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NC Cyclocross
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NC Cyclocross Clinic Recap

This past Sunday I dragged myself out of bed at o’dark 30 to prep myself and brain for my first cyclocross “clinic”. At around 7 o’clock teammate and all around awesome guy, George Berger, picked me up in his little Prius and we were off into the sunrise. The goal was to get to mountains of Boone North Carolina and the Pirate Race Products Cyclocross Clinics.

NC Cyclocross

Walking into a cyclocross clinic I wasn’t sure what to expect. I have participated in cyclocross practices, and various other road/mtb clinics before but never dedicated for cyclocross.

Here are the things I did know:

The clinic was segregated for women and men. There ended up being roughly 12 women that showed up which seemed to be a decent group for learning and trying new things with two instructors.

It would be a long day. The clinic was scheduled from 10 to 4, and I knew from cyclocross practices that I would be completely worn out doing these quick burst of anaerobic effort.

NC Cyclocross

There would be good food. Burrito’s from Black Cat in Boone, if you haven’t been there – go visit soon.

I had no goals. There were things I want to improve on in cyclocross this year, but a specific skill other than not hurting myself, I didn’t have one dead set in mind. Oh wait, that is a lie.I want to be able to do the “flying squirrel” remount by the end of the season. You know that one were you “hop” off the ground and gracefully slide over your saddle like a cowboy on a bareback horse? Yes that is what I want to be able to do.

Drills and practice makes perfect

For 6 hours I was taken back to high school. All the drills and random technique forming (brain numbing) things you would do, and hate, wanting to just PLAY the game you were practicing for. You didn’t want to practice sprints, side to side, crazy legs, etc.

Quickly these feelings went away and I was left really enjoying myself and fellow company. I hope to have video’s of all the things below later this week. Video editing is just not in the time early this week.

Crazy 8′s -  You basically take two objects, maybe 20-50 feet apart, with a partner you circle the objects/cones/trees/phone poles in a crazy 8 fashion. Learning how to take the corners properly at speed, while at the same time making sure your partner doesn’t catch or pass you (especially in the corners.)

Hill Climbs – This is the one I avoid, I did it twice and stopped. Find a hill and run up it with your bike. At the top either walk down or hop on your bike to ride back down. We started off slowly, simply picking up our bike and walking up the hill to learn where to place the bike on our shoulders and how to use our free arm to propel ourselves up. After a few times in slow, we then would ride into the hill, dismount and “scurry” up the hill.

Dismounts – A great thing for someone getting used to hopping off the CX bikes, especially with clipless pedals. With some momentum unclip your right foot and swing it over the saddle to be behind your left foot. Simply glide in that position. Once you feel comfortable doing this, repeat but this time swing your right leg back over to and clip back in. Next step is to complete the dismount. There were two schools of thought for this, sliding your right leg between your left leg and bike, or swinging your right leg behind your left and allowing the momentum to unclick you. I don’t feel comfortable the first way, and I’m much faster with the second.

Mounting – At a walking pace work on hip rotation and in motion of your walking stride take your right leg and slide it over the saddle so you “catch” yourself on your inner thigh right below your groin. Work on getting faster and “pushing off” your left leg so you get more speed into the sliding onto the saddle. (This is the one I need to work more on.)

Starts- Try out different gearing for your start, where should you be on your seat, do you do better with your hands on the shifters or in the drops, learn your limits so that you can push them but also land in the top positions in the start of the race. It is always better to allow people to pass you than to pick off people through out the race.

Other things gained at the NC CX clinic

NC Cyclocross

The drills were awesome. Having 12 women to talk about womens CX and learn their ways of doing things, was awesome. Having “hot laps” at the end, was awesome. More than anything I believe the best part was meeting 12 semi-local women that will be on the courses beside me. Having people to talk with, making new friends and hopefully helping grow the sport.

Kuat Rack Review

Testing out George’s new Kuat rack was also very informative, if only they came out for a hitch for my new car!

I feel more motivated and able for the season. All I need to work on is my motor and I have over a month to work on that one. Here’s to NC Cyclocross! You can find all the photos over yonder.

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Tech Tuesday: Check Your Suspension

While riding around in circles tonight at a local 3.5 mile mountain trail I realized something was off more than normal. My pedals were hitting things that I normal don’t and my turning felt slow. As I slowed to a stop I watched my fork spring back to life after I unweighted the front end. This meant only one thing, my air suspension fork didn’t have enough air in it or the air was equal between the top and the bottom chambers.

I finished out my lap and thankfully had thrown a shock pump in my car a few weeks prior, always forgetting to check my fork’s pressure before the ride!

