Monday, March 30, 2015

Women on Bikes Series: Rachel Weaver

Rachel Weaver is the founder of Pin it Girls, an all-women gravity race team. She lives in Santa Fe, NM with her husband. Rachel is passionate about mountain biking, and Angel Fire Bike park is her home mountain. While she rides dirt jumps and trail, downhill is her true love, and her favorite discipline to race.

Rachel is currently racing Cat 1/Expert level Downhill and Dual Slalom. In 2015, her goals are to podium at USA Cycling Gravity Nationals, strive towards upgrading to Pro and race as many races as possible while being an ambassador for the sport.

In 2014, Rachel decided to start her own team because she wanted to inspire and encourage women in downhill racing and gravity sports. 

One of her big disappointments was to show up at races and see only a few girls signed up, while there were hundreds of guys. Rachel has gained so very much life experience and joy from riding mountain bikes, and she wanted to share that with other women while bringing together an amazing group of racers who just happen to be girls.

Now with eight team members, four podiums at Gravity Nationals, wins at Central States Cup races, and a sixth place overall in the Big Mountain Enduro series, the team is building momentum. For 2015, Pin it Girls is proud to be sponsored by Angel Fire Bike Park, Schwalbe, MTB Racing Solutions, Sombrio, and Smith Optics.

Check out our Facebook page and our website!
Pin it Girls on Instagram and Rachel's Instagram!


When did you first start riding a bike?
I first started riding bikes as a kid- I had a little pink and purple Huffy. Later in High School my dad took me mountain biking on a fully rigid steel frame, and it became one of my favorite activities. When I met my husband, Daniel, I hadn't ridden in years, but we took up road biking together, and we slowly progressed into riding trail, then downhill.  

What motivated you to ride as much as you have over the years?
My motivation is purely internal. I love the “zen” aspect of riding, as I call it. Perfecting that corner, relaxing through a techy rock garden, being in the start gate of a race run and feeling the whole world disappear… the satisfaction of watching my progression over the years. These are what keep me riding and loving every minute of it!

What would be your favorite competitive biking event and why do you enjoy competing?
I love racing Downhill. It’s really just you and the clock, and the challenge is as much mental as physical. Downhill feels like a pure sport to me.

Do you remember how you felt on your first mountain bike ride?
I don’t remember riding for the first time in High School, but I do remember my first mountain bike ride with my husband coming back to it again at twenty-five years old. I was afraid of everything! I walked down the smallest of hills, and was scared of any kind of rock garden. I recall telling Daniel that I will NEVER ride lift access trails…little did I know six years later I’d be a Cat 1 DH racer.

If you had nervousness at all, what do you do or think to overcome it?
I have the unique ability to remember everything on a DH course. I can sit down the night before a race and mentally ride the whole thing- every rock, berm, feature and rut. This is very calming for me, and helps me focus during my race run.

As far as nervousness with practicing certain features or say a double-black run I’ve never done before, I certainly admit to feeling nerves every once in a while. My best strategy for these kinds of nerves is to decide whether I’m truly ready for the feature, and if so, I imagine myself completing it with perfect form, then commit fully and go for it. If I know in my heart I’m not ready, I save it for another day.

I believe the most dangerous thing you can do as a rider is try features that you're not quite ready for, or let someone talk you into something. With any tough obstacle or feature, you absolutely have to commit to it and know you can do it safely; otherwise you're just rolling the dice. Indecision is very dangerous. It will cause you to not go fast enough, or bail at the last moment. You have to build skills with confidence, not fear.

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 exclusively use flat pedals. I started riding mountain bikes from road cycling, and so I learned on clips and was racing cross country on clipless pedals. Finally my husband wore me down to try flats and I’ve never gone back. Sam Hill won many races on flat pedals, including “pedally” ones. If you look into the science of flats vs. clips, the only benefit in clips is less fatigue over time. So if you are a ultra racer- doing twenty four hour races on your fully rigid carbon fiber twenty niner, go for those clips…but if you are anything else you should be on flats! Flat pedals let you comfortably jump, try new features, and once you get used to the feel, you can climb just as well or better than with clips.

Have you had any biffs that were challenging for you on a physical/mental/emotional level? What did you do to heal and overcome?
My most serious crash ended in a concussion. Funny enough it was not during a race or while riding a double-black run or a big feature. It was on a blue DH trail I ride all the time. It was at the end of our first weekend of the season riding DH, and I realized later that my brain was ready to go full-speed, but my reflexes weren’t up to it yet.

Concussions are very strange- it’s like thinking through a big cotton ball or something. This injury certainly threw me off for a few months of riding. I wasn't feeling that I was mentally effected, but my riding level slid backwards and I was way more tentative and cautious on the bike. It took a couple months for me to feel like myself again.

I think what helped me come back from this injury was focusing on having fun on the bike. Once I stepped back from a strong focus on race results and going fast, I found my rhythm again and felt at-home on the bike. The speed comes naturally after that.  

When you started out riding, what were some handling skills that challenged you? Do you have any suggestions for what helped you grasp them?
I’m not even sure where to start with this question! I was afraid of everything when I started riding mountain bikes. I wouldn't lean my bike in berms, I got stalled up in rocks, I would skid on my back brake down steeps…
I think the answer to learning skills is to first be having fun. I know personally I do not learn well when I’m stressed out or scared. The second thing to do is spend time on the bike practicing. Go out in the driveway and do figure eights, or bunny hops or track stands for thirty minutes every day. That is the secret to gaining skills- it really just takes being comfortable on the bike and repeating the movement over and over until it’s a body memory.

I used to be afraid of track stands, and I really couldn't do them. But in dual slalom racing, you have a big advantage if you can track stand in the gate at the start. So over last winter, I practiced track stands against the car outside, or inside in a doorway, pretty much anytime I thought of it. And you know what? I can track stand for ten minutes if I want to now- no problem.

Are there still handling or technical riding aspects that you find tricky? How do you not let that drag you down when riding?
I am the first to admit that my weakness as a DH racer is top-speed. I still have a strong hesitation to just let it run on wide open sections when everyone else is going no-brakes. While I readily admit that, I will also admit that I am a better at corners and berms than pretty much all of the girls I ride with. I’ve also done one of the biggest drops in the group.

So I believe you really have to acknowledge your strengths and play to them as much as possible. You just have to know going into a race or ride that the course or trail may not suit you, and you simply give it your best. Even the pro World Cup DH racers favor certain types of courses, or dry or wet tracks. It’s about self awareness and then not beating yourself up about the things you are struggling with.
That said, I do work on increasing my top speed by relaxing on those sections, and practicing good braking technique. Maybe someday it will be no big deal.   

