Empowering women in cycling

Weekend Riding Recap

0 Twin Six Thanks

It is always a motivating feeling to sit down on a Sunday evening and feel “fulfilled” from the weekend. Your legs are tired, maybe your tan lines are a bit stronger, and you are ready to start the 5 day recovery process that is the work week. That’s what the 5 days between the weekends are right, recovery?

This weekend was one of non-stop going for Kim (my better half) and the kids.   A huge year end lacrosse party at the lake, and then 7 little boys (10 & 11 year olds) came over to our house for a pool party and sleep over.   As she was juggling the coming and goings, I was juggling how to keep up with them and get a couple rides in.  I can say that I am daily thankful for her and all her juggling.

2011 Raleigh Capri 4.0
Arleigh Jenkins
Saturday was a quick hour and half spin, getting the legs moving and active after 3 days of no activity.   I should have gotten up earlier for the ride, but cuddling and the covers felt too amazing that morning.   24.46 miles on a Raleigh Capri in for review

Sunday was another story. I wanted to get some mileage in and I wanted to try out the Collier Lily 100k route. Again, I should have gotten up earlier. I wasn’t on the bike until 11am, about the same time Kim was taking the kids to the pool.  This was about 3 hours later than I wanted to be on the bike for that long.  You learn from your mistakes.

Weekend Bike Ride

Weekend Bike Ride

Weekend Bike Ride

With a hand wrote cue sheet, back up nutrition, camera and a charged cell phone I headed out.   At about mile 20 I missed a turn due to country roads not always having road signs.   Thankfully my cell phone had service and I mapped myself a new route.   The convenience store I was looking for at mile 38 was conveniently closed.  Going without water for 45 minutes had me double think my route and head home.   10 miles from home I stopped off at a gas station, purchasing a large fountain Pepsi and a bag of salt and vinegar chips.   The best two things I had tasted all day long.   Sitting outside the gas station downing the Pepsi and chomping on the chips.  Water in the bottles and finally on the stretch home.  51.4 miles on the Raleigh  Capri

Twin Six Thanks
Last but not least, I pulled on a Twin Six jersey this morning and during my 3 hours on the bike I thought about the guys many times. A couple guys that started out of their basement have now taken over the world of cycling attire. When I’m on the trail, or at races I get a nod and smile when I have their clothes or socks on.  A Twin Six know-em. It is good to be part of the club and I am thankful that Brent, Ryan and Mark have allowed me back in the club year after year.  Thank you guys – you rock.

Recycling Things: Chrome Salvage Bags

1 Chrome Salvage Bags

Chrome Salvage Bags
Companies have done it before. Using recycled material to make messenger bags.  First there was utilizing old truck tarps, then recycled tubes and now there is the Chrome Salvage Series.

Salvage Series uses reclaimed materials for the external panels of our Heritage Citizen to create unique, one-of-a-kind bags. Built in Chico, California, each series is limited by the quantity of available material. Each bag is stamped with the lot size and its unique number within the lot. Once they’re gone, they’re gone!

First of their type Chrome used US Army tents.  For $160 one of these could be yours.  A very cool concept, but I think if I was in the Army or retired this would feel pretty cool to have as my everyday bag!  Too bad my retired Army dad wouldn’t be caught using one. My sources at Chrome say these bags will go quickly and are only allotted to specific Chrome stores and quality retailers.  If you end up with one of these gems please post up!

2011 Airborne Goblin 29er Full Review

2 Airborne Goblin 29er

Airborne Goblin 29er
With over 300 miles on the Airborne Goblin that I’m riding for the season the bike has been tested.  I’ve ridden the bike to the limits and pushed it, then pushed it a bit more.  Now it is time for a good and fair review for all of you holding your breath wondering if you should purchase one!  During the 300 miles the Goblin has seen a little bit of everything, from commuting, local single track and a 24 hour race on its shoulders.  I haven beaten and abused the bike to the best of my ability thus far and this is my review based on those elements.

Continue reading →

Win a Bike Light – Motivational Monday with Sonya Looney

2 Interview with Sonya Looney

Light & Motion Motivational Monday

 

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!

This 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?

Howdy! My name is Sonya Looney and I live in beautiful Boulder, CO

Interview with Sonya Looney

What type of cycling do you enjoy?

Think of a foot wide trail with rocks, the smell of pine, wildflowers, and views of mountains. I love mountain biking at its core, especially when it involves alpine singletrack in the summer!

What is your first cycling memory?

