Sadoff Reflects on the Noiles Factor
The Kevin Noiles Watch • 23 October 2013
In this continuing series following Kevin Noiles, NorCal Cycling News spoke with the person behind Rock Lobster bikes and the Cyclocross Team: handmade frame-builder Paul Sadoff.
“Kevin Noiles put it out that he had qualified for the Canadian team twice,” said Sadoff, “but he just never had the money to go. He thought if he hooked with a team and arranged some financing, from us and other private people, he may just be able to do it. So he approached me.
“He raced against a lot of people on our team and he liked [us]. I thought ‘yeah, it would be nice to have somebody in the Worlds.’ I’ve had people at Master’s Worlds recently but in Worlds it has been some time. It would be nice to have somebody and I think Kevin has a shot.”
Rock Lobster bikes, at Cyclocross Worlds, have been under Ben and Andy Jacques-Maynes (U23 Men, 2000), Sarah Kerlin (Elite Women, 2005), and Christine Vardaros (Elite Women, 2007). This season and the promise of Kevin Noiles, may see a Northern California favourite in the race for Elite Men at Hoogerheide.
The NorCal cyclocross community will “probably be very enthused about it because most of these top competitions are filled up with the big manufacturer’s bikes,” continued Sadoff. “There are not that many small builders that get there bikes at this elite level of competition.
“On the road at the classics it’s probably never going to happen. All those teams are riding factory bikes. In cyclocross, and on the velodrome, there’s a chance for the small builder to get there at the highest level.”
Reflecting over the years, Sadoff recalls his early days as a frame-builder. “If I were just a bike builder saying ‘come to me and get your bike frames’, I don’t think it would have gone quite the same. You have to find the need in the community.
“It seems cyclocross is darn big [in Northern California] though I never thought I would be somebody who would make a living building bikes. And I didn’t think I would ever be very good at building cyclocross bikes when I first started out. I tried a couple of times in the late seventies. I really didn’t hit it.
“I didn’t build good cyclocross bikes because I didn’t know what I was doing. It wasn’t until about 1992 that I started coming out with stuff that really was good. People would tell me it was good and lined up to get them.
“I think that being involved in the racing, sponsoring racers, and then eventually having a team has helped me [create] a recognizable brand name and clientele. At the same time, I wouldn’t get any of that if I wasn’t helping out the community in one way, shape, or form.
“Whether that’s washing bikes, working in the pits, or getting parts for racers, free or otherwise, so they could race more, it’s been essential to my survival that I stay involved with the NorCal cycling community. Especially cyclocross.”
The anticipation is building for a sea-foam green liveried bike to extend the reach of Northern California’s cyclocross right into the 2014 UCI Cyclo-cross World Championships.
With some travails this season behind him, Kevin Noiles secured two second place finishes this past weekend. The first was at the Escape Velocity LionCross in Port Coquitlam. At Atomic Super Prestige in Mahon Park, North Vancouver, the close sprint finish had a judges decision fall the other way.
“It would be thrilling and the whole team would get behind Kevin Noiles too,” predicted Sadoff. “They would all be very supportive and pleased that one of us is going to Europe to race at the highest level the sport has. How can that be a bad thing?
“For me, at least, it’s going to be great. I’m hoping I have the money to go over there and watch it really. I went to Louisville to watch the Elite Worlds and I didn’t have any riders in it last year.
“I can’t imagine how great that would be to be in Europe, to watch the Elite Worlds, and have one of my bikes out there. I would be over the moon.”
“I’m very enthusiastic that we have somebody from Canada, from another country; this is a first to have somebody from outside the United States. We’ve had people from various states but this is great.”
Struggling sometimes to find the right words, Sadoff went on to say “It just feels, I don’t know. It’s not a huge team and it doesn’t have a lot of money.
“But, the fact that somebody from another country, who’s this good, wants to be on our team. Somebody who’s not saying ‘how much money do you have’ or ‘what do I get when I join the team?’ He’s just saying, ‘I want to be on your team.’
“That is just, I don’t know. I feel like, wow. I’m a lucky guy.”
The Canadian National Championships are a little more than 5 weeks away. Kevin Noiles believes he is on track and, importantly, knows his strengths and the weaknesses to address. NorCal Cycling News will continue its ‘Watch’ with another post after the Hallows’ Eve weekend.
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