Bahati Foundation Pro Cycling Team celebrates launch at LA’s Club Nokia
Posted Mar 16 2010 3:37pm
(At the Club Nokia event, a custom Cannondale Mike Giant bike designed by Bill Rudell was up for auction)
Rahsaan Bahati became visibly choked up on the Club Nokia stage announcing his excitement for the launch of the Bahati Foundation Pro Cycling Team. The pro cyclist was seeing his brainchild come to fruition at the March 12 event, which drew more than 1,000 guests to the Los Angeles venue to celebrate the new team and accompanying nonprofit foundation. Bahati will be joined by 20 cyclists, including Floyd Landis, who’s making a return to pro cycling and was just announced as the team’s newest member last week.
What sets the Bahati Team apart from the rest is its dedication to nonprofit work and outreach programs to inspire others through the sport of cycling. Specifically, the Bahati Foundation seeks to spread a message of empowerment and with a main focus on inspiring underserved, inner-city communities and youth. It’s a message that stems from Rahsaan Bahati’s upbringing in the gang-ridden Compton, Calif., where on face value it would appear as though he had everything working against a bright future. But that wasn’t Bahati’s fate. With the help of loving parents and a teacher who saw his potential, Bahati was introduced to the velodrome track used in the 1984 LA Olympics at a young age. His talent was clear almost immediately, and it wasn’t long before he was climbing the ranks in cycling. He now holds eight national titles and wants to use his experience to motivate others while leading the pro team.
The launch party included a special presentation by performing arts students from Bahati’s alma mater, Crenshaw High School, as well as a unveiling of the team’s unique custom kits and Cannondale bikes. [photo of guys on stage in kits with bikes]
In the early-morning hours after the launch party, team training was in full swing for Bahati members. The team plans on making appearances at numerous events in the pro cycling circuit this year, including the prestigious Tour of California. They are supported by partnerships with Cannondale, RAHA Sports Management, Colorado Premier Training, OUCH Sports Medical Center, JL Properties and the Law Offices of Jeff G. Carchidi.
In addition to Bahati and Landis, the team includes Nathan O’Neill, Hilton Clarke, Cesar Grajales, Jason Donald, Matt Rice, Ryan Baumann, Corey Collier, Bobby Lea, Alex Hagman, Peter Carey, Phillip Mann, Evan Hyde, Ian Burnett and Lanell Rockmore. There are also five amateur riders in the squad Morgan Ryan, Devan Dunn, Yosvany Falcon, Jorge Alvarado and Neil Coleman.