5.08.2010 | Posted by Brandon Turman at 2:15 PM
Effective immediately, I'm switching this blog over to my new website: Brandon Turman . com
The switch will allow me to maintain a better, cleaner, and more informative website / blog. Make sure to check out the new video and photo galleries. I also began using Twitter to post more frequent updates.
1.18.2009 | Posted by Brandon Turman at 9:28 PM
Ray’s MTB has generously made room for two Superco's in their demo fleet. Visitors to the Cleveland Ohio indoor park now have the opportunity to check out the Superco Satellite (24″) or Charger (26″) for a fifteen minute demo or full day rental.
The Superco demo bikes for Ray’s MTB were made possible through the support of the good folks at RockShox/Avid, Deity and Atomlab.
For additional information about Ray’s MTB and their terrific rental program, or to reserve a Superco for your next visit to the park please contact Ray's MTB.
Contact Superco directly for details on the Satellite and Charger or to place an order for Superco frames, t-shirts and decals. 801-973-0656, firstname.lastname@example.org, www.ridesuperco.com.
1.11.2009 | Posted by Brandon Turman at 8:42 PM
The Chaos Cycling Club Interview
With Rolling Stone Magazine titling cycling the new "Rock
'N Roll Sport of the Millennium" one has to wonder if they are already fans of Mafia Racing. David Janowiec, team president and Mafia Racing rider took the time to discuss the paradigm breaking team philosophy of not only results but the importance of the arts, competition, culture and community. As Janowiec states, "There is no other team like this in the world."
With only 2 years under their belt as a professional team Mafia Racing heads into the Cyclocross National Championships is Kansas City this month. Not only to lay it down on the course but spread their creed of "Life, Loyalty and Liberation."
Janowiec graciously took the time out of his busy schedule to discuss the essence of Mafia Racing, their past and their future.
CCC: The first thing that strikes me about Mafia Racing when I read your media materials is how committed Mafia Racing is too so many things that surround cycling but the self promotion of the team's race accolades doesn't seem to be that important. Yet you have some really elite world-class riders in a variety of disciplines from Gravity, XC, Cyclocross, Road, BMX, to Triathlon who have won quite a bit. Why is that?
DJ: Wow, crack a beer for this interview… ha! Just looking ahead a bit.
So, yes, you are exactly right… One of the reasons for Mafia Racing is to exclude the feeling of entitlement and any arrogance. Nobody wants that. We work really hard to create a team that holds athletes who are on their bikes, the trails, and the road for themselves and for their own heart. Not to impress others, but to have a good time doing what they love the most and to spread that passion to everybody else. It creates less stress within the team to perform, and less restrictions per athlete. If you ask many of our athletes, they are here because of bad experiences on other teams or for a fresh scene. That being said… you are right, our focus is not on rider's accolades – those will come sure enough, but rather on doing our best to grow the popularity of cycling in the USA through passion and change.
CCC: One often hears a lot of talk about team sponsors having expectations of winning so when you project the Mafia Racing brand as a lifestyle how do your peers in the community respond to your set of priorities, including sponsors?
DJ: I love this question… We don't have any sponsors, nor does Mafia Racing sponsor anybody. Huh? We have partners and clients, and we "the riders" are working effortlessly everyday for our partners. This helps us diminish entitlement within the team and sets the expectation for both the racer and our partners right off the bat. Our partners know that we are serious about marketing their products and working for them. I also take a look at our relationships with our partners/clients and believe that they don't necessarily care if we are #1 all the time, although obviously it is part of our goal, they hire us for the passion, drive and our commitment to them. I know it sounds stupid, but we have actually turned down great partnership opportunities with companies that don't seem to fit. We are a marketing company that rides bikes and races them and we offer many different unique marketing opportunities for our clients. Our unspoken highest priority is our riders, their happiness, and their safety. Our #1 priority is our partners. We all know that we have a job to do for each of them, and we all take it very seriously.
CCC: Taking a look at your team partners it is hard not to be impressed, not only by name recognition but the diversity of markets they cater too. On one side you have Felt, the same bike manufacture of the buttoned up Garmin Slipstream road cycling team and on the other you have Pabst Blue Ribbon, the beer of choice for the expanding underground culture of urban cycling. How did those relationships come to pass and what are the expectations of these two premier partners of Mafia Racing?
DJ: Oh man… Ya know… I'd like to ask that same question to our friends at Felt and Pabst. We worked really hard, and I mean REALLY hard to be able to work with both of them. Honestly, as we started Mafia Racing, we said we'd only represent companies we feel 100% about in every way. Pabst, Felt, and all of our other partnerships are our #1 choices from all of our athletes. It blows my mind that we have the opportunity to work alongside them. I have to say, the people at both Pabst and Felt are some of the most enjoyable people to work with. They understand our vision, our dreams, and have the same passion that Mafia Racing has.