My first memory on a bike was riding without training wheels. I used to have this little purple bike with a white banana seat with a handle. My dad would hold on to the handle behind the saddle and run behind me. One day I looked back and saw that he wasn’t holding on and I was riding all on my own without training wheels. I shortly crashed. :) My dad told me he would let go and watch me ride all the time!

My first memory mountain biking is getting dropped by some guy I was dating when I was 19(it was my first time mountain biking, and it was on my brother’s middle school mountain bike) because we were riding with this other girl that was a racer and he left me alone on the trail to go ride with her… and shortly dumped me thereafter. haha

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

There are so many people that I find inspiring for different reasons. From people who have a laundry list of amazing accomplishments to the guy who comes in last place at a 100 mile race(to stay out there and finish takes a great deal of will and that is inspiring to me.) At the moment, my teammate Jeff Kerkove has been inspiring me the most. He isn’t afraid of adventures that sound scary on a bike, and the adventures are life changing experiences. They are things that sound so hard that I say, “There is noooo way I’d want to do that” and sure enough, within a year I find myself doing it. This year’s Jeff Kerkove inspired “there’s no way I would do that” adventure is the Colorado Trail Race that starts August 1.

Sure, people with titles like “world champ” or “national champ” inspire me to some degree. However, I am more inspired by people who do so much more than just ride a bike blazing fast. People who want to help other people, people like my friend Nina Baum who spends a lot of time mentoring junior racers, people who work full time with families and still find a way to race their bike and have a total blast, people who do it for the love of pedaling. To me, that is a lot more inspiring than a white jersey with rainbow stripes although I greatly understand and appreciate the sacrifices and talent that go into earning on of those (something I’ll never have)

Interview with Sonya Looney

What was your best moment on a bike in 2010?

That’s so tough to pinpoint. 2010 has been the best year I’ve had on my bike and it’ll be hard to top it. There are many moments that meant a lot to me. I got to race world championships (although I was very disappointed with the almost all dirt road course), I got to race my bike in Brasil, I won a stage race in one of my favorite towns with one of my favorite people (Breck Epic). There were so many other moments that were special as well for various reasons, so I can’t really pick one best moment.

I can say that in 2010, I felt like I achieved all my goals in cycling and then some. I felt like all my hard work culminated into something I never imagined and even today I pinch myself almost daily saying, “How did this happen?!” The tricky part is making new goals, and figuring out what’s reasonable!

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

My main goal for 2011 is the finish the Colorado Trail Race. It’ll be by far the hardest thing I’ve done in my life, and I’ve done some tough things both on and off the bike! It’s a 500 mile SOLO race, self supported, self navigated… on the Colorado Trail from Denver to Durango. I’ll be in the woods by myself carrying everything I need to survive. Luck is a factor, but preparation is HUGE. Getting to Durango will be the biggest accomplishment in my cycling career apart of making the Worlds team twice! This race is very different because it’s not about racing really… it’s about adventure, an iron will, self reliance, and I know I’m going to learn so much more about myself that I never knew was there. Struggles are when we grow and this will surely be a struggle.

Wanna Know About my Bikes?

I ride a Cannondale Supersix road bike with a flat bar and Ergon GX2 grips(yessss), a Canyon Lux MR full suspension bike, and a Canyon Grand Canyon CF hardtail. All fantastic bikes. I raced some cross last year, but I had to give the bike back to the team. I really want to add a cross bike and a 29er to my quiver!

Balancing Act of Riding and Family

1 Arleigh Jenkins

Arleigh Jenkins
This Saturday was much of the same if you have an active family with kids, and you’re a cyclist wanting to get in a longer bike ride.   I have a road bike to test out and review, a Raleigh Capri 4.0.  There’s lacrosse games on the other end of the city.  50 miles by car, 48 miles by bike.   The lacrosse game starts at 12pm, which means I need to leave around 8:30 in the morning to get there and changed in time.

Charlotte SkylineI quickly setup two bottles – one with Perpetuam, one insulated with plain water.   In my pockets I shove Gu Chomps and an extra bag of Perpetuam incase I go over the 3 hour mark or its crazy hot.

Out door.
Down 115 for about 19 miles.
Through Davidson and pass the Collier Lily ride.
Next is Cornelius, Huntersville.
Time trialing through the ghetto.
A quick photo of the skyline shot of uptown Charlotte.
Through Charlotte I roll.
Around 4th ward sending mental hello’s to Ben Wilson as I pass his flat.
A short cut down an alley with many memories.

