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Motivational Monday with Renee

0 Motivational Monday with Renee

WHAT’S YOUR NAME AND LOCATION?

Renee Jordan, Plano, TX

WHAT TYPE OF CYCLING DO YOU ENJOY?

Recreationally with a club or alone; commuting to work; occassional dirt ride

WHAT IS YOUR FIRST CYCLING MEMORY?

Riding my first bike, purple with a banana seat & ape hanger type bars, in semi-rural North Carolina up and down the hilly asphalted road in front of my house…these early times on my bike were my first real independent adventures (no parents, no little sister in tow.)

WHO INSPIRES YOU TO RIDE, AND BETTER YET WHY?

I’m not really inspired by anyone in particular, but rather by the fun of riding & the experiences you have while riding…it keeps me going back for more

WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR BEST MOMENT ON THE BIKE SO FAR THIS YEAR?

Some of my best moments were late this summer, returning to the bike after some time off for an injury, riding around the nature preserve alone, at sunset.

TELL US ALL ABOUT YOUR BIKES

A Cannondale road bike for pavement
A franken-bike single speed w grocery panniers for commuting
A Gary Fisher mountain bike for dirt

Motivational Monday, a Monday tradition at Bike Shop Girl, my goal to keep you motivated and to be striving on the bike even during a hard week or long hours at work. Are you a woman that bicycles? Fill out this easy form and be part of our motivational movement!

Race Preview: Charlotte Winter Short Track #2

0 Charlotte Winter Short Track Series

After my break through 4th place finish last week I seem to be a marked woman going into this race.

Reasons being marked sucks

I had a power test yesterday, which (to be explained at another time) wrecks your legs completely.

Several girls will not be there today that I was using for pacing last week.

Several friends are coming out, hopefully I don’t crash in front of them!

Things to Debate for the next two hours

Do I wear the same Twin Six kit?

Should I ride home after the race or hail a ride?

How many snickers should I eat to make this race a success?

Bike Shop Builds: Surly Troll

1 Bike Shop Build Surly Troll

The thoughts and details during a bike build are what make a great bike shop a resource and a dream factory for bicycle geeks like myself. These custom bike builds are what keep me inspired and excited to continue to work within the industry. Few more bike profiles over yonder.

Surly Troll from Ride a Bike in Lincolnton, NC

Take your spare parts bin and turn it into a functional drop bar multipurpose bike!

Photo Credit: Brantley Smith

All City Cycles Ladies Clothing

0 All City Ladies Clothing

All City Cycles, one of the awesome brands I represent, and a group of cool kids, have released some new clothes for us bike geeks out there. See the full line up on the All City website.

Race Report: Atlanta AlleyCross

2 6

A guest blog from Laura Colbert of Loose Nuts Cycles in Atlanta, GA.

Saturday was a beautiful day in Atlanta, one of those occasional Southern winter days when it feels like spring–the opposite of what cyclocross weather should be.  Other parts of the country have muddy, sloppy, cold cyclocross races.  In Georgia, the weather always seems to provide us with boring, but beautiful race days.  This pattern held true for Saturday’s 4th Annual AlleyCross race.  It was 70 degrees and sunny, the kind of weather that’s perfectly suited for looking cute while riding your city commuter, but not so much for cyclocross.  Luckily the 2 days before the race had been pretty rainy, so the course was sufficiently sloppy, even if the weather was behaving itself.

AlleyCross is organized by No Hipster Left Behind and is a fun combination of cyclocross and alley cat races.

The event started with mandatory parade lap to familiarize everyone with the route.  That turned out to be fortunate, because it took the better part of an hour to complete (8.5 mile route…so slow) and included a couple wrecks.  Parade laps are not usually that eventful.  However, the extra time also gave us spectators plenty of opportunity to find a good spot for photos and get a head start on beer drinking.  When the racers returned from the parade lap, they left their bikes at the mouth of an alley and were sent down a gravel hill for a Le Mans start.

