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?
Wendy Davis in great Missouri
What type of cycling do you enjoy?
mountain, single-speed, gravel, cross, road
What is your first cycling memory?
June 16 2007 was my first mountain bike ride as an adult. I pedaled 1.5 miles and launched myself over a cliff. A visit to the ER confirmed a broken elbow. In that short time I found my destiny. I fell in love with mountain biking that day.
Who inspires you to ride, and better yet WHY?
I ride to inspire others to ride. I want people to see that if I can do it, so can they. The bike has made me happier and healthier. I keep riding because it makes me a better human.
What has been your best moment on the bike so far this year?
Racing at Sea Otter courtesy of Airborne Bicycles and crushing gravel at the Dirty Kanza 200
Tell us all about your bikes
2009 Specialized hard-tail singlespeed
2011 Kona Jake the Snake
2011 Airborne Goblin
Another sneak peak into the new bikes for 2012. This time it is an urban Cannondale Bad Girl, the newest bike from Cannondale and the sister to their long time Bad Boy. The commuter and random alley hunting, urban lover, in me is jumping up and down to share this with you!
2012 Cannondale Bad Girl
Available in 3 models, (1, 2, 3) and two sizes “small” or “tall”.
Sophistipunk. Urban mobility with attitude, sleek and stylish with a street scrapper’s heart yet nimble and fun handling, with a “heads-up” riding position. Bad Girl’s unique frame design combines a kickass silhouette with great standover clearance. Couture inspired artwork ensures that, punk show or premiere, you arrive in style.
Cannondale Bad Girl 1 $1670
The frame mimics that of the old school “Delta-V” mountain bikes. The Bad Girl 1 also has the Cannondale Lefty Headshok, with new OPI (one piece integration) fork The drivetrain is a good mix of Shimano Deore/SLX, with Magura Hyraulic disc brakes. Rip up the streets or commute in style, this bike takes the fitness hybrid and commuter to another level.
2012 Cannondale Bad Girl 2 $1100
Everything from the Bad Girl 1 but with a little less parts. The same frame, different fork and downgrading the drivetrain. Still hitting the right price point and hydraulic disc brakes!
2012 Cannondale Bad Girl 3 $800
Again, the same frame but with 8 speeds in the back (instead of 9) and more basic mechanical disc brakes. This is the budget friendly, go to commuter rig for ladies!
Since Monday was a federal holiday, it was one of the rare days when both my partner, Chris, and I have the same day off of work. After a week’s worth of rain in Atlanta, we needed some outside play time, so no idea seemed better than a day on our mountain bikes. Chris had been talking about these new trails in Alabama for a while, so we decided to head west to check them out. I have to admit, I was skeptical about driving to Alabama to go mountain biking. Living in Atlanta, we usually head north to Tennessee and the Carolinas for the best trails. Alabama didn’t seem like an intuitive place to go for awesome trail riding.
All of the reviews that I found of the Coldwater Mountain trail mentioned a 1.5 mile beginner and a 9 mile intermediate loop; however, when we arrived at the trail head we heard from some locals that they had recently added an optional loop off of the beginner loop, adding another couple of miles. Starting from the parking lot, we descended immediately at that great angle that looks flat but is just downhill enough to make you feel extra fast. The trail builders didn’t hesitate about including jump opportunities from the start, so be ready as soon as you clip in/put your feet on the pedals. After about a mile , the trail splits 3 directions (from left to right): beginner loop extension (new), intermediate loop, beginner loop. We went left and continued our jumpy, smooth descent, with the added benefit of some wide, easy berms. So fun and so fast! When the downhill ended (as it inevitably does…), the uphill was pretty reasonable. It didn’t take too long to get back to the gravel parking lot. Total extended beginner loop–a fast, fun 2.5ish miles.