Tell us about your bike(s), what they are like and why did you choose them?
I currently own a Specialized Demo 8 and a Transition Double.
The Demo 8 was a no-brainer. As far as DH bikes go, it’s the best. I love Specialized suspension because you don’t have any brake jack, and the bike feels so connected to the ground. It’s been an amazing bike for me, and I would buy another Demo 8 in a heartbeat. 

My Transition Double came about because I had been riding a long-travel trail bike, but I wanted something more slack and jump- worthy. I was also getting into dual slalom racing and wanted a bike better suited for that. I credit my Double for my quick progression in jumping and gravity riding. Because it’s slack but has short travel, its kind of like riding a mini DH bike on trails, and so its great practice for actual DH. It also jumps really well and handles great. It’s amazingly fun on the green runs at Angel Fire, too.  

What clothing/bike accessories do you love? What would you recommend to your friends?
My favorite brand is Sombrio. Their clothing is really well made, fits great for athletic bodies, and is actually super cool. I want something that clearly shows I’m a girl, but I don't want baby blue and light pink with hearts on it. You can see our Pin it Girls team jerseys as an example of this- they are both tough and girly.
I have a pretty small head, so I found the only DH helmet that fit me well was a Troy Lee D3. It’s lightweight because it’s carbon. Smith Optics has awesome sunglasses and goggles for small faces.

Of course, if you’re going to go for flat pedals and shoes, there is no other choice but Five/Ten, who is putting out a women’s Freerider shoe this spring. I’ve always ridden with their men’s shoes, and I love them, so I’m super excited to try out the women’s last. And they just happen to be pink and black, my favorite colors.

I find for protective gear, Six Six One makes items that fit smaller women. A number of the girls on the team wear their body armor, including me. They have a Junior size chest protector that fits really well and is super comfortable for gravity riding. I also use their elbow and knee/shin guards.     

What do you love about riding your bike?
What don’t I love? The focus and calm that biking brings. Having something my husband and I are passionate about, and can do together. The physical challenge. The social aspect. The identity of being a mountain bike racer. Having the opportunity to coach girls in something that builds their self confidence and brings them joy. The “zen” of racing DH, and the flow that comes from effortlessly riding something extremely technical.  

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Adventures of the First Lady: Spring Sale Vol. 2

Let me see, what can I say about this past week. Well, we got oh, 9 inches of snow Sunday p.m.-Monday a.m. and that pretty much put a pause on the Spring Sale for a bit. The bonus of this was it gave us time to get bikes built that had been ordered. It also gave time for us to build bikes for the floor.

The main bonus about this snowfall was a few fellows got to try out the Snow Hawk that DHPT invested in to give us future groomed fatbike trails next winter. The snow was wet and heavy, so it proved to be quite the challenge for the machine. However, per a friend's posting on Facebook and with Travis' encouragement, I went out on Friday morning to try the trails out.

I hadn't been on single track since PWC, and I fully believed that it would be my "last hurrah" and to find myself on frozen snow again, actually riding pretty darn good, I was thrilled. A ride outside beats a trainer ride any day.

Saturday came sooner than anticipated. We were all wondering how the day would go, what would be accomplished, and how the flow of people would go. Whippy Dip opened up on Thursday and we're still dealing with the "first few days" of those customers. At one point on Thursday Travis went out to the parking lot and saw ALL the (potential) parking spaces in front of the shop were taken by the WD customers. Plus spots in front of WD and the other business in the "block". If anyone wanted to come to the shop, they would have to walk. Wow!

Kristin and I went out for a ride Saturday a.m. while the snow was still frozen. I was slightly late to work, but thankfully the temps were still a little chilly so we weren't busy right away at 9 a.m.

It was a "slow roll" to busy, and for awhile it was pretty darn controlled. Two sales really stuck with me today.

One was a girl who had been riding an oversized bike for some time now and had thoughts of actually riding MORE, yes MORE, single track. She had been riding the easiest stuff, which in Decorah would be River Trail or the Pines. That's pretty much it for "easy."
She ended up with a black Specialized Rockhopper. I'm hoping that she finds joy with the bike and I'll cross my fingers! Hopefully she'll join me on one of my Sunday rides!

I was able to stop a couple before they left. The woman admitted that she hadn't ridden a bike in a long while. She and her husband had a daughter who finally got the hang of riding, so they wanted to ride with her. As I listened to the woman, I could completely see my 2012 self talking again. It had been so long, I didn't know if I could actually 'ride a bike still' and my confidence level was zilch. I thought the Crossroads Sport would be an ideal bike to start out with. She also tried an Electra, but felt that it was a bit cumbersome for her needs. I went over stopping/starting, to alleviate the "tiptoe" method so often used.

It was one of those where you could hear a person feeling skeptical, but yet there was an underlying desire that was greater. Plus a supportive partner vs. one trying to buy a bike that isn't a good fit.
And you know what? He had been having issues with his current bike and the leaned over position was something he was starting to find difficult. He tried a Crossroads Sport as well.
Two bikes found a couple! And it's great because they won't have bikes "opposing" one another. One geared faster/slower than the other.

Excitement for "new bike day" something that I don't want to say I've taken for granted, but I do feel like the excitement over my "first" bike has somewhat triumphed over all the others. For me it was more than just a bike, but a reclaiming of myself. I saw that today. THAT gives me hope for the future and for other riders.

The one thing I will say that I've noticed is the cost. I'm hearing a bit more about the cost, and the price given is down near the bare minimum of what it takes for an entry level bike in that so-called "category"...which honestly, from experience: you do get what you pay for.

A road bike that's in the "middle" vs. the lowest end, a mountain bike closer to 1,000 than 600. Things to consider, not always easily digested. Price can strike fear in a person and make them almost not want to buy something at all. I've had "sticker shock" before, it almost makes me throw up. However, and I will say it seems more typical with the women- but it seems like one can buy nice shoes, nice purses, and nice cars...but they want or seek the lowest $ amount bike. Why shortchange yourself? There is a concept that you should purchase a bike that you feel you are "worth" or within a certain "level." What if you purchased a bike you were truly worth? What if you purchased a bike that you could really GROW with? You can upgrade parts to a point, eventually you'll find all you need is a new bike.

It's something to think about. It's something I can talk about from personal experience, too. I wish there was more time sometimes to talk with people about it. Will the young lady enjoy riding her bike? I'm betting 100% she will. Having a bike that is more sized to the person will make her more comfortable to explore single track trails without being unsafe. (rather than on an over-sized bike)

Everyone is different and chooses their own path, so to say. If you leave happy and completely in love with your bike, I'm happy and grateful that our shop could be part of your experience!

