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2011 Burn 24 Hour Challenge
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Looking Back at my First Solo 24 Hour Mountain Bike Race

2011 Burn 24 Hour Challenge

Several months ago I had a plan going into the 2011 season. It included a duo race at the 6 Hours of Warrior Creek, a solo at the 6 Hour Grind on the Greenway, a ton of riding and then my first solo at Burn 24 Hour.    As any good plan there was a few snags within this.  My geared race bike, the Airborne Goblin, showed up a few weeks late which kept me on my fully rigid single speed for the 6 Hours of Warrior Creek, and kept me from racing the 6 Hour Grind.    I quickly started commuting on the Goblin and riding it everywhere possible to get used to the fit and gearing.

I’ve never done a 24 hour mountain bike ride on my own, I’ve never come close to that.  Even with tons of great inspiration and information from sources like Rebecca Rusch and Team Ergon I still didn’t know exactly what my body would think or my mind would do.   Doing my best to prepare myself I lined myself up with some of the best support and gear a person could ask for.   Amazing lights from Light & Motion (Seca 700 and Stella 300.) A great pit setup and location, and a great prepared pit crew.

Preparing for a 24 Hour Mountain Bike Race

Friday I pulled a half day of work, finished packing up the little Jetta and headed up to Wilkesboro from Mooresville NC.   Quickly setting up my tent in fear of the rain storms headed towards the race course, I can say the purchase of the REI tent and garage was one of my smartest moves this year so far.

REI Hobitat Tent Review

REI Hobitat 6 Tent

Somehow I set up the tent all by myself, losing about 2 lbs of water weight in the process.  Looking over my shoulder the whole time at the large RV that was simply sitting there with generator and air conditioning running.  Jealousy ran through my head for a moment.

After helping Jason B. with race sign up for 30 or so minutes, I ran out of things to do.  I finally sat there in my chair, sucking down water and contemplating my next move.  Would it be to nap, eat more beef jerky or go find friends.   I sat, and thought about my life until friend, em:pwr teammate and pit neighbor, Stephanie Cole, showed up.   We quickly pitched her ez-up, sleeping tent and staked them all to the ground so we could head off to dinner.

What did I eat for dinner the night before my solo race?  Really good ribs of course.

Morning of my Race

Sleeping in the tent the night before my race was fine.  The weather was perfect and I was sprawled out across two sleeping bags and my Thermarest! The week leading into my race I did my best to be over hydrated.  Counting bottles of water as I drank them at work, and having a water bottle near by at all times.   I think this was a smart choice but at 11pm, 2am and 4am my bladder thought other wise.  The idea of walking around in the dark to the line of port-a-jons, through a large mud puddle and having to wake up enough to do all these things…well it didn’t fly for me.   Fortunately for me, I have been taught by my better half to pee in bottles.  If you look at the tent photo above we had added a “garage” to the tent.  Both sides zip down to provide shelter for the bikes, dogs or whatnot and additional room at night.   It also provided a perfect place to “pee in my bottles” in the middle of the night.   Between all my wake up calls, I think I filled two bottles and was thankful when 7am came to use a real toilet.

Burn 24 Hour Pit

I did my best to setup all my gear, label my batteries, swap my tires from Small Block Eight to the most “mud tire” I owned which is the Bontrager XDX.  Checked over my bike and laid out all my gear for the first couple laps.  At around 10:30 my pit crew showed up, set up more stuff and prepared themselves for the next 28 hours of their lives.

Introducing my Pit Crew

Somehow I had recruited a few friends to come take care of me, entertain each other and really “hang out” for over 24 hours of their Memorial Day weekend.

Kimberlee Welsand

Kimberlee - Chef, nutritionist, first aid and medical provider (all of these things came in handy.)

George Berger
George - Engineer, official time keeper, and master scientist.

Ben Wilson
Benjamin
– Comedian and pit jester.

The Race

The race, broken down into bite size pieces will be up for tomorrow.   I’m still trying to process everything that happened in that short time span of 24 hours. What I did wrong, right and what I need to do better in life to get me further in racing.

