Empowering women in cycling

Searching for “cyclocross”

NC Single Speed Championships

0 2012_NCSSC

This Saturday you’ll find me riding my single speed over to the US National Whitewater Center. I’ll then hopefully beat myself up on 18 beautiful miles of single track. If you’re in the region, ride a single speed, or simply want a good party – come down ya’ll!

What: North Carolina Single Speed Championship at the U.S. National Whitewater Center
When: Saturday, November 10
Course: 18-mi course covering all single track at the USNWC.  Details and Course Map coming soon.

Cost:

  • Early Registration (through Thursday, November 8): $35
  • Day of Registration: $40
  • Early Registration for both North Carolina Single Speed Championship & Cyclocross (through Thursday, November 8): $50
  • Day of Registration for both North Carolina Single Speed Championship & Cyclocross: $60

Race Time:

  • 9:30 a.m.: Registration/Check-in
  • 11:00 a.m.: Race Start

Registration:

Motivational Monday with Alicia

0 Motivational Monday with Alicia Vin Zant

WHAT’S YOUR NAME AND LOCATION?

Alicia Vin Zant, St. Paul Minnesota

WHAT TYPE OF CYCLING DO YOU ENJOY?

Cyclocross, and just getting out to ride. I’m thinking about trying out track this next year…

WHAT IS YOUR FIRST CYCLING MEMORY?

For Easter my mom would make clues from the easter bunny. It lead me to my very first two-wheel bike! It was pink with pompom like strands coming out of the handle bars.

WHO INSPIRES YOU TO RIDE, AND BETTER YET WHY?

Hope this doesn’t sound selfish…but I inspire myself. Getting out riding gives me time to think, and is a little break. This is the first time in a long time that I’ve found something that I absolutely love to do, and challenges me every step of the way. I can’t do it w/out the support of my husband and kids (we have 6 kids..ages 12-2). My new cycling friends inspire me, and the commuters I see riding to work every day. Especially the one this morning carrying his bike cross style over a snow bank!

WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR BEST MOMENT ON THE BIKE SO FAR THIS YEAR?

Just one? I actually started riding for the first time this year in June. (It had been since I was probably about 12, and I’m 33 now..) My friend talked me into doing a triathlon with her. I hate running, and swimming wasn’t a big deal, so I spent most of my training on a bike. I stumbled into a bike shop, and ended up YouTubing cyclocross…and in July bought my cyclocross bike. I’d have to say…this being my first season racing bike/cross IN MY LIFE that finally being able to ride through the blasted sand felt absolutely freaking amazing!!

TELL US ALL ABOUT YOUR BIKES

I am the proud owner of a KHS CX-200. It’s a beautiful bright green and my new addiction. I had butterflies in my stomach for days after buying her. I go through withdrawals if I don’t get to ride at least twice a week!

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!

Race Report: Asheville CX at Bent Creek

3 Asheville Cyclocross Bent Creek

Goal: Utilize all available pre-season races to visit that pain cave and learn to survive in a new (faster) class.

Thursday

Foundry Cycles Auger

Last minute touches on my race rig. New bar tape, rotated the hoods a hair, and put the racing shoes on (Fulcrum Racing Zero with  Clement PDX front and Michelin Mud2 rear.)

Friday

Asheville and openers

Saturday

Started off with toast, honey and peanut butter. On to Waking Life Espresso off the recommendation of local boy, Drew Hager.

Waking Life Espresso

Course tested, it was going to be fun – feeling much like a short track mountain bike ride, with some stairs and stretches of green grass. It was going to be an all out test of my skillz. Good length of the course is a stretch of green grass, turning and weaving down a hill where you find true single track with roots and a couple bridges. Weaving back around, up and down some dirt hills, a loose gravel short climb, pop out, ride a section of a pump track, down a couple steep hills to give you a turbo boost back into a grassy field to hop off and run up cement stairs. Weaving back through an upper section where the crowd will form, a pavement playground section where hopscotch etched on the ground and basketball hoops overhead. Two sand pits, I believe to be for children to build castles, a bit more grass and then through the finish line, down a hill and sharp left turn to start it all over again.

There would be beer handups and my mentality starting was if I got lapped by the ladies, I could have a beer handed to me, or thrown on me. Whichever would be fine.