I'm so very excited that women are showing interest in the led off-road rides!
1-2 people can sign up at a time, but I'm willing to take a group of 3-4 if it's a group of friends that are all excited about the ride. Signing up can start in May, the first ride date will be the 17th. $15.00 includes a led ride, an opportunity to borrow a mtb/fatbike/helmet if you don't have one.
Rides will start at 4:00 p.m. on Sundays, so please arrive 10 minutes early so we can get you set up with bikes and have a quick meeting about what you'd like to do/where you'd like to go.

Any questions? Email me: josie@decorahbicycles.com


Friday, March 27, 2015

Women on Bikes Series: Christina Probert-Turner

Photo Credit: Phil Beckman- PB Creative
I am a Registered Nurse by profession, an avid cyclist by addiction and most recently, a contributor to social media for Turner Suspension Bikes. My husband, David Turner, is the owner and designer of this company.

We met over ten years ago on a bike ride in Lake Tahoe and have been riding together ever since. Our shared passion for riding has had a significant impact on our lifestyle in that our free time is spent either training locally or traveling for races and riding adventures.

The beautiful places, varied terrain, and increasing competition, provide much of the inspiration for our products! The location of our first date also became one of our favorites riding spots, Downieville (Norcal). The 5000 vertical feet descent incited my husband to design the highly revered 5 Spot. After racing cyclecross for the last five years, we developed a cx bike. Our years of racing mountain bikes helped us design our first carbon bike, appropriately named the Czar. 

We keep apprised of the trends in the industry and were one of the first to offer the now popular 650 wheel. Upon the fat tire explosion we released our latest development at Outer Bike, King Khan. This bike features more suspension than any bike out there- check it out!

Keep up with Turner Suspension Bikes and Christina on the following sites:

When did you first start riding a bike?
My training wheels came off at age 5.
   
What motivated you to ride as much as you have over the years?
As long as I can remember, I have always had a bike and there have always been good reasons to ride it:  transportation, exploration, exercise, or competition.  
When I was in elementary school I would miss the bus, so I would have to time-trial my 5 speed 3 miles to school. 

In high school I decided that I preferred to ride my 10 speed to school. When I was 16 yrs old I competed in my first triathlon and really got a thrill from competing. A few years later I discovered mountain biking and used it as a means of getting into shape for ski season.  Eventually, riding became my first love, and I haven't stopped riding since.    

What would be your favorite competitive biking event and why do you enjoy competing?
Downhill probably used to be my favorite when I lived in South Lake Tahoe, but as I have gotten older I tend to enjoy cross-country and cyclocross more since I don't live in the mountains anymore. I like the short bursts of energy and dynamic courses offered by both.   
I think sports and competing are great for girls and women, and I just love riding my bike.  
  
Do you remember how you felt on your first mountain bike ride?
Wow, that seems like a million years ago, 1985.  Before discovering mountain biking, I would hike to get ready for ski season. But once I got on a bike, I was amazed at how much ground you could cover and how descending was so similar to skiing. I fell in love instantly.   

If you had nervousness at all, what do you do or think to overcome it?
I am older (wussy), so I have become safer and wiser. I Wear pads when I go on a technical course, and I have found wearing the correct shoes and gear helps prepare for what you opt in for.
If there is something particular I want to improve on, I spend time practicing, like riding a section over and over until I feel confident that I can do it.  

Are there other styles of cycling that you enjoy?
I started out racing crossing county in the late 80's to mid 90's, than I raced downhill bikes from 1999 -2002, it was a lot of fun and the challenge of racing over technical courses was good skill building for riding cross country. Then in 2009 I got addicted to cyclocross. I have dabbled in road racing, but I don't enjoy it; road racing is scary!    

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?
Yes. I use clip-less pedals. 
I remember the first time I tried clip-less, and I fell many times; in a stream, in sticker bushes and onto the road, I still fall over occasionally.   
I have learned to test the clip-less pedals in a parking lot to see how tight they are and how easy it feels to get out of them. Afterwards, I adjust them until I have the right tension so they aren’t too tight or too loose. I have found that when you replace your cleats to make sure you test release a few times and if you have a different 'feel', re- adjust the tension. Sometimes it is best to put some oil on the new cleat and pedal until it gets worked in. It may feel a little tight at first, and sometimes I may go a little looser in the beginning. On pedals you can see the springs on, I put a drop of oil on the coils and it seems to help them open and close more smoothly.  

Have you had any biffs that were challenging for you on a physical/mental/emotional level? What did you do to heal and overcome?
I crashed pretty good when I was in my 20's, and I landed on my face. I was just going to the lake for a swim, so I wasn't wearing a helmet. I crashed straight into the ground, and my face was so disfigured that for a short time I became unrecognizable.  
After that day, I vowed always to wear a helmet, no matter how small the ride is. 
More recently I fell hard on my elbow in a XC mountain bike race and it has cause me to think more about wearing light elbow pads on rough terrain. The cuts were quite deep and took a long time to heal!    

When you started out riding, what were some handling skills that challenged you? Do you have any suggestions for what helped you grasp them?
I started out mountain biking with a rigid fork and cantilevers, so my skills have progressed as technology has progressed.   
I had a skiing background, and mountain biking seemed a lot like skiing to me. Skiing taught me to always look ahead, and it’s the same on a mountain bike: scan where you are quickly than scan down the trail (don't stare directly at the ground below or you could end-up there!) 

Are there still handling or technical riding aspects that you find tricky? How do you not let that drag you down when riding?
Sure! Mountain biking is technical, and my bike handling skills aren't as sharp as when I lived in Tahoe, because I primarily train on a road bike. 
Just getting out and riding a mountain bike will help your skills, riding with-in your limits until you feel comfortable to progress. I enjoy learning and improving my skills, so throughout my journey riding bikes, I continue to participate in various clinics to pick up new ways to ride. 
When I was racing downhill I did a clinic with Shaums March, I meet up with Kat Sweet, which helped me with jumping. In October, I did a ride clinic with Krista Park and Anthony Diaz. It was great, and I think taking a clinic is a great idea for any level of rider. 

Tell us about your bike(s), what they are like and why did you choose them?
I am lucky in that my husband is in the bike business (Turner Suspension Bikes), and, consequently, I have quite a few bikes! 
Czar, Cross country-FS race bike with 4" of travel 
Burner, AM trail bike with 5.5" of travel  
Cyclosys Cyclocross bike that weighs under 15lbs.  
Ridley road bike for local training rides as we have no decent dirt access close to home.  

