride. Before going into the ride recap, I piece together a short history of VeloViet from the few stories that were told to me. Here is a look back at how VeloViet was formed.


The VeloViet Cycling Association started around 2004 by a small group of cycling enthusiasts. The club was formed in the heart of Little Saigon Vietnamese community in Orange County, California. Here is a look of the first members.

Photo #1 - VeloViet circa ~2005

If you look closely, you will recognize Billy D, Andy, Tan, Jason, Minh, Duc, Billy P, Thanh, and Cap't. These are the guys that started with the club at the very beginning, have endured its early growing years, and are still riding hard as VeloViet riders today.

A few years later, the club grew as more riders joined the VeloViet rank. Here is a look at the second generation of VeloViets.

Photo #2 - VeloViet circa ~2007

Here you can see some of the guys in the previous picture, as well as Dashaan, Scott M, Loc, and Scott D. The web site and logo were created around this time, and helped launched this growth phase of the club. VeloViet Cycling Association expanded into areas outside of Orange County, as riders from all over the USA found commonality with the club. The club's charter have not changed since the beginning, and that is to have fun on the bike, while promoting cycling and bike safety.

And here we are in 2010. On the VeloViet club roster, there are approximately 50 active members in Orange County, California, and another 15 members in Blaine, Minnesota.

Photo #3 - VeloViet Orange County 2010

Photo #4 - VeloViet Minnesota 2010

The OC VeloViets are a mix of seasoned bike riders and new riders. Although their cycling skills may be different, all OC riders have the same passion for cycling on the road, as well as an easy going attitude off the road. The OC group loves to hangs out with each together after rides and on holiday's BBQ cook-outs.

On the other hand, the MN VeloViet group consists mostly of strong men and women. These riders are serious cyclists, and can ride and train in the severe cold weather of MN. When it's snowing outside, some of the the group here train by spinning day-long in their favorite spin classes at the Lifetime Fitness gym.

So that is a little history of VeloViet. Now the start of the ReUnion Ride...


Previous and current VeloViet members called each other to arrange for a get together and a fun ride. Three main teams came together: United Velo from San Jose headed by their Captain Phuc, Velo Avanti from Irvine headed by their Ride Captain Sang, and VeloViet from Orange County headed by Cap't Thomas. Close to 60 riders showed up for this ReUnion Ride.

Photo #5 - ReUnion Riders

After everyone showed up and unloaded their bikes, we started up Brea Canyon Road. This part of the ride was single file, so it was hard to socialize. The road was extremely narrow and everyone paid attention to the traffic. VeloViets Cuong and Tuan though were zipping up and down the line as they took pictures of this memorable ride.

Photo #6 - Brea Canyon Rd Near the Middle

Photo #7 - Brea Canyon Rd At The Top

The road opened a bit on the top and we started to socialized. I found out one of the United Velo rider is a 73-year old Vietnamese champion who ranked #1 in his racing days in Viet Nam. Man I wished I still can ride when I am his age!

Also from Velo Avanti is Mathew, an 11-year old rider whom you may have seen on VeloViet's previous blog. This kid is a monster of a rider, and had just beat out the State Champ in his age category on his last bike race. Way to go Mathew!

The group stuck together on Brea Canyon. Members from each club took turn pulling the pack. Pulling was probably not the right word as we were going about 12-14 mph, all busy chatting away. Then we turned on Diamond Bar Blvd.

Here the road was wide and flat. I remembered there were a group of United Velo Riders, as well as Tuan, in front of me. The next thing I knew, the front pack were a lot slimmer as a small group attacked. TZ and I were next to each other in the main pack, and we chatted along this route.

The Grand Avenue hill changed everything and the orders were shuffled. I remembered around me there were TZ, Fed-Ex, Big H, Don from Velo Avanti, a couple of riders from United Velo, an independent rider whose name I can't remember, and my friend Andrew. We were not attacking, but were riding comfortable on the hill. This pace though tore apart the pack and these 8 or so riders ended on top of the hill first.

Photo #8 - First Serious Climb on Grand Avenue

The second part of Grand Avenue hill was different as Fed-Ex and TZ started pulling away. In third, I decided to give it a shot and threw a surprise attack. Although I got a nice gap with the initial sprint, I went way too early and ran out of juice near the top. About four riders passed me, but I managed to reduce the numbers of riders in half.

We crested Grand and waited for the main group at the corner of Chino Hills Pkwy and Grand. We proceeded to the entrance of Carbon Canyon Road.

Carbon Canyon is a climber's paradise as its road were long and steep. The curvy and steep terrain quickly weeded out the climbers as the group that I was with started pullingin the front riders. I was with Andrew and the independent rider, and we caught up to remnants of the front pack. This group moved out into the main Carbon Canyon stretch.

I remembered Tuan was driving the pace here, aided by Big H. There were TZ, Andrew, the independent, and a couple of United Velo members. The narrow route was mostly downhill and the guys drove the pace hard. People were spitting out the back, and I could only manage to help out a couple of times. On the end of Carbon Canyon, I could no longer hold on to this train anymore and drop off after a pull. TZ and a United Velo rider came back up. I hook on and we caught up to the front group at a light.

Tuan then drove the pace again after the light, and I dropped off again. Good thing everyone decided to wait at the corner of State College and Lambert, and I used this time to take in some oxygen. We cruised slowly back to the parking lot.

This ride was extremely fun with the large group and the hilly terrain. Old friends renew their friendship, and new riders formed new friendship, as members from the three clubs bonded on the road. Hopefully this friendship ride will be a tradition for many years to come.



  1. Fun ride but it is a little short. everyone back to parking 10:30 some rider still want to ride more but the party is right after.
    Phong it is good thing that you put all the picture up to present in this reunion ride's recap.

  2. Yes, ride was short but it was a fun casual ride until we hit Carbon Canyon. What happen to the 45 plus miles? I could have shown you guy some more route with more hills. Maybe next time we can start from MSP and ride through carbon canyon and back. Should be about 65miles.

  3. Wow, what a memory. It's awesome to see how our group has grown over the years. Whether you are active or former member of VeloViet, the inspiration of the team still remained in your memory.

    It's super nice to gather a group this size in one location. If we are considering size, there are many more members that could not make it to this event. We hope you can join us in the future rides.

    As for distance, I believe it's quite good to keep it short and less challenging. Thus, we get to enjoy each other's company, chit chatting without going breathless.

    Hopefully, we can coordinate more of these annual or biannual ride that's well organized and high participation. Thus, includes our friends from Minnesota. Too bad, distance make it challenging for members to participate. Perhaps, we will plan much farther ahead so folks could fit into their schedule.

    Ride on,

  4. This comment has been removed by the author.