The Ryan Rinn Gun Show
23 August 2015
Distinctive in the orange Vive La Tarte kit and sporting an impressive set of brachium and brachioradiales, Ryan Rinn is one of the top single speed racers in NorCal Nevada cyclocross. Throughout the region last year, Rinn improved upon his 2013-14 season by finishing on the podium for 20 of his 24 single speed races; even the odd mechanical failures were unable to keep him from a podium step. Not only has he earned and deserved the respect from his competitors, Rinn is the target of a slew of heckles regarding the musculature of his arms, referred to as his “guns”.
Rinn’s results over the previous three seasons show an impressive and steady improvement as he progressed through the category ranks and gained more on the other top regional competitors. “One of the beautiful things about ‘cross is you can’t fake it, you have to keep racing,” described Rinn. “I wasn’t super gifted right away. I raced [Category] C, just like everybody else does, and I just kept at it. I won’t lie that getting a sweet bike from Paul [Sadoff] and Rock Lobster and starting a team in 2012 got me even more invested and excited about the sport.
“It wasn’t one specific thing, I probably trained a little bit harder, I raced more every year. It’s a lot of racing and experience that has brought me to that level where I can compete with those guys who used to dust me right away.”
Rinn explains his bent for single speed this way. “I’m relatively new to cycling as a sport. Aside from having a bike as a kid, I fell in love with bikes in Chicago when I was commuting every day and through the winter. I really loved track bikes and the way they looked. A lot of people started getting into ‘cross so I bought a Bianchi San Jose as another one of my commuters. I put a Freewheel hub on there and started racing. It was a blast.
“There’s just a beauty to single speed. I probably wouldn’t be as good a geared rider. Having a single speed simplifies everything. You run when you have to and stop pedaling when you can’t pedal anymore. It’s simple.”
Though Rinn’s campaign last season was tremendous not all races were equally rewarding. Rinn appeared clearly gutted after a second place finish at the Kitten of Vallejo. He himself admits to the disappointment of losing first place amongst the final corners.
“I had a huge gap on [Ron Shevock],” continued Rinn. “I rolled my tubular in the back section and then rode a full lap on a flat tyre. I got a pit bike and still had the opportunity to win. Because I put myself so much into the red, I botched a remount when I caught my shorts. I remembered seeing stars after that race. It took so much out of me. That was a downward spiral for the rest of my season. It was a tough loss to take.
“I don’t know what was my best race last year. Winning the [NorCal versus SoCal] State Championship was great. At the Surf City Fairgrounds race on the super muddy course, I had to beat this guy who had been sucking my wheel for so many races. I went off the front and, something about the mud, I went right into it. I didn’t touch the brakes and pulled away from everybody. That felt awesome. Racing in the mud is such fun but we don’t get to do it very often.”
For the coming cyclocross season, the competition will contend with Rinn again as he aims for a more complete season and better focus on avoiding any fade later in the year. “I want to go to Single Speed Worlds and do very well there. I would love to crack the top twenty at Nationals with a better starting position.”
Another of Rinn’s goals is a win at BASP, something that has eluded him so far. Two second place finishes last season add to the motivation. “It’s not like a huge mental thing, I know I can do it. Everybody comes out of the woodwork for that one. You get the roadies. You get everybody. For one reason or another that’s the most popular series. Those are the biggest fields and I want to win one; I feel that I can.”
In a unique duo, Rinn’s wife Erin Stone, as did Rinn himself, won her Single Speed race at the Hart Park NorCal versus SoCal California State Cyclocross Championship. Rinn is gunning for a third State Championship win this season. “I’d love to be able to say three-time State Champ,” said a hopeful Rinn.
Those Impressive Appendages
Rinn is a transplant from Chicago who moved west to extricate himself from the ‘corporate’ world. He founded one small business, a sports rep company, though he has since joined Rapha. “I do a lot of other stuff,” remarked Rinn; “play hockey, run, and yoga. When we came to visit [California] we realized we can be outside all the time. That was the big reason we moved out here. My wife and I are both active people.”
The stalwart limbs go “back to the fact that I haven’t been a cyclist for a long time. I did a lot of strength and cross training. I haven’t done a curl in two years but for some reason they’re still much larger than the rest of the field. The heckling is great. If you don’t have humility you should not be racing ‘cross. It’s the best part. They’ll dish it out and I’ll give it right back when I’m off my bike.”
Rinn started and runs the Vive La Tarte cyclocross team, along with spouse Erin Stone. Although initially hesitant when asked about his contribution to NorCal Nevada ‘cross, Rinn revealed his team has introduced new riders to the sport and community. This is another good example of the regional ‘cross community benefiting from its own.
Now that he is part of the local scene, Rinn appreciates its plenitude and challenges. “We have a ton of races to choose from and the competition is great. You have people from Santa Cruz and up north [who are competitive] that it makes you a better rider. No slight on the scene down at CXLA but [NorCal Nevada] has better riders and better competition.”
Ryan Rinn’s Choice of Hand-up
“Puppy kisses are probably my favorite hand-ups,” admitted Rinn. “We had my puppy Stella, a little Boston Terrier, at the top of the Bakersfield race’s killer run-up. My wife was holding her and Stella gave me a kiss as I hit the top. Beer is a close second but puppy kisses from my dog are number one.”