What clothing/bike accessories do you love? What would you recommend to your friends?
I wear a combo of clothing companies, Royal and Fox shorts, Royal and 661 gloves, Kali helmets, Oakley glasses, Sidi and Pearl Izumi  mtb shoe, GForm pads and of course Petal Power chamois cream.  

Photo Credit: Phil Beckman- PB Creative
What do you love about riding your bike?
Riding bikes is like being a kid, in that it brings you new adventures. It has served as a vehicle of travel to new and exciting places, whether down-hilling in Whistler, BC or exploring the Alps in Switzerland, mountain biking in Northern California and Utah, or racing cyclocross in Bend Oregon and Boulder Co. I love riding bikes and experiencing new places!  

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Women on Bikes Series: Janay Camp

My name is Janay Camp and I live in Upstate NY but I am pretty new to this area. I grew up in Alberta, Canada and got here via Northern California. I have my PhD in physics and headed to California for a Post Doc position at Stanford and in 2008 joined semiconductor industry when I started working for KLA-Tencor. I got a road bike after I moved to CA, start of my bike obsession. Love climbing mountains and big challenges like the Death Ride (5 pass finisher in 2009) I met my husband in CA (he is from CO) and he got me into mountain biking and touring. Right after I met him he rode across the US.
 For our wedding I suggested we should ride from CA to CO and get married in Manitou Springs. We did in 2011 and it was awesome! I got hooked on fat bikes in the winter of 2012-13. Now I actually ride mine year round and did RAGBRAI last year on my fat bike; heading back this summer! Riding my bike keeps me happy and loving life - each and every day.

When did you first start riding a bike?
I did ride bikes as I grew up – around the neighborhood with other kids and on family camping vacations. In Graduate school I bought a nicer mountain bike but didn’t really start to ride it till after I graduated and moved to California. The first thing I noticed was all the road bikes. I started riding my mountain bike on the road – riding to work and completing loops on the weekend. I had been officially bitten by the ‘biking bug’ and now wouldn’t think of life without riding J Eventually I saved up and bought my first road bike.

What motivated you to ride as much as you have over the years?
Riding my bike (any of them) gives me the balance I need in my life. My job is busy and stressful and riding my bike helps keep my sanity. I like the physical challenge of riding and I enjoy setting goals and working towards them. My husband is a very avid biker and we spend a lot of quality time together pedaling.

What is your favorite competitive or bike riding event?
I love group rides with friends, bike touring, fat bike events that often feature group rides and fun races but if I have to choose a favorite event – RAGBRAI!! A week long party on bikes? Yes please!

What inspired you to start competing?
I rode for quite a while before I ever registered for my first official race. I did do many non-competitive cycling events like century rides to start. I started with a goal for a metric century, then a full century, then a tougher century with more climbing and so on. Even though these events are for fun – I have a competitive spirit so I enjoyed pushing myself further and faster. I have competed in several off road endurance races since moving to NY – Why? I guess I thought – why not? Don’t get me wrong – I get really nervous and I don’t have a ton of races under my belt yet but I’m happy to get out there and do my best.

How have you dealt with nervousness on the mtb trails?
Patience, practice and perseverance! I am an over-analyzer type personality so I was very slow to overcome nervousness. I used to stop and walk around every obstacle on the trail – slowly I started trying more and more. It took some time before I could feel the flow of a mountain bike trail. I signed up for any skills clinics I could find and highly recommend the Dirt Series. I still do get nervous if the trail becomes crazy technical! The most important thing I have learned about this topic is to take it easy on myself. I used to beat myself up inside when I wouldn’t ride things that ‘should be easy’. Smile, have fun, and keep getting out there! Ain’t no shame in pushing :)

Have you had any biffs that were challenging for you on a physical/mental/emotional level? What did you do to heal and overcome?
Fortunately no major issues but I have had many bruises and a few cuts that likely should have gotten stitches. One time I crashed and ripped one of the legs off my shorts – made for some interesting looks out on the trail. I do have a couple spots where I know I have crashed – I avoided them for a while then tried them again on a day when I was feeling good and strong. I am a strong rider physically so most of my challenges are mental – I just need to convince my brain to chill out.

When you started out riding, what were some handling skills that challenged you? Do you have any suggestions for what helped you grasp them?
When I started on the MTB I was a strong road rider but I was pretty bad at every skill needed to ride MTB trails. I didn’t know how to brake properly, I didn’t know how to navigate a line around or over obstacles, and I definitely didn’t know how to ride switchbacks. For some reason I could turn left but turning right was more of a challenge. I didn’t know how to trust my bike and didn’t understand what it was capable of going over, up and down. For most of the basic technical skills I learned various drills to practice off trail. For example – ride a small circle in a parking lot – right and left. Over and over until it feels normal both directions! Again, practice was big here plus getting some instruction by more experienced riders.

Are there still handling or technical riding aspects that you find tricky? How do you not let that drag you down when riding?
Absolutely! There are tons of challenging trails with big rocks and highly technical features that are beyond my skills (or in some cases I actually think I am physically capable but my mental part kicks in and says no). I have lots of room to improve my skills, which keeps me challenged and excited.

What do you love about riding your bike?
 It makes me a happy healthy person. I get to enjoy the outdoors, challenge myself both mentally and physically. I get to spend tons of time with my husband and friends.

Tell us about your bike(s), what they are like and why did you choose them-
Twenty2 cycles bully
– This is my fat bike. It is a beautiful fast Ti bike with purple highlights. I wanted to upgrade from my first fat bike and I rode my hubby’s Twenty2 and had to order one for myself.
Road/Tour bike built by Seven – This is the bike I had custom built to ride to my wedding. CA to CO in 2011 – about 1700 miles.  I love this bike – it is bulletproof yet completely responsive and fast when it needs to be.
Salsa El Mariachi – My 29er. I rode it tons to prepare for Leadville in 2013 but sadly don’t ride it too much now that I primarily ride my fat bike.
Shinola Bixby – this is the girliest bike I have ever owed. It is my cruise around town, run errands, no need for bike specific clothes, hey yes that is a basket and yes I can put that beer in there for you.

What inspired you to purchase a fatbike?
I first saw one in a MTB magazine a few years back. My husband and I went out to Portsmouth NH for the weekend and stopped into a bike shop that I knew had one in stock (they weren’t so popular a couple years back). I rode it around the parking lot that was covered in fresh snow and was instantly hooked and came home with the bike.