Asheville Cyclocross Bent Creek

The 5 other A/B girls and I lined up. We were asked if we wanted to start with the male B’s. “Sure, why not?” Getting started on a strip of lushes grass, it was the fastest my legs would see the whole race. For about 45 seconds, until the 5th turn, I wasn’t last. I held on to a couple girls wheels for most of the first lap. Couldn’t hold on. If I was going to last for 45 minutes I needed to back off a few heart beats.

Asheville Cyclocross Bent Creek Twin Six

Asheville Cyclocross Bent Creek

Finding my rhythm as the sweat poured off me, I left everything possible on the course. My “fast” isn’t as fast as the girls I raced, being lapped with 2 laps to go. I was proud that I didn’t get lapped by everyone, so I have hope to catch on and join half the field by the end of the season!

My cheering squad was spread all over the course. Between the Strout’s and their cowbells, and my Kimberlee taking photos from all different angles. Even had a bunch of the local shop guys cheering when I went by. Hopefully everyone saw how hard I pushed and I can be proud for that for today.

Moving On

The boys of Asheville Cyclocross put a good race on. Doing a great job involving the community and finding the roots of cyclocross. If you can make any of their races this year, DO IT!

There’s a good amount of time between now and the start of the NC Cyclocross series. Here’s to improving greatly between now and then so that I can catch on to some of the B girls!

CX Photo Credit: Kimberlee Welsand

Review: Lizard Skins DSP 2.5 Bar Tape

4 Lizard Skins DPS Bar Tape Review

Lizard Skins DSP Handlebar Tape Review

Details from Lizard Skins:
2.5 mm thick for that extra bit of comfort. At 82” of lengththere is ample length for any bar & 50 grams per set
MSRP: $38

Initial Thoughts

When I first saw the Lizard Skins handlebar tape popping up in the local bike shops I was intrigued. Anytime a company comes out with a product that is twice the price of their competitors they are either idiots or they have some amazing technology worth the cost.

Second thing I saw was that the Lizard Skins company doing a great job with merchandising. They give shops that order a certain amount of minimum product a great eye catching point of purchase. It is a handlebar that allows a consumer to try out the tape, some even have pieces of all the colors and styles available, this is the seller. The tape is different and Lizard Skins knows this – allowing you to try it. It reminds me of the really nice tape you can buy for fancy tennis rackets. It is a bit tacky to touch and only becomes more tacky if it becomes wet. It really hits on the name of the company “Lizard Skins.

There are many colors to chose from, along with the thickness of tape. 2.5mm is the one I went with for better shock absorption, but there is also a 1.8mm for those that like to “feel their bars.” The color, pink of course!

Long Term Review of the Lizard Skins Handlebar Tape

While my review package of tape showed up in early summer, I wanted to put the tape through its paces. As the tape is almost $40 to wrap a handlebar I wanted to make sure it was worth the cost and continued to feel tacky, padded and pink.

Every time I get on my cyclocross bike with this handlebar tape installed, I am impressed. 600 miles on the handlebars, and the pink is still going strong. A bit dirty, but still pink and tacky.

Lizard Skins DPS Bar Tape Review

Overall Thoughts

Not everyone needs to spend this much to wrap their handlebars. If you have a problem with sweaty hands, slippery handlebar tape, maybe have to wear gloves for grip, or you wear through tape a couple times a season.

This tapes for you. 

I’ll leave you with this. While at my local cyclocross practice a friend and gear whore, George, saw my tape, felt my tape, asked me about my tape then quickly went out and bought his own tape (not in pink). We both realized quickly that it is durable and perfect for cyclocross.

Disclaimer: Lizards Skins provided this tape free for review, I wasn’t paid or bribed. 

Favorite Photo’s from Interbike: Speedgoat Bicycles

0 Interbike Logo

This past week was Interbike, a week that all people in the bike industry gather in the sands of Las Vegas. You see new product, are wowed, swooned and left wanting to spend more money in the industry. Originally Interbike started when people really did see all new lines, book next years products, had job interviews, etc. These days, you do all those things but to a different level thanks to the internet. I’ve been to Interbike several many, many, times. It is fun, it is a good time but as a journalist and in the media you are working 24/7 and this year with too many things on my plate for my real job I couldn’t swing all of that time away.

For that I am going to live for a few days through people that were there and documented in great photos their travels. First up is Speedgoat Bicycles. A wonderful shop with a wonderful online presence. I believe they started out originally in PA, I remember they were one of the first shops utilizing the web to show off custom bikes and really do custom builds online. Now you can find them in IL and online.