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A Somber Motivational Monday: Jeff Papenfus

A day late, but I hope my readers can recognize why and this Motivational Monday (on Tuesday) reaches folks where it matters. The setup will be a bit different, as this is a story from my fingers on someone that has motivated me consistently over the past 10 months.

There are people that you meet in life that hold your thoughts, and make you strive to be a better person or citizen. An example is every time I meet a proud Marine it makes my heart skip a beat, knowing what is behind the Insignia of the Marine Corps. Coaches that make you be a better athlete, bosses that make you smarter employees and parents that create amazing human beings.

Jeff Papenfus was and will always be remembered as an amazing human being. Always there to coach, cheer and motivate. After my accident last year Jeff was one of the main online contributors that got me back on the bike. He has always been at the end of an email string when I’ve had small questions about adventure racing, bike teams, life and even computer technology.

This past spring when I started the talk of EM:PWR cycling, he was one of the first people stepping up with words of wisdom and throwing his own money into the pot for a team jersey. The jersey still sits in my desk drawer, waiting for the lunch he has promised me for the past 6 weeks.

This past weekend Jeff was finishing up a mountain bike ride, the exact cause of why he crashed is unknown but he crashed. Sliding down off the road and into a yellow jacket hive. A friend was trailing behind him and when she pulled up she tried to give CPR while dialing 911 and being stung by over 100 yellow jackets. Jeff was pronounced dead at the scene with a neck injury, my hopes are that it was quick and easy for his passing.

Jeff’s accident and passing has changed feelings in my head and soul more than I thought. A guy that touched so many people, and is still touching my thoughts after his passing. To dedicate my cyclocross season and bike rides do not seem to give it justice. To push myself that extra 50% every time I put out the effort in life, that doesn’t seem to give it justice either.

I employ all of you to go for a ride for Jeff this week. Take in the sights, feel the breeze, look at the leaves and enjoy yourself for a moment. We never know how many tomorrow’s are left.

All the lonely people cryin’
It could change if we just get started
Lift the darkness, light a fire
For the silent and the broken hearted

Won’t you stand up
Stand Up
Stand Up
Won’t you stand up you girls and boys?

Won’t you stand up
Stand Up
Stand Up
Won’t you stand up and use your voice?

There’s a comfort
There’s healing
High above the pain and sorrow
Change is coming
Can you feel it?
Calling us in to a new tomorrow

Won’t you stand up
Stand Up
Stand Up
Won’t you stand up you girls and boys?

Won’t you stand up
Stand Up
Stand Up
Won’t you stand up and use your voice?

When the walls fall all around you
When your hope has turned to dust
Let the sound of love surround you
Beat like a heart in each of us

Won’t you stand up
Stand Up
Stand Up
Won’t you stand up you girls and boys?

Won’t you stand up
Stand Up
Stand Up
Won’t you stand up and use your voice?

Won’t you stand up
Stand Up
Stand Up
Won’t you stand up you girls and boys?

Won’t you stand up
Stand Up
Stand Up
Won’t you stand up

Won’t you stand up
Stand Up
Stand Up
Won’t you stand up and use your voice? – Sugarland

 

Road Holland The Aalmsmeer
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Exclusive Preview: Road Holland The Aalsmeer Jersey

A sneak peak exclusive for Bike Shop Girl from our friends at Road Holland. The folks at Road Holland are pulling their subtle styles and beautiful reasoning into a lighter weight merino wool (and polyester) full zip jersey, The Aalsmeer.  It helps the jersey comes in two of my favorite colors, light blue and ORANGE! Did I mention they are being made in Miami?? Most of the photos displayed are the women’s jerseys but we are sneaking in a few of the guys for all you male lurkers out there! Road Holland The Aalmsmeer

