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Full Review: 2012 Raleigh RX 1.0 Women’s Cyclocross Bike

23 2012 Raleigh RX1 Cyclocross Bike

For the past month I have been cruising around on the 2012 Raleigh RX 1.0 Women’s cyclocross bike. A good amount of people emailed and tweeted about the bike, so there must be an interest in women’s cyclocross! You can read the preview over yonder.

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Review: 2011 Airborne Delta CX

0 Airborne Cyclocross Bike

I won’t lie, the Airborne Delta CX was the most exciting part of becoming a member of the Airborne Flight Crew this past spring. I was going to have the inside scoop, test ride and ride for a season a wonderful cyclocross bike that hopefully would crack open a huge “hidden nut” in the bicycle industry. A budget priced, disc brake, cyclocross bike. As a lover of cyclocross bikes for the utility and functionality, this bike fit right into my arsenal to refer friends and followers to.

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Preview of Louisville 2013–Cyclocross World Championships

0 Female cyclocross rider in Georgia.  Photo by Nathan Bolster.

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

Normally, I’ve just started making my weekend plans by this time in the week, but I’ve had this weekend planned for months…maybe longer.  This weekend I’ll be traveling to Louisville, KY for the UCI Cyclocross World Championships!  So stoked right now!

This weekend in Louisville is sure to be amazing for several reasons:

1. It’s the first time that the CX World Championships has been held outside of Europe.  Last year, UCI gave Louisville a practice run with the Master’s World Championships.  The masters returned to Louisville again this year and brought the rest of the World Championship events with them.  The first time for anything is fun and challenging and special.  This weekend will set the bar for US-hosted world CX events.  If it goes well, maybe the World Championships will come back to the US.  If it doesn’t, you can bet that Europe will be hosting all the major CX races for years to come.

2.  It’s taking place in Louisville’s Eva Bandman Park.  Bandman Park is the only park in the U.S. that is specifically dedicated to the sport of cyclocross, which means that the course should be great.  If you want to preview the course, check out this guy’s blog.  If you want to know what cyclists and officials think about the course, Velo News has a great article with thoughts from a lot of the top cyclists that have ridden it.  If this weekend goes well, maybe other cities will consider building their own cyclocross specific venues.

3.  European-style excitement about cyclocross!  The event organizers say that they’re expecting 5000-6000 people to attend each day of the event.  In addition to massive crowds, I fully expect that we’ll see some amazingly ridiculous cheering and fanaticism.  Cyclocross is not exactly America’s national pass time, so American cyclocross events don’t often elicit the same enthusiasm that they do in Europe.  That will not be case this weekend.  The U.S.’s biggest cyclocross fans will be out in full force, with some back up from European visitors and guests from around the world.  Expect awesome crowds, creative fans (I bet we’ll see some face/body paint despite the cold temperatures), and lots of noise.

4.  The possibility of home court victories for the American cyclists!  If you’re not familiar with the US’s world champion roster, check out USA Cycling’s report and 22-person roster here.  I do not usually shine with national pride, but I inexplicably swell with patriotism during sporting events.  I can’t help it.  The world championships are here, at home, and may never return to US soil.  Our American cyclists have to make the most of this moment and capture some podium spots.  Win on their home court.  Prove to the Europeans that America can produce cyclocross champions.  Velo News has a good analysis the American chances of winning this weekend.

If you have a weekend with few plans and live in any state that borders Kentucky (or are otherwise reasonably close), you should cancel your plans and make your way to Louisville.  If you aren’t able to make it this weekend, no worries.  CX Magazine is live streaming the event right here.  Also, check the Louisville 2013 Facebook page for updates.

I’m going to be taking lots of pictures, checking out the course, pits, and venue, and talking to as many cyclists and spectators as I can.  Next week, I’ll be reporting back about the weekend and the races.  Leave a comment if you want me to try to chat with a specific cyclist, or get a picture of a particular part of the course, or whatever.  I’ll do my best.

Photo credit to Nathan Bolster of Bolster Photography.

