Empowering women in cycling

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Motivational with Cathi from Charlotte

3 Motivational with Cathi

What is your name and location?

Cathi from Charlotte

What type of cycling do you enjoy?

Mostly Cross Country MTB

What is your first cycling memory?

Riding with my husband on an old, heavy Trek not “grasping” that it would be “easier” if I shifted.

Who inspires you to ride? Better yet, why?

Patty Smith. She is, and continues to be, an inspiration to so many (all levels).

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

Yet to come? A couple of casual/traning rides were I was feeling really good, really strong and skills were “on”. :)

Tell us what you ride

I have 4; a Salsa Dos Niner soft tail for XC riding/racing, a FS Santa Cruz Superlight for all mtn, a Niner One 9 SS for fun, and a Trek Madone carbon road bike.

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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! 

Motivational Monday with Shelley Childers

1 Shelley Childers

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?

Shelley Childers – Charlotte, NC

What type of cycling do you enjoy?

Mountain biking

What is your first cycling memory?

Getting my white Huffy ‘BMX’ bike for Christmas when I was about 10.

Who inspires you to ride, and better yet WHY?

I have to admit that my friends inspire me. There are so many different levels of skillset and they all represent the ‘why’ part of this question. The inexperienced riders are the most vulnerable on the trail and helping them understand how to clear a TTF or to merely feel more comfortable on the bike gives me a warm and fuzzy. Seeing the smiling faces after their first ride is the inspiration for me to continue to ride and learn more about this sport so I can help others.

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

My best moment this year was not necessarily ‘on’ the bike, but rather teaching disable children how to ride their bikes. I have volunteered the last 4 yrs at a camp called ‘Lose The Training Wheels’. It is here in Charlotte(and all over the US) sponsored by the Autism Foundation of the Carolinas. It is a weeklong camp for kids who need a little help with the basics. The goal at the end of the week is to have the kids on a true two-wheels bike. For more information please check out their website here.

All About my Bikes

2007 Gary Fisher Hi-Fi Pro 26” & 2011 Salsa El Mariachi 29er

Win a Bike Light – Motivational Monday with Jill Homer

5 Interview with Jill Homer

Light & Motion Motivational MondayThis month’s Motivational Monday posts are brought to you by one of my personal favorites, Light & Motion. Between now and the end of June, Light & Motion wants to know who or what in the cycling community motivates  you. All you have to do us leave a comment here or on Light & Motions’ Facebook page. At the end of the month we’ll be choosing one lucky winner to score a brand new VIS 360 commuter light!


What’s your name and location?

Jill Homer. I currently live in Los Altos, California.

What type of cycling do you enjoy?

If I had to sum my riding up in one phrase, I would say I love “bicycle touring.” I love seeing small parts of the world from the seat of a bicycle, from the winding
singletrack in my backyard mountains to the vast frozen tundra of the Iditarod Trail. Sometimes I travel for a couple hours and sometimes for days, but always, in my mind, the emphasis is more on fun and discovery than pure training. Because of this desire to really get out there, I enjoy all types of riding — mountain biking, snow biking, and road cycling.

What is your first cycling memory?

When I was six years old I received my first “big girl” bike as a Christmas present — a yellow Huffy with a brown banana seat. It was a hand-me-down from one of my mother’s friends. I was always secretly ashamed of my yellow-and-brown bike and was jealous when, a few years later, my sister received a much prettier pink and purple Huffy. I’m not sure if not wanting to be seen on an ugly bike is solely to blame, but I didn’t ride that avidly as a child. I used my bike when I needed transportation to my friends’ houses, but didn’t often just go out for simple bike rides.

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

In the cycling industry, I would say the guys at Salsa Cycles inspire me — Jason Boucher, Joe Meiser, etc. Not only is their company continuously developing innovative bicycles for all types of riding, but they’re out there riding them all the time. Jason rides through the winter in Minnesota. Joe has finished the Tour Divide and Trans-Iowa. I’ve met them both — Jason is on the board at Adventure Cycling Association — and they’re just cool guys.

Interview with Jill Homer

What was your best moment on a bike in 2010?

My best bike moment came in the midst of a 140-mile gravel grinder on the Denali Highway in Alaska, called the Denali Classic. At the time I was contemplating
taking a job in Missoula, Montana (where I lived for 8 months before moving to California.) I was very apprehensive about leaving Alaska, and that long ponderous ride gave me time to really process it. Toward the end I was suffering quite a bit — it was a warm day, I was sunburnt and the rougher-than-expected gravel road had rattled my hands and back — but I crested a hill with a great view of the Susitna Valley bathed in golden evening light. A feeling of peace washed over
me and I knew moving to Montana was the right decision for me. It’s been a wild year of change ever since, but this single moment stands out as a definitive point of perspective.