AlleyCross

The race consisted of two laps along the 8.5 mile race course, and it started and ended at Loose Nuts Cycles.  The route sent cyclists through city parks, gravel and cobblestone alleys, grass run-ups, the relatively new Atlanta Beltline, and regular city streets.  There were several notable obstacles/stops along the way:

  1. The cobblestone alley—I’ve ridden and run up and down this hill.  It’s steep and cobblestone-y, and there’s no visibility to check for cars at the bottom of the alley.  One Saturday, it was also extra slippery from the previous days’ rain.  It’s no joke.Atlanta AlleyCross
  2. The whiskey stop—Down an alley in Grant Park, the racers had a choice: 1. Take a whiskey shot and be on your way; 2. Shoulder your bike and run through a 30-second pine straw section.  I know which choice I would have taken… (whiskey!)

Atlanta AlleyCross

            3.  Barriers—traditional cyclocross barriers (made out of PVC instead of wood planks
4. The Beltline—a neutral zone for the race.  Racers were not allowed to attack in this section.  The Beltline is full of children on bicycles, dogs on and off leashes, roller bladers, skateboarders, and a woman who walks her dog while playing violin.  Even if it wasn’t against the rules, the Beltline is so crowded on nice days that usually it takes most of a cyclist’s attention to just avoid hitting anyone.

The race brought out a great mix of people–serious cyclocross racers, cyclists who have never raced before, and everyone in between.  The 49 race entrants (including 6 women) showed up in everything from full race kits to jeans and tshirts. The spectators were just as diverse–Grant Park and Inman Park residents, other cyclists, friends of cyclists, and future cyclists.

Atlanta AlleyCross

The race went smoothly for the most part, with relatively little drama (only one emergency room visit).   There were comments from experienced riders and new racers alike about how challenging the course was.  It was a well-designed course that really pushed everyone. Even cyclists who just rode the parade route commented on how much effort the route required. Race organizer, Dustin Morado said, “After organizing most of the city races in Atlanta for the last year and a half it was so rewarding to see so many people come out to really push themselves, go fast, and get competitive.”

At the end of the 2 laps, Gary Gomez (male winner), Elizabeth Lee (female winner) and Tim Barrett (single speed winner) beat out everyone else to earn the $40 payout for first place. (Second and third places earned $30 and $10 respectively in all categories.)  Their success was celebrated by everyone by emptying a keg’s worth of Fat Tire beer cans (Thanks Chip!) and then floating another keg in addition.  Needless to say, at the end of the day, lots of bicycle fun was had and everyone needed a beer recovery nap.

Atlanta AlleyCross

Luckily we don’t have to wait too long for another great event like this.  Here are the next race events from the  two race organizers.:

Kyle is running another, easier alleycross in March alongside SoPo’s BHBP 9 weekend.
NHLB will be hosting a fixed course road race in April.
Photo credit to Wil Hughes.  Thanks to Dustin of NHLB for providing me with some extra details about the race.

For Sale: Foundry Cycles Auger 56cm

1 Foundry Auger

‎$1800 + shipping

Foundry Cycles Auger Canti • Size 56cm • Raced one season
Mostly stock build but I’ll spell it out…

SRAM Red (2011) Shifters, rear derailleur
SRAM Force front derailluer
PAUL Mini Moto Brakes
FSA 42 Compact Wing Pro
FSA SLK Seatpost
Alex A23 rims to Formula Hubs
Tires: Clement PDX front, Michelin Mud2 rear
Lizard Skins DSP Tape
No saddle or pedals

*the brakes are setup moto right now, easily switched back but I didn’t want to rip up the tape just incase.

http://foundrycycles.com/bikes/auger

Preview: SRAM XX1 MTB Drivetrain

10 SRAM XX1 Review

When my work started “pre-selling” the new XX1 group I knew this is what I had to have for my new hardtail race machine. Not only is it the latest and greatest, which doesn’t always appeal to me on my own bikes, it was very tested and several pro racers I know whispered in my ear that it REALLY was the bee’s knees.

Setup of XX1 Reviewed

MSRP: $1450
Shifter: Trigger shifter
Cranks: 175m, 32t, 168 Q
Cassette: 42 x 10 (with 11 speeds!)

