2012 South Bay Rider of the Year: Suze Sonye by Seth Davidson

http://pvcycling.wordpress.com

 

I can say anything I want about Suze because we once had a big ol’ fight and talked more trash about each other than two rednecks getting divorced and arguing over who’s gets the trailer and who gets the set of false teeth.

Our spat happened like this. It was on the Pier Ride. The Old Pier Ride. Every single time I’d run the red lights going out on Admiralty, Suze would yell at me, which would make me run more lights, which would make her yell at me more. You get the picture.

This particular day, after running all the red lights and dragging the peloton along with me, we were half-pedaling up Pacific and I saw her out of the corner of my eye and gradually kind of half-chopped her wheel. Just a little bit. Enough to say, “Fuck you,” and enough so that if she hadn’t been paying attention she might have found herself in difficulty.

“Wow, what an asshole!” you might say.

“Are you fucking kidding me? You douchenozzle!” you might say.

“What a despicable, walking, talking, sack of human excrement you are!” you might say.

And you’d pretty much be right.

Save your Cat 5 tricks for the Cat 5’s

One thing about Suze is that she’s always on guard. That’s because people have been taking cheap shots at her for decades, especially lame-ass guys who are mortified at getting their dicks stomped by a biker chick.

Suze saw my cheap shot long before it got anywhere near her front wheel, and easily slid off to the side with nary a ruffled feather, but now she was pissed. For the rest of the ride she stuck to my wheel, and I got the message. “You’re never getting rid of me now, wanker.”

So when we hit the Parkway I made up my mind to get rid of her. Gave it everything I had…no luck. Hit the turnaround and drove her over to the curb…yawn. Sprunted out of the saddle to dust her on the rise…nuh-uh…there was the shadow of her little pigtail, bobbing along right in my draft.

Slow down, speed up, jump off to the left, hug the curb to the right, thread spaces that didn’t exist, open up every jet I had, scrub her off by attacking up the gutter, pull every lame move I knew short of slamming on the brakes.

Nope, nope, nope, and nope. She tailed me all the way to the finish, and made sure I knew it as she whizzed off to the right on Pershing at the end of the ride.

The Cold War

From that point on we behaved as enemies. She defriended me. I talked trash. She ignored me. I ground all the enamel off my teeth. She commented that I was a stupid lawyer. Everyone agreed (me, too, actually).

Arab Spring

Somehow, we started talking to each other again. Then chatting. Then smiling. Then one day, when I had swung off, gassed, rocketing backwards and about to get dropped on the climb up to Trump, I felt a strong hand on my ass and heard a little “Umph” sound. It was a track throw, strong, straight, and powerful enough to sling me back onto the tail end of the snake.

I glanced back at the rider who’d pushed me, and who was now dropped from that last full-on effort to help a struggling rider.

It was Suze.

Best rider in 2012

Suzanne is the South Bay Rider of the Year for lots of reasons. First, she won the poll unanimously. I was the only voter, and frankly, she was the only candidate. It was one of those Soviet-era elections, where the winner, again by a 100% majority, is Joe Stalin, and if you don’t fucking like it, you’ll be taken out, lined up against a wall, and blogged about.

Suze isn’t a recent convert to cycling who just happens to be talented and fast. She’s been racing for 31 years and has raced against and raced for some of the greatest cyclists in the history of the sport. The pinnacle of her pro career was racing three years for Saturn, the #1 UCI-ranked team in the world.

Think about that the next time you’re polishing your third-place trophy in the Men’s 45+B cyclocross race.

At Saturn she learned from the best on the global stage. Ina-Yoko Teutenburg, Judith Arndt, Clara Hughes, Petra Rossner, Anna Wilson, Cathrine Marsal, Dede Demet, Nicole Reinhart, and Suzie Pryde were just a few of the racers with whom she trained and raced. She learned to ride out of her skin for her teammates, and found out that even though she wasn’t the most talented or deserving rider on the team, she earned her slot and she earned the right to keep.

If you’ve ever watched Suze race, or watched her maneuver on the NPR, you’ll instantly recognize where she gets her world-class skills. Bumping and positioning among men twice her size and half her age, she’s always perfectly positioned, always knows the right wheel, and is always in the mix.

How many other 49 year-old riders, men or women, can say that?