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

In 2011, I’ve directed more of my endurance training focus to running. Right now I’m training for the Tahoe Rim Trail 100, which will be my first 100-mile trail ultramarathon (I’ve completed one 100-mile foot race, the Susitna 100 in Alaska in February.) This requires a lot of running focus, so my main goals
right now with bicycles are to commute regularly and have fun. I work from home right now and often use my bicycles to run errands and access trails, and try to drive as little as possible. I also recently moved to California and have a couple of big goals, including a day road tour of the Santa Cruz Mountains that will likely amount to a double century with a ton of climbing, and also linking up a mostly dirt mountain bike route from my home on the east side of the mountains to the Pacific coastline.

Wanna Know About my Bikes?

I am the current owner-user of five bicycles, more than I ever expected. I have a 2010 Rocky Mountain Element, a high-end racing mountain bike; a 2008 Surly Karate Monkey, my steel-framed hardtail 29er that I rode in the Tour Divide and that is currently set up as a single-speed; a 2004 Calfee carbon road bike,
which is actually my boyfriend’s bike but I’ve largely inherited it; a 2007 Surly Pugsley, my beloved snow bike; and a fixed-gear commuting bicycle.

Properly Preparing for the Offseason

0 Offseason Fall

As we head into Thanksgiving most folks that have the cyclist mentality start thinking about the next season. Even those that are deep in the trenches of cyclocross racing are thinking about what they need to be doing for the next season. As the next 6 months of my life are going to be rather haphazard I want to lay out broad strokes of goals and targets for 2012.

My Offseason Arsenal

Goals for 2012 – As basic as it sounds. No matter if it is race dates, milage hopes, or milestones you want to meet. It is helpful to layout something.

  • My butt on a bike at least 3 times a week. I know this is my sweet spot for fitness. No matter if it is 30 minutes on the trainer, an hour spin, or a few hour mountain bike ride.
  • Eating responsibly on the road. This may include learning to bring more food with me, where to shop, and trying not to eat out too much while traveling.
  • Trim down more. I feel comfortable about my current weight, but want to lose more body fat and gain leaner muscles! (Hello Jillian Michaels abs.)
  • Three main events – #1 6 Hours of Warrior Creek, #2 – Burn 24 Hour, #3 2012 Cyclocross season
Bikes Ready at All Times – This is something I hope to finish up this weekend, but I want my cross bike and main geared mountain bike to be ready to ride at all times.
Winter Riding Clothes Organized – At least twice a month I run around my house looking for my other knee warmer. Another goal for this weekend is to make sure all my winter clothing is where it belongs, organized and ready to go. When it gets dirty, I wash it and put it quickly back where it belongs.
My Trusty Trainer – An item in for review this fall is the Kurt Kinetic Road Machine trainer. This bright green trainer should see some use this offseason, especially on those days I’m cramped for time and need to get 30 minutes on the bike.
Motivation – This part of the offseason is the hardest and can come in many different forms. Some examples of motivation :
  • My family. I am fortunately to be surrounded by an active significant other, and very active children. Watching them push themselves and try a bit harder, practice a bit longer or be super pumped around an extra point motivates me.
  • Music. The off season is when I perfect my playlist, learn new artist and help the music industry make more money.
  • People. Reading blogs, drugging myself on amazing photos and watching helmet cam footage for trails I dream to ride. Some great folks to follow : Jeff Kerkove, Salsa Cycles, Gnat Likes, Milltown Cycles, SheBicycles, Soozed, DJ Scene (Great podcast music),  Saddle Up Bike…the list keeps going. Maybe this deserves it’s own post!
Riding with Others – Whenever possible I plan to hit up group rides and drag my family kicking and screaming into the cold.

What are You Doing This Offseason?

Mountain Bike Fit Musings

8 Salsa Spearfish

Salsa Spearfish

For the past 5 or so years I have been a 29er (and 650b) lover. Normally my mountain bike is a single speed, full rigid rig. Sometimes an 80mm hard tail, or something of the variety. Lately I’ve been spending more and more time on my Salsa Spearfish 29er. 100mm in the front, 80mm in the rear. The bike is a real treat to ride, and as I adventure more and more around the southeast I do believe it is the perfect bike for 90% of the trails.

Here’s Where I Am Struggling

One thing I am working on this spring is going up. Learning how to climb for longer periods. Learning to sit and spin up steeper terrain than I have been able to in the past. Normally I stand and mash on my hardtail, but I am working on learning how to position my body better and use stabilizer muscles.

The issue I have been running into has multiple layers, but the basics is that I am trying to figure out how to ride a 100mm front end up steeper terrain. I believe it is either a fit with stem change problem, or maybe I need to practice more problem.

