Starting up a new team

December 1, 2008

It's been a great experience in starting a new team and we're looking forward to the actual races after all the hard work the team has been putting in for the past few months. I wanted to take the opportunity to mention what areas we've been focusing on and what the riders are doing lately.

When I had a chance to buy the team, the immediate thought was this: how to pour the money into coaching and resources for the team. For the past few years, the athletes have been self-coached. Hunter Allen, owner of Peaks Coaching Group, is a power data guru and a good friend of mine. So I asked him to come on board to provide power data analysis. He was excited about the opportunity and jumped into it knowing that Quarq's Jim Myers would be doing the same thing. The team will be receiving the Quarq track cranksets which are prototypes and will be released into the public later in 2009. Hunter will analyze the data and provide advice.

This still meant the coaching staff wasn't complete, so the strength aspect of the program will still be headed by Dr. Marcus Elliott who is the president of They specialize in strength training along with explosive movements using plyometrics. Out of all strength coaches, I truly believe Dr. Marcus Elliott is just the best out there. He's been able to re-create Adam Duvendeck into a more explosive sprinter from a kilo specialist.

Lastly but most importantly, Andy Sparks, who coached women's team last year at Beijing Olymnpics, was hired to coach the team. His ability to transform from Jennie Reed from a strong keirin rider to a World Champion was enough to convince me he's the right guy for the position. He's very vocal, passionate and intense. His attitude actually does rub off on the riders and they've been going fast in training sessions.

With a strong support system, our cyclists have taken their commitment to a new level. They basically live their lives as if it's a full time job. Their normal schedule may include a gym session in the morning with about two hour break before hitting the track for some intense workouts. This is incredibly hard on their bodies and they've had to cut out things from their lives in order to maxmize their ability to recover for next day effectively.

As for the riders part of the team, we wanted to look at some riders to be added to our squad. Jimmy Watkins, a new sprinter, recently won three U.S. Nationals title last September and was quickly added to the development squad. This reinforces my belief in continuing the development squad for 2009 in hopes of finding another hidden gem. We've been looking at a new rider who has been posting fast times with the pros and we hope to push him to the World Cup scene in 2009 - 2010.

We also added a new rider who we believe will be a strong addition to the squad and we will be making the announcement on December 1st.

For our first event in Cali, we're very confident about our Team Sprint chances and we've done our homework. We believe we will be able to place well.

We're only few months into the program, but I believe we've set a very good supporting system for them. My goal is ultimately to create a system that is fitting for a super team in a year. Some of you may be wondering - why track racing?

I love intense, and close racing. You can't find it anywhere else but on the track. I believe the Hawk Relay Cycling team will provide a huge boost of entertainment to the domestic races in USA for the year of 2009 and some strong competition for other teams on the World Cup scene as well.

See you at the track.

Robin Horwitz

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The Los Angeles-based Hawk Relay team is working to put its riders among the top of the world's best track cyclists. Through their Cyclingnews diaries, riders Jennie Reed, Adam Duvendeck, and Travis Smith and the Hawk Relay coach Andy Sparks will allow a unique insight into the world of track cycling and the training required to compete at the top of the sport.

The team is the only professional cycling team run by a deaf owner, Robin Horwitz, and is supported by the maker of a video relay system designed to provide deaf and hard of hearing people with the necessary tools to achieve full and equal telecommunications access. Horwitz combined his love for the sport with his sponsor's (Hawk Relay) passion for generating opportunities for the hearing-impaired to create this unique squad.

For further reading about the program, see the team summary or visit the