What better way to kick off cross season than in the city of glitter, glamour, sin, and excess. In true Vegas fashion the course was over the top with its steep flyovers, an uphill sand pit that felt more like quick sand, and an unforgiving four race laps that made me want to puke after the first lap, and I’m referring to my warm-up lap. I looked out onto the race course and felt excited but that quickly dwindled after my warm-up lap when thoughts of not getting to the top of the way-so-steep flyovers got into my head. I imagined myself getting about a foot from the top and not making it, having to unclip and then slipping down a plywood mountain covered in splinters. A wild imagination at its best!
The Race: One word to describe this race would be HARD. It was mainly all on grass which took all my energy. I didn’t get the best start since I started a few rows back but I was able to make up some spots on a few women during the second lap. There were steep grassy up hills that exhausted me and the only chance to recover was on the couple of downhill sections. I would love to say I ran quickly through the sand pits like the bad ass She Wolf that I am, but a slow trot would be more of an accurate description. The steep flyovers that frightened me before the race became more and more fun on each lap.
On the third lap while going into a barrier completely exhausted, I didn’t unclip my left foot in time and completely wiped out on the grass. I got up and felt like my entire left side was paralyzed. Ugh! However, I got back on my bike and finished the race; I finished it completely spent, bruised, sandy, dirty, sweaty, and happy.
What I still picture vividly is when I was standing there about three rows deep at the start line and staring out into the massiveness that is CrossVegas. A course greater and harder than any other course I’d ever ridden, a course that humbled me before I even finished my first lap. I felt like Bodhi in the classic movie Point Break(classic in my book), gazing out onto the monstrous waves that were far greater than anything he’d ever experienced and he knew he had to get out there because you never know when you’ll ever have another opportunity again to experience something so immense.
Fear could have won but I didn’t let it. I pushed my limits and moved forward with the help of my friends cheering me on. I’m so excited for a great season with some bad ass women! ….and I’ll try to keep the analogies to amazing 80’s classics to a minimum, or maximum, not sure yet!
Killr's of Turnbull, formerly known as King of Turnbull, is a yearly climbing race thrown by GLK Cycling in Los Angeles. Fixed Gears and Roadies battle for the KOMs up 5 Climbs with grades up to 26%. The top ten racers in their respected Fixed Gear and Road Bike categories receive points. For some just finishing is half the battle.
Photo by Catella Cycling
Ana and Susie showed up ready to suffer and went home soaked in champagne with cash in their pockets.
Susie takes the win for the road catagory and Ana takes 2nd fixed
Fixed and Geared Queens of Turnbull!
Full Podium Party!
SWATv presents A little bit of the hurt from our onboard Fly12 and Fly6's
When our friend Nils invites us bikecamping, not having "the right gear" is not an excuse. This weekend 6 She Wolves made it up to Henninger Flats with various setups ranging from "sik" to "grrl you cray".
Henninger is around 20 miles east and uphill from Los Angeles. The last 3 miles of the ride is up, Mount. Wilson Toll Road, a sandy dirt fire road/hiking trail with 1700+ feet of elevation gain. The summer heat and the steep grades tested even the strongest riders but the views and camaraderie were well worth it. For a few riders in our group this was their first time camping by bike, but it's safe to say it won't be the last. Stay tuned for more She Wolf ADVENTURE Team reports!
Photo by Drew Mabry
BIKE: Surly Cross Check (Steel CX/Touring) SET UP: Touring/ Surly front and rear racks and 4 Brooks Panniers SPECIAL CARGO: cream cheese stuffed sweet peppers
BIKE: All City Mr. Pink (Steel Road with 32c tires) SET UP: Revelate Bikepacking Bags/Saddle bag, tangle bag, front bag SPECIAL CARGO: giant bag of wine and cucumber mint camp cocktails
BIKE: LOOK (Carbon Road with 28c tires) SET UP: Roadrunner Bags Burrito Supreme Handlebar Bag and Large Anything Backpack SPECIAL CARGO: Harmonica
ERIN AND TEA DOUGH
BIKE: TINY TANDEM SET UP: 2 PANIERS SPECIAL CARGO: ALL THE DIPS
BIKE: Steel Cyclocross SET UP: Rear rack, rack top bag, and backpack SPECIAL CARGO: SCRATCHY
SHE WOLF ADVENTURE TEAM
Words and smart phone photos by Susie unless otherwise credited.