To answer the other side of your question… I have become pretty close with some of the staff over at Slipstream Sports too, being that their headquarters is in Boulder, CO as well. They have been very supportive and have offered much advice over the past year. We don't want to be Slipstream or any other team; we want to be Mafia Racing – something for everybody. Oh, and just for the record, the Garmin guys drink PBR too, I have proof. Haha…
CCC: I personally find a lot of subtle convergence going on within the Mafia Racing image that seems to embrace all the attributes of your partners yet is still unique to the team. The Cyclocross and track cycling kits being the perfect example. Perhaps I'm reading into things more than I should but I can't help but smile when I see the incorporation of plaid. On the one hand a very subtle nod to, let us say, unconventional clothing patterns for a cycling team… argyle, yet dead on as an incorporation of the iconic punk esthetic of urban culture. Was this part of your branding master plan or a perfect accident?
DJ: Yea, exactly… I don't think we set out to "Look different or unconventional" but it just sort of happened as we are always looking to be more progressive in every way. The style fits the riders and the riders fit the style. Both Argyle and Plaid on Felt… Da guys over there must be smart er sumpin?
CCC: Frankly all of Mafia Racing look is culturally relevant on so many levels. As the visionary of Mafia Racing, has this all come from you or a collection of individuals?
DJ: Absolutely a collection of individuals. What is unique about some of these individuals is that they don't necessarily have a background with cycling, fitness or racing in any way. We model our team after many different lifestyles and industries. Yea, you could say I'm the visionary I suppose, but this is truly the "riders" team! They have just as much input as the team managers and me. That being said, the team managers for each region are a core asset to the development and vision. Not much moves forward without their approvals.
CCC: Music seems to be a big part of the Mafia Racing culture. I can't think of another professional sports team that has it's own music launch on its web site like Mafia Racing has. How did that develop?
DJ: Well, I for one can't imagine going anywhere without music. It's a motivator for me and for many people in this world – in particularly for fitness and athletics. Go to the gym, go on a bike ride, or just take a look at somebody out on a run or on a treadmill. I'll bet you a PBR tall boy that 50% or more of those people have music players rippin their favorite motivational tunes. It's a way of life, like Mafia Racing. Music is everywhere, it fits well with our athlete's personalities, and it's not just for a pro athlete… that's the whole point, everybody can relate to music. (Before some of you out there say not everybody can relate to music, let me mention a deaf friend I had in high school, who had the biggest bass system in his car you'll ever see. But that's another story.) Anyway… yes, music is huge for us. Our team hosted a live band for the National Marathon championships this year that was very cool! We actually have two music partners as well – First Act Guitars www.firstact.com and Silverback Music www.silverbackmusic.net who have both been VERY supportive and generous. Great people!
CCC: I like how you have even incorporated the definition of Mafia as a preface to your mission or in your words, "Creed." It states, "1. A tightly knit group of trusted associates. 2. Any small powerful or influential group in an organization or field. Cultural literacy can be a tricking thing. Are you playing with fire when you label yourself with a word that has deep "illegal" or "lawless" connotations yet you talk about "incorporating the arts, health, culture, charity, and most of all, community." How do you bring that all to terms in a way that you are comfortable with or rather your partners can be comfortable with?
DJ: I know some people may look at the name "Mafia" with negative connotations. Hopefully they can meet us that will change their mind. Many more times than not, we get a lot of people stoked on the name. Driving our team truck, you always hear whispers or hoots, "Mafia, yea!" or an elderly couple who have no idea what bike racing is say, "Mafia?! I wonder what that is?" – with a little laughter. So, it's working ay?
You are right, the definition of "Mafia" that we use is exactly how we see ourselves and what we strive to be. Playing with fire? Nah… Catchy? I would say so… Different? Yea, probably… We're not trying to be anybody that we're not, and we surely aren't looking to follow any other team structures, we don't necessarily believe some of the other more conforming structures would allow us to accomplish our goals.
CCC: Talk is cheap. Give me some examples of how Mafia Racing has fulfilled these commitments to health, culture, charity and community?
DJ: We are always working on these pieces, they are not goals that you can do then check off and say, "ok, done!" We have worked with IMBA, doing trail work. We've hosted the largest off-road triathlon in Arizona with the Red Rock Company for two years running now, and have plans for a few additional races next year along with that off-road triathlon. Our health and culture commitments are more ongoing… We want people to understand that you CAN have a balance between staying fit, caring about and having respect for your body, and also leading a full work schedule and having a family. One of our fastest pros last year had a new born and still worked 40+ hrs a week doing hard labor. We want to motivate those people who think they can't do this. You don't have to win races; you don't even have to race. Cycling can offer a great outlet for fitness, health and mental stability. A couple of our next projects may be an inner city youth cycling initiative or a high school cycling league in states that do not offer this already.
