Mastering the Art of Being a Master Racer


The Chronos team gathered in Napa for their early season training camp.


Dan and Dan, the teams World Champs, got decked out in their stars and stripes skin suits.


The team, including Tony Reid, at right, hit the backroads of Napa.


Chris Lyman gives the follow car instructions.


The team stops to organize for their team photo.


Riding off into the fog.

“I’m 50 years old and I’m riding around in circles in spandex,” said Tony Reid. “What’s even crazier is we get in our cars and drive three-plus hours, into the middle of nowhere, to do this.”

Reid, who will be 55 in a couple of short months, is the old guy on a bicycle team made up of old guys.

He’s a member of the Elite Master Racing Team out of Northern California known as Chronos.

The team has both the 2014 USA Masters National Time Trial Champion—Dan Bryant—,and the 2014 USA Masters National Criterium Champion—Dan Martin.

Chronos is also kitted out by a great set of sponsors including Gran Fondo Hincapie, Easton Cycling, Boardman Bikes, Amazing Grass, Smith Optics, Fluid, Schwalbe Tires, Cycliq, Untapped and Rocklin Endurance Sports.

To say these guys are fast is a massive understatement. But from Reid’s experience this is true of Masters Racing in general.

“The number of racers in the older groups is much larger than when I started in the 80s,” he said. “The talent pool is much greater, you wouldn’t believe how fast some of these riders are and they’ve been racing the same courses for years.”

Staying in the game going into his mid-fifties Reid has learned a thing or two about the ebb and flow of life, bicycles and racing.

“I can’t ride hard everyday anymore,” said Ried. “It’s a lot harder to lose weight now and a lot easier to gain it.”

Reid is realistic about his chances of seeing the podium these days. He would need to be really lucky—getting into the right break, at the right time, at the right race might help him pull out a victory. But he loves just being in the mix and helping his teammates out.

“There is a dedication,” said Reid. “It takes hours and hours of training to just be pack-fill.”

Reid says the sport has lots of amazing people, but it’s important for anyone thinking about taking up bicycle racing late in life to understand it is neither cheap, nor easy.

“Make sure your wife understands you are going to spend in the thousands of dollars, maybe even the 10s of thousands,” said Reid. “And you will be spending your weekends away from home.”

Reid met his wife at the height of his cycling prowess and they used to travel to all the races together.

Today, as Crystal Ching, his wife, rattles off all the not-so-exciting places he used to drag her (Coalinga, Willows, Fresno, Salinas, Winters, etc.), she says she now stays home and keeps their family-owned business, Nature’s Select, humming along.

“I stopped going when he finally agreed to make me an honest woman,” she said. “I heard the same story weekend after weekend, race after bloody race….(insert name) attacked, (insert name) got dropped, (insert name) was OTB, (insert name) lapped the field, (insert name) got a flat, then (insert name) gave him a wheel, (insert name) then caught back up with the lead group, attacked, and ending up winning the field sprint. Yadda yadda yadda. And after every race they all have the ‘would’ve, could’ve, should’ves.’ AND that the sad part is when they rehash a race from 2005, I actually know what race they’re referring to.”