Monday, December 12, 2011

The 2011 VeloViet Descend Clinic

Dear VeloViet Family and Friends,

We definitely end the year with a lot of fun! First it was the XMAS party and yesterday, the VeloViet hosted another fun bike clinic, the Descend Clinic. The goal for this bike clicnic was to stress safety in the art of descending, and to teach our new and current members the right technique in going downhill. Master Racer Haldane conducted the Descend Clinic.

Master Racer brought a top-notch training crew with him. Assisting Haldane is Jacques DeVore, an accomplished cyclist and endurance coach to professional sport teams, Luke "The Beast", our best descender in the VeloViet club, and Cap't Thomas, our leader of the VeloViet club.

It was freaking COLD in Malibu!!! I had on 3 layers, plus a newspaper stuff behind my jersey, and was still freezing! Note to self... don't forget to bring the full-finger gloves next time!

Here are some photos of Haldane in action instructing us at the meeting point.

Photo - Haldane Drawing Out Details of a Downhill Turn

Photo - VeloViet Members Listen Intently

Our lightweight climbers and world-class descenders were especially excited about this clinic, as this is an opportunity to showcase their strengths to the Veloviet club. Climbers like Uyen "The Puma" and Rock Racing Trio sharpen their claws and prepare their gameplan for a mass attack uphill.

Photo - The Puma Posing Before the Attack!

Photo - Rock Racing Crew

Photo - Kristy and Nancy Ready for the Climb

A customary photoshoot before we depart.

Photo - Pack at the Bike Clinic

Photo - The Gorgeous Ladies at Today's Clinic

Photo - The Guys in Multiple Layers of Cold Weather Clothing

Game on and the climbing starts! Man was it cold in Malibu! I was shivering early in the climb and thought I should have brought that extra jacket. I sure don't know how Quang and our VeloViet Minnesota Crew can even ride in colder weather than this!

I resorted to sprinting uphill trying to warm myself up. Certain folks I noticed were so happy in the climb, especially our 2011 Queen-of-the-Mountain Kristy. Kristy was grinning from ear-to-ear on these hills while the rest of us were gritting our teeths mashing up the Piuma hill.

Photo - VeloViet Pack Climbing Up Piuma

Photo - QoM Kristy is Looking the Happiest on the Climb!

We regroup about a quarter up the climb. Here, Haldane and Jacques dishes out additional instructions on the descend. Tips like inside leg up, push down on outside leg, brake before the turn, entering the turn farthest from the apex but not go over the yellow line, etc...

Photo - Group at Wait Point #1

Photo - Descend Instructors - Cap't, Haldane, Jacques, and Luke

Then we did a number repeats on descend, climb, descend, in small group, large group, and individual. Instructions and additional critiques were given each time as we climb back up to do the descends again. Race Photographer Allen Bean were situated near the bottom and was taking video and photos of us. Allen got nice photos of some of the folks. Here are some below.

Photo - Cap't Leading the Pack Downhill

Photo - Master Descender Luke "The Beast"

Photo - Jacques Giving Tips to Kevin

Photo - BaoAnh and Guest Garry Leaning into the Curve

Photo - Kevin and Hoa Looking Ahead into the Turn

Photo - Steve Extending His Knee Out into the Turn

Photo - Kiet Looking Sharp Going Downhill in His VeloViet Uniform

Photo - Anh Minh Descending While Riders Climb Uphill

We graduated at this lower level in the hills and climbed to the halfway point of the climb. At the top here, we all had a good laugh as someone mentioned Anh Minh had like 150 psi in his tubular. Haldane mentioned that this high pressure should be reserve for the Velodrome and on the road we should be running only 100 psi.

Photo - Haldane Instructing Anh Minh on Tire Pressure

We did a couple more repeats at this distance, but first even more photos.

Photo - Group at Wait Point #2

Photo - Kristy About to take the VeloViet Ladies Down the Hill

A few of us graduated top-of-the-class and we went all the way up the top of Piuma! Throughout this clinic, I was most impressed with Billy and Co, who not only climbed in their tandem, but also climbed to the top of Piuma!

Photo - Yes... Tandems Can Climb Too!

Photo - Uyen, Phong, Billy, Co, and Luke at Top of Piuma

Bike Clinic over, we return to the car park and went to get something to eat. This is the best time as we got a chance to gossip with each other. I went with the first group to the Pita House and had delicious beef and chicken kabobs. Afterwards we met up with the second group at Canyon Burgers.

Photo - Group #1 at the Pita House

Photo - Group #2 at Canyon Burger & Grill

Photo - Male Models Posing on the Steps of Canyon Burger

A real fun and rewarding day today with the VeloViet Crew! Special thanks to Master Racer Haldane for coordinating and leading this 2011 Descend Clinic. And of course, much thanks to the support staff of Jacques, Luke, Cap't, and Allen.

Signing Out,


  1. The Clinic was an excellent experience for myself as an individual and I think would be the same for everyone in VV club. I've learned more downhill techniques that I was able to correct myself right on the spot! It was so much FUN with the team and the Descend specialists. Thank you!

    We definitely had a good lunch, too... especially Kiet with his gigantic "triple deck" hamburger.

    Ride on...

  2. Great blog! Jac told me how much he loved working with the club. He can't wait to help out again. It was nice chatting with the girls and giving them tips on descending and "how to buy that perfect helmet!" It was a fun day despite the cold. Yes, Kiet stuffing his piehole with that monster size burger was the highlight of my day!

  3. A successful day indeed. I can recite and dream about these simple but effective instructions...

    Taking wide right when turning left; Following "the line"; Pressing down on opposite side; Bend that knee; Lowering center of gravity; Do not lock the arms; Looking straight ahead around corner and not at front tire; Feather my brakes.

    Thank you Haldane and Jac for your thorough instructions. Look forward to another clinic in the future.

  4. Ancient Japanese proverb,"The joys of life is to begin." Indeed, whether learning how to bake the perfect cupcake or discovering the sequential mechanics of descending twisty curves with the cool confidence of a downhill slalom skier, to do it for the first time brings the kind of breathless joys that only a kid would feel on Christmas Day. And so, a thousand bows of gratitudes to Haldane, Jacque, Luke, Allen and Kristy for bestowing upon Velo Viet an exquisite early Christmas gift that will continue to give many years to come. Doumo Arigatou Gozaimasu.

  5. The services that Haldane and his assistants provide to the club is priceless - we are appreciated for every tip and criticize - As for Kristy hightlight of the day was my most out of this world attemp to bite into that monstrous hamburger.