hsc-cross-vegas-2016

Q&A with Mark McConnell: Hot Sauce Cycling and 4iiii Sponsored Athlete

Photo Credit: John Gaucher Images

Photo Credit: John Gaucher Images

With the continual development of 4iiii Innovation’s product line, we are excited to include cyclocross into the mix. How did you get involved in cyclocross?

Years before I ever thought of racing on two wheels, I was once a runner. Too many miles through my teenage years lead to injury which plagued me venturing into my first year as a U of C Dino. Surgery, physiotherapy, and a life without miles to count were to follow – at least that’s what I thought at the time. They told me that the bike was a great way to rebuild the atrophied muscles surrounding my recovering knee. I hopped on and hated it at first, but never looked back. That was almost ten years ago, since then, I’ve slowly ventured deeper down the rabbit hole of cycling. First as a roadie, then when the season ended, Cyclocross was waiting to greet me with a gritting smile. All the while I was working as a bike courier in downtown Calgary and found similarities in the technical aspects of the sport with what I was currently doing to make a living. Couriering combined with my history of cross country running: cyclocross was a wonderful merriment of the disciplines I was already training unknowingly and since my teenage years. The rest is history, as they say.

Cyclocross is not on a lot of Canadians radar but it seems to be picking up speed within the cycling community.  What do you think is the reason for this boost in popularity?

Racing can be intimidating to fresh faces. First you need the bike, the silly tight clothing, generally a racing license before you even toe a start line. But the great part about cyclocross is how approachable the sport has become. Not sure if you’ll like it? Dust off the old mountain bike and come race the citizen class at any Alberta event and pay just a little extra for a day-license, something that is generally not offered in other cycling disciplines. Not to mention the community cyclocross naturally develops: the races are held in city parks on tight circuits where it’s easy to spectate and analyze the courses as a collective. From newbies to seasoned vets, the races aren’t longer than an hour, but you’ll generally find people staying at the venue for much of the day to spectate other categories which only adds to the inclusive nature of the sport in North America. Also, occasionally race organizers will apply to have permits for a beer garden so you can relax and enjoy a brewski after turning yourself inside out for the past hour in a socially accepted manner! Win-Win.

Cross Vegas 2016. Photo Credit, Billy Chan

Cross Vegas 2016. Photo Credit, Billy Chan

Hot Sauce Cycling… how did you earn that handle?

The nickname ‘Hot Sauce’ was given to me while working in a bike shop, The Cyclepath, many years ago when I started racing. “Put on the after burners! Give ‘em the Hot Sauce!” Fellow employees would encourage as I set off to my next race. From nickname to European racing fundraiser to dare I call it a brand? Who knew it would grow to become what it is today.

The infamous beard of Mark McConnell, @HotSauceCycling

The trademark beard of Mark McConnell, @HotSauceCycling

4iiii sponsors a number of individual athletes and teams providing accurate data through PRECISION Powermeters. Why is power data important in your training and racing? 

For years, I trained without any way to measure my riding beyond using a stop watch. In the early years before I had a coach I would ride over to Edworthy (a popular climb that many cyclists in Calgary utilize for training) and keep track of the times it took me to travel from base to peak. I would go home that night, journal them down, and put it away to collect dust forever.

FFWD to today: everything I do on and off the bike is quantified and analyzed largely thanks to my coach, Jack VanDyk at 3433. Power is the most accurate way to track and measure my performance week in and out, from training stress loads to planning my next peak performance – utilizing power data is the gold standard of modern sport analysis. Everybody at the top seems to be using it, and if you’re toeing the line locally on the weekends, even without a coach there’s so much out there now to help you improve and track your training through power that it’s a no brainer. Forget that carbon handlebar, go buy a power meter instead – you won’t regret it.

Cross Vegas, 2016. Photo Credit: Billy Chan

Cross Vegas, 2016. Photo Credit: Billy Chan

4iiii headquarters is based 30 minutes northwest of your home town in Cochrane, Alberta. We are thrilled to support our own local cyclocross hero, what does this connection mean to you?

4iiii has always been on my radar. I literally ride by its operations every time I pass through Cochrane on a long ride. With your impressive history of being one of the leaders in wearable technology, to producing the world’s lightest left side powermeter, PRECISION, at a very reasonable price point was a big draw. But it’s also their down-to-earth business mentality that brought me in. I am especially excited when I can partner with a local and Canadian brand with shared visions like  Kip and Victoria’s and the 4iiii team! Looking forward to seeing what you guys come up with next.

What does the 2016-2017 season hold for you and what are your goals?

I’m currently a little over one month into the season and I’ve already ticked the box on one of my goals – it wasn’t so much a direct result that I was aiming for, but more of a ‘sense of belonging’ that I was aiming to achieve. With two World Cups under the belt and a fantastic weekend at KMC Cross Fest, I’m starting to believe and see myself at the front of North American pro races. This is a goal I’ve been working toward for the past couple of years, and in a roundabout way I believe my previous Belgian campaigns have helped bring this dream to fruition. I’m excited to continue racing Stateside for the next couple of months and see what I can do down there; Canadian Nationals is of course on the radar, and hopefully a return to the Heartland of CX, Belgium, in December. Time will tell.

