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Photo Credit: BENH.TV & Copyright Protected

By Rudi Lopez, M.A. | rudi.benhtv@gmail.com

Torrance, CA. -While waiting for the shuttle in the parking lot of the American Honda headquarters, I had the opportunity to meet a local cycling rider from the club South Bay Wheelman. We began to talk about local cycling, his cycling club and about the state of cycling in Southern California and the United States. We were both enthusiastic about attending the Rally Cycling 2017 Team Launch Party at the American Honda Museum less than a mile from the headquarters. Two Rally Cycling vans pulled up and we thought to ourselves, “wouldn’t it be cool if we could ride in the team van?” Well ask and you shall receive! We were fortunate that the driver who is also the team bicycle mechanic welcomed to take the two guests and two other attendees to the party.

On the drive to the museum, the discussion among everyone was about cycling, the Rally Cycling Team’s and enthusiasm about the 2017 season. Sitting in the team van, you imagine yourself wearing a team kit, being driven to the start line or going to a training session. A wonderful experience for sure. After arriving at the museum, guests entered through the doors, no signs on the outside of the building to indicate this is a museum, it certainly seemed like it was a private museum and not open to the public. We were greeted by hostesses and surrounded by orange Rally Cyling branding. One wall had a canvas photo autographed by the team riders, there was a canvas of the team logo and an individual rider. A photo booth area with Rally Cycling backdrop and lots of tote bags waiting at the table. You hope you are given the opportunity to win one or receive one after the party. As we entered through another door, a sign board “Team Launch Party” greets us.

Inside the doors awaits the American Honda Museum that featured all the cars manufactured by the company, some very old classics and newer model vehicles. I even saw one of the cars I owned back when I was younger, the Honda CRX hatchback. The museum featured motorsports cars from different categories and racing series, motorcycles made by the company. It was very cool to see the history and legacy of the company. Also included in the museum were two Acura Rally Cycling Team cars that are used during the stages. The cars were beautifully wrapped in the team colors and branded with sponsors. There was a Rally Cycling Team Bar & Drink area serving Peach or Mango flavored orange colored Rally Drink in wine glasses. Guests were treated to delicious food served by a local catering company. Soft and moist turkey and beef roast was served, grilled cheese sandwhiches which were so delicious I kept going back for more, and mash potatoes with an array of side trimmings to add. Deserts, to tempting to refuse and fruits. Served non stop for the invited guests.

The atmosphere was great, the music entertaining, the museum ambiance was perfect, and the place was filled with families, friends, sponsor executives, Olympians, and many local cycling enthusiasts. A notable guest who drove from San Diego with his gorgeous wife to attend the event was Nelson Vails, the first African-American cyclist to win an Olympic medal. Vails was a road and track cyclist who rode as a professional from 1988 to 1995 and represented the United States at the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles. He won a silver medal in the 1000-meter Match Sprint, behind countryman Mark Gorski. Nelson was inducted into the US Bicycle Hall of Fame in 2009. Still looking good, still riding and excited to support Rally Cycling Team.

You can tell a lot about a team and company by the people that represent the organization. Both men’s and women’s team riders mingled with the guests, made themselves easily available, and held conversations with guests with enthusiasm. There was also executives from the team sponsors Rally Health and Acura. All very hospital and excited about the upcoming season. Once the team press conference started, one by one the male and female riders were introduced and given a special welcome entrance to the stage. Each athlete had an impressive resume, with some notables on the men’s side Evan Huffman (2016 Tour of California King of the Mountains), Brad Huff (2016 National Criterium Champio) and recently signed youth prospect Brandon McNulty (2016 Junior World Time Trial Champion). On the women’s side, equally if not more impressive was a roster that included Kelly Catlin (Olympic Silver Medalist, US Pursuit Team), Allison Beveride (Olympic Bronze Medalist, Canadian Pursuit Team), and Kirsti Lay (Olympic Bronze medalist, Canadian Pursuit Team). Both team rosters are predominantly made up of riders from USA and Canada.

The event MC’s had a Q&A with team coaches, and riders from both men’s and women’s teams, a light hearted session that included team goals, individual accolades and personal aspects of their lives. As one of the coaches stated, the team deliberate selects riders and brings in riders to the team that fit it’s culture, character, and vision. It’s not necessarily based on results and performance of past years, but their character, integrity and personality and the ability to be great ambassadors for the team and team sponsors. Executives from Acura and Rally Health spoke to the crowd and expressed excitement for the season and being sponsors of a great group of athletes. Certainly the team had a genuine feeling of being like a family and good chemistry. As riders shared they were excited about their camps to get to know teammates and build synergy. For the women’s team who begins their training camp today, many were excited to be with their new teammates and ride together, get to know each other and organically develop some team and personal goals. No doubt both teams have a strong roster and mixed with some veterans and young riders, and all around expertise.

Bot the men’s and women’s teams have high hopes for the season and declared that they are committed to team podium results and bring much success to the team. The men’s team starts their season in Europe racing in Spain and Portugal before heading back to the states, while the women begin their training camp and will begin their season in North America.

Rally Cycling Men’s Team:
Jesse Anthony
Robert Britton
Matteo Dal-Cin
Adam de Vos
Brad Huff
Evan Huffman
Colin Joyce
Shane Kline
Sepp Kuss
Brandon McNulty
Pierrick Naud
Emerson Oronte
Danny Pate
Tom Soladay
Curtis White
Eric Young

Rally Cycling Women’s Team:
Erica Allar
Amy Benner
Sara Bergen
Allison Beveridge
Kelly Catlin
Megan Heath
Kirsti Vivian Lay
Caitlin Laroche
Katherine Maine
Sara Poidevin
Monica Volk
Emma White

For more information on Rally Cycling Team visit:

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