Monday, December 15, 2014

Women on Bikes Series: Amber Katzoff

Meet Amber Katzoff! A Muddbunnie Ambassador, she loves nothing more than riding her bike. A strong desire to encourage more women to get on two wheels fuels her passion and inspires her to help make a difference in the cycling community-especially the Downhill community!

When did you first start riding a bike?
I started riding a bike 5 years ago. I didn't even know how to ride a bike. A friend of mine got me on one and riding a little cross country. I've never looked back!

What motivated you to ride as much as you have over the years?
Biking is like an addiction. It is a passion. I love down hilling the most, so I love the intensity, fear, and of course that incredible feeling of accomplishment when you concur that big feature. I actually get grumpy when I don't ride. 

What would be your favorite competitive biking event and why do you enjoy competing?
My favorite competitive biking event to watch is the UCI downhill races. My favorite bike event to race in is the Eastern States Cup downhill series. I've always been competitive, but its liking getting together with a huge group of friends to ride bikes. Everyone is there to cheer each other on and talk about bikes and the course. 

Do you remember how you felt on your first mountain bike ride?
I felt utter enjoyment and challenged.

If you had nervousness at all, what do you do or think to overcome it?
I get nervous every race. I just tell myself to just ride my bike. 

What advice would you give someone new to the off-road scene?
I just tell them never do something you don't feel comfortable doing. No shame for getting off and walking. Push yourself as much as you want to. 

Do you use clipless pedals? If yes, what are some tips/suggestions for beginners that you would share? If no, are you thinking of trying it out at all?
I actually don't clip in. I started biking a little backwards. I learned to ride and went straight to down hilling. I just recently purchased clipless pedals for my cross country, so I'll take any beginners tips! 

Have you had any biffs that were challenging for you on a physical/mental/emotional level? What did you do to heal and overcome?
Unfortunately crashing comes with down hilling. The worst injury that kept me out the longest was a broken shoulder. I was so sad I couldn't ride the rest of the season, but what are you going to do? It is what it is. All you can do is heal fast. Even this summer I injured my back and had to miss a race. I've also raced with things broken and probably shouldn't have. I'm definitely not getting younger. 

When you started out riding, what were some handling skills that challenged you? Do you have any suggestions for what helped you grasp them?
The worst for me was drops. I would dead sailor over the drop every time. That front end would come down like a rock. I could not lift the front end to save my life. Till one day someone told me it was like flicking a beach towel down. You actually flick forward, up, and in. 

Are there still handling or technical riding aspects that you find tricky? How do you not let that drag you down when riding?
There are always features that are challenging down hilling. I am still trying to conquer bigger drops, bigger gaps, and larger rock gardens. That's half the fun. Sometimes you may get discouraged if you don't get it, but I tell myself if you’re not having fun on your bike, then it’s not worth it. 

Tell us about your bike(s), what they are like and why did you choose them?
My downhill bike is a Specialized Status II and I love it! Most dh bikes are made for men so trying to find a cockpit that fits can be difficult. I fell in love with the way the bike handles and just gobbles up everything underneath it. My cross country is a Scott Contessa and I'm actually looking to trade it. It is a single track cross country with minimal suspension. I find myself needing a little more and riding it too hard. I want a more endure bike.

What clothing/bike accessories do you love? What would you recommend to your friends?
One of my favorite clothing lines is Troy Lee Designs. Again there are not a lot of women's lines for dh apparel and Troy Lee does. 

How did you hear about Muddbunnies and what inspired you to get involved?
A friend told me about the Muddbunnies. I like what they stood for: Getting the word out to women to try riding. No matter what style of riding you may do. I raced a few weeks ago; there were 110 men and 5 women. We need more women riding and competing. 

What do you enjoy about being an ambassador for Mudbunnies?
I like being involved with a great group of women doing a great thing, sharing their love for biking.

What do you feel deters women from getting involved with cycling? Especially mountain biking?
I think (maybe) fear of injury, how to get involved, and not having someone to teach them. There's always that fear of you are holding up the other riders. I find most bikers love to teach newbies, I know I do. 

What do you feel could happen to make changes and/or encourage more women to ride?
I think just getting the word out. I know I am always talking to women it about it, and how much fun it is. I am always willing to take newbies out and give them some help. I like getting women's rides together, so everyone can give each other tips. If more women riders did this I think we would see an increase in numbers. 

What inspires you to encourage women to ride?
What inspires me to encourage women to ride is all the people men and women who did it for me. The bike community is filled with helping and sharing it amazes me every time. I want to introduce other girls to the joy and fulfillment I get with biking. 

Tell us a random fact about yourself!
Random fact about myself????? I went to college to be a GM auto mechanic.

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