The 2017 South Bay Cycling Awards are in the books. The Academy voted on a slate of incredibly worthy nominees with the following results:
2017 Greatest Advocate, Lynn Ingram
2017 Best Bike Shop, ShiftMobile and Jason Morin
2017 Best Young Rider, Makayla MacPherson
2017 Best Old Rider, Keith Ketterer
2017 Most Improved, Thomas David Rennier
2017 Best Club, Velo Club LaGrange and Patrick Barrett
2017 Best Event, Belgian Waffle Ride and Michael Marckx
2017 Wanker of the Year, Greg Seyranian
2017 Belgian Award, Dan Cobley
2017 Group Ride Champion, Eric Anderson
2017 Best Sponsor, BonkBreaker and Greg Leibert
2017 Best Male Racer, Jay Williams
2017 Best Female Racer, Megan Jastrab
2017 GC Award, Rahsaan Bahati
2017 Greatest Recovery, Debra Banks
2017 Strava KOM, Meagan Jones
2017 Most Happy to Help Others, Pablo Maida
2017 Most Fun, Michelle Landes
2017 Best Spouse/SO, Sarah Butler
2017 Steve Tilford South Bay Rider of the Year, Charon Smith
This year’s award ceremony was dedicated to the life of Steve Tilford. Steve’s wife Trudi Rebsamen and her sister, Susan Ohlman, traveled from Chicago to attend the awards, along with a contingent of Midwestern friends of Steve. Steve was posthumously inducted into the South Bay Cycling Hall of Fame and Trudi was presented with the induction statuette, hand made and hand painted by an artist in England. It was an emotional evening for everyone who had known Steve, and his presence was strongly felt.
But the fact is that these were also the Wanky Awards, and like the event from 2015 when Steve attended and gave the keynote speech, it was a night of celebration mixed in with a healthy dose of silliness and a massive dose of good times. Those good times weren’t immediately apparent to Academy member Derek Brauch and his teammate John Abate, who found themselves feverishly assembling the famed Wanky backdrop with broken pieces of PVC piping, missing nuts/bolts, all with a few minutes to showtime. A quick trip to Lowe’s and some more feverish duct-tape engineering resulted in a shoddy backdrop perfectly appropriate for the proceedings that never collapsed on the stage or the crowd but at all times appeared as if it might.
Academy member Dan Martin pulled off another stunning year of twenty hand-made Wanky plaques, beautifully painted and mounted horseshoes to signify the incredible stroke of luck and confluence of astrological alignments that it takes to win an award. Winners fought like vicious dogs to keep people from pilfering their hard won trophies and swag bags, but it was only when Jon Paris slit the throat of the pinata baby seal, spilling out hundreds of dollars in swag from Performance Bicycles that things went berserk. No one died, thankfully.
The event continued with Rahsaan Bahati co-hosting the awards, and he actually carried the day with witty commentary and impeccable delivery. One of the most important things to deliver, of course, were words of thanks for the numerous people and organizations who prevented the award ceremony from being a complete failure. In no particular order:
- Strand Brewing, via Joel Elliott and Rich Marcello, who made the best brewery in the South Bay our home for the third year in a row.
- Yasuko Davidson, who baked the most prestigious awards of the entire night … the magical loaves of bread! Recipients James Cowan and Greg Leibert looked pretty stoked!
- Patrick Barrett came to the awards with pounds and pounds of smoked brisket, making himself a true champion of the people.
- Velo Club LaGrange donated $1,500.00 to defray expenses, and believe me, otherwise we would have been quite frayed.
- Big Orange Cycling kicked in $1,000.00 to further defray the frayees, and it was awesome.
- Long Beach Freddies gave $1,000.00 to this august event, meaning that with a bit of creative accounting and skulduggery and cooking-of-the-books, we would almost end up in the red, instead of being drowned in red ink.
- South Bay Wheelmen gave $300.00 to buy flowers for the wives of the Academy members.
- Pedal Industries, via Todd Brown, donated custom race-day bike gear bags to three lucky recipients. The bags were custom-designed with the Wanky logo for 2017.
- Wend Wax, via Ryan Dahl, donated Wend chain wax kits to every recipient. It’s the best lube for your chain; I won’t use anything else.
- Echelon Color, via Tony Manzella, donated the printing for our posters and for the memorial poster we presented to Trudi.
- Metadzn, via Joe Yule, donated design services for our logo and for the poster design.
- Law Office of Seth Davidson, via me, donated South Bay Cycling socks to every recipient, Steve Tilford memorial socks to every recipient, 20 signed copies of Phil Gaimon’s “Living the Cycling Dream,” and 12-oz. bags of Groundworks whole bean coffee to all winners.
- JoJeBars, via John Abate, donated awesome energy bars–fresh baked, delicious, and healthy food to fuel your ride.
- Methods II Winning, via Ken Vinson, donated killer pint glasses to every recipient.
- Mammoth Gran Fondo, via Caroline Casey, donated another set of killer pint glasses to every recipient.
- BeachBody Performance, via Denis Faye, donated recovery drink mix and energy drink mix to every recipient. Denis also showed off his French insults on stage, which were the best!
- Origin Clothing, via Marco Cubillos, donated clothing to every recipient and also provide models Bailey and Flint to work the room and be generally awesome.
- VeloFix, via Matt Brousseau, donated tire repair kits to all recipients.
- Special shout-out to Hint Water via Kevin Salk, for providing several hundred bottles of Hint Water which made a huge difference as the night wore on and thirsty cyclists began thinking about the next day’s ride and getting hydrated. Talk about saving the day!
- Extra-special shout-out to Jami Brauch for getting customized swag-bag stamps with the Wanky logo and hand-stamping all of the bags for that extra custom look.
Of course a ridiculous event like this could never have happened without lots of people flailing around and making stuff up at the last minute. Again, in no particular order …
- Chris Gregory, who’s been with us since the beginning and is the inventor of the world-famous hashtag, #ewaw, Everybody Wants a Wanky! Chris designed and made the necklaces for past winners, designed and sent out all of the finalist invitations, picked up all of the Charmin for butt-hurt runners-up, survived Costco to get water, and of course served as podium presenter for the fifth year in a row.
- Sherri Foxworthy, who’s also been on the podium from Year One, providing guidance laced with a bit of profanity, and lots of laughs on the stage. “Batteries.”
- Stephanie Lin, podium presenter who never misses a chance to dress up and make us all look better than we otherwise possibly could.
- Kristie Fox, who for the third year has done the hard work of ordering and designing and getting the cake, the cupcakes, the coffee vendor, organizing all of the e-invitations, completing the database, moving huge amounts of junk from pillar to post, serving as shipping terminus for things as varied as lamps, socks, and drink mix, and then of course dancing until the very end.
- Tara Unversagt, who managed all of the winner signatures on the poster and made sure that the right thing was in the right hands at just the right moment.
- Delia Park, who managed sign-in and traffic flow.
- Lynn Jaeger, who showed up as a guest but ended up getting conscripted to the sign-in table.
- Marc Spivey, Academy member who lined out the sound system and the killer playlist.
- Derek Brauch, Academy member who built the backdrop under great pressure.
- Dan Martin, Academy member who made the world-class trophies.
Additional thanks to Bjorn Snider for the great write up! I’m sure I’ve left lots of people off who donated time and money to make this event happen, but hopefully you’ll remind me so I can add them in! Already planning for 2018!
Awesome thank you to Jay Yoshizumi for the fantastic photos below!