After getting some directions from a local dad with a lot of unsolicited advice, we headed out for loop on the longer intermediate loop. We began with the same quick descent as before, but this time took the middle fork. We descended a bit more and then began the 6 mile climb that you’ll find mentioned in almost every online review of this trail. I have a habit of getting grumpy during long uphills, so needless to say, I was not happy by uphill mile 4 or 5; however, now that I’m not looking ahead at more uphill trail and breathing hard while trying to drink water, I would like to note that the climb wasn’t hard. It’s just looong…. I think most people who have some time in a mountain bike saddle will be able to find the right gear and spin it to the top. There’s nothing too technical to get in the way, just a lot of pedal strokes. When you do get to the top of the mountain, you ride through a section of flat baby-head rock before getting to this sign:
and this sign:
Then the descent starts. :D The descent splits not too long after it starts: left–intermediate, right–most difficult. I chose to go right, knowing that Chris had probably made that same decision 30-seconds before me. I was a bit nervous at first to pick this option, but it turned out it wasn’t as difficult as I thought it might be. There were no sudden drops, no rock sections, no roots or generally sketchy sections. There were jump opportunities from beginning to end of the 3-plus mile descent. As a girl who is just beginning to get comfortable jumping, I stayed on the ground most of the time, but the trail flowed well, whether grounded or airborne. The most difficult part of the “Most Difficult” trail was just knowing what speed was right for me going over the manmade jumps and berms.
Unfortunately, this downhill doesn’t spill right out into the parking lot, so we did find ourselves about 2 miles from the parking lot with another long uphill to climb. It takes away a little of that 3 mile downhill buzz, but definitely not all. After climbing back to the parking lot, Chris and I unloaded our water and snack supplies and did one more fast lap–just the extended beginners loop–to finish off the day.
While writing this review, it took a lot of effort not to overuse the word “fun”, but if asked to summarize these trails in one word, “fun” is exactly what I would say. Coldwater Mountain is a great place to be if you want to spend some time jumping and riding around berms, but it’s also built so that it’s fun if your jumping skills are limited/non-existant. The fun to work ratio is pretty spot on. I wouldn’t go to Coldwater Mountain to hone my technical skills, but I will be back when I need a fun, fast day on a mountain bike that I know I’ll feel good about.
The other thing I really liked about our visit to Coldwater Mountain is that there was a great mix of skill levels and types of riders on the trail. We saw families with kids on scoot bikes on the beginner trail. We saw overweight adult dudes trying to get back in shape by riding the extended beginner trail. We ran into guys who ride trails multiple times per week. Most impressively, there were many more women of varying abilities than I usually see on our trail rides. It really seems like NEABA, SORBA, and Alabama’s Forever Wild organizations have done a great job of promoting this trail system and including the community in its development. Even after a bunch of fun jumps and long downhills, the different trail users might have been my favorite part of our visit.
I’ve read that the goal is to make the Coldwater Mountain trail system the next mountain bike mecca in the southeast. The plan is that within about 5 years, the current 15 miles or so will expand to 60 miles. Sure enough, we saw evidence of construction and heard from locals that more miles are already in progress. You can bet that if the remaining 45 miles of trails are as fun as the first 15, I’ll definitely be back.
Bonus feature of Anniston, AL: It’s home to the U.S.’s tallest chair, formerly the tallest in the world.
A quick status and “what the hell are you doing?” update!
It’s 7am in Monterey and I’m slowing getting my crap together to go grab some food and head out to the venue. Today’s my last day at Sea Otter as I fly out tomorrow morning. I plan on getting a ride in (if possible) and take a crap load of photos and pictures. I figure I have 12 hours of travel tomorrow to actual put together all the post.
Today is also the last day of the SRAM Ladies Lounge. Yesterday the tent was packed and we had a ton of great questions and feedback from women and athletes. If you are at Sea Otter, this is a must. And you don’t even have to be a guy!
Trying to stay on East coast time but have been failing. Instead we go out to dinner at 8pm most nights and I get back to the hotel exhausted to pass out in bed!
Thank you to everyone that has introduced themselves in person, visited the Airborne or Ladies Lounge and reached out about Bike Shop Girl!
Currently I am on vacation with my family in Bozeman, Montana (if you live around here let me know and we can get coffee.) The post are limited, and the thinking of bicycles is rare. I’m doing my best to spend time with my family, meet new family and freeze my rear off in the snow.