Teaching through kicking your ass

If some people have a hard time getting along with Suze, it’s for this reason: Ask her a question, and she’ll tell you what she thinks. Or this reason: Do something stupid, and she’ll tell you what she thinks. Or this reason: Exist, and she’ll tell you what she thinks.

Suze has been with Helens Cycles for sixteen years, and  2012 is a fitting year to name her South Bay Rider of the Year because in addition to a string of impressive wins, it was her first full year running the Helen’s women’s program.

Working to achieve the goal of a strong women’s team is tough. Someone always wants to win, but in a highly individualized sport like road racing, the more competitive the race the more essential it is that riders work together.

Highlights in 2012 included winning the Brentwood Grand Prix at 49 freaking years old; placing 3rd overall at the Tour de Murrieta; watching teammate Shelby Reynolds win the Manhattan Beach Grand Prix; and most of all, being part of a team where people trust each other 100%. In 2013 the team will add Priscilla Calderon, and leg-breaker Emily Georgeson will graduate from the 3-4 team to the P/1/2 squad.

Learning through getting her own ass kicked

There are only a handful of South Bay women who can hang with the masters men racers when they’re going at speed. Suze is one of them.

In 2010, after returning to LA, Suze was dragging in the fitness and confidence departments. She didn’t believe that a return to the glory days was possible. With help and encouragement from wankers like Aaron, Victor, Rudy, Mike, Jay, Brenda, and most of all her mom, who kept asking people, “What’s wrong with her?” she found her legs again. And even though there’s the occasional lamefuck who tries to chop her wheel just to make a point, Suze will tell you that there are plenty of guys on the rides who push her to ride harder because they’re her friends.

I’ve learned first hand that underneath the toughness and the mad bike skills there’s a sweetheart of a girl. Lots of others have learned it, too.

When the ranks close

Of course it wouldn’t be cycling, and it sure wouldn’t be cycling in the South Bay, if there weren’t drama. People get mad, make up, then go off and get mad at someone else. And make up. It’s part of the scene. And it’s all good.

Except when it’s not.

One day on the Donut we were rolling up past Portuguese Bend. Some dude who no one knew was getting very attitude-ish. He was fit, fast, and had the best painted-on suntan in the peloton. As we rolled along the false flat he decided to move up. Suze was in his way. So he did what any jerkoff would do: He gave her a hard check, pushed her off her line, and told her to get out of the way.

In doing so, he broke the Rule of Davy.

This is the rule of the peloton that says “Thou shalt piss off anyone in the bunch as long as it’s not Davy.” The corollary to the Rule of Davy is the Rule of the Slowest Fuse, which says “Davy has the slowest fuse of any human alive and is therefore is almost impossible to piss off.”

Unless, of course, you fuck with Suze, with our Suze, in which case the slowest fuse in the peloton becomes a mildly excited 220-pound slab of chiseled steel. Davy never gets angry, but on this day he did get mildly excited.

Bullyprick suddenly found himself in the shadow of the man mountain, whose left arm lazily draped around Bullyprick’s shoulder. It was an arm larger than the trunk of a redwood, and adorned with a tattoo of a skull being pierced with a harpoon while being thrown to a shark in a volcano on top of a mushroom cloud.

“Dude,” Davy said. “If you do anything like that again you will not live to regret it. Because you will not live.”

Bullyprick stared several feet up at the somewhat smiling face of the man mountain and felt the forearm curling around his neck with the conviction of an iron noose. “But…ah…okay…sorry…” was all he could gurgle. And to his credit, it is awfully hard to argue your point when your trachea has been pinned shut.

We never saw Bullyprick again, and Bullyprick never saw Suze, because shortly thereafter she attacked and dropped him on the climb.

So the next time you see her, even though it’ll probably be as she recedes in the distance, take a minute to congratulate her on this coveted award. She’s earned it the hard way.

Jenna “Jammer” Kowalski had a solid 4th place finish at Brentwood and talks about how it all went down.

Backyard Jam-Sesh: Brentwood Grand Prix

By Jenna ‘Jammer’ Kowalski

 

Sunday, August 7th, 2011, watching my teammates from the sidelines of a race called the Brentwood Grand Prix also known as the California State Criterium Championships. In my own backyard, but, here I am on the wrong side of the barriers, with a soon to be diagnosed case of strep throat. Always a frustrating feeling, when so badly you want to be out there pedaling in circles with everybody else. A fun race to watch, but always a better race to race.