Benefits of SRAM XX1

Rear Derailleur – Redesign of the rear derailleur. With an offset of the upper pulley, larger pulleys and a “straight parallelogram” that takes away ghost shifting and making it easier to shift. This derailleur also has the Type 2 clutch which keeps your derailleur from bouncing when you’re going down hill.

Chain- I can’t even begin to explain the chain, so I’ll show a photo!

XX1 Chain

Cassette- 10x42t. The cassette also has larger gaps to clean out better.

Cassette body- due to the size of the cassette going down to 10t, you have to get a new freehub called XD. I picked up a set of SRAM Rise 60 wheels (preview to come at a later date) and had to do a freehub swap. Super painless, and the freehub feels awesome. I haven’t had it on technical uphills to test out the engagement, but it feels good at most the trails I ride. A bit of a warning that there isn’t a ton of selection yet on freehub bodies.

Shifters- One shifter, pick your poison, either Grip Shift or Trigger. (I went with trigger, long term when I build up an all mountain bike I’ll switch the trigger to it and get Grip Shift for the race bike.)

Learn more “tech” stuff from SRAM by clicking here.

 

Initial Impressions

Pimp. I’m a bit biased as I’ve always preferred how SRAM shifts. I’ve ridden XX, I’ve ridden XO and XTR. This by far takes the cake. The range I get out of the rear cassette is amazing. There is no cross chaining and it performs perfectly throughout the range.

My crank setup is a 32t chainring with 168 Q-Factor (going to be the most popular option.) I plan on picking up a 36t chainring closer to XC season but right now on the road I spin out the 32×10 at roughly 27mph. Your speeds my vary and my legs can only spin so fast! The biggest reason I want to go up on a chainring is so that I’m using the middle of the cassette more. Currently when hitting the few off-road intervals I’ve had in the off season I have been riding lower in my cassette, which (in my experience) wears out parts faster. PLUS, I like to have more wrap on my cassette when going down hill so my derailleur /chain are under tension a bit more. Yes, you can tell me that is what the Type 2 derailleur does but I still like what I know has worked for years.

Conclusion

If you are in the market for new parts, building up a new bike or simply like the best. I would recommend giving this a spin, if you can find it. As a rep my bike is always in my car, and most shops that I have visited have NOT seen XX1 themselves. At least not mounted on a bike that can be test ridden. The first group sets have been out in the market for a few weeks (I believe the started shipping the beginning of December.) I’ve seen some Specialized S-Works coming out of the box with XX1 too. Give it a couple months for more shipments to come from SRAM and I’m sure it will be more readily available at your favorite bike shop. If you see me, you can take mine for a spin, BUT not moments before a race, just a warning.

$1450 is a pretty penny for a drivetrain only setup, if you are looking to take yourself and bike to the next level you won’t regret it with this.

Once I need to replace my chain I will chime back in with a full review of wear and long term thoughts.

Disclaimer: I purchased this drivetrain out of my own wallet. This wasn’t given to me, and my opinions will always be honest.

Race Report: Winter Short Track #1

4 Arleigh Jenkins Charlotte Winter Short Track

Going into the first race of the Charlotte Winter Short Track series I was nervous and unsure. How shell’ed off the back would I get? Would I clog up the berms for the fast single speed boys that needed to blow past me?

The morning routine was off. I’m not used to racing in the afternoons, so I was up and “Ready” about 3 hours earlier than I needed to be. The plan was to ride to the course around 12:15, race time at 1:50. Next week I plan on making it a lot closer as there was a lot of sitting around and getting nervous.

BRAAAPPPP, Race Time

Lining up among 9 other pretty fast women I knew I could hold a strong line in the trail, but half of a lap is on a gravel road or asphalt parking lot. At the moment of go I settled in quickly. My starts from cyclocross paid off , though I could have easily been 2-3 in to the woods and I was comfortably seated behind fast girl, Sarah Matchett, in maybe 5-6th position.  I was faster in the woods, she was faster on the straights. 9 laps, Sarah left me in her dust after the first lap. I settled into my heart rate,  trying not to spew Perpetuam all over as it was 70 or so degrees. My body wasn’t used to zone 4/5 in these temperatures!!