In our area fatbikes are becoming increasingly popular, but only a few women ride them. In your words, why should women consider investing in a fatbike?
It is such a fun way to get out and enjoy winter (or any time). I can’t stand riding a trainer in the winter and I think fresh air is good for you. Truthfully, I don’t know anyone that has actually got on a fat bike and rode it that hasn’t had a fun time. It makes you feel like a kid and puts a smile on your face – what’s better than that?

You ride your fatbike year-round and even rode it during RAGBRAI! People often see the bike and think it's "just for winter/snow"- what are your thoughts on this:
I say ride what is fun! Yes, I would have been faster on a road bike in RAGBRAI but it isn’t about being the fastest – it is about being fun! I also like the challenge – I had never ridden a century on my fat bike before. I am ready to go for RAGBRAI again this year and they even added a gravel loop! I like my fat bike on dirt trails – tons of traction – I can kick ass up steep loose climbs and the big contact patch from the tire makes corners lots of fun.

Tell us about the group you are involved in- Fat Bike Gurlz and what it's all about!
The main group of Fat Bike Gurlz are in CO and I am out here in NY. I help to promote it because I think more ladies should be having fun like I do on my fat bike!

You are also involved with Vanderkitten- tell us about that and what they are all about!
I am in my second year of being a Vanderkitten VIP. There is a selection process and you end up with a group of women from all over the world all promoting the Vanderkitten brand. What do we promote? Women that kick ass! Pushing limits of sport and encouraging other women to get out there and challenge themselves to do things they never thought possible.

Tell us about #singletrackgiveback!
#singletrackgiveback (https://www.facebook.com/pages/Singletrack-Giveback/310489775808343) is something my husband (Shawne Camp) and I started. The mission is simple: Bringing singletrack loving riders together for an event in which a community or children will benefit from donations. In December 2014 we held a ride where people brought a snack or drink to share and also a toy to donate for Toys for Tots. We collected 70 toys and people had a great time riding and spending time together. The greatest thing happened next – our friend that runs a bike shop down in Long Island contacted us and asked if he could hold a similar event!
Shawne and I had just finished the Fat Epic race in PA and were able to attend their event on our way home the following day. My husband was one of the founders of the Saratoga Fat Bike Rally that was just recently held – Singletrack Giveback was a part of it and we asked attendees to bring a food donation and get a raffle ticket in exchange. We filled up my car with food and took it to the Franklin Community Center. We are going to continue doing more events and we hope others will be interested in holding their own events!

What clothing/bike accessories do you love? What would you recommend to your friends?
Wool provides the best layers for winter. I love my cycling knickers and jersey by Ibex. I love my pogies from Dogwood Designs. The best helmet I have ever owned is the Troy Lee Designs A1 helmet.

What do you feel deters women from getting involved with cycling? Especially mountain biking?
Mountain bikers are predominantly guys. Many times I think women don’t get involved because they are worried that they can’t keep up and will hold others back. Mountain biking can be intimidating if you attempt to ride something beyond your skill level.

What do you feel could happen to make changes and/or encourage more women to ride?
Women encouraging women. Men encouraging women. More women’s group rides, skills clinics and camps – it can be a less intimidating way to get started.

What inspires you to encourage women to ride?
Riding bikes is so badass. Why wouldn’t I want to share this with other women? 

Tell us a random fact about yourself
I will sing songs including commercial jingles while riding to get me through tough sections.


Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Adventures of the First Lady- Spring Sale!

I will admit, I was extremely nervous as Saturday came forth. I think it was probably similar to what I felt during the first few MAD sales that the Co-Op had. There is a lot of hype. Which it's there for a purpose and that is for preparedness. We were worried that it would be difficult with our current staffing. We had Kai come in early, and it's a good thing because it was instantly "game on" as soon as we got bikes out and our sign flipped.

I was nervous as all get out, but I put on my game face and did my best to just roll with it. I knew I would have two people, for sure, coming in to purchase bikes on this day. The women that I talked to a few days ago who are interested in going out fatbiking some Sunday. They had called ahead of time to have their bikes set aside for them.

The gentleman who had come in on Thursday night also came back to get his new bike.
I was so happy for him, and you just knew that he was really, really pleased.

The best story of the day came not long after we had opened. The lady who I had talked with extensively on Monday who had chosen the white/pink Crossroads Sport had called on Thursday saying she would have to wait on the bike. This was after she had called earlier in the day saying she would purchase the bike on Saturday. I felt bad. I know stuff like that happens, but I just didn't know if it had anything to do with me or what.

A man had come up to the register on Saturday with a printed off photo of the same tag that we had on the bike. I was sad. Happy that the bike would be going to a new home, but sad it wasn't to the lady I had helped. I asked the fellow for a name in which I could put on the account- and he said the name of the lady! It turns out he was her husband and he had went through great lengths to surprise his wife with a birthday gift aka "the bike."

My eyes started to water a little! It was fantastic! He said he had talked to his wife's good friend to find out information on the bike she was interested in. Apparently, their daughter is getting married and the wife was feeling guilty over spending money on herself. So he had her friend say that her son (who works at a bike shop in a bigger city) could get the same bike for even less than what the price would be at 15% off. She fell for it. That gave her husband enough time to research a little, come in, and purchase the bike for her. Long story short he went home and gave her the sheet of paper telling her that she had to go pick up her bike. Awesome! She came back with some birthday money to purchase her accessories. That really made my day.

Another lady I had worked with earlier in the week came back and found a bike she liked. The last '14 Specialized Vita we had in the store. She was a bit surprised to find that she chose that bike over the Trek FX 7.2. Either way, she got a great bike for her paved trail riding!

I'll be honest, I was worried about being able to develop rapport with people, but thankfully that's not the case. I've had several people thank me for working with them/listening/and answering their questions. Yes, obviously I will be helping women on a regular basis and I really do feel that it's a great asset for the shop. If I can talk with them and help them feel they are making the best decision on a bike for themselves, then I'm glad to be there. There is purpose for me.

Website compliments keep coming and I will continue to feel a little giddy every time.

I did manage to figure some things out on my own (per- register sales, etc.) and I also realized that I DO know more than I think I do. I can talk about stuff and sound somewhat intelligent, yet be able to keep it relateable to those new to riding.
Getting a little better at figuring out sizing and also where seat height should be.

At the end of the day, within the controlled chaos, Travis deduced that we did very well as a team. He was happy, therefor it was good.

30 bikes found homes on Saturday, which was amazing!

However, the 2nd day of the sale proved to be busy right at noon, and about an hour later or so it had disappeared. Monday was equally dead due to the fact we had gotten about 9 inches of snow overnight. At the very least the slower days will give us a good amount of time to get ordered bikes ready for people!