Tech Tuesday

Make sure to visit the sponsors of this posts.. Problem Solvers!

One 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!

With technology progressing it is easy to forget the bicycles we are riding today are very advanced and need some thought in maintaining them at the level they belong. It is often that people come in to the bike shop with 10% of the air they need in their suspension, wondering why their bike feels like they are riding a flat tire. Or even better is when they ride their bike for 2-3 years and never take the time to get it serviced, when the estimate of replacing that rear shock comes in they are sticker shocked. What they don’t know is that your suspension (especially air shocks) needs serviced based on hours of ride time. Your bushings between your shock and fork wear out, your fork needs new oil and so on. Technology brings more things to pay attention at and keep up with maintenance.

Our friends over at London Cyclist recently posted a great how to for checking sag in on a mountain bike fork.

Suspension on a mountain bike reduces rider fatigue and improves the bike wheels contact on rough terrain. When adjusting, your aim is to balance between a soft and a hard setup. Too soft will result in your bike wheels not travelling far enough in a dip and too hard will cause your bike to bounce off rough terrain.

The sag determines the amount that the mountain bike suspension compresses.

Andreas did a great job, so instead of rewriting what he has already covered please check him out. In the mean while I have a friend coming over where I will be putting together a video of the exact how to for a full suspension bike!

Raleigh Capri 4.0 Women's Road Bike
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Review: 2011 Raleigh Capri 4.0 Women’s Road Bike

I love steel bicycles, I know that isn’t a way you should start off a review of an aluminum bike but there is a reason…

2011 Raleigh Capri 4.0

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Adjust Avid BB5 Brakes
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How To: Properly Setup and Adjusting 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.

NC CX
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North Carolina Womens Cyclocross Clinic

Bicycling skills clinics are an interesting thought. Adults, having skills clinics in the way you would for your favorite sport as a kid. For myself I need to become confident again going into barriers, and $40 for 6 hours of someones time is a great deal. Stackhouse is limiting the field for good instructor to class size so please sign up so I have friends at the event!

North Carolina Women’s Cyclocross Clinic in Boone

Sunday September 11, 10AM to 4PM

Boone Fairgrounds, 738 Roby Green Rd, Boone, NC 28607

NC CX

Two clinics at one location: our second annual Women’s’ Only CX Clinic featuring National Champion Ashley James and MSG champ Kim Bishop, and a cyclocross skills clinic for the boys led by Jacob Florence.

The Boone Fairgrounds, home of the High Country Cyclocross Series, is a great venue with agood mix of easy and challenging terrain where you can hone your skills, covered pavilions for lunch and lecture sessions, as well as ample parking. Clinics will be held at separate parts of the Fairgrounds so each group can separately practice skills including starts, cornering, barriers, run ups, and more, as well as pointers on training, nutrition, bike setup, pre-race rituals and more from National Champion Ashley James and some of the best cyclocross racers in the Southeast

Early Bird Registration is only $40 until the end of August, Pre-Registration is $50 until September 10 at Noon. Day-of registration is $65. Lunch is included.

Online Registration now open – clinics are capped at 30 participants each

USAC license (Road or MTB) is required. One day license is $5.

For Directions Click Here

Register at BikeReg.com or email us to learn more

2012 Raleigh RX 1.0 Women's Cyclocross
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2012 Raleigh RX Women’s Cyclocross Bikes

This is part of a series of short posts releasing the new 2012 Raleigh Bicycles women’s line. Everything from 29er mountain bikes, road bikes, hybrids, more carbon and women’s cyclocross bikes. I’ve got the scope, but we can thank Raleigh’s Sally on this one.

Want to know how I can tell you with 100% certainty that the bicycle industry is finally valuing women? Two things, women’s 29ers and women’s CYCLOCROSS bikes. Yes, it is old news (other news sites scooped it a couple weeks ago) but I need to share with you one of those things that I am so super excited about. Two, yes two, women’s cyclocross full bicycles from Raleigh Bicycles in 2012.

This could be do to Raleigh’s Sally having a girlfriend these days and realizing the needs of women. Maybe Raleigh’s Sally needs the shorter top tube and taller head-tubes that women’s bikes have to offer. Raleigh is taking a stand for cyclocross in 2012 with 8 models for cyclocross and I am proud of them for stepping up.

2012 Raleigh RX 1.0 Women’s Cyclocross $1,650

2012 Raleigh RX 1.0 Women's Cyclocross
Aluminum frame, EC70 carbon cross fork and BB30.  SRAM Apex & Rival 10 Speed.

2012 Raleigh RX Women’s Cyclocross $1,100

2012 Raleigh Women's Cyclocross Bike

Same frame and fork as the 1.0 but stepping down to Shimano Sora 9 speed.