Here’s what I am experiencing while climbing

  • Harder time keeping the front end down, even when I have a decent amount of weight on the front
  • I can’t steer too well when climbing. If it is straight, I am fine, but switchbacks I’m completely lost on body position. (Is this just practice?)
  • The front end wants to flop under slow and steep. I know this has partially to do with the 29er front wheel, more slack geometry and 100mm fork than my normal hardtail 29ers.

My Mountain Climbing Friends – Give me advice

A good part of it is riding more up hill. Learning the balance of my bike. But do you have specific suggestions, maybe with bike fit or technique?

Visiting the Pain Cave

2 Arleigh Pain Cave

Back in May I started conversation with a guy by the name of Steve Weller of Bell Lap Coaching. With my crazy schedule of juggling so many things I needed to find someone that could negotiate my available timing to give me the best quality workouts which would in return give me the best quality results. This is a long term investment, in myself, my riding and my lifestyle. I wouldn’t wake up being 50% faster but over time with dedication (and understanding from the family) I would become better than I was. Being able to hang onto a A/B group ride at one of my hot road shops…that is my ultimate goal.

In late May I started riding with a powertap strapped to the rear of two bikes, my Salsa Spearfish and my Foundry Auger. For the first month I was to just ride in the zones spelled out on my weekly training, these zones were mostly by feel and heart rate. Around mid June I went through my first threshold test in many years. The threshold test is in basic terms when you pin it and hold a level that you think you can hold for 20 minutes. In all of my years of going through these test I always am left feeling like a failure and that I could have pushed 5% more. That’s one of my goals this year, learning and finding that 5% more.

Fast forward to mid August. I had taken most of July off for travel, work and selling. Early August Steve and I got back on the gas. It was time to put quality work outs in to be successful this cyclocross season. Success for me this year is to cat up to CAT3 and not to be lapped by the 3′s.

This past Saturday I was scheduled to take another Threshold test. I did everything I should, ate well, went to sleep early and stayed relax in the morning. Of course I over looked that what date it was and of course mother nature decided to pay me a visit. 1/3 through my workout/warm up for the test I bailed. Could I have pushed through? Yes, but the results would have been worth it. Save the fight for another day.

That day was yesterday. I busted through my test and felt like failure at the end. I pushed hard, had a good 5 minute average, a okay 20 minute average and happy with the progress I’ve achieved from May through August, including taking most of a month off.

Progress is motivation. Finding myself on the road is motivation. Being excited to get into the drops and dig, is motivation.

Have you visited the pain cave lately? What did it feel like and what did you learn from it?

Finding the White Line

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When people ask me what time of rider I am normally say a mountain biker. It isn’t true though. I started out fascinated with road biking and racing, and happened to enjoy the adventure of mountain biking a lot over the past 5 years.

Recently I picked up a Foundry Auger B1 as a rep sample. Built as a cyclocross bike I took the knobs off and put on some Michelin Pro4 tires and have been treating it as my road bike.  The miles of bonding with that bike are growing, at the end of the rep sample season it will be hard to let it go. The 25c tire on the front and powertapped wheel on the back have become my main vehicle of training next to my prized Salsa Spearfish.

The Moral of this Rant

It is funny that I live in the bike industry and yet it has taken 5 years and a cyclocross bike to make me fall back in love with road riding. Less than a month on it and I’m already looking forward to my next road ride. When training plans say to go either MTB or Road I am now torn on which to go with. This is an exciting twist in my cycling life and a door that has opened back up with passion and love for a sport I grew up in.

Once you’ve been riding for awhile you often forget the fun you had on your first bike, you also forget how a new bike – the perfect bike – can harness so many emotions and create a great motivation to ride further and faster than before.

Friday Shop Profile – Tennessee Valley Bikes

0 TN Valley Bikes

As an independent rep for Quality Bicycle Products I travel to bike shops all over the Southeast of the USA. Visiting a great amount of killer shops, doing what they love and each one in their very unique way. Next time you’re close, check one of these out! Want to see more shops? Visit the tag.

Shop Name: Tennessee Valley Bikes (TN Valley Bikes)
Location: 214 W Magnolia AveKnoxvilleTN.
Number: 865.540.9979

The boys at TN Valley created a soft spot in my heart very early into my position. This is a shop that reached out to me right when I started to say “hi.” Normally, as a sales rep it is me doing the calling/emailing and introduction to say hi. Maybe it is due to the manager, Neal Knight, being a previous employee of Quality Bicycle Products. Either way, that “hi” went a long way.

TN Valley specializes in going super fast on dirt (mountain and CX) or setting up some pretty cool touring and urban/commuter rigs. They are the spot in Knoxville to test ride Salsa and Surly Bike, or try on some Lazer helmets when you are there. We currently are working out a overnight camping trip for this fall, so keep your eyes peeled and getting your gear ready!

Stop in and say hi to Scott and Neal if you are in the area!