Side notes:
Saris Rack Upgrade special is still on until the 31st! Visit our website for details! You can trade in your old car rack (any condition/model) for a new, select Saris rack at 20% off! 

Repairs are a month out, give or take. It is preferred we get your information and call you to bring your bike in rather than store it in our overflowing shed.



Monday, March 23, 2015

Women on Bikes Series: Maaike Everts

I am a Dutch native who was transplanted to the U.S. in 2002 to be a post-doc at the University of Alabama in Birmingham, with the intent to return to Europe after a year or two.
Little did I know that Birmingham is a great place to live and UAB a great place to work, so here I still am, more than 12 years later!

I am currently the Associate Director for the Alabama Drug Discovery Alliance—a collaboration between UAB and Southern Research
(a not-for-profit research institute, also in Birmingham), in which we try to develop new therapies for diseases such as cancer, diabetes and Parkinson’s Disease.

When not working, I can usually be found on my bike; I have raced on the road in the past but am mostly doing MTB endurance races these days, and although I have taken this particular season off, I have done many cyclocross races in the past and plan to do so in the future. I am also heavily involved with Magic City Cycle Chix (MC3)—a Birmingham-based women’s cycling organization founded by my good friend Kim Cross. MC3’s motto is “Building courage, confidence, and community…two wheels at a time.

When did you first start riding a bike?
As a Dutch native, as my friend Kim likes to say, I was put on a bike pretty much immediately coming out of the womb—there are more bikes than people in the Netherlands, and everyone uses their bike for transportation, so you learn at a pretty early age. I do not remember learning how to ride a bike, so I’m guessing I was really young—maybe three or four? I started cycling as a sport in graduate school, in my early 20s.

What motivated you to ride as much as you have over the years?
Before college I never thought of myself as athletic. When I was a kid, my parents put me in gymnastics (I am as flexible as a piece of rebar). Then I dabbled in volleyball and basketball, but only because those were the sports we practiced during PE class (I have the hand-eye-ball-coordination of a drunken elephant). I was resigned to just being a brainiac, and maybe going to the gym to work out to stay healthy.

Then, in college, I discovered judo, and was astonished at how it feels to have an innate talent for something. After obtaining my black belt, I figured that in addition to judo, I would enjoy a sport that would take me outside, so started cycling as a hobby, not just as a way to commute.

During my first few rides on a crappy loaner bike (I think it was a 5-speed, with shifters on the down tube, probably several decades old), I loved how strong it made me feel. I would go out on a ride during a lunch break in graduate school, even if it was sleeting and miserable; coming back from the ride exhilarated and happy—I just loved it so much! Later when I started riding in groups and competing, I still really enjoyed the physical pleasure of it, but also the camaraderie of the biking community.

Lately, now that I have the skills to teach other people how to be comfortable on a bike, I have really enjoyed “spreading the love,” as a coach and ride leader. I love seeing people getting enthused about riding because the intimidation factor is taken out of the equation.

What would be your favorite competitive biking event, and why do you enjoy competing?
I have done many types of competitive events; when I first moved to the U.S. I mainly raced on the road, and loved the exhilaration of criteriums, and the strategic planning of road races.

A few years ago I shifted to racing my MTB, first in “regular” cross country events, and later longer endurance events. I feel like I’m supposed to say that I like to compete because it pushes me, and to a certain extent that’s true, but as a practical matter, I actually really enjoy riding on new trails that I otherwise would not have ridden! The race courses are always well marked, so you can purely focus on riding pleasure, and not have to stop and get out the map to figure out where to go next.

I also enjoy the shared sense of biking love at races. Everyone you meet is there because they enjoy riding their bikes, whether they are a pro racer twice as fast as someone like me, or a beginner who is super-stoked to finish their first race.

Finally, although I’m a bit embarrassed about it, I love winning, or at least being on the podium. I’m sure there are fancy psychological reasons for that, ha! Maybe some sense of validation?  I don’t know, I’ll leave it up the professionals to sort that one out!

A specific event I want to point out is the Breck Epic Stage race; I did it this year for the first time, and it is a 6-day mountain bike race in Breckenridge, CO, with also 3-day options if you do not want to commit to the full 6-day event. It was tough, but oh so cool! It helped that I trained really hard for it, so I had as much fun as possible during the race itself. I raced in the singlespeed category, and there was only one other woman, but we were really well matched and finished every day within minutes of each other, during a 5- or 6-hour ride. I was better on the uphills, and she was better on the downhills, so we kept leapfrogging each other. So much fun! I wish I had unlimited vacation days and money so I could do it every year!

Do you remember how you felt on your first mountain bike ride?
Pretty nervous! I started mountain biking in the Netherlands, and was one of the very few women amongst a group of experienced men, so was always worried about what crazy routes they would take and if I would be able to keep up.

Where I lived there were not many single track trails, so a lot of rides included a bit of forest and single or double track, but then also obstacles in an urban environment, for example steep long sets of stairs. I really did not have the skills to deal with them, but with butt cheeks clenched and bravado I would (try to) keep up—I was very scared on many occasions, but too stubborn to give up.

After moving to Birmingham, I think during my first loop at Oak Mountain State Park (an outstanding mountain bike destination by the way!), my heart rate never got out of the “panic zone.” For some reason I kept at it though—I just thought mountain biking was so cool, and I slowly built confidence. I was pretty fit from road racing, so for a long time it really was fear that held me back from going faster.

Then, when I got certified as an IMBA-ICP Level II instructor a few years ago, my riding absolutely transformed! My confidence level increased exponentially and I am now having so much more unadulterated fun on the rides! I do not constantly have to overcome mental barriers anymore, admonishing myself to just “tough it out,”—now I’m just having a great time!

If you had nervousness at all, what did you do or think to overcome it?
As I alluded earlier, getting certified and learning all the skills in a methodical way was absolutely instrumental to overcoming my nervousness. I highly encourage everyone at all levels to take a skills clinic. During our certification class, we had some pretty accomplished riders participate, both in terms of fitness and bike-handling skills, and even they were amazed in how much they learned, and the finesse they could add to their riding.

Of course, like anyone, I still have some crappy days where I’m not feeling it and accidentally ride off trails for no good reason. On those days I just remind myself to enjoy being outside and on my bike, and that it’s totally OK to get off my bike and walk a section.

Also, I think everyone should differentiate between being scared because something is intimidating and you’ve never tried it before (though you have the skill), and being scared because something is truly above your current ability level. The latter can get you hurt. It’s wise to heed that kind of fear.