Welcome The Aalsmeer Jersey from Road Holland

When we launched Road Holland, we were flooded with emails from women who applauded our no girly-girl flower print design aesthetic.  However, we underestimated a couple of things.  One – that women like full zip jerseys just as much as men (even moreso if they wear bibs and we’ll leave it at that…).  And two – that they really like Royal Orange.
We listened and The Aalsmeer, our newest poly-blend merino wool cycling jersey, is our response.
Cut from a lighter than air fabric, The Aalmsmeer is the perfect combination of sophisticated styling and serious performance.  We’ve included a subtle Road Holland crown embroidery on the collar which is then lined with a smart tulip print (the only flowers you’ll see on our jerseys!).
On the back, there are 3 ample cargo pockets and an exterior stash pocket that is perfect for holding credit cards and cash – things you don’t want flying out when you reach for that energy bar.
The Aalsmeer is available in Royal Orange (Go Cavs!), Carolina Blue (Go Heels!), and Milky White.
KEY FEATURES
79% Polyester / 21% Merino Wool
Road Holland embroidered accents
Striped print inside the collar
Three rear cargo pockets
Angled exterior stash pocket
Waist gripper
Earbud/headphone cord pass-through in middle pocket MSRP of $120
With an MSRP of $120 it makes these jerseys very competitive, as long as the fit goes along with all the wonderful things I have heard about Road Holland I’m sure these will be a knock out of the park.

What is the word Aalsmeer mean?

First, Road Holland names all their jerseys after a town in Holland (get it, Road Holland?) and Aalsmeer is where 90% of the world’s flowers pass through…. goes with our saying “women want real flowers, not flower prints on their Jerseys”

About Road Holland

We make serious and stylish cycling wear. Serious because cycling demands clothes that fit well, perform well, and last. Stylish because we believe riders shouldn’t look like ad-emblazoned corporate team clowns just because they are on two wheels. Do you wear a full Redskins kit for that casual weekend match of flag football? What about an authentic Yankees uniform for the afterwork softballl game? We didn’t think so. So if you’re looking for skin-tight, dye-sublimated cheap polyester with lightning bolts, cereal box characters, and team sponsor logos, you won’t find them here. You also won’t find any pretentious attitude here about what and who constitutes cycling. What you will find are friendly down-to-earth people with a love for top-notch materials, always in style designs with fun accents, and flattering cuts that make you look good on and off the bike, whether you are a male, a female, a whip thin racer, or a Clydesdale.

Road Holland is essentially two guys, the founder is Jonathan Schneider the designer and guy behind all the designs and reasoning. Richard Grossman seems to be the man keeping all the wheels turning in the background! Both having essential jobs to making Road Holland a quick success over their first year.

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Flow at Lake Norman State Park

Yesterday, after attempting to play a few rounds of paintball games for the first time, I quickly loaded up my Green Goblin to hit up Lake Norman State Park before the daylight faded.

As I drove to the park I realized I was going to miss probably 30 minutes of the 2:30 ride time that I had planned due to the sun starting to go low beyond the trees. Quickly I came up with a new game plan. The goal was to ride the Itusi and Mambo loops (12 miles) for warm up and then to crank out another lap on Itusi but at a faster pace.

1/4 of the way through the 6 mile Itusi trail I realized that something was happening between the connection of the bike and rider. The last time I felt this type of connection was fall of 2006 when I was living in Brevard North Carolina while working at Cane Creek building wheels. The connection where you flick, the bike goes, flicking and jumping and flowing up and down the curves of the trail. It felt amazing.

Right ear plugged into Black Keys, left ear listening to the cicadas and the creaking of my bottom bracket.

Staying on track with time, keeping my heart rate in check, keeping RPM’s high when going flat or straight and slowing it down while climbing,  using basic muscle strength.

Hit last loop, Itusi part II. Rolling into the 2nd inner loop, I see a head a small dog. Slowing, I realized it has stripes. A raccoon, in day light? This isn’t good. It scureys off the trail and I jam it in hopes of not being bit by a rabid striped “dog.” Senses heightened I hear rustling, crap is the thing following me? Look to the left and see three doe deer running right at me.

Wildlife attacking…!!! I jet, pull the headphone out of my ear but keep singing very loudly in hopes that it keeps the deer away!

Cut the route short, sparing my legs 2.5 miles but glad that I didn’t have any more close encounters.

Ann Groninger
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Motivational Monday with Ann Groninger

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!

What’s your name and location?

Ann Groninger, Charlotte NC

What type of cycling do you enjoy?

Any kind on two wheels – road, mountain, commuting,..etc.

What is your first cycling memory?

I refused to let my dad hold the bike when I was learning to ride. He is still crushed, he says. As a kid I went everywhere on my bike.

