Spartacus in SoCal: A Visit To The Southland By Fabian Cancellara

At the Trek Bicycle Superstore, cyclists in California (and cyclists visiting) had the opportunity to ride with and meet Fabian Cancellara, the Olympic gold medalist and jersey wearing Swiss powerhouse.

Besides the crowds of cyclists lined up and gathering around the Trek Bicycle Superstore, the rest of the Kearney-Mesa shopping center on the night of April 27th would be a ghost town if not for the excitement vibrating from the bike shop. If you were looking for a person, the only place to look was at the Trek store where excitement vibrated in anticipation for the appearance of the man known as Spartacus, Fabian Cancellara. On this day, cyclists in California (and cyclists visiting) had the opportunity to ride with and meet the Olympic gold medalist and jersey wearing Swiss powerhouse. Local cyclists would get a full day of Fabian addition to this evening’s event, including a Spartacus-led coastal ride earlier in the day with local shop riders and contest winners. He kept up the energy leading into the evening

During the evening question and answer portion, Fabian revealed his down-to-earth personality – despite a record that is beyond the cosmos – and a lot about his character with respect to racing. When asked about his nickname “Spartacus”, Cancellara admitted he was slightly astonished that it carried over for as long as it did. As he told it, the nickname was given to him by an older racer in the early days of his career, who noticed his supportive nature and guidance to the young and less experienced riders. The man saw Cancellara as a fierce leader and made the association between the gladiator Spartacus and his guidance in the uprising against the Roman Republic. For years to come, fans and other riders would associate the nickname mostly for his prowess on the bike, like a gladiator gliding over the cobblestones to battle in Rome, but the name said more about his humility than fans would know. Regarding the young riders in the Peloton Fabien said, “…it’s important to take care of the young ones. We have to stick together.”

Spartacus received several questions regarding the Spring Classics and how he tackled the cobblestones, one of his most unique accomplishments. He said much of his success on the cobblestones was one part “good equipment and right air pressure” and another part is balance and comfort on the bike. He emphasized that too low of a gear, or too high of a cadence has a significant effect while riding the cobblestones, namely that you don’t want to jump over the cobblestones, “you need to have the balance, and then you fly.” Of his favorite spring classic, Cancellara revealed, “Paris-Roubaix is challenging, but Flanders has the slopes.” Cancellara’s 3 Tour of Flanders wins were some of the greatest Flanders finishes in the 21st century.

Fabian taking photos with a fan.

There were around 100 fans and cyclists admiring and enjoying him speak and reflect on his time in the Peloton and on the podium. He dedicated an hour and a half to answer questions that were submitted to the shop manager Mike Olsen, who hosted the event. The official “meet and greet” lasted 4 hours, so that everyone who wanted their merchandise signed, and a photo was taken with the superstar, could have it.

Fabian Cancellara’s time in San Diego was a comforting reassurance to fans who hoped that the velodrome in Gent, Belgium wasn’t the last time they would see him. Hearing him speak, it was clear that his passion for cycling hadn’t diminished, it was just being refocused. In the same way that he displayed discipline on the bike, he plans to apply that same hard work to the business and marketing side of the sport – he has even enrolled in college with plans to earn a degree. He talks about watching racing from the sidelines now with excitement and anticipation, perhaps with plans to be a commentator, but he doesn’t want to limit himself. We hope Cancellara continues to serve fans with his leadership skills and Swiss amicability, this sport needs all the personality it can get.

Photos of the coastal ride with Fabian Cancellara taken by ‘Hannibal’ Hector Castillo.
Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You May Also Like
Read More

SoCal FIXED Strong Beach Crit: Track Bikes & Asphalt In Long Beach

The third installment of the SoCal Fixed Series took place on Sunday, March 13, and was presented by Throne Cycles and hosted by community leader Hector Morales Jr. The Strong Beach Criterium is a technical, 6-turn course that includes a hairpin turn and a roundabout. Racers must survive 40 minutes of surging breakaways and attacks before race officials announce on the megaphone that there are ‘5 laps to go.
Read More
Mandy Marquardt Team USA
Read More

Mandy Marquardt Is A Rider To Cheer For

Mandy really loves cycling, but training for a race like the UCI Track World Cup still requires dedication of mind, body, and time. Fortunately, USA cycling arranged for her and the other riders to arrive in Los Angeles a week early so that they can train on the Velodrome they will be competing on.
Read More
Read More

A Quiet Protest With A Loud Message

The day of the ‘die-in’ was cold and windy; cyclists carried signs, bikes, and bloodied shirts as they made their way on to the grassy knoll at Malaga Cove in Palos Verdes. Around forty cyclists gathered together at 3:55 pm on Tuesday, pulling white, blood-splattered shirts over their head as they began to lay down on the grass.
Read More
Read More

An Air of Confidence: Rally Cycling at the San Diego Wind Tunnel

We accompanied Rally Cycling to the San Diego Wind Tunnel earlier this month, and had the opportunity to see how the team uses the tunnel. Members of the team brought their bikes into the chamber and mounted them atop an aluminum platform that measures the effects on the static bike/rider combo by the forced air circulated by a 20-foot propeller on the other side of the building.
Read More
Dennis Christopher
Read More

Breaking Away With Masi

We embarked upon the “Legacy Project”, a series of different elements that combined to celebrate, promote and raise awareness of Masi’s Ninety Year history. The center point of the project would be a brand history book that recorded the story of Masi from its earliest existence in rural Florence, and through its Californian era in the early 1970’s.
Read More
Open Streets
Read More

CicLAvia: Open Streets Event In Downtown Los Angeles

Los Angeles holds the honor of hosting the largest community open-streets event in the United States, and this past month’s 5th anniversary of the event was no different. CicLAvia, a play on the South American tradition of closing streets to cars and only allowing human-powered traffic, brought out bicycles of all shapes and stripes. We saw the standard two wheel, the trusty three wheel, and of course the rare instance of one wheel. No human-powered mode of transportation was denied access, and we saw many paws on the road too. CicLAvia is THE example of how this type of event can be run successfully in a metropolis.
Read More
Read More

The American in Search of Swiss Gold

A conversation with ASSOS CEO Philip Duff. ASSOS has committed to providing uniforms for the USA Olympic team through 2020. We were interested in finding out how this all came about so we put in a call to Lugano, Switzerland to speak with Philip Duff directly – here’s what we found out.
Read More
disposable cameras
Read More

Dirty Hundred: OC Granfondo Goes Off-Road

For the event, we purchased a bag full of disposable cameras and divvied them up amongst our group. These are the resulting photos. The OC Granfondo is a recent addition to the classic recreation rides of Southern California. With past events bringing out well over 1,000 riders, we were interested to see how a significant route change would impact attendance.
Read More
Read More

Nick Roumonada: Giving Back to CAF

Nick Roumonada, a dynamic 30-year-old triathlete, began working with the Challenged Athlete Foundation (CAF) when he was given a prosthetic running leg through their grants program. After learning about CAF’s rich history in supporting disabled athletes, Nick was motivated to participate in triathlons.
Read More
Read More

Zak Pashak: The Canadian Re-Building America By Bicycle

Growing up in Calgary, Zak Pashak was always intrigued by the city’s infrastructure and the many modes of transportation moving through his “sprawling mass of a city.” Though most of his youth was spent in Canada, Zak was drawn to U.S. popular culture and influenced by performers like Eddie Murphy, the music coming from Detroit, and the American urban scene.
Read More