My favorite Interbike photos from Speedgoat Bicycles

Start off with a great shot of the finish line for the CrossVegas Women’s cyclocross race.

Next up of course is coffee

Coffee from our wonderful friends at Kinetic Koffee

Sexy Kestrel Paint

Shimano XTR teamed with Shimano Pro components

Hope Brakes Disc Brake Cyclocross modulator thingy

Speaking of sexy cyclocross bikes..meet Ritte

Giro is making things match across their lines

First Race of 2011 : DFL

5 NC Cyclocross

This morning I attended my first cyclocross race of the year, and notably the first one in over a year and a half. There were two goals going into my women’s CX4 race, first was to finish and the second was not to be lapped.  Going into the race I wasn’t too sure of the latter, I knew I could pedal around slowly for 30 minutes but to keep in front of all the other ladies is another story.

Prep Work and Bicycle Builds

Never build a bicycle days before a race without being able to ride it, never make major changes like gearing or tires with out being able to test ride.  I tell this to every client and I’m telling this to you, are you listening?  Well, I don’t listen to myself.  I built my Raleigh singlespeed on Thursday, test rode on Friday.   The gearing was way too tough, and so I changed the gearing on Friday night (the night before my race.)

Singlespeed Cyclocross am I Crazy?

This will be a follow up article, but you need to know the basics – I love riding single speed and very excited to expand on riding it in cyclocross races.

Go Time at the Races

I warmed up in a thick windstopper jacket and jeans over my bibs and knee warmers.   It was cold, not as cold as Minneapolis but it was cold and I haven’t been riding outside to be broken in.  When the sun was shining and the wind wasn’t blowing, it was bearable but when the wind blew and the sun went behind the clouds – it was HORRID.  One jacket was dropped at the finish line, and my jeans with other jacket were stripped off at the start line.   Then it was go time.

The race was basic, I started at the back, ended at the back and was passed by a great amount of the juniors then lapped by the guys in the single speed class.   I didn’t want to do my last lap, I was within 45 seconds of being lapped at the finish line but thankfully a good friend was there to push me along.

Motivation

Achieving what I set out to, not pulling off before the last lap, pounding on the pedals or walking up the hills.  I’m proud.  After the last three months and what has happened, I’m proud of myself and motivated.   This is the perfect way to kick off the season and I can’t wait until the next race in 8 days!

Airborne Flight Crew at the Sea Otter Classic

0 AirborneClothing.JPG

The main purpose of my recent trip to the 2011 Sea Otter Classic in Monterey, CA was a homecoming of sorts for the 2011 Airborne Flight Crew members.  It is the one time a year that we are brought together from across the country.  Some of us race, some of us banter and we all work the Airborne Bicycles booth for a couple hours a day during the festival.

The team has already been introduced over on the Airborne Bikes Blog, they do it better than I so click on over there to read!

Round Up of Events

Airborne at Sea Otter Classic

Day 1 (Wednesday) :

Some members were flown in a couple days early to get become Airborne models for the website and print use. From my understanding the photos were taken by Ian Hyland of PinkBike fame. There was a ton of hiking, re-doing shots and back and forth shuttling.   (This is also the day I was flying all over the country getting to Monterey.)

Sea Otter Bike Box

Day 2 (Thursday) :

Every day started off with unpacking the trailer we had packed with bikes the night before. This is the official first day of the Sea Otter Classic. We were all given our Airborne Flight Crew gear. Dickies work shirts, hoodie, beanie, long sleeve jersey, a couple XC jerseys, shorts, and a downhill jersey.

Airborne Bicycles Hoodie

It is “industry day” so it is the day most vendors are getting their booth’s properly setup, running through demo bikes again and it is also a good time to split up booth duties to walk the festival.   Airborne Flight Crew members test rode all the models, for most of us it was the first time to test ride the new Goblin 29er, Wingman DJ and Delta CX.   From 2-4pm I was found over at the Ladies Lounge. Then it was time to start shutting down and putting all the bikes and goodies back in the trailer.

Airborne Goblin 29er

Thursday night we went out as a group for authentic mexican food and really started to get to know each other.  Several folks stayed out in the hotel room, I went back to my room to recover from the past 48 hours of travel and going.

