Empowering women in cycling

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)

Motivational Monday with Joan in the Philippines

2 Motivational Monday with Joan

What is your name and location?

Joan, Philippines

What type of cycling do you enjoy?

With family and friends

What is your first cycling memory?

With my cousins teaching me how to ride while we were taking care of my sick grandpa

Who inspires you to ride? Better yet, why?

My grandpa.

What has been your best moment on the bike so far this year?

My first uphill in Paete, Laguna! ;)

Tell us what you ride

My mosso turmoil is my very first roadbike.

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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! 

Cyclocross Bicycle Practice, or my First CX Race is This Weekend

20 Cross of the North Colorado

My first cyclocross “race” is this coming Sunday; I use the word race loosely as I’m looking at it as bicycle practice, with a very high average heart rate.

Things to do for my first CX race of the season

Find wheels for my cyclocross bike. I have a pair of Specialized Roval Pave wheels that I’ll be swapping over from my single speed. This way I can leave my Powertap on the road bike, and not have to worry about durability thanks to the Roval Pave proofing themselves over the past couple seasons on my single speed.

Find tires for the above wheels. Not knowing any of the courses I’m going to go with my proven “all – around but slow on hard pack” setup. This is a Specialized Terra up front and Michelin Mud2 on the back.

Sign up for a Bicycle Racing Association Colorado license. This is the statewide governing body for all things bike racing in Colorado. While I don’t have to join to race, it saves me from paying one day fee’s and it gives my team points if I place at all.

Register. Thankfully I remembered to do this, and get the BRAC license earlier this week as online registration has already closed for this weekend’s races! Note to self: Always register the Wednesday or Thursday before race weekend.

Test Ride and Skills. This will be tomorrow. Not too much stress, just making sure my bike is functioning and hips are flexible for the mounts. The first few races will be skills clinics in themselves, but I do plan on working in one or two days of CX skills per week.

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Review Course. Then forget what I reviewed.

Create CX’ing Playlist on Spotify. Do you have songs that pump you up? Maybe some Katy Perry “Roar”? Let me know what is on top of your list!

Rock Out. Because that is why we are all doing this right?

Photo Credit: Cross of the North Facebook page

Review: Cannondale SuperSix Evo Women’s Hi-MOD Dura Ace

6 Cannondale Women's Hi-MOD Evo

MSRP: $6600
Sizes: 44, 48, 51, 54, 56
Details: Geometry is based on front stack height (how tall the front end is), Shimano Dura Ace through out other than the Cannondale Hollowgram SI cranks. Wheels/Tires are from Mavic

Continue reading →

CrossVegas Women’s Race to Receive Equal Payout

15 crossvegas women's race

Ladies, you have an even bigger reason to head to Las Vegas later this month. Lazer Sport has made it so women are receiving equal payout at the 2013 Cross Vegas race. Now ladies, support the race and sponsor that has allowed this to happen!

Lazer has stepped up their annual participation at Clif® Bar Cross Vegas with sponsorship of the Elite Women’s race.  This support equalizes the Elite Women’s and Men’s prize list with over $8,700 across 30 places.

Learn more about Cross Vegas.

Review: Bern Allston Helmet

10 Bern Allston Helmet Review

Back in July I introduced Bern Helmets’ new ventilated model, the Allston. With a couple months of testing, three different reviewers and some matchy handlebar tape, I’m ready to give you my opinion.

The Bern Allston

The Allston has 16 vents, weighs in at a claimed 13 ounces and comes in 4 colors. With the classic Bern visor style, lighter weight and a decent amount of ventilation this is going to turn some fixie riding heads!

Key Details

MSRP: $89.99
Colors: Matte Black, Matte Grey, Matte Neon Green, Satin White
Features: 16 vents, 13 ounces, Available in 3 sizes (M, L, XL), Snap in liners to make this an all season helmet

Wear Test

The size Medium that showed up in Neon Green fit many heads. The nicest feature of this helmet in my mind is the liner that comes pre-installed. With a baseball cap flap, the adjustment comes from a soft fabric being tightened by velcro at the back. There isn’t a plastic cage tightening against your scull, it also acts as a sweat catcher!

Bern Allston Helmet Review

Ride Test

Bern Allston Test Riding

For bike commuting and low milage city riding this is a great go-to helmet. The vents allow some air flow but the skateboard style shell wraps around your head, a bit lower than most bike helmets these days.

