Master Cyclist John Rondash Laps for a Cause


John Rondash, Elite Master Cyclist is giving back in a selfless effort to break an hour record attempt in raising money for Colon Cancer research.  In his first ever hour record attempt it is hard to predict the outcome, number of laps, speed, and endurance for the hour record day.  His only barometer is the amount of hard work he has put into his training – with his continuous work ethic, determination, and preparation for this attempt.  Rondash will leave it all out on the track – blood, sweat, and tears on Wednesday, November 11th at 11:00am.  To put in perspective the hour record attempt in time:  60 minutes, 3,600 seconds, 36,000 tenths of a second.  The goal: 45.5 kilometers, 182 laps, laps averaging 19.78 seconds, average pace of 28.26 mph.  John did not want to publicly make this about him that is why he is riding at 11:00 am on a Wednesday.  His drive is about what the laps are for, the research, and foregoing his personal accomplishment.  Talk about one selfless individual to say the least.

To donate for the laps going toward Colon Cancer Research, click HERE.


Full Q&A with John Rondash on the Colon Cancer Research, his life, drive, cycling background, and more…

Rich Kemp: John, how did you get into track cycling initially?

John Rondash: That’s a good story; I was in Santa Barbara and was a hockey player and baseball player.   I tried out for the Cincinnati Reds, open call try-out.  I made it to the 3rd cuts, and I didn’t make it to the end.  I was a utility player.  So I was riding my bike just to keep in shape, and all of the guys up in Santa Barbara were riding also,   during this time I got connected with a world renowned sprinter, holds a kilo record – Rory O’Reily.  So I started riding with his guys, I started thinking “okay, go to the track.”  First came down to Encino (velodrome) I had a chance to ride on this track when it was outdoors (711/Olympic Velodrome) way back in the day.  I got to ride here and race on it actually.

RK:  That’s really cool, unrelated, but where did you play college baseball?

JR: I played at UC Santa Barbara, I went to city college was playing city college ball and that’s when I was trying out, went to UCSB and eventually was at UCLA.

RK: Did you ever race bikes competitively?  Be it on the road or track?

JR:  Before this?  I have been racing competitively for 25 years.  I have traveled all over the world; I have raced in Europe, living in the Flemish part of Europe.  I was there for two different seasons in Kortrijk, on a U25 team called “Hefta-Truck” I have raced all over the United States, had a chance to go to Japan to race on all Japanese tracks there, and on the road.  I also have raced in Italy, I was really disappointed that I didn’t make it as a ball player; I have been playing the sport since I was six.  I grew up in Wyoming, so it was football, baseball and hockey as the main sports.

RK: What are you doing when you are not at the velodrome?  Career, hobbies, activities outside of cycling?

JR: I love to box, having my brothers and stuff growing up in Wyoming that was just a good thing to do.  Other hobbies, I like doing photography, I also make wine, and I have a master’s degree in vine ology out of UCLA through the credentialing program, so my partners and I have made wine for the past ten years under the “Skip Rock Creek” label.  So I do that, I love food and riding a bike.  I work in the medical field, I have my own company called Triton Diagnostic Imaging, and so I do vascular consulting work, imaging, and ultra sound and reactive hyperemia tests for cardiologists and vascular surgeons.  Another big passion of mine is my motorcycle as well.

RK: What is your favorite discipline or event on the track?

JR: My favorite, the Points Race.  I would like for it to be the Madison.  I would like how to learn the Madison, I want to do it with finesse, and truly “do it.”  Not just race it, but race it with Finesse.

RK: Do you road cycle as well?  If so does the endurance side of road help in this track effort?

JR:  Yes, I did road cycling all over Europe.  I am a five time state Cal/Nevada champion.  2007 Road Champion 35+, and 4-man Pursuit twice, and two Championships on the road.

RK: I know you are doing this for a great cause in Global Colon Cancer Research, is there a reason for this?  What is your inspiration?  Any relatives, friends, acquaintances that have been diagnosed with Colon Cancer?

JR: Yes, a lot of friends and family, my ex-father in law passed away from colon cancer, I know people who have been tested for colon cancer, but they caught it in time to actually go into remission.  It just seemed like it was a good cause.  The reason why I chose colon cancer is because breast cancer and prostate cancers get a lot of the funding, so colon cancer is kind of like the ugly step kid.  It gets one dollar to the thousands of other dollars the other cancers get for research.  I just felt this was a good way to help provide something in that genre.

RK: This is your first hour attempt.  What are your expectations going into this?

JR: My expectations are to give everything.  I have spent 18 weeks training with Roger Young.  I feel that he has prepared me to actually do it, to break it.  The expectation is – break it.  Break it for a good cause on Veteran’s Day.

RK: Like you mentioned with Roger Young as your track coach.  Has he played a big role in your motivation, training, and inspiration for November 11th?  Explain.

JR: Absolutely, he is a guy who has trained virtually every person who has broken the record has gone through his coaching regimen, so he is the real deal.

RK: Have you been fairly strict on your workout regimen?

JR: As much as I can, I have had some epic failures, trying to juggle work and getting here on time, LA is always notorious for its traffic, and what have you.  I have been spot on and keep plugging away, the couple times we have done some testing and workouts I couldn’t finish.  What grew out of the epic failures was a better understanding in what you need to actually break this record.

RK: Like you mentioned for the hour attempt, November 11th at 11am is a lot of elevens?  Is there any correlation here?  Or straight coincidence?

JR: Yeah, well it’s actually funny I just put that on the Facebook page.  It’s basically an “oneness” 1-1-1.  For a lot of people it means different things, if you’re a catholic it means Angels, but I am kind of a converted Buddhist from Catholicism, so oneness, it represents our energy force is one, and all connected.  So doing this attempt was not just about me trying to break this, although I want that.  I didn’t want it about me; I wanted it to be about colon cancer and the cause.

RK: The current Master’s 50+ Hour Record is 45.3 km correct?

JR: Yes that is correct, by Keith Ketterer

RK: Your goal is 45.5?  What makes you think you can get that 45.5 goal?

JR:  Yes, because two weeks ago during the test I was riding on it.  Last Tuesday we just did the intervals, and I was a lap and a half up over the record.  Even though there was two breaks in between, I am still just coming along.

RK: Do you have any role models, individuals you look up to in the track cycling community?  Or cycling in general?

JR: I have a 14 year old son and 12 year old daughter.  I think I look up to them, more than anything.  I look up to them because they are amazing kids.  When you have kids there’s something about that. My kids donate a lot of their time, cleaning the beaches, and various other things.  I just look up to my kids, and I want them to see, no matter what happens, get behind a cause and at least commit yourself 100%.

RK: Any other additional thoughts or comments before you dive into this on Wednesday?

JR:  It’s been a weird ride, I’ll tell you what.  I didn’t know anything about the hour record.  I knew about pursuit and road racing.  To do the hour it is a completely different beast.  It’s all about pace, mental capacity, and be right at the threshold, but not to be pushed over the top.

We all wish John Rondash success for his hour record attempt this Wednesday at 11am.  If you find time in your busy schedule, come by the VELO and watch his attempt at greatness.

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