First up, a profile of Integrated Sports Medicine powered by Pyramid Sports Training. Andrew Bridges, my former teammate, was nice enough to answer my questions about his squad.
(1) First of all, welcome to MABRA's newest team: Integrated Sports Medicine powered by Pyramid Sports Training. How did this happen?
Thanks. We are all pretty excited about the new program and with everyone involved. It happened pretty naturally and with ease. Brian Sacawa, Greg Wittwer, and i really had a great time racing together at Working Man's Classic down in Richmond, which we figured at the very least in 2012 that we had that. I was discussing the idea with them and a couple others from 2011's Haymarket Bicycles program about branching off in our own direction for 2012 since we were basically left to our own devices, save for the help from the shop owners Jared and Curtis. I was down at Crossroads racing with Jojo and 2012 team mate Marcos, when at one of the crits i ran into Bill Gros and we got to the usual chatter about "What are you doing next season?" We were looking for a "DS" and he was, i assume, looking for riders. After that, things were rolling. Nick Maimone and Bill Gros slaved over acquiring sponsors like Integrated Sports Medicine, Bicycle Outfitters, Raleigh Bicycles, Endo Customs. Brian Sacawa got us hooked up with Udderly Smooth who makes really nice chamois cream. There were some bad moments with some guys bowing out, but it left us with only guys who truly want to race as much as possible and only with each other. Its really nice to be on a team made up completely as friends.
(2) What's the character of your team in terms of personality and on-the-bike strengths?
Like i said, we are a bunch of friends which goes a long way, certainly makes the idea of suffering in races for each other a tad easier, or if not easier, at least more worth while. Being an upstart program, there is yet to be an identity, but i hope we race hard and gutsy and earn the respect of our peers, that's all i'm really aiming for. Results will come, whatever they may be, but i'd like our team to be viewed in a positive light, in terms of race tactics, contributions to the race, attitude, etc.
Our strengths are we race for each other. I dont think we have a "ace in the hole", so we don't really have anything to lose when we race either. But, i do think over all we are fairly well rounded and are aiming to play in any race situation.
(3) What do you think you gain or lose in races having a team composed entirely of young Cat 1s and 2s?
We gain control of the internal dynamic of our squad. No big issues that can't be resolved with a small talk. We get to pick and choose who we race with. We also gain the growth we'll have together through the season and hopefully many more seasons to come.
We'll lose probably every CAT 3, 4, 5 races.
(4) Can you let us see the kits and equipment? (send pics!)
Kits...um I dont know where we stand on revealing that. But, i can tell you they are sharp thanks to some bright minds like Bill, Nick and Brian and everyone at Endo Customs. Really nice looking in my opinion.
Here's Brian's Raleigh:
He raced on it at one of the Snowcone Training Races in Richmond and really like it he said. Not everyone is on them, but apparently they are nice and i'm a bit envious.
(5) Do most or all riders on the team get advice and help from Bill Gros?
I know Marcos is coached by Bill. Which when Marcos's results start rolling in, should be enough. Bill has been helping me with some issues i've been having, but that's more of friendly advice, or advice from our "DS", however you want to put it. While he is our "Director", he is also a monetary sponsor, and coach of 1 or a few...so he wears a couple hats for us. From those who have been coached by him and those currently coached by him, i've only heard wonderful things. Highly recommended.
To answer a different way, he will be advising us and helping us at all the big "A" races and also whatever races he is at and any of us are at.
(6) Last year Harley was dominant in both strength and numbers, and this prompted maybe some grumblings. Instead of whining, what should other teams be doing?
Whining gets you no where for sure. Who ever is "grumbling" should probably train harder, eat less, or go run a 5k. 1st-6th at Poolesville means you have no one to blame but yourself. Actually that's basically true for any race and if it isn't, just tell yourself that anyway and go ride harder, what's the worst that could happen? You get a little faster and little bit skinnier. Besides, they are racing at a level no one else is even attempting, are any other teams lining up at the pro races like Speedweek, Battenkill, and Tour of Somerville. They're aim isn't winning Ride Sally Ride or Bunny Hop (no offense to those promoters, because those are important local races to the racing scene, and i certainly look forward to them both every year), but their aim are results at another level, so of course they are going to storm through local crits. Did they win Air Force Classic (1/2/3)? No because they're "A" team was racing the 90k pro invitational. What's truly irritating are people who are annoyed with that program which is basically representing the best of the mid-atlantic. Get over it...
(7) What's the best local race, or race where you'd like to see a ISM p/b PST racer atop the podium?
Any race we can get on the podium at, i would be happy with. A win is a win is a win, same with results. For the sponsors sake, getting a result with more publicity like Air Force Classic (1/2/3) would be stellar.
(8) Doping--when riders do well, there are always mumblings. What can MABRA do to promote clean riding, and how does your team do the same?
We have rider agreements and in it there is a blurb about doping. Again, we are a close group and if anyone did anything and another saw it, heard about it, etc. That would be the end for that individual very quickly. As for MABRA, i dont know, but something would be nice. Doping at our level is more prevalent than others realize.
(9) Goals for the season?
Race as hard as possible and hopefully win.
(10) Last year Steven Black listened to terrible music. How will your team work to improve his musicality, or has your squad conceded to his taste?
I'm unaware of his musical tastes. I did hear something about him and Rugg singing boy band songs on the way to a race. There was also something about a bottle of piss being poured out and onto someone so i think we'll start there and get that under control first. One thing at a time i guess.