Who inspires you to ride, and better yet WHY?

I’m inspired by local bike shop owners who give up so much of their own time on the bike not just to further their businesses but also to make cycling better for everyone. I’m also inspired by so many community activists who channel their love of cycling into good deeds – Trips for Kids, the Dirt Divas and the Recyclery, for example.

What has been your best moment on a bike this year?

This is such a hard question because I’m always happy on my bike! I loved riding the Blue Ridge Parkway recently with bikelaw.com, Black Bear Adventures and some great friends – old and new. On the opposite end of the spectrum, I love riding along the light rail with my 2 year old in his i-bert seat. His excitement about everything around him is contagious.

In the next year, what are your goals with cycling and pushing yourself forward?

After years and years of riding for fun, utility and a little racing, I think I’d like to get stronger and race a little more…maybe cyclocross? I also want to continue and expand the community work I’m involved in. Bikes make communities better.

All About My Bikes

2011 Giant TCR SL

Santa Cruz Blur

Electra Ticino D7

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2011 Airborne Goblin 29er: On Review

 

MSRP: $1,199.95 A well built bike for  5 cents under $1,200.   For the person looking to upgrade their entry level bike, getting into 29ers or simply a deal finder that will upgrade the parts as they need. (I fit in the latter.) Weight: 18 inch is 28 lbs Key Parts: Aluminum hydroformed (shaped) frame, SRAM X7 2×10 drivetrain, Avid Elixir R brakes, RockShox Reba RL fork, WTB Trail 29 wheels.

Read More

Marla Streb Interview
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Motivational Monday with Marla Streb

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!

What’s your name and location?

Marla Streb, Baltimore, MD

Where in Baltimore are you living?

We are currently in Fells Point- loving it!

What type of cycling do you enjoy?

Mountain biking of every type, but I can be talked into a road ride now and then

What is your first cycling memory?

at 4 years old, I learned to ride 2 wheels on a little blue Schwinn. Of course one of the most liberating moments of my life!

Who in the current cycling industry inspires you, and better yet WHY?

Mountain bike legend and Hall of Famer Jacquie Phelancontinues to inspire me because she is one of a kind. She’s articulate, intelligent, zany, hilarious, outspoken, inventive, and still very fast on a bike!

What was your best moment on a bike in 2010?

Teaching my four year old how to ride a bicycle for her first time. It was an after-dinner, spontaneous moment, and the two of us ending up riding together past dark. She was happy, I was ecstatic

In the next year, what are your goals with cycling and pushing yourself forward in 2011?

I’ve only raced once this year, but I’d like to beat my old downhill record at Downieville Classicin CA, and possibly race the La Ruta in Costa Rica again.

Wanna Know About my Bikes?

At the moment, all Orbeas!

What are the struggles of opening a shop, and the daily worries a shop owner has?

Funny, I haven’t even opened my shop yet and it’s been a major struggle! For the last 4 months, I’ve been trying to buy a 6,000 sq/ft commercial property (with liquor license- woo hoo!) to create Baltimore’s first “Bike Cafe”. We hope to close the deal within a month… The “HandleBar” will be a full cafe with fresh roasted coffee, light fare, beer/wine/liquor, and unlimited, free indoor bike parking. Also, we will retail new and used bikes and accessories.

Planet Bike Superflash Turbo Review
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Planet Bike Superflash Turbo : Preview

Blinky lights, especially rear lights, are very crucial to a road cyclist, I’ve ranted about it before.. Even during the day you should be rocking a blinky to be seen.

Planet Bike Superflash Turbo

The Planet Bike Superflash has been a favorite of mine for awhile.  With the Superflash Turbo, Planet Bike have outdone themselves.

  • MSRP : $34.99
  • One Watt Power LED plus 2 red LEDs for visibility up to 1 mile
  • New attention-grabbing Turbo flash pattern
  • Turbo flash mode is highly visible, even in daylight
  • Ultra compact vertical design is weatherproof, lightweight and durable
  • Includes bike mounts and clip mount for multiple mounting options
  • Soft-touch power switch accesses flashing or steady mode for up to 100 hours of run time on two AAA batteries

A Quick Video of the Planet Bike Superflash Turbo Rear Light

Nothing special here, something I grabbed with my pocket camera to show settings.

