by Seanne Biggs
I thought it would be fun and interesting to interview Quinn Hatfield for our Rider Profile. Quinn is a successful restaurant owner in Los Angeles. Hatfield’s was named Restaurant of the Year by Angeleno Magazine and one of the 10 Best New Restaurants in America by Bon Appetit. If you know anything about the restaurant business, then you know it is practically a 24/7 business. Quinn somehow manages work, family, training and racing.
Q. Where were you born and where did you grow up?
I was born in Durham N.C. and grew up in Greensboro N.C.
Q. When did you start riding?
I rode BMX when I was young, mostly just for fun, but I did race 2 or 3 times, and I remember doing pretty well. I had a couple of trophies from those races. Later in my teens I did some mountain biking, plus at times I was a bicycle commuter. I was always drawn to bicycles, but never really focused on it.
When I was working at Jean Georges in NYC (’00) I decided to buy a bike for the sixty block commute. Track bikes were popular with the messengers, so I bought one. I took my first ride on that bike down Broadway at 6pm. No Brakes! Somehow I managed to ride that bike around Manhattan for 3 years without killing myself. When I moved back to California(’04), I decided that the track bike was a bad idea for the hills of San Francisco. I ended up buying a road bike. I did a fair amount of riding around the hills of the San Francisco, mostly training for and doing centuries, and some touring.
Q. How long have you been a member of LG?
I joined La Grange 2 years ago. I had navigated my way through my 10 criterium starts as an “unattached rider” and I needed some guidance in racing. Honestly, I just joined. I didn’t know anyone in La Grange. I didn’t talk to anybody. I just knew that it was a good club, and they always had a strong presence at the front of all those crits that I finished at the back of…
Q. How did you get involved in track cycling?
Matt Lyman from Tender Greens restaurant (who is also a LaGrange member) and I organized a ride that we did every year for a while called “Tour De Chef”. We rode from San Francisco to Los Angeles in four days, slugging out 125 miles each day, and eating out at night.
Neal Fraser came along a couple times. In addition to being the Chef/Owner of Grace and B.L.D. restaurants, Neal had been Junior National Champion on both Road and Track back in the 1980s. Neal is a true “Born Racer” with an amazing sense of the bike and the road.
We sprinted for every town line marker from San Francisco to Los Angeles and Neal suggested that I should give track racing a shot. I took Roger Young’s introduction class at A.D.T. Velodrome, and started doing the Tuesday night training down there at the track and crits on Sundays.
Q. You are a busy guy. Husband, Dad, Chef, restaurant owner, and cyclist. How do you fit your training in?
It all just comes down to being flexible and a little bit creative. I also work my schedule down to the minute at the beginning of each week. I have alternate options to almost every work-out to allow for the unexpected. I also have a couple of work-outs a week that work really well when I do them late at night.
I find that the streets in my neighborhood are deserted after 10pm. It makes a perfect time for me to do my “Standing Start Training” I do 100m sprints from a near stand still. Also my gym is far more manageable at that hour, so my two weightlifting sessions a week are usually late at night too. That way I can put out the last plates of the night at the restaurant then go train. Almost sounds normal!
Q. What race(s) do you like best?
I just love to race! 20K time trials, crits, long rides with town line sprints. I love it all. I am built for sprinting. Keirin, match sprints, and kilos are where I do the best. From a training standpoint I have focused on the kilo this year. It is a gnarly race. Just talking about it strikes fear in the hearts of racers! It is a mental challenge to ride a race that you know is so hard it will literally make you sick! Every time! It never gets easier your time just gets faster.
Also the match sprint. I think it’s such an amazing and pure race. The combination of tactics, power and speed is so much fun! If there were more opportunities for match sprinting I would focus on that.
Q. What’s the most fun you’ve had on a bike?
It’s hard to say. I look back at a life spent jumping stuff on BMX bikes, riding single track in the woods of North Carolina, commuting down Broadway on a track bike, freezing across the Golden Gate Bridge to reach the blazing heat of the Marin Headlands, finishing dead last in a crit, not making the re-group on the Nichols ride, being so in the zone I was unbeatable at the velodrome, being so unfit it was embarrassing to be on a track bike. I think the obvious common thread has always been the bike. It is just so much fun! I have loved it, since the first time!
Q. Do you think your wife would let the club come to your house for dinner? Yes! But our condo is very small, so we are going to do it 2 club members at a time!