 

Fast forward to this year: Sunday, August 5th 2012. Finally, I would have my first chance to contest Brentwood GP, a course favored by many locals for its technicality. However, after a long month of training for climbing hills in the altitude, I realized that I had not done one single sprint since the Manhattan Beach Grand Prix. Thus, I was a little nervous that my legs would be lacking the spunk needed for 55 minutes of sprinting out of corners.

 

With the course conveniently located in my backyard, my teammate Lauren and I decided to have our daily espresso at the Coral Tree Cafe and watch the mid-morning men’s races to get in the proper spirit. The double Americano certainly did the trick and kept me buzzing for the next four hours. We then opted to ditch our trainers for a warm-up spin down the coast to Venice, to take in the madness of a Sunday at the beach. After a pit stop at home to change jerseys and swap on race wheels, we jammed over to the course just in the nick of time.

 

As we rolled up to the start line, I was flattered to receive a call-up to join some of the established local racers. After a couple high-fives and fist pounds, we got the countdown to go. The race was animated from the beginning, and a few moves lighted up the first couple laps of the race. The goals for the day were to either get Lauren in a break, or set me up for the field sprint. So, while it was important for me to remain attentive as a teammate to a team of two in a field dominated by team Helens and InCycle, I sat comfortably in the front, following wheels and making sure to cover anything that Lauren could not.

 

Between Helens, InCycle, LaGrange, Revolution and solo strong woman Kristin LaSasso, there were a number of fliers that had some serious potential, but the combination of riders in each move was not enough to keep the field from letting anything go. I was pretty certain the race was going to come down to a field sprint, so I just sat tight, at one point finding myself well placed for a prime, thus taking the opportunity to jump around the two riders who set me up perfectly.

 

After a few last ditch efforts from riders to get off the front, the peloton seemed content for a field sprint with two laps to go. I must admit I was a little lax in setting myself up for the finish; a solid 10 wheels back, I kept thinking ‘it’s a long finish, it’s a long finish.’ Well, l find myself still wishing it was a little bit longer. The last half lap of crits are always a bit foggy in my memory. From what I do remember, riders were single-file going up the backside chicane. I wanted to move up but was hesitant to jump around everyone so early. I hesitate. I see a flag.  And I know I have to go, now. I jump around a few riders and the InCycle lead-out train, my head screaming ‘YOU CAN WIN THIS! YOU CAN WIN THIS!’ I see riders in black, I see the finish line, weirdly wishing it was just a few feet further.’ I’m not going to make it in time and I know it. It feels close, and I throw myself through the line, but it’s not quite enough to edge into the top three, as I hear the excited hollers of well deserved winner Suze Sonye, followed by teammate Shelby Reynolds and Tibco’s Junior National Champion, Alexis Ryan.

 

I did make it onto the podium for the California State Championship, as Team Helen’s Shelby Reynolds is registered in Texas, however, it wasn’t for the coveted Bear jersey I had hoped for. But, there is always next year (third time’s a charm!?), and as my first California State Criterium Championship race, I am pleased with a top five. Just as well, I am thrilled for the podium finishers – and the entire peloton for that matter, for making for a fun and safe race to cap off the end of my 2012 SoCal road racing season. Many thanks to all of the supporters, sponsors, media and everyone else that makes these events possible! Until next year!

 

Suzanne Sonye (State Champion at Brentwood Grand Prix) in “The Conversation”

Brentwood Grand Prix

WSWC(State Champion at Brentwood Grand Prix):

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The Off-Season Transfer Scrum by Seth Davidson

The Off-Season Transfer Scrum
by Seth Davidson
http://pvcycling.wordpress.com

My phone rang at 5:30 this morning. “Hello?”

“Hey, WM. Have you heard anything?”

“Who is this?”

“Thunky. Thunky Sneedles.”

“Oh, it’s you again. No, man, I haven’t heard anything since your last call two hours ago. It’s five-thirty, dude.”

“I just thought you’d maybe, you know, gotten some offers or something.”

“No, man. Crickets.” I’d agreed to act as Thunky’s agent in the off-season, and even though the trades had started in earnest, Thunky was still out in the cold, and he was nervous. “Look, let’s go over it again. I know you’re nervous, but you have to be patient. These things take time. When some of the bigger fish get their contracts, it’ll loosen up the purse strings for the domestiques like you.”