NC Cyclocross Clinic Recap

1 NC Cyclocross

This past Sunday I dragged myself out of bed at o’dark 30 to prep myself and brain for my first cyclocross “clinic”. At around 7 o’clock teammate and all around awesome guy, George Berger, picked me up in his little Prius and we were off into the sunrise. The goal was to get to mountains of Boone North Carolina and the Pirate Race Products Cyclocross Clinics.

NC Cyclocross

Walking into a cyclocross clinic I wasn’t sure what to expect. I have participated in cyclocross practices, and various other road/mtb clinics before but never dedicated for cyclocross.

Here are the things I did know:

The clinic was segregated for women and men. There ended up being roughly 12 women that showed up which seemed to be a decent group for learning and trying new things with two instructors.

It would be a long day. The clinic was scheduled from 10 to 4, and I knew from cyclocross practices that I would be completely worn out doing these quick burst of anaerobic effort.

NC Cyclocross

There would be good food. Burrito’s from Black Cat in Boone, if you haven’t been there – go visit soon.

I had no goals. There were things I want to improve on in cyclocross this year, but a specific skill other than not hurting myself, I didn’t have one dead set in mind. Oh wait, that is a lie.I want to be able to do the “flying squirrel” remount by the end of the season. You know that one were you “hop” off the ground and gracefully slide over your saddle like a cowboy on a bareback horse? Yes that is what I want to be able to do.

Drills and practice makes perfect

For 6 hours I was taken back to high school. All the drills and random technique forming (brain numbing) things you would do, and hate, wanting to just PLAY the game you were practicing for. You didn’t want to practice sprints, side to side, crazy legs, etc.

Quickly these feelings went away and I was left really enjoying myself and fellow company. I hope to have video’s of all the things below later this week. Video editing is just not in the time early this week.

Crazy 8′s -  You basically take two objects, maybe 20-50 feet apart, with a partner you circle the objects/cones/trees/phone poles in a crazy 8 fashion. Learning how to take the corners properly at speed, while at the same time making sure your partner doesn’t catch or pass you (especially in the corners.)

Hill Climbs – This is the one I avoid, I did it twice and stopped. Find a hill and run up it with your bike. At the top either walk down or hop on your bike to ride back down. We started off slowly, simply picking up our bike and walking up the hill to learn where to place the bike on our shoulders and how to use our free arm to propel ourselves up. After a few times in slow, we then would ride into the hill, dismount and “scurry” up the hill.

Dismounts – A great thing for someone getting used to hopping off the CX bikes, especially with clipless pedals. With some momentum unclip your right foot and swing it over the saddle to be behind your left foot. Simply glide in that position. Once you feel comfortable doing this, repeat but this time swing your right leg back over to and clip back in. Next step is to complete the dismount. There were two schools of thought for this, sliding your right leg between your left leg and bike, or swinging your right leg behind your left and allowing the momentum to unclick you. I don’t feel comfortable the first way, and I’m much faster with the second.

Mounting – At a walking pace work on hip rotation and in motion of your walking stride take your right leg and slide it over the saddle so you “catch” yourself on your inner thigh right below your groin. Work on getting faster and “pushing off” your left leg so you get more speed into the sliding onto the saddle. (This is the one I need to work more on.)

Starts- Try out different gearing for your start, where should you be on your seat, do you do better with your hands on the shifters or in the drops, learn your limits so that you can push them but also land in the top positions in the start of the race. It is always better to allow people to pass you than to pick off people through out the race.

Other things gained at the NC CX clinic

NC Cyclocross

The drills were awesome. Having 12 women to talk about womens CX and learn their ways of doing things, was awesome. Having “hot laps” at the end, was awesome. More than anything I believe the best part was meeting 12 semi-local women that will be on the courses beside me. Having people to talk with, making new friends and hopefully helping grow the sport.

Kuat Rack Review

Testing out George’s new Kuat rack was also very informative, if only they came out for a hitch for my new car!

I feel more motivated and able for the season. All I need to work on is my motor and I have over a month to work on that one. Here’s to NC Cyclocross! You can find all the photos over yonder.

2012 Raleigh RX Women’s Cyclocross Bikes

1 2012 Raleigh RX 1.0 Women's Cyclocross

This is part of a series of short posts releasing the new 2012 Raleigh Bicycles women’s line. Everything from 29er mountain bikes, road bikes, hybrids, more carbon and women’s cyclocross bikes. I’ve got the scope, but we can thank Raleigh’s Sally on this one.

