Early Racing Season 2020

Race A Little Train A Lot

2020 is here and racing season has begun! I wanted to give an update on where we stand as a team, what our objectives are this year, and our goals for next year and beyond.

So, let’s start with the races.  We’ve done a few races so far – Santa Barbara Road Race and the Valley Of the Sun Stage Race, plus a couple smaller Criteriums that were more for practice. And? How’d we do? Well, not amazingly well on the surface. A couple of the guys didn’t finish the first race, and at Valley Of the Sun (which we won last year) 4th was our best result, with Inno taking 4th in the opening TT, Justin placing 4th in the Criterium, and Inno taking 4th overall. But, this is where I feel it’s important to explain our goals this year. In order to really target results in the big races, we had to make a choice last year. Do we go for short term results, or long term gains? Well, truth be told, it wasn’t much of a choice.  We will ALWAYS go for the long term gains. But, it also meant giving up short term results. So, we knew all along that meant not being at full strength for races like Valley Of the Sun and Santa Barbara. But, that’s okay. Our main goal is to focus on our own personal development. In that regard I want to highlight some incredibly promising improvements.
Let’s start with Joey Bacala.  Last year he was racing at 160 pounds and his Threshold power (think Marathon pace) was about 305 watts.  But, as things stand right now his weight has dropped to 148 pounds and his Threshold is up to 340 watts.  What’s more, we are on track for him to be at 141 pounds with a Threshold of 360 in the next few months.  Needless to say, Joey has made enormous improvements.  We have a clear objective on where he needs to be for this year and beyond, and so far he is right on track.
Next up we have Justin Poulson, who has been putting up steady power numbers.  Just today he posted his best ever 20 minute power at 300 watts.  That might not seem like much, but to put things in perspective, he is only 128 pounds.  Plus, he’s a sprinter!  So, 300 watts is a big deal for him.  So far this year, he’s been averaging 30-40 watts higher across the board.  For example, at the Santa Barbara Road Race, he placed worse this year in terms of results (10th instead of 4th), but he raced far better in more difficult conditions.  Last year he would have been dropped.  This year, he rode strong.  It’s a classic example of, the results don’t always tell the whole story.  I’ve seen enormous progress in the last year for Justin, both in terms of power as well as process, and I’m super proud of how he’s grown in the last year.
All across the team, I’m seeing steady improvement from the riders. Rex Roberts left his job in December to focus on cycling full time, and in that time his volume has nearly doubled. His aerobic power is rising, and once he adapts to the higher workload, he’s going to be a completely different rider. Same goes for Innokenty Zavyalov. We are completely retooling his engine, and I honestly can’t wait to turn him loose this summer. All that being said, it takes a huge amount of discipline and faith in the process to make this shift. Sacrificing short term results isn’t easy, and I want to say how proud I am of all the guys for seeing the bigger picture and doing the work. The payoff won’t be for awhile, but we are building something really special here. To that end, I also want to say how humbled and grateful I am to have such an amazing group of people. Character is something that is really important to me, and I can say without a doubt that every rider on the team this year is a class act.
Looking ahead, the next big races we are doing are the Redlands Classic Stage Race in Mid April immediately followed by the Tour of the Gila at the end of April.  We have been targeting these races since last May, and we think we will be in with a shot at winning both. Of course, nothing is guaranteed in cycling, and even if we show up completely prepared anything can happen out on the road. Regardless of the results, we will continue to remain focused on our own long term development. Our aim is to race and win at the World level. So, this year is just another step along the way. And, that brings up an important point. Despite being a race team, our priority this year isn’t to race, it’s to keep building everyone’s engine. Race a little, train a lot. So, we’ll see what we get up to power wise with an eye to the future.
That brings us to our goal for next year – Turn Professional. For starters, we need $40-50K just to pay for the license, and then we need to find a couple more riders and see everyone take a step forward. I’ll be perfectly honest, I have no idea how it’s going to happen. But, somehow we will clear that hurdle. We need to take the next step and position ourselves for the years to come. So, where are we on that? As things currently stand we have about $1500 in the bank as well as $3000 pledged from riders and another $5000 in matching funds. In the next few months we should be at about$10,000 which is about a fourth of the way there. Wahoo! We’ll just keep it rolling and keep hunting for sponsors. It’ll all come together. I have faith. So, go ahead and plan on it. Next year, Semper Porro is turning Pro!
So, there you have it.  We’re building. We are taking the long way ’round. Slow and steady. Bit by bit. Tortoising along. Thank you to everyone who has supported us so far. Our goal with this team is to build a path that will take athletes to the highest level in the sport. And, as we climb, our aim is to help lift up everyone around us. We want to educate people on the importance of better nutrition and an active lifestyle. We want to inspire people to always push forward in their lives by striving for big objectives. And, we want to empower people to move forward in their lives through improved process. Be humble do the work. Trust the process. How you do one thing is how you do everything.  Always forward. These mantras are woven into the fabric of our organization.  Thanks for being a part of our journey. Regards.
Jordan Itaya
Team Owner and Race Director