“Yeah?”

“Yeah.”

“But what if I don’t get an offer from anybody? What if I have to stay with Team D’oosh next year? My career’s too short for that, man. I’ve only got a couple of good years left, and I need to ride for a winner.”

“I know, I know. Nobody said being a professional masters racer was easy.”

“Ain’t that the truth.”

“Why are you so down on Team D’oosh? You fit right in.”

“They suck and their bro deal is so lame.”

“Really? Even with that bike and those five free kits and the travel reimbursements? And don’t they cut you in on the winnings even if you’re OTB?”

“Yeah, it sounds great. But it sucked this year. I mean, no one ever wins. They suck. And the frame? It was the Specialized SL4 instead of their top of the line Venge. Charon gets the Venge on his team. How’m I supposed to take that dude on riding an SL4? It’s like bringing a set of dentures to a wood chewing contest.”

“Are the bikes really that different?”

“Hell yeah. The Venge has this really cool paint option. It’s so rad.”

“Well, at least getting the whole $8,500 rig with Di2 on loan for a whole season and then swapping it out for a new one in ’13 saves you some money.”

“Dude! It’s not about the MONEY. It’s about the wins. You get the wins, the money flows. That’s how the pro scene works.”

“Even in the men’s 35+?”

“Duhhhhhh.”

“Well, what about the kits? That’s a grand right there, easy, free. You gotta be happy about that.”

“Those kits were so last year. The leg elastic band was at least 1/4 inch shorter than the pro stuff Paolinetti was wearing on Monster. Like I’m gonna take that guy on with short elastic bands? And the design was, like, puke.”

“I guess they screwed you pretty bad, huh?”

“I’ll say. The travel reimbursements only kicked in after you’d done five races. I told ‘em that I was gonna do a full schedule, but for me that’s four races, including our Team D’oosh club time trial in January. They have to understand that if you want results, you gotta be rested between races. Real rested. Recovery is just as important as training, prolly more so, even.”

“Look, Thunky. I’m gonna try to get you on Amgen this year. You’ll be a domo for Thurlow, Meeker, Brett, Strickie, Malcolm…the big boys. But you gotta bring something to the table. What do I tell them about you?”

“What do you tell them? Duuuuude! Aren’t you my agent? Tell ‘em about what we did this year! Tell ‘em how the race went down when Clunky Thunky brought the A-game and stuffed the clowns into the hurt locker! Tell ‘em that!”

“Ah, what race are you talking about, Thunks?”

“What race? San Dimas! Don’t tell me you’ve forgotten San Dimas?”

“Was that the one where you launched off the road and hit that parked car? At, like three miles in or something?”

“You always gotta bring up the fuckin’ parked car. Fuck the parked car! Dude, I stretched the field out longer than a neck in a noose. Ask ‘em, man, any of those dudes’ll tell you about the Thunky Beatdown. Thurlow was there. Meeker was there. Worthingtons were there. Leibert was beggin’ for mercy I had everybody on the rivet.”

“Okay, maybe I’ll remind them of that later, you know, like when we’re talking signing bonuses and stuff. What else happened in 2012?”

“I did that one 35+ race and laid the wood to Tintsman and Paolinetti.”

“Phil Tintsman? You? Really? That’s pretty awesome, cause those two guys are the real deal. Which race was it?”

“Hellz. It was at Ontario, I think. Maybe CBR. I attacked from the gun like always.”

“Then you got in a break with Phil and Jamie? Sweet!”

“Nah, I didn’t get in no stupid break. I’m a sprinter kind of rouleur. You know, a puncheur climber type time trialist, all ’rounder with an emphasis on track and ‘cross.”

“So what happened?”

“It was like on the second or third lap. I was railin’ it, dude, 54-11, hittin’ the headwind section like a freight train. Field was comin’ apart at the seams, everybody strung out in the gutter, dudes frying off the back like fritters in a fryolator. Sick shit. Tintsman and Paolinetti were in the hurt locker. The pain cave. Beggin’ for mercy, they were my bitches, dude. That’s what I’m talking ’bout.”

“Then what?”