Day 3 (Friday) :

Airborne Delta CX in Hotel

Woke early to go over the Delta CX I had brought back from the festival to ride in. Grabbed breakfast with a few Flight Crew members and started riding.  9 miles = 1.5 hours = a crap load of climbing! It was a beautiful ride, but very humbling thanks to the long sustained climbs on the cyclocross knobby tires. I look forward to having a geared cyclocross or 29er bike to take it to Pisgah for the fire road climbs that I miss being able to ride.   My legs were miserable the rest of the day, but it was a good feeling even though I regretted it during the long walk back to the car at 6pm.

The day consumers really start mingling.  It was a really good fit with most Flight Crew Members. It is a very even split between the gravity style riders and XC. I think I’m one of the most “dedicated” cyclocross racers, so I tried to pinch hit as much as possible on that one.  It was also very helpful to have so many knowledge folks of the Taka and Wingman bikes.  A good amount of bikes were test rode and talked about.  Several magazines and websites came to take photos or chat about the bikes.  This included someone from 650b.com to check out Tony’s custom Zeppelin that he converted to 650b.

I can’t forget the Ladies Lounge with Rebecca Rosch and other pro-super star ladies.  There were tons of tech questions, I ended up greasy after it (always a great sign.)  One of the readers of our site (link/name?) who’s a pilot for a heli-ambulance landed her helicopter to come to the show and join Ladies Lounge!   That was such a great treat to meet someone with an amazing story and a friend of Bike Shop Girl.

Tuesday through Thursday was the BLC (link) which many vendors and “who’s who” in the industy were at.  Friday those folks finally made it to the Sea Otter Festival, including my dear Pam Sayler from Kurt Kinetic (link.)   After the festival ended for the day I spent a couple hours catching up with her and then we all went to sushi down at the Wharf.    If I have a chance to make it back to Sea Otter next year, I will go a day early to fully experience Monterey.  The wharf alone was amazing with the seals on the coast, the boats in the harbor and the mountains in the background!

Day 4 (Saturday) :

The busiest day of the festival, my last day of the festival and the day I became inspired to get to more races to photograph.  All our downhillers were racing and running around frantic in the morning, parking was crazy and included another long walk up hills but it was a great day.   I walked every inch of the show it seemed!

Our downhillers had great success in their racing.

Results :

Tony learned that 650b.com was the brainchild of the one and only, Bike Shop Girl.  There wasn’t any “scoping” of his bike and Airborne Bicycles wasn’t going to change their mind this season on NOT having a 650b Zeppelin.

Airborne 650b

Unfortunately I wimped out and didn’t go out after we closed down shop.   With a long day of traveling the next day, I stayed behind at the hotel to eat in and pack.   From what I hear our team husband, Jim Davis, stayed behind at the festival and has some wild stories to tell.  (Including hitch hiking home!)  Wendy and I talked racing a bit before bed, and I had to say my final goodbye to many of my teammates until the next time I see them (probably 360 days!)

Other Notes :

While I wasn’t present for the last day of the festival, there was still tons going on.    Wendy placed 10th in her race!  First race on the Goblin and gears (from my understanding), she rocked it!  Other Flight Crew members also had snafu’s with their flights and spent way too much time with airlines..

Jerry Hazard

Jerry Hazard Sea Otter

Hopefully all my teammates can understand this when I say it…   When I learned the roster for the 2011 Airborne Flight Crew the one thing that I was jumping up and down inside about was the name Jerry Hazard.   Jerry is an amazing photographer that I followed almost 10 years ago on Deviantart.com.  His photo’s have been featured in many magazines and his personality around photography and riding is a treat to be around.   To be able to pull from that type of fountain was alone something to fly to California for!   During my trip he allowed me to borrow his fish eye lense, evidence is above and on many photo’s through out the Sea Otter post you’ll see.  Walking me patiently through the settings and recommendations.   It was humbling and inspirational to see his photography coming from the event!

How To: Properly Setup and Adjusting Avid BB5 Brakes

13 Adjust Avid BB5 Brakes

Tech TuesdayOne concern that so many women (and guys) have with owning a bike is the basics of fixing it, or how to do basic road side repairs. I do recommend that as an avid cyclist even with some mechanical skills that you should become best buds with your local mechanic (beer or ice cream works well.) I also want women to feel empowered and to have a better idea of what they are talking about. Tech Tuesday is the remedy for common tech questions!

