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My Name is Windy: The Scene at the 2021 CX Nats

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My Name is Windy: The Scene at the 2021 CX Nats

Act One: We Can’t Stop Here, This is Nats Country!

In which our anti-hero-TeamLifeLOL-genderwhatever sets the stage with cold takes on Chicago-lite.

What a December it was for The Cyclocross in Chicago. I’ve seen a few different versions of this: rain and sleet off Lake Michigan for Montrose; 60 degrees (and a hot tub at both!), bitter cold and wind at Afterglow; and for USAC CX Nationals in Wheaton, IL, there was a complete fall-to-winter seasonal transition.

Radar

Yeah, Beija Flor!

Life has a way of changing all of our well-thought-out plans. In a moment, how you relate to your career, your friends, your hobbies, your family, can change. This moment for Beija was when her father became one of the first COVID-19 patients. She immediately moved home to Seattle to be with her family. Back in Seattle, Beija discovered cycling and it soon became her mood elevator, her escape from reality and sleepless nights.

Beija wrote a wonderful piece for us this year and we’re stoked to see her getting some recognition by our parent company, The Pro’s Closet!

Radar

Rapha Keep Riding: Ella Conolly

From early spring to autumn, start gate to finish line, the world of enduro racing is intense. Around every corner, through every pedal section and down every drop, there’s reward for those prepared to push and risk for those who push too hard. In winter, however, things slow down. Nature regenerates, and so do we. It’s a time to relax, re-evaluate and rebuild. A time to switch off, before switching on again. After several race seasons on the EWS circuit, Ella Conolly knows this well, and on her home trails in Scotland she’s focused on one thing: the section straight ahead of her.

Radar

Scarlet Zeigler: Erie Canal Individual Time Trial

In 2020, 11 year old Scarlet Zeigler set a personal goal for herself to ride 100 miles on her bike in one day. She accomplished that goal in the early spring and then set out riding several tours that year. One of those was on the Erie Canal where she decided to see how fast she could ride it. That year, she rode it in 2 days, 22 hours.

For 2021, Scarlet decided to see if she could beat that time and went back, fully self-supported, and rode from Buffalo to Albany NY on the Erie Canal trail. In November. She was responsible for buying all of her own food, finding water along the route and had to figure out the many detours completely on her own. I (her dad) simply recorded everything with a dated iPhone…

Here is the story….

Hope is a Function of Struggle: Sarah Swallow, AWRR, and the Swift Industries Holiday ’21 Dovetail Collection

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Hope is a Function of Struggle: Sarah Swallow, AWRR, and the Swift Industries Holiday ’21 Dovetail Collection

Riding 100 miles in the rain with a fully loaded bike from the San Juan Islands to Seattle, pushing a 50-pound touring rig up a mountain in Montana for 6 hours and 6,000 ft, getting stuck in Dallas after the last leg of my flight was canceled at midnight (more on that later)… as a cyclist, I’m no stranger to struggle. And according to Brene Brown, hope is a function of struggle.

When we encounter struggle, we face the moment when we don’t think we can make it and sometimes finding resolve within to not only survive but to triumph. The next time life offers a seemingly uncrossable water crossing, muscle memory kicks in, and we think, I’ve been here before, I can do this! That, Brown says, is how one becomes a person of hope.

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7Mesh: The Crunchy People – A 7mesh Women’s Mountain Bike Series

7Mesh is taking its women’s MTB series to new heights in the Chilcotins:

“In the parlance of our times, the Chilcotins, if you are to believe social media, have been done. Ridden, rated, reviewed and photographed to no end. They’re an awesome place to ride bikes, but some would say documented to death. But don’t believe all you read – there’s still a lot more to discover.

So in the spirit of adventure, we made some calls to local 7mesh ambassadors Laura Battista, Megan O’Brien and Angie McKirdy, mapped out a route and headed up to the often overlooked Shulaps Range for one last adventure before the alpine shut down.”

Wild Shirts and Red Dirt: The 2021 Sedona Mountain Bike Festival

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Wild Shirts and Red Dirt: The 2021 Sedona Mountain Bike Festival

The mountain biking in Sedona is exceptional. Full stop. Seemingly endless trail systems spiderweb right out from the center of town, winding in, out, and around the uniquely hematite-hued geologic formations at the base of the massive Mogollon Rim escarpment. Like other mountain bike destinations along the Colorado Plateau, Sedona trails take advantage of slickrock sandstone slabs and porous dirt that becomes tacky with precipitation long before it gets muddy.

You might remember John’s musings on Sedona’s legendary Red Velcro. Sedona also benefits from ideal riding temperatures in late fall and early spring, when many other locales remain unridable during shoulder seasons. It’s close to Phoenix and Flagstaff (which makes travel fairly easy), features a picturesque perennially flowing stream, and some stellar dining options. If you can get past the limits on dispersed camping and ever-increasing cost of resort town lodging, Sedona is tough to beat.