Redlands Bicycle Classic 2019


Cory Lockwood takes the final Overall GC 



The Stage 1 Time Trial of the Redlands Bicycle Classic finished below expectations for the team.  Innokenty Zavyalov rode well to take 8th on the stage, but an error in front wheel selection left Team Leader Cory Lockwood struggling to control his bike on the downhill and putting him nearly 40 seconds in arrears on the stage winner.  



On Stage 3, the team had one clear objective, get Cory to the front of the race at the base of the final climb.  For the day, the team rode defensively, working to keep Cory safe and out of the wind as much as possible.  On the final climb, Innokenty went to the front and drilled it hard, trimming the group down significantly.  Cory stayed with the front group of climbers, but in the final kilometer several riders jumped clear to take the stage.  Cory finished the stage in 6th, moving him up to 4th overall. 



“It’s fantastic,” Lockwood said. “I’ve been doing this race for quite a few years now. Specifically this race, I remember Paul Abrahams (KHS Elevate Director) telling me, ‘someday you’ll win this race,’ but then I remember coming out here getting lapped and crashing and this and that, 40th place, but I just kept working at it. It ended up coming around today. It came around on the last day, it’s pretty exciting.”

For Stage 5 Sunset Loop, the team plan was to send riders up the road to soften the field for a late attack by Cory.  The pace was high from the beginning, though, so the guys sat back and waited for an opportunity later in the race.  With an hour and a half to go, Innokenty attacked solo going into an aero tuck and putting time into the field.  Cory attacked a few kilometers later with Quinn Simmons from Landis Trek joining him.  Innokenty sat up and waited for the pair and once Cory and Quinn were on, he drove hard for several kilometers to establish the break.  His job done, Innokenty sat up and Cory and Quinn set off on a two man break.  From there, Cory drove the break hard driving up the gap to the field to two minutes.  As the kilometers ticked down, the gap kept growing and when Cory made it down onto the final circuits he held nearly a two minute advantage.  In the final kilometer Quinn pushed hard through the closing corners to solo in for a well deserved win.  Cory finished a few seconds behind, to finish second on the stage.  With the previous race leader finishing over two minutes down, Cory secured the final overall General Classification.  


“It’s been a dream start to the season, but we know we can’t take anything for granted.  So, we are going to celebrate this win tonight and tomorrow, and then we are going to get back to work.”    -Team Director/Coach Jordan Itaya

Valley Of the Sun Stage Race 2019


Cory Lockwood takes the Stage 1 Time Trial and the Overall GC 



The first Team Race for Semper Porro got off to a great start with Cory Lockwood demonstrating his prowess against the clock with a win in the Stage 1 Time Trial.  Resplendent in his Stars and Stripes National Time Trial Champion suit, Cory stopped the clock at 27:56, beating the next best rider by over 30 seconds.  Innokenty Zavyalov won the Valley Of the Sun Time Trial in 2018, but a mechanical on the start line derailed his chances at a repeat performance. 



In the Stage 2 Road Race, the team rode the front in defense of Cory’s leader’s jersey, spending the entire day on the front of the field.  Team Captain Joey Bacala, Innokenty and Cory did the lion’s share of work, successfully managing an early break of twenty riders.  At the finish, Cory finished safely in the bunch to maintain his lead on General Classification.  



In the Stage 3 Criterium, the team again rode the front, working to defend Cory’s lead.  In the closing laps, Cory set up the rest of the team to practice the lead out for Team Sprinter Justin Poulson. Justin doesn’t have the power to win at this level yet, so the lead out was specifically to work out the kinks for when he does.  In the end, the team ended up getting overpowered and Justin finished 9th.  Cory finished safely with the group and retained his overall lead, winning the final GC with a comfortable lead over second.  

“Cory said before the start of the season that he wanted to win VOS at some point in his career.  He’s worked hard for this, so to see him do it in the first team race is amazing.”    -Team Director/Coach Jordan Itaya



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