As you know I have beenrocking the Airborne Delta CX bike for this summer going into cyclocross season. Originally I was struggling to adjust the Avid BB5 road calipers that come stock on the cyclocross bike. (Yes, it is a disc brake cyclocross bike.) After several tries at adjusting the brakes as Avid outlines on their website I finally started from scratch using good ole common sense! Once I sorted out my disc brake issues I was getting messaged and questioned about what I did to get them to stop well and not rub!

There are tons of great resources out there showing you the basic ways to adjust the brakes, but they left out key details. Let’s forget about those other instruction and start from the top.

Tools You’ll Need

Tools for Brake Adjustment

Torx wrench, 5mm allen, business card and a computer to read this how to on.

Setup and Adjusting Avid BB5 MTB Brakes

Avid BB5 Brake Diagram

Click to Enlarge

Check brake pads for wear. If your brakes are used at all there is a great chance the pads were worn incorrectly and will never align right. Remedy by sanding or replacing the pads, normally sanding with a fine grit will fix this problem.

Loosen the mounting bolts for the caliper, some bikes have the caliper mount directly to the fork, loosen those bolts. This will allow the caliper to move side to side. Check if your washers are worn or if you can see any grooves out of the normal. If you do, file/sand down or replace.

Adjust Avid BB5 Brakes

Loosen brake cable fixing bolt, this will allow the fixed pad to pull all the way out.

Turn the adjustable brake pad (red knob with Torx in middle) counter clockwise to turn out.

Business card in Disc brakes

Place a business card between a the fixed pad and rotor. Fixed pad is on the outside (look at diagram above)

Adjust BB5 Torx Brake

Turn the adjustable brade pad (red knob with Torx in middle) clockwise, use a Torx wrench if need be to tighten down as tight as you can with out breaking it!

Tighten the mounting bolts to the caliper.

Pull the brake cable tight to the fixing bolt, make sure the barrel adjuster on the caliper and the barrel on the brake lever both are turned in all the way, then backed out a full turn and a half. Tighten down the fixing bolt on the brake cable.

Back out the adjustable brake pad one or two turns, counter clockwise so  it isn’t touching the rotor. On the back of the Delta I had to back out an extra 1/4 of a turn for out of the saddle movement of the rear end.

Pull out the business card.

Use the adjustable brake pad to change the feel of the brake lever, use the barrel adjusters to adjust cable tension as well.

Check over all bolts and proceed to ride beautiful riding Avid brakes.

Motivational Monday with Kathy

1 Motivational Monday Kathy

Motivational Monday Kathy

What’s your name and location?

Kathy in Philadelphia, PA

What type of cycling do you enjoy?

road, mountain bike, would like to try cyclocross

What is your first cycling memory?

Riding around and around and around the driveway with my sister on our first big wheels (or so the photos recall, I must have been about 2 or 3). I do concretely remember my first 10 speed, it was grey and pink of course. There may have been tassles but I choose to block that part out, definitely had those fluorescent spoke blings that would make all kinds of noise when I rode.

Who inspires you to ride, and better yet WHY?

My husband who’s gently but steadily encouraged me to ride with a healthy bit of tough love, but mostly me for riding through some challenging life events, and the mental release I feel when I’m riding. Also, watching bad ass cyclocross ladies compete, because they like hilly courses and dirt.

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

Riding my first 2 day total 160 or so mile ride after a summer of health issues that kept interrupting my training plans. It didn’t hurt that it was a ride for MS with total strangers cheering me on at the finish as if I wasn’t already getting a little emotional.

Tell us all about your bikes

Cannondale Caad 4 S1000 with a sweet limited edition red, orange and black fade paint job (a tad too big for me but has served me quite well)

2011 Specialized Stumpjumper 29er (my new and first mtb bought as a bike shop demo sell off on which you will find me smiling and laughing on the Wissahickon trail loving this new ride) and also pennies being saved for a Specialized Ruby (or other ultimate road bike I will find to lust after)

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!

Pugsley Fat Bike Demo Hitting NC

0 Surly Pugsley

A long time ago there was a purple Surly Pugsley floating around in my life. It was fun to ride, a hoot to get others on and a solid build. As I’m trying to learn my Southeast region territory I figured a perfect bike to bring in to have at events like cyclocross, endurance mountain bike rides and such is a fat bike!

So, an 18″ Surly Pugsley will be landing in the area later this week. A local shop will be building it up, putting some personal Bike Shop Girl touches on for me and taking it to some cyclocross races while I am traveling out of the area. If you are interested in a fat bike it is a complete post on it’s self but it is simply putting the fun back in biking.