Photos from Bike Rumor

Stealing the photos from BikeRumor.com

2012 Raleigh RX Women's Cross Bikes
2012 Raleigh RX Women's Cross Bikes

Airborne Cyclocross Bike
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Review: 2011 Airborne Delta CX

I won’t lie, the Airborne Delta CX was the most exciting part of becoming a member of the Airborne Flight Crew this past spring. I was going to have the inside scoop, test ride and ride for a season a wonderful cyclocross bike that hopefully would crack open a huge “hidden nut” in the bicycle industry. A budget priced, disc brake, cyclocross bike. As a lover of cyclocross bikes for the utility and functionality, this bike fit right into my arsenal to refer friends and followers to.

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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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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

 

Chrome Sherman Bag Review
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Review: Chrome Sherman Race Tool Bag

Chrome Sherman Bag ReviewThere have been many reviews released for the Chrome Sherman “Utility” bag. These reviews are mostly by folks riding their track bikes down to the local velodrome, swapping out wheels and gearing to race that same bike. For me this bag introduces a new look at doing business as a mechanic and ease of use for tool storage.

The spring and early summer season is always my busiest. First to Sea Otter, a couple local endurance races, a 24 hour mtb race and a handful of South East crit series to hit up. As a racer, but more importantly as everyone’s friendly female mechanic it is my job to be organized and prepared for whatever you need at the race.

Using the Chrome Sherman


At first this bag is overwhelming, so many pockets and clasps. In fact three weeks after actively using the bag I found a hidden pocket to hold my chain whip and pedal tool! The bag trifolds to easily be carried on your back, or the top flap folds back to be clasped on a repair stand, fence or whatever is close by. Once you figure out all the pockets, what zippers, what velcro’s, and what can go where is when you can start pushing the bag to its extreme.

The Chrome Sherman for Daily Use

Chrome Sherman Review
As I mentioned, I use the Sherman for different purposes than others. I use it as my tool bag, that travels on my back from car to pits, of garage to car to races. I’ve never ridden more than 2 miles with the thing on my back, but the bag is used daily with my bike tools.

To be able to grab the Sherman from where it hangs off my bookcase or repair stand, fold up the tri-fold and head off to wherever I am going. It is amazing. I’m not repacking all my tools, questioning where I left my measuring tape or 3-way. It is where I keep it, organized and always in the same spot.

If I am doing a full overhaul in my garage I will take out most the tools I know I’ll need and put them on the bench or on the wall for their homes, but this is more for speed than anything else.

What Goes in my Chrome Sherman

A random list of what is normally in my Sherman for daily use. Each race is different, if I’m going to a road race I may pull something different than a mtb.

  • Full run of allen hex’s. from 1.5 to 10mm
  • 4 main allen wrenches, 8,9,10,15
  • Adjustable wrench x 2
  • Chain tool
  • Cassette tools
  • Pedal wrench
  • Side cutter
  • Needle nose
  • Phillips screw driver x2
  • Flathead screw driver x2
  • Shock pump
  • Small squeeze of grease
  • Wax based lube
  • Teflon based lube
  • Electrical tape
  • Cable ends
  • Small tackle box of misc parts (quick links, headset spacers, tire boot, co2 head, pens,
  • 3-way
  • Spoke wrenches
  • Cable ties
  • Zip ties
  • Single speed cogs x2
  • SRAM 9 speed chain (new)
  • SRAM 10 speed chain (new)
  • Tire levers
  • 700c tube
  • 29″ tube
  • Mechanics gloves
  • Small container of Stans NoTubes
  • Crank tool x 2
  • Shimano crank tool
  • BB tool x 4 (outboard, octalink, square taper and Campy)
  • Brake cables x2
  • Shifter cables x2
  • Brake housing
  • Shifter housing

Overall Review of the Chrome Sherman

The Chrome Sherman is a bag that makes you think out of the box. (No pun intended.) It has allowed me to expand my services as a mechanic, and be more efficient when doing so. It handles cross country trips well, being shoved in the trunk of a car, or slapped on your back to haul on a bike.

There are things I would change, pockets I would expand, tool slots I would stitch in but for a non-custom bag at MSRP of $190 the bag does what it needs to do. Now at $190 you need to utilize the thing to death to justify the cost, but keeping my tools safe and organized in all conditions is worth it to me. Chrome, please add custom colors to the mix in the future!

Visit Chrome’s store for more details.

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