Christmas is a great time to look back and be thankful for what you have and what you were able to achieve in the past year. I’m not a very religious person but the Christmas holiday always leaves me feeling very humbled and thankful for my life and loved ones.
My List of Thanks for Cycling
EM:PWR Cycling- a great group of cyclist coming together to get more people one bikes
As a human I try not to stress about the small things in life, only when I am highly intoxicated do I start to worry about all the things in life that I am juggling. A few days last week I started to stress out majorly about the upcoming 6 Hours of Warrior Creek.
Worries are for Pussies
And I’m a pussy. Here’s a small list of things I stressed about over the course of the week prior to the race.
Lack of riding in the mountains
Lack of gears
Lack of suspension
Lack of pre-riding the course
Girlfriend would be in the pit with a broken foot, could she make it to the bathroom…up the road..?
The car was packed, we were ready and in the car by 5:45am and at the gate (7th in line) waiting by 6:45am. 10 minutes from the course there was evidence of a rainstorm with puddles of rain on the road and limbs across the shoulders. Not good, not good at all.
Quickly, my trusty pit chief Kimberlee and I setup our spot that was to be shared with my team mate Melissa, her pit chief, Shelley, their dog Darby, a teammate racing solo, Stephanie, and Namrita/Eddie from Team Ergon Racing. Oh, you can’t forget Team Dicky who pit next to us but poached some grass from our pit area.
Stephanie and I pre-rode 2 miles of the course to see how much rain was left, and to contemplate switching tires or single speed gearing. I regrettbly forgot to do many things. 1. Put toe spikes on my shoes, 2. Switch tires, 3. Switch gears.
Actual Race Recap
This could be the hardest and stupidest thing I have done on a mountain bike in a long time. The first lap, which I happened to be doing for our team, was the hardest. The course is super fun and fast when dry. Tons of berms, switch backs and as long as you stay in front of your gear..it is great fun. For the 13 mile course I probably walked 4 miles. Most switch backs were so muddy and rutted by the time I got to them, my front tire would slip through and my gearing would cause rear tire slippage. I was simply left to walk up the short up hills.
My calves screamed.
My brain was frazzled.
It was not fun, at all.
By the time my lap was finished I was so mentally beat down that you couldn’t have paid me to get back on my bike that day. I’m not ready to be racing single speed or single speed fully rigid for multi lap racing. I’m also in better shape than this time last year, but that did not show up at the mud wrestling I dealt with.
I probably wouldn’t of done anything different. You learn from every race, and I can atleast say I didn’t quit. Yeah, I could have done another lap but I didn’t. I’m looking forward to having gears and some suspension in my future thanks to Airborne.
At the end of the day we came in 3rd place for our division at 6WC, not at all thanks to me. I owe that completely to Melissa my awesome partner in crime. A podium place, swag and a cool coffee mug. It could have always been worse… I didn’t crash or break anything!
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 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.
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 - Chef, nutritionist, first aid and medical provider (all of these things came in handy.)
George - Engineer, official time keeper, and master scientist.
Benjamin – Comedian and pit jester.
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.
While at Sea Otter this past spring I was hooked up with the new pinkAnswer Products ProTaper XC Flatbar. After installing and riding the bar for a couple months (15 or 20 rides) I can give some honest feedback.
ProTaper 650 XC Bars Details
Width: 685mm Weight: 235g (flat) Back Sweep: 3º Colors: PINK, Mango, Red, Green, Brunette (brown), Black
Answer ProTaper 650 XC Review
While the handlebar got me at the word “pink”, the weight and options are really what kept me interested. Even though flat bars really aren’t my gig, not giving enough sweep for my longer distance hauls. I ended up riding these bars for a couple months on my geared Airborne Goblin and then moving it to my Surly Karate Monkey single speed. The weight and taper were confidence inspiring, especially when you use a stem like Thomson that can sometimes crack handlebars when not installed correctly. A bike shop could carry a few of these bars in different colors and really add some flair to customers bikes. Check out more Answer bars on JensonUSA.com
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.