I wouldn’t ride this helmet for 20+ miles unless it’s <60 degrees. While it has good airflow, it isn’t a match for ventilation like Lazer, Giro or Specialized.

Overall Opinion

If you want a great looking helmet, look here. If you want a helmet that can add some warmth in the winter, look here. If you are looking for a solid mountain bike or road helmet and you are often sweating or in warmer temps, do not look here.

I’m a huge fan of the helmet for the right purpose. In city bike shops Bern is selling like hotcakes. The style of the helmet is undeniable and a huge step up from their standard low vent styles.

Support Bike Shop Girl

Looking for a Bern helmet? If you can’t find something at your local bike shop, click through to JensonUSA as I make a commission off all sales you purchase after clicking through from Bike Shop Girl.

Disclaimer: This helmet was provided at no charge for review purposes.

 

Review: Sombrio Women’s Origami Jersey

6 Sombrio Women's Origami Jersey

When you hear jersey I bet you think spandex, pockets and zippers. Each of these features have its benefits; pockets for food and tools, zippers for airflow and spandex to keep close to your body. These features have very little use in mountain biking with backpacks strapped to our backs and the desire of looser fitting clothing to be able to move freely. While the free ride and all mountain movement have brought many killer clothes to production for guys, it’s limiting (as usual) for women.

Meet the Sombrio Cartel and the Origami Jersey

Sombrio Women's Origami Jersey

This jersey reminds me of a high end workout shirt from Adidas or Nike, but designed to fit with your arms extended and your torso slightly bent.

MSRP: $75
Details:

  • Seamless construction
  • X-Staticå¨ silver wrapped fiber technology
  • Antimicrobial
  • Eliminates odors
  • Regulates temperature
  • Eliminates static
  • Anti-slip hem

Fit of the Sombrio Origami Jersey

The size medium that I’ve been wearing fits like a glove. While snug, I haven’t had any chaffing under my Hydrapak or feeling of over heating. For sizing reference I wear a size medium/6 in most clothes.

Overall Thoughts

$75 is a pretty going rate of a bike jersey with pockets, zippers and do-dads. $75 for a glorified Lululemon overbuilt workout shirt is a bit much for me. While the shirt feels amazing, does everything it says it will, I’m sure those who live for all mountain riding won’t hesitate for a second to rock this shirt.

If you have the money it’s a great substitute for standard spandex. I find myself pulling this on any chance given, even for wearing off the bike. If the retail on this was closer to $50 I could see buying a couple and it being my go-to shirt. For $75 I may ask for it on a wish list for Christmas.

Visit Sombrio Cartel to see more

Disclaimer: This product was provided at no charge for review

Motivational Monday with Mandy in Rome, GA

3 Motivational Monday with Mandy

What is your name and location?

Mandy Loorham Rome, GA

What type of cycling do you enjoy?

Mountain Biking

What is your first cycling memory?

I was five or six and I had been learning to ride without training wheels. One Sunday my mom had gotten me ready for church in a nice white dress. I snuck out of the house and took my bike to the neighbor’s driveway and worked on my riding skills. I mastered my riding but got covered in dirt and grease. I went back into the house so proud. My mom took one look at me and flipped – so much for the white dress! I think I’ve been wearing dirt and grease ever since.

Who inspires you to ride? Better yet, why?

My husband and my boys – our whole famiy rides. If I can’t keep up I may miss something!

What has been your best moment on the bike so far this year?

As much as I love riding with my family – my favorite moments on my bike this year have been when I’m alone. When I can listen to the birds and the wind. I just take the time look around and just enjoy the trail.

Tell us what you ride

I ride a Giant Trance XO. She’s the little engine that could. The more I learn to trust her the easier the ride gets.

*    *    *    *    *    *

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! 

Bicycle Practice

19 Bicycle Practice

As humans grow older it is easy to forget that we aren’t perfect at everything and we must try new things, or practice old ones, to continue to grow. Cycling adults know this to a certain point. If you aren’t good at climbing, go find a hill. If you are trying clip in pedals for the first time, practice on the trainer first.

The apparent things, that are new or rusty, are easy to practice. The learning curve is quick and you see improvement which keeps you motivated. There are other things such as flat fixing, group ride etiquette, or eating healthy, that come slowly or aren’t practiced at all until you are in the moment.

