Slick talk with Gnarlube Racing
by Chris Lyman
Gnarlube Racing made a splashy entrance to the Northern California masters scene this year, rolling up in high style. With long time racer Gregg Betonte as Director, the new squad made it’s mark and racked up some impressive results. We connected with Gregg for the scoop on the team, plans for 2013, and perhaps the raciest lube in cycling.
Tell us about the product and why bike racers should know about it– who is behind the company?
First off , I’d just like to say thanks for contacting us, Chris! Gnar Lube came to be unlike any corporate plan to just cash in. Sixteenfifty, out of San Diego, is owned by Robert Wells who has been a friend of mine for many years. They are a creative company producing all things media with and edge. Film, video, print, web… Rob is a long-time cyclist both on and off road, so, out of pure enthusiasm he decided to make a “fun” cycling lube.
He hired a well-seasoned lubrication engineer to work directly for Gnar. After six months this lubricant wizard produced the Gnar Lube lineup. Each lube was lab-tested and crushed everything else on the market! All that was left was a splash of scents (yes they make your car smell wonderful when your bike is in there). BUT, you need to understand, this is all just for fun, none of that really mattered, yes there are lubes, crazy kits, sweet pink socks, and clothing all sold thru the site: www.gnarlube.com and a great cycling community based all on having fun on a bike has emerged – unicorns n rainbows…. #powerofthepinksocks – it’s crazy, I get pics from allover the world of people in the pink socks and a bunch of people with tattoos of our logos!!! WTH? Right? Simply put, it’s a bunch of people supporting those supporting our sport!
Gnarlube / Landshark Racing is a masters squad. Why did you go this route instead of P-12?
We really did not make a decision in one direction or another. Three of us came from the Safeway Masters team, as well as simple age put us there first. We do still do P-12 races, but focus is the Masters 35 & 45. Also we were only five guys last season so it was hard to spread things too far. Plus, those P-kids are fast!
How is the team helping promote the product?
Well the obvious, racing. We raced in SoCal, NorCal, Nevada, Arizona, Oregon, and Wisconsin this past year. Many times we have the truck there and have a BBQ for all or just help people out at the races. One race last year we had a bunch of homeless guys with their bikes at the truck getting all lubed up and all left with new pink socks!
Just spreading the good cheer that cyclists / racers are approachable and fun. This year we will be supporting CAF – Challenged Athletes Foundation. We also donate all race winnings to charity.
I think it’s cool to see some panache and edge brought into masters racing, much like Monster Media did in So Cal. Were you looking to shake things up?
Absolutely, the race scene can be so stiff and we just wanted to say “hey, we are all bike freaks, and we all do this for the same reason, it’s ok to have fun!”
Well, we had lots of great races and I think over 45 podiums. The one win that stands out to me is at the Sea Otter Crit where we got Jens in the break with ex-pro Roy Knickman, and I was back at the front of the chase keeping it together. I could see him and pass signals of support to Jens as we doubled back on each lap. In the end it was Jens decisively winning the sprint- always a great race when someone who is in a support role on the team gets a win like this.
How about 2013? What are you looking to accomplish?
Like all teams we’d like to win at Nationals, and the State Championships. But really it’s to keep everyone safe and healthy, and have fun on our bikes.
Any new riders? If yes, why did you add these guys?
Yes we have three new guys. Reasoning was it’s really hard for a team of five out there. At one point I had a really bad separated shoulder and Joe had a broken collarbone – bang, there’s half the team gone… so the necessity of adding riders was obvious.
The new guys are David Albrecht and Jeff Galland who both have long racing career’s and one young gun M35 named Neil Bartley.
Where will you guys be racing in 2013?
Right now the plan is to race CA as well as go back to Tour of Americas Dairy Land in Wisconsin, and of course Nationals.
I’m not afraid to admit it: I was a little envious of that big rig you guys rolled in. Will it be back again?
Oh, for sure at selected races and events- our hope is for the appearance of a 45-foot custom painted Freightliner to show at Masters races is that it helps the sport and all of masters racing, as well as the promoters.
What other companies have stepped in as sponsors?
Yes. There were those who “got” what we were going to do right from the start.
Land Shark Bicycles custom built all our bikes for us – everything John does at LS is custom from the ground up. It was the first time they had sponsored a team and they were just as stoked as we were with the bikes! I have to say it’s the best bike I’ve ridden, he wired up my Di2 to a RC car battery hidden in the frame and told me I’d not have to charge it all season – and I still have not.
We also have Pactimo Clothing for our kits, which we used at Safeway and is awesome technical cycling wear. Super easy company to work with as well as very supportive as it’s headed up by former racers –makes a difference.
We also have a relationship Hunter Allen’s Peaks Coaching Group- we had coaches for all the guys. I have to say, they were great to us, and really a part of the team.
Bicycles Plus in Folsom CA took care of all the teams shop needs. Owner John Crews was a pro in his day and has been a gracious supporter of cycling and everything we do out there. It’s critical for a team to have a shop sponsor for all the little things that go with a season of racing. Athlete Octane is our last but not least sponsor; they produce a great drink, which works both for prep as well as recovery.
Any parting words?
Hope to see everyone out there in 2013!
Director, Gnarlube Racing