Follow Hot Sauce Cycling on Instagram as he lays down power PBs (personal bests) throughout 2016-2017 with his 4iiii PRECISION Powermeter.

Joy McCulloch, Sponsor Liason

Q&A with Joy McCulloch, Sponsor Liaison for KHS- Maxxis- JLVelo Race Team

Photo Credit: www.dmunsonphoto.com

Photo Credit: www.dmunsonphoto.com

  1. 4iiii Innovations has had an exciting partnership with KHS since 2015. In a nutshell, what is the team’s history?

The KHS-Maxxis-JLVelo team was started in 2011 in Southern California. We have a rich history in the region as well as on the national level in the US. Every season the team has won upwards of 40 races including multiple state championships and several national championships.

  1. What is your role is on KHS-Maxxis-JLVelo team?

I am the sponsor liaison for the team and I handle all the social media for the team. Along with my administrative tasks, I get to race for the team! I have had the honor of wearing the team colors since 2013 and wouldn’t have it any other way!

  1. 4iiii works with a number of teams both World Tour and local amateur teams. Where does KHS- Maxxis- JLVelo fall on that scale and what do you hope to accomplish on a yearly basis?

The KHS-Maxxis-JLVelo Cycling has been a Domestic Elite team since 2011. This places us in the middle of the spectrum in regards to local and World Tour teams. Each year, our goal is to win over 30 races while representing our partners in a positive fashion. We hope to foster the next generation of up and coming racers as well, while providing a positive environment for learning and development while competing at the top level.

Paul Abrahams congratulations Cory Lockwood on a great ride. Photo Credit: www.dmunsonphoto.com

Paul Abrahams congratulations Cory Lockwood on a great ride. Photo Credit: www.dmunsonphoto.com

  1. What has been the highest point for you in the 2016 season? What was the lowest?

Ulises Castillo won the Redlands Bicycle Classic Criterium, which was stage 4 of the grueling 5-day Professional Road Tour (PRT). He went on to place 2nd on the final stage, the iconic Sunset Loop. This success followed the team into the final PRT race, Cascade Cycling Classic, where Innokenty Zavyalov finished 9th GC thanks to a blistering time trial and commitment to the final goal from the entire team. For a low point – I would have to say I can’t think of one! Even when we lose, crash, suffer from illness, we are diligent to learn from the mistakes and turn those potential low points into winning situations down the road.

Ulises Castillo, KHS Maxis JLVelo winning Stage 4 2016 Redlands Bicycle Classic Criterium / Photo Credit http://www.dmunsonphoto.com /

Ulises Castillo, KHS Maxis JLVelo winning Stage 4 2016 Redlands Bicycle Classic Criterium. Photo Credit: www.dmunsonphoto.com

  1. The team rides with our PRECISION powermeter; how does that help you?

This is the first season our team has had a power meter partner, so it has been really exciting to have all the riders on power. It has helped immensely with the individual athlete’s training throughout the season to help ensure they are at peak form going into their key events. Training with power has been an invaluable tool to fine-tune riders’ strengths while working to enhance their deficits.  

  1. Training with power provides data, how do you interpret that data?

Each athlete has their own respective coach who collects the data and is able to analyze rides and races with the athlete. With a comprehensive power profile and the history of data, the coach and athlete can then approach each training ride with laser focus.

Brian McCulloch, professional cyclist with KHS-Maxxis-JLVelo team and full time coach with Big Wheel Coaching. Photo Credit: www.dmunsonphoto.com

Brian McCulloch, professional cyclist with KHS-Maxxis-JLVelo team and full time coach with Big Wheel Coaching. Photo Credit: www.dmunsonphoto.com

  1. Do power numbers over the course of a race dictate tactics?

Having the empirical data provided by power while racing is invaluable – after the fact. Being able to look back at the power from a race and analyze when and where an athlete used their watts is a very helpful tool. However, during races it is important that each athlete be able to race off of real and follow the flow and the dynamic of the event. There are times you just have to “GO” despite what the numbers say. Being able to race time trials by power numbers though is extremely important.

  1. KHS has now partnered with another team and has entered a higher rank… what does this mean for the team?

We are very excited to have partnered with the Elevate Professional Cycling Team for the 2017 season. Our goal is to be one of the strongest teams in the country where we will be targeting the PRT series through out the United States and racing internationally as well. This step has been a goal for the team since its inception and we are ecstatic that we now have the partnership to move forward into the professional ranks.

Learn more about the new 2017 Elevate-KHS Pro Cycling Team, follow along and stay tuned for more updates.

2016 KHS Maxis JLVelo team camp discussion.

2016 KHS Maxis JLVelo team camp pre ride planning meetings. Photo Credit: www.dmunsonphoto.com