Slowly I was picking girls off. My lap times were pretty consistent, but not as consistent as I would like. A goal for the series is to find my “pace” so that my lap times get faster, not slower, as we tick them off. I found myself in 4th with two girls within eye sight behind me. Going through the finish line with “Two laps to go!” I was trying to hit a hard effort through the parking lot and look across to the finish line to see the two girls being lapped by the finisher of single speed. I still had a lap to go, but does that mean they are done? Do I just need to stay up right?? With a fear of them working together and chasing after me I kept going. Not full effort, but pretty hard.

Short Track 1 - Strava

Improvement is Motivation

Pulling through the finish in 4th out of 10 pretty fast women I feel ecstatic with my results, along with knowing internally I’ve only been training “consistently” since Thanksgiving time. I’m sure these girls aren’t on their top game, but it feels pretty good to be in front of girls that have normally lapped me in the past! I realize it isn’t a true Expert field or length, but my goals of being able to CAT up this year to Expert seem a bit more obtainable!

Amazing motivation to continue to hit training hard, listen to my coach and make healthy decisions. I can say this is my best start of a racing season ever and the most overwhelmed feeling of encouragement and motivation from my friends.

Rich Dillen Loves Me!

Photo Credit: CLTPhotography.com

Motivational Monday with Amar

0 Motivational Monday Amar

WHAT’S YOUR NAME AND LOCATION?

Amar, Los Angeles, CA

WHAT TYPE OF CYCLING DO YOU ENJOY?

Commuting, Touring, Recreational

WHAT IS YOUR FIRST CYCLING MEMORY?

I didn’t learn to ride a bike until I was a senior in college, so my first memory is of being entirely certain that I was going to lose my balance and swerve into the path of an oncoming Metro Bus. Hasn’t happened yet, although I did lose my balance many times and became quite familiar with the pavement in the parking lot of the Federal Building on Wilshire Blvd.

WHO INSPIRES YOU TO RIDE, AND BETTER YET WHY?

My husband. He loves riding for the sheer joy of it and I always want to join in on that happiness. It was a lot more fraught for me for a very long time, until I started commuting regularly and didn’t have to focus so hard on the mechanics of riding. Now I can capture some of that freedom and joy when I ride too. Also, I hate idling in traffic and worrying about parking. To me, it’s easier to just bike everywhere and with our traffic it takes about the same amount of time as driving.

WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR BEST MOMENT ON THE BIKE SO FAR THIS YEAR?

For our wedding anniversary my husband and I biked from Seattle to Portland with a friend of ours. It was so beautiful and fun. I think about that trip whenever I need to relax!

TELL US ALL ABOUT YOUR BIKES

Surly Long Haul Trucker in a pretty blue color. Setup is pretty upright since I have a bad back and am finicky about positioning. I catch wind like a kite but I’m not exactly built for speed anyways ;)

Motivational Monday, a Monday tradition at Bike Shop Girl, my goal to keep you motivated and to be striving on the bike even during a hard week or long hours at work. Are you a woman that bicycles? Fill out this easy form and be part of our motivational movement!

Race Preview: Charlotte Winter Short Track #1

0 Charlotte Winter Short Track Series

Your first of a season are always nerve wracking. First group ride. First wreck. First long ride and so on. First are scary for the unknown and for the stress you put on yourself.

Tomorrow is my first race of 2013. The first race of the Charlotte Winter Short Track Series. A training race if you could call it that. A 45 minute interval set in the middle of a 3 hour ride. Riding to the course, pre-ride, race, and then another hour of riding after.

I can tell you now that I’m nervous, but in a healthy “I can’t wait to get my adrenaline pumping” kind of way. This afternoon, after I drive home from Chattanooga/Atlanta, I’ll be swapping out a front tire and riding down to the course to preview. From there I don’t know what will happen tomorrow, I don’t know where my legs stand against the girls that will show up and in a hyper focused way – I’m not too worried. This short track series holds so meaning to me and I’m super stoked to be able to race all 5 Sundays of the series!