Want to know how I can tell you with 100% certainty that the bicycle industry is finally valuing women? Two things, women’s 29ers and women’s CYCLOCROSS bikes. Yes, it is old news (other news sites scooped it a couple weeks ago) but I need to share with you one of those things that I am so super excited about. Two, yes two, women’s cyclocross full bicycles from Raleigh Bicycles in 2012.

This could be do to Raleigh’s Sally having a girlfriend these days and realizing the needs of women. Maybe Raleigh’s Sally needs the shorter top tube and taller head-tubes that women’s bikes have to offer. Raleigh is taking a stand for cyclocross in 2012 with 8 models for cyclocross and I am proud of them for stepping up.

2012 Raleigh RX 1.0 Women’s Cyclocross $1,650

2012 Raleigh RX 1.0 Women's Cyclocross
Aluminum frame, EC70 carbon cross fork and BB30.  SRAM Apex & Rival 10 Speed.

2012 Raleigh RX Women’s Cyclocross $1,100

2012 Raleigh Women's Cyclocross Bike

Same frame and fork as the 1.0 but stepping down to Shimano Sora 9 speed.

Photos from Bike Rumor

Stealing the photos from BikeRumor.com

2012 Raleigh RX Women's Cross Bikes
2012 Raleigh RX Women's Cross Bikes

Budget Minded Airborne Delta Cyclocross Bike

1 Airborne Delta Cyclocross

When friend and follower Rick Vosper sent along spy photos of a new cyclocross bike he had up his Airborne Bicycles sleeve, I was impressed and excited.  I was sworn to secrecy until they finished testing it.

Here’s the low down.  $1099 for a SRAM Apex equipped, custom carbon fork, disc brake cyclocross bike.  Yes, you read $1099.  Do you know how rare it is to find a cyclocross bike around $1000?   Meet the Airborne Delta CX.

Now Airborne Bicycles is a unique company as it is everything that local bike shops hate.  You can only purchase them online, and because they take out the middle man their bikes are cheaper.   There’s going to be a specific customer for their niche, one that knows what they are looking for, and either knows how to put their unbox their bike, or is okay to take it to the bike shop.   Personally, I’m a fan of this concept.   Buy your bike online, as long as you know what you are doing, bring it to the shop for them to properly build it and then pay them again to fit you.   No low margin bikes for the shop, and only money making profit on the labor of the services.  This is a completely different rant, but for now I’ll save you.


The Airborne Delta CX One Part CX, One Part Commuter

This bike will be ready to rock well before the cyclocross season comes back around.   It is also equipped with bosses for your rack, as a disc brake cyclocross would be a perfect commuter.   That’s the great thing about a good cyclocross bike.  The ample tire clearance gives you room for fenders, rack and all those goodies plus a slightly more upright position than a road bike.  While living in DC, Boston or major cities cyclocross bikes were my go to bikes for 80% of people wanting to “tool around”, commute and go for a fun road ride.

View more photos on Airborne’s Facebook Page.

Liv/giant Releases 2014 Women’s Cyclocross Line

12 Liv Brava SLR 0

The press release I received last night from Liv/giant was a long one (two pages long without photos.) As I started reading it, every paragraph was making me more giddy than the last. Why?

Liv/giant is about to rock the women’s cyclocross world

Meet the Liv/giant Brava SLR women’s cyclocross line! Two models, the Brava SLR O and Brava SLR 2 both equally stunning in their own category. Light weight, disc brakes, women’s geometry and colors that I personally find attractive.