Through Dilworth.
Down East Blvd.
Booty Loop in reverse.
Colony to Rea
Rea to Ballantyne Commons
Right on Tom Short
Fields on right.

The shock and amazement of all the parents that I RODE my BIKE there? 

Just a side note, make sure to pack extra calories if you’re going to be there all day long pack more snacks! I got a bit cranky at the end of the day do to lack of food and a ton of sun.

 

 

Bike Law: Blue Ridge Parkway Tour

0 Bike Law Logo

Bike Law LogoThis week has been a week of first.  First the 24 Hours of Burn, and now a scholarship!

Bike Law Scholarship

A couple weeks back I put out a call on Twitter & Facebook for my friends to nominate me to win a scholarship through BikeLaw.com. This scholarship would allow me to participate on their Blue Ridge Parkway supported tour.

Join us from Wednesday June 22nd  through Sunday June 26th for a five-day journey through cycling paradise.  The plan is to have Paul and his team guide us on the most scenic stretches of the Parkway, as we ride from inn to inn.  We will have great accommodations, amazing food, and just the right level of pampering.  We will ride ourselves ragged during the day, relax around the dinner table, and brainstorm about the future of bike advocacy in the Southeast.  Every evening will focus on a different angle, as we get deeper towards an answer:  How will the Southeast fulfill its promise to be the center of North American cycling?

We will combine the very best of bicycle tourism with a roundtable to further our passion for bicycle advocacy.  You will come away energized and empowered to continue making a difference in the Southeast.  We have some of the greatest cycling problems to face, but also have the most promise for the future.

Tour Itinerary:  This is challenging terrain, but there will be options for riding less.  Paul knows how to cater to all fitness levels.  No one will complain that it is too easy!

Day 1 Wednesday June 22: Meet in Blowing Rock, NC, with an afternoon ride along beautiful Route 221.
Day 2 Thursday June 23: Cycle from Blowing Rock to Little Switzerland.
Day 3 Friday June 24: Cycle from Little Switzerland to Asheville including ascent up Mt. Mitchell.
Day 4 Saturday June 25: Cycle one of many metric century options available from Asheville.
Day 5 Sunday June 26: Morning ride from Asheville before our afternoon shuttle back to Blowing Rock.

The price of the Tour is $1200, which includes all lodging, most food, shuttle transportation back to Blowing Rock, all guide services, and a specially designed mybikelaw jersey, shorts, and socks!

Thanks to all of you, myself and 3 others won!  I’ll be traveling through the mountains of western NC later this June.  I guess it is about time to start riding on the road more!

 

Questioning a 24 Hour Solo Mountain Bike Race

2 Burn 24 Hour

Burn 24 HourLately when I race and people ask how it was I simply can’t answer as I don’t feel like I am really racing.  I feel like I’m riding around in circles, trying to find the next gear within my own.   I’ve finished mostly last for the past year of my cycling life.   I argue with myself that this place is better than not starting which I had been doing for the year prior.   I struggle with the mental piece, knowing I am better than this, knowing that I am the puppet master and only allowing myself to fall.

Racing for the past year has been motivation.  At the finish line when I knew I could have done better, that is motivation.  I pay the race entry fee so that the other girl doesn’t come in last, and that I get a small kick in the ego…large enough to want more, but small enough not to do anything about it.

Doing Burn 24 Hour was this.  There were moments on the trail I was questioning my sanity. Especially at 11:30pm when the roots were wet, my chamois was sweaty and my glasses were so fogged up from the humidity I was simply praying the whole 7 mile lap not to bust my face open.

I question why I slept for 5 hours.  I question why I didn’t bring my full suspension bike with more “wet root friendly tires.”  I question if I could have done 12 laps instead of 8.  I question if my pit crew thought I was a pain in the ass and realize how much I appreciate them.

Looking back at this event I question myself, my strength and my will to do better in life.

Maybe that is the point of racing?  To question yourself and everything that leads up to the moment.   How else can you become better if you don’t question and change yourself?

 

Looking Back at my First Solo 24 Hour Mountain Bike Race

0 2011 Burn 24 Hour Challenge

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.

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.

Off to the Races

3

I’ve been rather silent this week in preparation for my first 24 hour solo mountain bike race.  I’m working on packing, and heading up to camp out tonight in a thunderstorm to get a good pit location.

Once I recover I’ll check back in with you all on the other side of this huge undertaking!