“I finished my solid half lap and then Tintsman and Paolinetti and Charon and a bunch of other dudes, I think Brauch and Wimberley, and you know, five or six other Monster dudes, and a few other guys rolled off in a break. There was like sixty of ‘em. No way we were bringing them back. But you can ask Tintsman, that shit wouldn’t have happened if I hadn’t softened ‘em up.”

“Sixty dudes? In one break?”

“Yeah, man. It was righteous. Me and Stimp –you know him? Rides for Soft Longies, he’s a badass. Me and Stimp motored with the field on our wheel the rest of the race.”

“How many guys were left in the field?”

“About seven or eight. Coddles McGee, Woodenhead, Dorcas Johnson, Tubbs, you know. The dudes you can count on.”

“Okay, I’ll make the pitch for you. What should I tell them your goals are for 2013?”

“My goals? Do you even have to ask? Tell ‘em this: I’m comin’ for Charon if they can find me a Venge just like his. Black shorts, with the cool elastic thingy like Paolinetti and Tintsman have. And $10k in travel reimbursements. Up front, Jan. 1, like in the pros. And a cut of everything everyone wins, even if I have to miss the race because of my Saturday yoga class, which actually is what gives me extra power but most dudes don’t know about that. And free massage sessions–and I pick the masseuse. Don’t give me some hairy dude named Jacques. I want a smoking babe who only works nekkid or in a thong. Happy ending for Thunky, you got that? And a 401k and a team car. That’s my minimum starting offer. See what you can do from there.”

“And what can your new team expect in return?”

“I’m gonna take Charon down next year. I’m gonna ride Tintsman off my frickin” wheel. I’m gonna give Meeker a sprint clinic every frickin” weekend. You tell ‘em that, Wanky, and you tell ‘em Thunky sent you.”

The phone went dead.

A few minutes later it rang again.

“Hello?”

“Yo, it’s me again. Any offers?”

“Not yet, buddy. But they’re comin’ any minute. Any minute.”

Brentwood Grand Prix by Greg de Guzman 8-5-12 RD 2

The Brentwood Grand Prix came on August 5 over 2,000 spectators watched the race between 7 AM and 4 PM . The 2.3 –mile course will begin in front of the Kaufman Library and circle the median from Burlingame to Gorham in Brentwood. The Southern California Nevada Cycling Association has chosen The Brentwood Grand Prix as the 2012 SCNCA Elite Criterium Championship and racers will be competing for the honor of wearing the coveted “Bear Jersey”.

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Cody O’Reilly is a tactician and wins the Brentwood Grand Prix

I got to the race super late; I had to rush because I had 30 minutes to kit up and register Brentwood Grand Prix. It was great having my Dad and girlfriend there to pin numbers, pump tires, fill bottles, etc.

Rolling up to the start I knew I was going to have a hard first 5 to 10 laps as my legs needed to warm up, so I was stoked to get called to the front line and avoid the scramble to move up with the hard corners on course. Through the first 15-20 minutes I was just trying to get on even terms with the other riders as I got moving.

 

Then the break went. I saw Eric Marcotte and Alex Darville moving around the outside through the start finish stretch, and tagged onto that train of riders as it went full gas through turn one. There was a small gap, and I decided it was worth it to do a little work since I wasn’t fully opened up yet. Over the next 5 laps or so most of the break worked hard, and the gap seemed to solidify. The only thing missing was that there were no Monster Media riders so it worried me to the point that I didn’t want to be putting everything into my pulls.

Mid-race I knew that the break would stay and started thinking of who was pulling the hardest (Marcotte & Darville) and who was sitting on conserving, which was only 1 guy every now and then, but a couple of guys sitting-on were just about to get popped.

A bit later, Marcotte grabbed a prime and caused a separation that I knew I needed to jump across or else he could roll away on his own. Then there was the $800 prime that Sandoval went for and gave Sandoval, Marcotte, and me the final selection. At first Sandoval had some skipped pulls in the last laps but then contributed.

I was pretty happy being up against those 2 guys in a sprint. I didn’t think I would need to worry about Sandoval with how he sprinted for the previous prime, but I knew I would have some trouble with Marcotte, especially if he went on the attack in the last 1.5 to 2 laps.

It turned out that he didn’t attack, and I found myself in the 3rd position for the last lap as we caught feild. It worried me that I might lose the other guys through traffic, but it was pretty clean through the bottom corners.