Liv/giant Brava SLR 2 MSRP: $1600

 

Liv/Giant Brava SLR 2

 

The lightest women’s-specific cyclocross bike—and the only one with disc brakes—is all about performance and versatility. You can race it during cyclocross season, commute with it in all kinds of conditions, or use it for long rides on mixed terrain. The lightweight, responsive ALUXX SLR alloy frame features an OverDrive 2 steerer tube for stiff, responsive steering and a toptube that’s shaped for shouldering comfort. A D-Fuse SL composite seatpost provides compliance over rough terrain. Additional performance-minded features include disc brakes, a 15mm thru-axle for enhanced handling precision, and smooth, clean internal cable routing. – Liv/Giant

Liv/giant Brava SLR 0 MSRP: $4800

 

Liv Brava SLR 0

 

The lightest women’s-specific cyclocross bike—and the only one with disc brakes—is all about performance and versatility. The lightweight, responsive ALUXX SLR alloy frame features an OverDrive 2 steerer tube for stiff, responsive steering and a toptube that’s shaped for shouldering comfort. A D-Fuse SL composite seatpost provides compliance over rough terrain. Additional performance-minded features include disc brakes, a 15mm thru-axle for enhanced handling precision, and smooth, clean internal cable routing. -Liv/giant

Sizing/Geometry of the Brava SLR Women’s Cyclocross Bikes

Brava SLR Geo

I suggest to be familiar with the geometry of these bikes before test riding. Traditionally I ride a 55/56cm which normally equals a Large in women’s bikes, but looking at top tube lengths I will fit a medium. Everything else in the geometry looks straight forward, and should fit many short torso’d women very well. This part (other than pricing and spec) was one of the main reasons I was so giddy reading the press release! Hopefully I’ll be able to swing a leg over one of these bikes to give you a full report on handling and sizing.

Colorado Cyclocross Calendar

17 cyclocross

it’s my first year living in Colorado for cyclocross and I’m starting to get excited! The calendar on BRAC (Bicycle Racing Association Colorado) is lacking links and non-sanctioned races/clinics so in my effort of research, here is what I have found for cyclocross racing in Colorado.

Cross of the North 2012 – Men’s Open from Jamie Servaites on Vimeo.

August

20Formula Four Boulder

23 – FasCat & Jeremy Powers Cross Camp Boulder

27 – Relay Sixty Boulder

September

7 - Women’s Cyclocross Camp 2-5pm in Fort Collins. $25 for the camp
crosscamp
7 - Kick It Cross Festival 
Fort Collins

8Cross of the North Fort Collins

14 - Zero Gravel Cross Littleton

15 - Cyclo X Flatirons Mall Boulder

21 - Cyclo X Valmont Boulder

22 - Body Synx CX Golden

27 – BRAC Junior Cyclocross Camp

28 – BRAC Junior Cyclocross Camp

28 – Cyclo X Rhyolite Park

28 – Queens of Cross Arvada

28 – LTR CX #1 Grand Junction

29 – BRAC Junior Cyclocross Camp

29 – Storm the Castle Castle Rock

October

5 – Frisco Cross Frisco

6 – Primalpalooza Arvada

19 – Colorado Cross Classic Boulder

20 – Boulder Cup Boulder

26 – Cyclo X Xilinx 

26 - LTR CX #2 Grand Junction

27 – Frites CX Parker

November

2 – Schoolyard Cross Brighton

3 – Feedback Cup Golden

9 – Cyclo X Interlocken

9 - LTR CX #3 Grand Junction

10 – Blue Sky Cup Longmont

16 – Cyclo X Louisville Louisville

17 – Mile Hi Urban Cross Denver

23 – Cyclo X Westminster Westminster

23 - LTR CX #4 Grand Junction

24 – Green Mtn Sports CX #2

28 – Turkey Cross Morrison

30 – Castle Cross Castle Rock

December

1 – Cowboy Cross Denver

7 – Cyclo X Boulder Boulder

8 – The RLW “in Memoriam” Cx 

14 – Colorado CX Championships Louisville

15 – Colorado CX Championships Louisville

28 – Tune-up Cup Golden

 

A Cyclocross Race for Last Place

17 Cross of the North 2013

When someone asks how your race went, traditionally you want to tell them your place 1st or 5th out of 10, something to that tune. When you are in last place you want to list out all the other positives of the race, this was my race this past Sunday. My first race of any discipline in Colorado, my first cyclocross race of the season, and my first race as a Category 3.

Sure, I’m looking at most of this early season’s racing as practice and learning, but it was still a pretty brutal showing on my part.

The Course at Cross of the North

I strongly believe that my carbon 29er hardtail would be been better suited for tearing up the 95% sand course that made up the Cross of the North. Up and down you went, a lot of sweeping turns that let me learn with 4 laps of racing practice, how to turn in sand (you don’t “turn”) and how to gracefully place your front wheel to force you to tumble off the bike.