Our Friends Chris and Julio are super pro check out their photos of this trip too and get really inspired to get out there!
Last year was huge. It was the year I got into Fixed gear racing. It’s been crazy fun getting to race and meet cool people. I feel like I’ve found my new hobby, one that I can hopefully sustain for a number of years. I like being a rookie, in a way. There’s no pressure. It’s like you just show up and do it and as long as you do your best it’s fine, because no one is really expecting much from you anyways. With time, it’s easy to get pushed and pulled into what others are doing, and get in your own head about it. It can be a very defeating thing.
Anyways, winter was cold AF. I stayed in bed, watching Netflix to my heart’s content, and constantly treating myself with FOOD and FUN. It was great, but it didn’t involve bikes. Now I’m out of shape. Cool. That combined with the aforementioned put senseless thoughts into my head: Two weeks into January I considered not racing this year. Like WTF? Why would I give up something that clearly gives me so much joy? I conclude this is the ego talking. So off I go, three weeks into being “back in the saddle” I did my first Crit of the year: The Comeback Crit. In summary, I wrote a Haiku.
Raced the Comeback Crit, I was not very prepared, Wrecked my kit ate shit.
Direct hit to head and the ego. Cool.
Even though I crashed, I had a few breakthroughs at the Comeback Crit. It was awesome working with Natalie (Throne) and Jenny (Kushtown). And it was fun jumping back in the peloton and successfully holding on.
Lately I’ve observed that if I’m not careful, before I know it, I tend to fall into several defeating thought patterns. My boyfriend and close friends have mentioned, “I’m too hard on myself”. So it’s led me to create a reminder list help put things into a positive perspective:
1. It’s not all about you – People don’t really care that you had a “bad race” as much as you think they do. Quit doing anything for “people”. There’s not some Disney spotlight that only hits you, and people don’t sit around muttering negative things about you because you didn’t perform well or whatever. I mean some people may but no one really cares about them, either.
2. It is all about you – Remember to pay attention to your needs, highs ‘n’ lows, and progress; not others’. You started cycling to better yourself and be healthy. It’s easy to start skipping races or rides because you don’t want to look bad. You tell yourself “I’ve been doing this long enough now to be sucking this bad waaah waah”. Just ride boo.
3. Be rational and follow your intuition - Think about why you don’t want to race. Is it the ego or is there something that shouldn’t be ignored? There’s a fine line with being out of your comfort zone and racing while hurt or forcing your self to do something you don’t want to do.
4. Be Patient – It takes time and practice to get better. If you didn’t put those in, odds are you won’t get the results either. It doesn’t mean you can’t do better next time or the time after that. And it’s OK to take breaks, cycling will always be there.
5. Focus on your personal progress -- It’s a disservice to yourself to quit when the going gets tough. Just ‘cause you didn’t have a public win it doesn’t mean you’re not having a personal win. Baby steps.
6. You’re learning dude, shit happens *Emily Ryan Voice* – Each race is a lesson and experience that you wouldn’t have had if you had decided to sit it out.
7. Don’t forget to have fun – Just because you’re doing the racing thing, it’s good to make time for the stuff that got you into riding in the first place. For me it was exploring LA by bike, the SWAT WOW/CUNT ride, and just riding bikes with friends. My goal is to continue getting out (of my head and physically out to ride) and have fun with the boatload of cool-ass bikey friends I’ve made along the way. The wins will come, eventually.
We tried to say goodbye to the 6th street bridge one last time and were joined by hundreds of pedestrians, skaters, photographers, motorcycles, low riders, lapd in riot gear and a fleet of ghetto birds.