We don’t think of eating healthy as something you practice. You’re either doing it, or you are failing. You practice fixing a flat when you have a flat. The only time you ride in a group is on the Saturday morning anger-fest, and you are doing everything you can to hang on.

I encourage you to take this new month and practice a bit more

Practice is how I’m viewing my first few cyclocross races, and I will be putting in my schedule to practice cyclocross specific drills one day during the week (outside of racing) through ‘cross season.

Find a couple friends that you trust and practice pace lines on a friendly stretch of road. Ask your friend that is a billy goat on climbs to take one ride a month to help make you a better rider, in return if you are a better mechanic or descender – you pass on your skills.

What skills on a bike, or in life, could you practice a little more?

For me it’s climbing, cooking and patience. All three are things I plan on practicing a good amount this month. Hopefully the practice becomes habit and next month I can practice something different, or take these three things to a higher level.

Preview: Knog Blinder Road Lights

7 Knog Blinder Road Lights

As my hunt continues for amazing bike lights to keep me from being run over, I was sent a set of the new Knog Blinder Road Lights. These rechargeable beauties are part of the hi power series that Knog released earlier this year.

Knog Blinder Road 2 MSRP $79.95

Knog Blinder Road Lights

  • 200 Lumens
  • Light Dimensions: W53mm x H30mm x D63mm
  • Weight: 75g
  • Materials: UV-Resistant, industrial-grade Silicone Rubber Body and Straps. Polycarbonate Housing. PMMA Lens. Anodised Aluminium Heat sink. Anodised Aluminium Fascia and solid Stainless Steel MIMLatch
  • Rechargeable Lithium Polymer (USB). This saves using about 600 AAA Alkaline batteries during the lights lifetime.
  • Waterproof: 100% Waterproof and Dust Proof.
  • Light Modes: Total of 8 light modes: 1. Narrow Low Beam, 2. Narrow High Beam, 3. Wide Low Beam,4. Wide High Beam, 5. Dual Low Beam, 6. Dual High Beam, 7. Flashing Alternate, 8. Flashing-1 LED Steady/1 LED flashing.
  • Burn time: Low-beam modes: Steady 2hr, Flash mode 6hr. High-beam modes:Steady 1hr / Flash mode: 4hr.
  • Charge time: 5 hour charge time.
  • Bike Attachment: Two removable silicone straps for bars 22-28mm / 29-35mm. Helmet mount included

Knog Blinder Road R MSRP $59.95

Knog Blinder Road Lights

  • 70 lumens in strobe mode (peak)
  • Dimensions: W27mm x H76mm x D52mm
  • Weight: 52g
  • Materials: UV-Resistant, industrial-grade Silicone Rubber Body and Straps. Polycarbonate Housing. PMMA Lens. Anodised Aluminium Heat sink. Anodised Aluminium Fascia and solid Stainless Steel MIMLatch.
  • Rechargeable Lithium Polymer (USB). This saves using about 600 AAA Alkaline batteries during the lights lifetime.
  • Light Modes: 5 light modes: 1.Steady, 2.Fast, 3.Chaser, 4.Peleton, 5. Eco-Flash.
  • Burn time: lasting up to 3.5 hours in Steady mode, 4 hours in Fast, 5 hours in Chaser, 13 hours in Peloton Mode and 20 hours in Eco-Flash.
  • Bike Attachment: Tool-less attachment for standard rear posts measuring 22-32mm. Not suitable for aero post design

Out of the Box Thoughts

The look of Knog lights have always been a clean, catchy, subtle design. The question has always been the quality and longetivity of the light. These new Blinder Road Lights seem to have a bit more to them, first in the band which is much thicker than their other lights, and then second are the cords they are finally shipping with their USB charging lights. You struggle any longer trying to plug one of their lights into the back of your computer or keyboard thanks to this long USB extender.

Only time will tell how the lights hold up, and how long they really do keep their charge. Give me a couple weeks to push the test of these little lights! Learn more over at Knog.

Support Bike Shop Girl

If you are in the market for new lights, click through this link to JensonUSA where I receive a commission off anything you buy (as long as you do so after clicking the link!)

Disclaimer: These Knog lights were provided at no charge for review.