I’m sure with the proper training in my legs the sand would have been easier to spin through and the necessary dismounts on two sandy hairpins would have been unnecessary, but for this race they were necessary and my legs were toast.

Cyclocross in Colorado

To be honest my biggest reason for nerves going into the race was the people, or lack there of knowing the people. Cyclocross is about the community to me. Shelling out and racing for 45 minutes is just the icing on the cake. Driving to races in the heat, cold, snow and rain is my own version of being a fan of football. Instead of being crowded around a TV or a grill at a tailgate, I’m at a cyclocross race surrounded by some of the best people I could ask for. This to me is cyclocross and I could only hope that Colorado would deliver like Maryland and North Carolina have.

Most of my teammates of Team Cycleton don’t start racing until October, so there isn’t that instant family to find when showing up in the morning but there was faces that I recognized and was greeted with warm smiles. There was the chatter before the whistle at the line and friendly talks in the parking lot with faces you don’t recognize but saw you racing and find the light in the wreckage of your failed race.

Results are in the Smiles and Miles

The race was hot, dusty and a bit shattering for me. I was happy with last place in SW3, which would have been top 10 in the SW4. I am happy that I didn’t submit a downgrade request when moving and I’m happy I showed up to race. One more step closer to making Colorado my home and to create the community I miss so badly from North Carolina.

Thank You’s

I need to thank the handful of fast dudes from Boulder Cycle Sport that were all super friendly and eased my nerves when the talked it up in the parking lot at 8am.

Thank you to Megan Hottman of The Cyclist – Lawyer as she encouraged me when passing (after flatting, getting fixed and catching me)

Cyclocross Schedule in NC and SC

0 NC Cyclocross

As a resident of the Charlotte North Carolina region I can tell you that cyclocross has been slow to pick up in the area. It seems this season is going to change all of this. More practices, more area races and more folks wanting to ride their cyclocross bikes more during a year.

Clinics

September 11, 2011- High Country Cyclocross Clinics – Women’s and General Clinics in Boone, NC

Practices

Boone on Tuesday Nights – Alray Tire Boone Cross Series – Tell Stackhouse you found his races here!

Asheville on Wednesday Nights- Asheville Cycloccross

Charlotte on Wednesday/Sunday Nights- Join the Facebook group to learn more.

Lake Norman/Huntersville on Wednesday Nights- Email me for info

Winston Salem on Tuesday Nights- Located at SECCA, I hear they’re giving out beer coupons. Join FB for the details.

East Bend Wednesday Nights – Right in Ken’s backyard.

Endurance CX Races

September 25, 2011 – Three Peaks USA in Beech Mountain, NC

CX Races

September 10- Asheville CX in Bent Creek Park

September 24- Asheville CX at TBD

October 1 & 2, 2011- Va Du Mar Cyclocross in Spartanburg, SC Flyer and Registration

October 9, 2011- Asheville CX at Pisgah Brewing

October 9, 2011- Winston Salem Cross and Waffles

October 16, 2011- 2011- Cyclocross Kick Off in Cary, NC Pre-Reg here

NCCX 2011-2012 Calendar Dates (Many TBD)

Race #1 – Sat. October 22, 2011
Race #2 – Sun. October 23, 2011 – Raleigh, NC
Race #3 – Sun. October 30, 2011 – Boone, NC
Race #4 – Sun. November 6, 2011 – Salisbury, NC
Race #5 – Sun. November 13, 2011
Night Race – Wed. November 16, 2011 (non-series) -Asheville, NC
Race #6 – Sat. November 19, 2011 -UCI-NCGP  - Hendersonville, NC
Race  #7 – Sun. November 20, 2011 – UCI NCGP – Hendersonville, NC
Race #8 – Sun. December 4, 2011
Race #9 – Sun. December 11, 2011 – Wilkesboro, NC
Race #10 – Sun. December 18, 2011 – Tanglewood, NC
Race #11 – Sun. January 8, 2012
Race #12 – Sat. January 21, 2012
Race #13 – Sun. January 22, 2012