Finally, what really helps is going on a “technical group ride,” during which you just ride a particular trail with a group of like-minded people. It’s not about going “balls to the wall” and racing each other, but going slow, really looking at the learning opportunities on the trail, and having “sessions” in which you can spot each other as you navigate a tricky part, over and over again.

Those are some of the most fun rides, and seeing somebody else overcoming fear, doubt and an obstacle is the best motivator to try it yourself. For me, it helps when I see another woman do it. Despite my fierce intellectual stance of “I can do anything in life that a man can do,” there is something primal about seeing a man navigate something tricky that causes me to subconsciously doubt that I can do the same thing. I dislike that about myself, but fortunately that doubt is taken out of the equation when I see another woman accomplish something hard on the bike.

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 use both clipless and flats; when we got certified as an instructor we had to do everything on flat pedals, and that was actually really intimidating when you’re used to clipless! Shin guards saved the day… It teaches you appropriate pedal and ankle position though, so well worth it.

I now use flats when I teach clinics or try something technically challenging for the first time. I use clipless when I race or go for longer, fitness-oriented rides.

For flats, it is absolutely crucial to get the right gear! I use Crankbrothers pedals and Five Ten shoes; a much-needed upgrade after I started on cheap plastic pedals with running shoes. That combination was uncomfortable and unsafe. So if you do not want to ride clipless, please invest in yourself, go to your local bike shop, and get the appropriate gear.

When you are ready to go clipless, start by clipping and unclipping, with either foot, over and over again, while leaning on a wall or something. Then start riding slowly in a grassy field, and practice the same thing, while not looking at your pedals. Finally, once you start riding clipless on a trail or on the road, you’ll have the invariable embarrassing moment where you forget to clip out, and you fall over at a stoplight, with dozens of motorists and other cyclists looking at you with a bemused expression. Own it, take a bow, and you’ll never forget again! After a few rides, it gets so ingrained in your subconscious, you’ll never have to think about it.

Have you had any biffs that were challenging for you on a physical/mental/emotional level? What did you do to heal and overcome? 
I am a very careful rider (maybe too much so), and I’ve never had a bad crash that caused broken bones, so am lucky in that regard (or I just have really strong bones!). I did fall in a cross-country race last year and took out my competition by going down right in front of them (oopsie!), and had a concussion, but refused to acknowledge that and stupidly finished the race.

The crash happened less than 10 minutes in, and it was a 24-mile race, so that was pretty miserable. Turns out I cracked my helmet, I was acting very “flighty” according to some of my friends, and I had a headache for a few weeks, so it would probably have been safer to stop and get myself checked out! Now, when somebody on a group ride or in a clinic falls on their head, I am pretty adamant they get checked out, and replace their helmet ASAP.

When you started out riding, what were some handling skills that challenged you? Do you have any suggestions for what helped you grasp them?
Pretty much everything was challenging! Roots, rocks, corners, skinny bridges, you name it. For all of those, it really helps to have the correct body position on the bike (so even pressure on both pedals, balanced between front and rear wheel, heavy feet/light hands, elbows out, knees out, and eyes up).

Looking where you want to go is probably the most helpful technical tip that you can use. It sounds so easy, but when you’re scared, you are going to look at the obstacle, instead of looking beyond it to where the trail will lead you! Your body and bike will follow your eyes, so I do a lot of “look where you want to go” mantra chanting when I’m doing something difficult.

Tell us about your bike(s), what they are like and why did you choose them?
I’ve slowly build up a nice collection over the years!

Road bike: 2010 Pinarello F3:13. My first carbon road bike. It rides like a dream; it’s forgiving but stiff, and accelerates like a rocket. Also, it’s absolutely beautiful…a work of art.

Cross bike: 2011 Jamis Supernova. Looks and feels fast and has pretty light wheels; also looks sexy as hell. If I were in the market for a new one I’d probably get a CX bike with disc brakes though, because stopping power of the rim brakes is not the greatest.

Track bike/fixie: 2008 Bianchi Pista. At some point I got certified on the Dick Lane Velodrome in Atlanta for track racing but never did a race (bit too far from Birmingham for easy access), but I love riding this bike around town; it is so much fun to ride a fixie! I do have a front brake on it though; I don’t know how those folks do it that can do the slipping braking action. Scary looking! It gets decorated every Christmas when we do the annual holiday-pub-crawl. Battery-operated lights for the decorating-win!

Full suspension 650B mountain bike: 2011 Jamis Dakar 650B2. I got this bike after graduating from a hard tail 26-inch mountain bike, and boy, I love that machine! Going to the slightly bigger wheel size, wider bars with a shorter stem, and a dropper seat post, made me soooo much more confident! I got this a few months before my instructor certification, and the two combined truly transformed the amount of fun I have on a bike. It’s also awesome looking. I did change out the wheel set to Stan’s NoTubes Flow rims with Hope hubs. Smooth rolling!

Hard tail single speed: 2014 Salsa El Mariachi. This is my first titanium bike. What a treat to ride on! I love single speeding; I started in 2013 with a carbon Trek SS Superfly, and felt super speedy on it, especially compared to the 10-pounds-heavier Jamis, so I started racing the single speed category. However, it fell off my car this summer on the interstate and was destroyed. Cue the sad trombone… This was 4 weeks before the Breck Epic. To say that I was a bit upset is the understatement of the year! After grieving for my bike, the next challenge was to find a bike that I would love, would fit me, and would be available in time before we would head out to Colorado. After lots of stress and last minute bike building, the Salsa went with me to Breckenridge without having ridden it at all, but the maiden voyage up in the Rocky Mountains was absolutely amazing, and the bike carried me to the win in the women’s SS category. I love it.

What clothing/bike accessories do you love? What would you recommend to your friends?
I love the Club Ride clothing for on the mountain bike; it’s stylish yet functional, a good combination! I also have some stuff from Loeka, and their happy colors make my day. The shorts have a lot of room for protective gear, so I wear that if I’m trying something challenging.

I love my Five Ten shoes (Impact Lows) and Crankbrothers flat pedals (50:50s), and I use Eggbeaters when I ride or race clipped in. Their mud clearance is great and you can get in them from four different sides, so there is no adjusting of the pedal position before putting your shoe on top. I have really wide feet with big bunions (ugh!) and love Specialized mountain bike and road shoes—they were the first shoes that never gave me foot pain.  I have also more recently purchased the Pearl Izumi X Project shoes, for when I did the Breck Epic, and I must say, they are perfect for hike-a-biking (which is what one of their design features is—a carbon sole that can move in a way that helps you with walking.)