CCC: How are you finding time to do all this. You ride yourself. You are running this team in multiple disciplines with a west coast roster and a rocky mountain region roster with both male and female riders. You must have a clone.
DJ: Ha! Well, it's almost 1am and I'm finally finishing this interview. I love what we are doing, more than anybody will ever know. I have a hard time saying No, and I know that is bad sometimes, so a new idea usually turns into some time consuming project. A lot of my motivation to make the team among other projects outside of Mafia Racing work is actually a very personal thing. I feel like I have to prove myself to myself and I'm never happy with where I am, so I try to just keep on manipulating the project until it's done correctly. So, I find the time. Nothing could happen without the help of our Regional Team managers. We now have 5 Regional teams moving into 2009 – NW, SW, West, Mtn, and one in the forming stages in the NE and possibly a sixth in the Midwest. My focus will shift more towards management of the National Pro Team for 09 with these managers working on their respective regions. I trust each of them 100%. They trust in Mafia Racing 100%. It works.
CCC: Right now the US Cyclocross season is heading towards its climax with the National Championships in Kansas City from December 11 through the 14. Jake Wells is your featured ride in the men's Elite class. Is Jake on form, what are his personal expectations and what are your expectations for the entire Mafia Racing squad heading into KCCX?
DJ: Yea, we're excited to head to KC. We should have a pretty large group of riders heading to KC for the race. Jake (Wells) is doing well right now, he held back a bit during the 08 mtn bike season to focus a lot on CX, which I know was hard for him. I think he felt like he wanted to contribute more during the mtn bike season. Last year he was 18th, I know he's not going there for 18th this year. I can't say what he's looking for other than I know he'll be happy if he gives it everything in his heart. I expect our riders to always retain their class, respect for other riders, our partnerships, and I expect our riders to do their best under all circumstances… and I know they will. Results? I say have a good time and they'll come with all the hard work they've put in this season.
CCC: After KCCX will there be a little vacation or are you right back in it and if so what will "it" be?
DJ: Most of our riders will have a month vacation or so, strength training and not getting fat will be most of their goals. We were honored to be invited to a pro invitational race in Cleveland at the end of January. It's a very unique race held at Ray's Indoor Mountain Bike Park. Each invited pro team will provide a male and a female to race as a team through obstacles, single track, and other features. Becca Blay and Jake Wells will be representing Mafia Racing at this event. So the three of us will head out there, then we'll have a little vacation time from the bike. On the other hand, this is when our management is gearing up big with logistics for 2009. We also have a retail line of jerseys and clothing coming out next spring; very limited edition Mafia brand pieces… super rad. So that'll keep us busy.
CCC: How far into 2009 have you plotted Mafia Racing's schedule and are there any particular events that stand out as landmarks for Mafia Racing?
DJ: The 2009 schedule is not set, but we are putting it together right now. One big hitter will be the new Breck Epic mountain bike stage race in Breckenridge, Colorado. We plan to help the director, Mike McCormack, out as much as possible with this race and we'll also have some very honorable racers doing this event. We have a new male addition to the 09 pro team that will compliment Jake Wells on a duo team very well! We also plan to hit up the US Cup races (formally NMBS), and many of the regional series races within each of our team's locations. We want to focus on many other lifestyle events as well, like the Teva Mtn Games. Xterra Triathlon is big with a few of our top athletes as well - Seth Wealing, Spencer Powlison, and Luke Jay.
CCC: I plan on asking you one year from now if Mafia Racing met its goals for the year, 2009. What will you be telling me?
DJ: Absolutely! I'm a positive thinker… to my detriment sometimes… hahaha…
CCC: A year ago did you think Mafia would be where it is today?
DJ: No. I had planned on being where we are today, after 2009. Lots of hard work and sacrifice, but I never thought we'd be to this point after only two seasons. I give a lot of attribute to the hurdles and road blocks that set motivation. When something says "No", we say "Yes" even louder. I won't be settled until we get to our five year goal. That could come after year three or year seven? I'll leave that up to the powers that be.
For more information on Mafia Racing visit them at www.mafiaracing.com
12.09.2008 | Posted by Brandon Turman at 2:12 PM
12.08.2008 | Posted by Brandon Turman at 9:23 PM
10.29.2008 | Posted by Brandon Turman at 10:32 AM
Posted by Brandon Turman at 1:05 AM