In the finish, Sandoval went long, trying to lose Marcotte and me in the field. Then Marcotte went with at least 300m or more into the head wind and I was able to wait and sprint as we got into the last 150m or so. Marcotte had a second kick as I went, and it made me really dig to stay at full gas all the way to the line.

BWGP race report by Alan Flores (Spy Blue) 45+

The 45+ race had a solid field with three teams that had numbers: Spy Blue, Breakaway For Cancer and BBI.  A notable rider, Mark Noble, was flying solo.  I stayed at the front with the help of my teammates, John Hatchitt and Seth Davison.  I followed moves and mainly watched Rich Meeker suck up nearly every preem this side of the Pacos.  There was a promising move with Big Orange’s Steve Klasna, BFC’s Rich Meeker and Spy’s Alan Flores when the three of us rolled off the front for a few laps.  This mainly served as a body blow to the field.  Later on, one of the preems was decidedly won by Mark Noble causing the field to chase for half of a lap until we caught him.  That’s when Mr. Vee Rich Meeker decided to fly the coop.  Rich got a solid gap on the field, then the BBI boys tried to close it down.  I was monitoring their progress and I decided it was do or die, so I launched out of the field alone up to Rich.  From there we were all in; two men committed to the winning move.  It was a close call for the first few laps, but with the BFC and Spy Boy’s dashing the hopes of the chasers, we were able to build on our gap.  With three laps to go, I was getting tired, and Rich was doing what a multi-national champion can do; ride!  Props to Rich, as he was the strong man in our tandem effort.  With half of a lap to go, I was in the front going through the last technical dog leg turn, a rounding right, then a tight right, and the final left-hand turn on to the start finish straight.  As we were going through this critical section, I heard the horrible noise of bike parts grinding on the pavement.  I knew Rich had crashed and in the nasty business of bike racing, I was now the default winner.  So I put my head down and flew to the finish solo.  Every dog has their day, and today was mine.  Some twenty seconds later, Craig Miller from BBI and Mark Noble finished up 2nd and 3rd respectively.  Thx…Alan Flores

Photo Interlude: Real World City Bicycles by Scot Hinckley

When it comes to bicycles, I find the ones that people actually use a lot more interesting than ones that are ridden once per month and then meticulously cleaned. I use a bicycle at least 6 days per week, so I feel sort of a kinship to people who do the same. This Sunday morning, I decided to head out into downtown Seattle and find some of these bicycles and show that they have a certain kind of beauty. I was going to shoot photos of people riding, but I decided to steer clear of the “people in Seattle don’t wear helmets” controversy, since there’s no point in dragging everyone into that mess. If you’re into visualizing geography, my far points of travel were Seneca & 6th, Cedar & Denny, and the Public Market. Enjoy.

Brentwood Grand Prix by Greg de Guzman 8-5-12

Brentwood Grand Prix
The Grand Prix came to Brentwood on August 5 over 2,000 spectators watched the race between 7 AM and 4 PM . The 2.3 –mile course will begin in front of the Kaufman Library and circle the median from Burlingame to Gorham in Brentwood.  The Southern California Nevada Cycling Association has chosen The Brentwood Grand Prix as the 2012 SCNCA Elite Criterium Championship and racers will be competing for the honor of wearing the coveted “Bear Jersey”.
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Brentwood Grand Prix by Hiromi Fujita

The Grand Prix came to Brentwood on August 5 over 2,000 spectators watched the race between 7 AM and 4 PM . The 2.3 –mile course will begin in front of the Kaufman Library and circle the median from Burlingame to Gorham in Brentwood.  The Southern California Nevada Cycling Association has chosen The Brentwood Grand Prix as the 2012 SCNCA Elite Criterium Championship and racers will be competing for the honor of wearing the coveted “Bear Jersey”.
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Round 2

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Any item(s) to be shipped will be processed as soon as possible, any digital item(s) can be downloaded using the encrypted links below. All purchased photos will be delivered to your Paypal email address.</strong>Resolution will be 800 pixel image sized from the long end (Same size as the watermarked image) The version you have received has a watermark. We will send you the un-watermarked version to your PayPal email with in 48 hours.
All photos ©Hiromi Fujita for personal use only. For commercial use or prints, please contact: Cycling Illustrated