Osprey sponsored the MC3 mountain bike instructors with Rev-16 guide/hydration packs, and I really, really like them; the reservoir connects and disconnects easily from the hose at the top of the pack, and I love that you can access the side pockets without having to take the pack off your back. This really helps to ensure you stay on target with nutrition during endurance races. I stuff it to the gills with extra food, first aid kits, fix-it-kits, etc, especially when guiding or leading a group ride, but it’s always comfortable on my back.

I also want to give a shout-out to Swiftwick socks. They have a little bit of compression, come in different lengths (I prefer the 4- or 7-inch ones), materials, and colors, and just feel good on your feet and (lower) legs!

Then, no specific brand recommendation here, but I would highly recommend people to get a base layer with a windstopper in it. I have two of them from different brands (Pearl Izumi and Exteondo), and love wearing them in colder weather, with either a short sleeve or long sleeve jersey over them. They last a long time, so invest in one and you’ll be set for years to come.

Finally, I want to point out that it’s worth it to use a laundry detergent specifically for technical clothing; here in Birmingham we have access to Go Soap, made in Georgia, but there are a few other brands out there you can use. It really helps to get the sweat-funk out of your athletic clothing. When I wash cycling tops with regular detergent, they smell fine when they come out of the washer, but as soon as you start sweating in them again, the pungent smell rears its ugly head within minutes. With a specialized detergent such as Go Soap, it is notably reduced. Typically, you’ve invested a lot of money in biking clothes because they don’t come cheap. Do your clothes a favor and continue investing in them by spending a little bit more on detergent, to keep your clothes functioning and smelling well for a long time to come.

What do you love about riding your bike?
It makes me feel strong. I love riding in the woods because it takes you out in nature. I love the friendships I have formed with other people that ride their bikes a lot.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Adventures of the First Lady- Confidence Building!

Sunday came and I sold yet another bike. A mom had brought her daughter in and they were looking to trade in a bike for a new one. I give mad props to this lady for bringing her kid in for quality bikes as she's grown. Really, it's fantastic. Starting your child off on a bike of quality, that functions well, is durable, and assembled properly is awesome. Keeping your child on a bike, too, is another feat to be commended for.

A nice closeout Myka found a new home with the young lady who did not want pink on her bike. I told the mom that when I was her age or maybe younger, I was very much an "anti-pink" child. My first store-bought (Walmart) bike was black and blue. It was a boy's model, too. I would not have pink on MY bike...no way, no how.

The little girl was SO happy cruising around the parking lot! It was really awesome to see her face light up.

I also mentioned to the mom that we may have a sign-up having adult-led introductory mountain bike rides for kids.
We'll see how that goes- Kai and I would be able to comfortable handle a small group of 4 or 5, so I think it may be a go once we get details finalized.

Kai, Travis, and I worked well as a team- it's really somewhat exhilarating.

I will admit to being completely, utterly exhausted by the end of Sunday evening. I was tired as all get out and managed to fall asleep on Travis' shoulder while we sat on the couch. I think partly I'm affected by my budding seasonal allergies. JOY. That will wipe you out and make conversation awkward with the scratchy throat/coughing.

Fast forward to Monday, our beautiful 70 degree day before temps drop into the 40's. Kai needed the day off, so Travis and I prepared ourselves for a potentially busy day. Ironically, yes, it became busy but it wasn't completely unmanageable.

I had my first, real, kinda solo-ish sale that required more talking and working with the customer than simply letting them test ride a bike and (boom) they want it. (Which today (Monday) a young man came in and bought a really sharp red/white road bike he coveted on Sunday, but didn't have time to test ride. He felt it was "love at first bike" and by all means. If someone is that set on a bike, well...if it's not dangerous, then let them have a bike they feel happy with.)

It was an older lady looking to find some freedom and activity in her life again. A Specialized Crossroads Sport ended up being the winning bike that fit her needs the best. Upright, potentially comfortable seat, easy trigger shifters, ability to ride on paved/gravel surfaces, and a weight she felt comfortable lifting. Only thing I didn't do correctly right off the bat was have her seat height adjusted properly. However, I feel this was a boon. Originally she asked about having the seat lowered even more, so I went about and showed her a more safe, comfortable way to stop and dismount her bike. Once she had that down, and Travis suggested raising the seat- she was more comfortable pedaling around AND discovered that she could dismount without having the seat so low. I would say that was a success.
Accessories were shown, some chosen as for sure items, she would talk with her husband and will probably be back. THAT was more of a "real" sale. Introducing a woman to the possibilities that she could have with her first bike in years. The smile on her face and overall excitement of being able to be active again. It was not so scary for me, to develop a good rapport with her. My comment about being "allergic to exercise" was something she was able to relate to.
(I will write more about experience in another post.)

Two other gentlemen were in Monday, both of which were fine talking with me- tho I did have Travis assist with them. I suppose I would say that yes, I have been pleasantly surprised that I've had a decent number of men not be afraid to talk to me. Yup. I worried that all men who would come into the shop would instantly just not want to talk to me. Because I'm a woman. I'm sorry that I thought that- and I'm glad that I've had positive experiences to say that NO...this is not the case 100% of the time. Of course even Kai will experience people coming in wanting to speak to Travis because Travis is well known. He also knows his stuff, and people recognize him as "The Bike Guy." A word to the wise, tho. If you do not look up our hours on our awesome website and you call and ask for Travis only to ask him store hours when I could easily answer the question...not cool.

Website? I've gotten positive feedback from it! Not perfect yet by any means, but definitely something that people are enjoying the looks of. YAY!

Wednesday and Thursday proved to be good days as well. I got to have a little more hands on experience working with customers and helped two wonderful ladies pick out bikes that would be purchased during the Spring Sale. It was fun to talk with them, and it sounds like I'll have a pair or trio to take on some Sunday Women's Fatbike Rides! (More details on the Sunday rides to come!)

I'm learning bits and pieces, which is good but yet also brings about some minor impatience.

Thursday a nice fellow had come in with his wife. He has a bike, but is not comfortable with the body position that it gives. I used my thinking cap and had him try a Crossroads Step-Thru. He was a larger man looking to improve a healthy activity that brought him joy- something that he wasn't able to fully enjoy for some time. He wasn't overly emotional, but you could just tell how much being on a bike that was more comfortable brought him joy. Maybe even hope. I'm not sure. He later brought his current bike in to have the tires upgraded. He was kind and patient while I wrestled with the older bike and the bolts/nuts, etc.

He did come back on Saturday to buy his new bike :) I wasn't able to really tell him, but I had a dream that he would come back- and that he was happy.

I must admit, I'll have to write a separate post about the first day of the Spring Sale experience, for there are just too many words- and I'll post it earlier than Sunday. It was a good day!