A full review will be coming in the next few weeks!  For now, visit PlanetBike.com for more info.

Soul Run Review
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Soul Run Tool Roll and Wallet Review

Last summer I mentioned Soul Run products and carrying your tools in style.  Now that I’ve had some time under my belt with their tool roll and jersey pocket wallet I’m ready to reveal my feelings and emotions around their products.

Soul Run Tool Roll

The Tool Roll is a great concept.   It is somewhat like a seatbag, but it unrolls to display all your tools, tubes or bits without having to dump your goods on the ground to find that tube patch or tire levers.    You can keep it in your messenger bag, under your seat or in your pocket.

Soul Run Tool Roll Review

Overall this roll has been a great addition to my daily riding, especially when commuting or changing bikes/bags.   I can easily take the tool roll from one bag into another, or throw it under my seat with a toe strap.   It won’t ever replace a seat bag as it is impossible to attach a light to it, but again for someone with several bags I use to commute with – this was a lifesaver.  I no longer had to make sure I had everything I needed every time I set off on a different bike or with a different bag.

One of the coolest features to this tool roll was the custom colors, I was able to pick anything I wanted for no additional charge!

The only con I found of this roll is due to the pockets and limited space I couldn’t fit too much in the roll.  I routinely kept a CO2, adapter, tube, tube patch and tire levers.   That’s all that fit and even with that it was very bulky and looked “over stuffed.”

Soul Run Pocket Wallet

Soul Run Review

This wallet was the lifesaver that I never knew I needed.   I carry an Android smart phone and a small digital camera on every ride.  As the summer is hot and humid in Charlotte, NC, I would often put these electronic devices in a plastic bag to keep the moisture of my sweat out.  This wallet saved me from looking like a fool, and I started to use it daily for other uses.  On the one side I put my phone with license and credit card, the other either my camera or cash.   It kept everything dry and stink free!  It also kept everything easy to find in a huge messenger bag, or backpack with out stash pockets.

Other Mentions of Soul Run

Back in October when I was run over by a car, Soul Run sent me a “get well card” to my house due to them having my address from sending me their product for review.  It was one of the sweetest things and motivating factors to my healing process.

Check out Soul Run on Etsy to check out their latest colors and products.  Personally I’m eyeballing the pro bike tool roll!

This product was given to me at no charge for reviewing.  I was not paid or bribed to give this review and it will have my honest opinion or thoughts through out.
Ergon GC2
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New Steering Wheel on the Surly Sled

Tonight (Tuesday, March 21, 2011) is the first Dirt Diva’s group ride of the year.   As this is the first season I’m not working retail I was very giddy to get back in the saddle with a large group of fellow women that love cycling.   I also knew to keep my respected name in the area I would have to get my bike to stop creaking before the group ride.

Over the weekend when I was riding Fisher Farms my handlebar kept popping and my rear disc kept whining.   Now, I couldn’t have that continue as it was driving me batty!   After a long grocery shopping adventure last night I was ready to check over the bike and make needed changes.   Until both lights in my garage popped.    Did I mention it was 8:30pm and dark now outside?  Even darker in my garage… Never fail, I pulled out my contractors lights and set them up.

Contractor Bicycle Lights

Look into the light...

Next I loosened up my stem to clean out any dirt that may be causing the creaking.   Oh yeah, my handlebar was cracked.  Gotta love aluminum handlebars and Thomson stems…

Origin 8 Space Bar Cracked

Time to swap out the the carbon bar I’ve had laying in the corner and try out the Ergon GC3 grips with bar-ends I’ve been waiting to ride on a straight bar.  Everything happens for a reason…

Ergon GC2

Then it was time to cut housing before I strangled myself or a passing by squirrel… and finally tuned up my brakes with the cleaner line of housing.

Trim Bicycle Housing
It was a quick 30 minute change of parts and rearranging on the Surly Sled.  I do adore this bike, even though it is probably the most “heap” of parts bike I have ever owned but it also probably the one that has seen the most mileage, abuse and scenery.

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