Radar

A Space For All

The outdoor industry has historically lacked diversity. Brooke Goudy is working to change that. A Space For All is a short film about representation, community, and the work that Brooke is doing to get more people of color to experience the joy of bikes.

The 5th Annual 2021 Nutmeg Nor’Easter: A Personal Account

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The 5th Annual 2021 Nutmeg Nor’Easter: A Personal Account

Arya and Ronnie, the two cuties that are at the front of our bike bag sponsor Ron’s Bikes, invited my partner Karla and me to come over to their event, the Nutmeg Nor’Easter. Described as “the non-competitive alt cycling world championship” and running its fifth edition, this would be the first Nor’Easter after a time where reunions were discouraged, but the organizers still took care of delivering an event 100% outdoors and only for vaccinated people, although no vaccination cards were verified. Because you see, this is the type of gathering where you are trusted to care for yourself and those around you, but in a non-coercive way. For Karla and me this would be our first time not only in Connecticut, but also east of the Rocky Mountains; the first impressions, provided by our Uber trip from the airport at 1 am, made us think we were in a good scenario for which stories, and local tales revealed we weren’t wrong.

Radar

Marley Blonsky and The Pro’s Closet

Marley Blonsky, who coincidentally won the prize for International Singlespeed Day, is featured on The Pro’s Closet YouTube today, as part of our parent company’s ambassador program:

“As cyclists, we ask our bodies to do so much for us. However, too often we end up picking at our physical self, always asking to be stronger, thinner, or fitter instead of appreciating all that our bodies allow us to do. Marley Blonsky believes that all bodies, all people, should feel comfortable and included while riding. We need to focus less on what we look like and more on just how amazing it is to ride a bike.”

Many thanks to Reese for doing such a great job on these video series profiles!

Radar

Rapha Gone Racing Lael on the Tour Divide

This one from Rapha and Lael is not to be missed!

“Crisscrossing the Continental Divide for 2,450 miles between Banff in the Canadian Rockies and Antelope Wells on the Mexican border, the Great Divide is one the world’s most iconic long distance mountain biking routes. On this sky high trail, there’s no such thing as a regular ride. But even by ultra cycling standards, Lael Wilcox’s history on the route is a colourful one.

In 2015, Lael raced the Tour Divide – an event that follows the route – and set a new women’s course record despite having to ride herself to an emergency room en route to deal with a persistent breathing issue. But rather than celebrating her achievement, Lael set out to better it. Just two weeks later, she rode to the start from her home in Alaska, took on the trail for a second time and lowered her own record by another day and a half.

Today, the outright course record is held by the late long-distance legend Mike Hall, whose time of 13 days 22 hours and 51 minutes has stood since 2016. Inspired by Mike’s methodical approach to managing the mileage but convinced she can beat the record, Lael is returning to the Rockies with unfinished business. In the latest episode of Rapha Gone Racing, we document her latest record attempt and follow her as she runs into issues much bigger than any bike ride.”

Radar

Paint the Town

Kona Ambassador Gretchen Leggitt has created a niche for herself as a muralist of grandiose proportions. Her impeccable line work can be seen on buildings and walls in major cities across the west. She has transformed a plethora of blank walls in her hometown of Bellingham, Washington with paintings of landscapes, flora, portraits, and our personal favorite, the Kona Astrowhip. In her most recent project, Gretchen teamed up with Coast Salish artist Jason LaClair to create a gorgeous 720’ long piece paying homage to cultural roots of the region and the significance of the annual salmon run.

Check out more from this project at Kona.

Komoot Women’s Torino Nice Rally: Lael and Rue’s Kit Breakdown

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Komoot Women’s Torino Nice Rally: Lael and Rue’s Kit Breakdown

With a group of fifty women, we’ll begin the Komoot Women’s Torino-Nice Rally at 8 am on September 24th. It’s not a race, but a challenge to finish the route in a week with a finishers’ party at the Service Course in Nice on October 1st. While the ride is self-supported, women are encouraged to ride together, help each other, share stories and positivity and build a rolling community. It’ll definitely be hard, but it’s meant to be fun. Adventure arrives when we push our limits into the unknown with the confidence to see how it’ll unfold. I’m deeply encouraged to see fifty women take on this ride, make it personal and do their best.

Designed by James Olsen, the Torino Nice Rally is a 700km mixed surface route traversing the Alps between Turin, Italy, and Nice, France. With ten significant mountain passes, it climbs famous cols and old gravel military roads, passing small towns and refuges along the way. The highest point is over 2,700 meters with 17,500 meters of climbing. James has been hosting an event on the route for years— it’s not a race, but a challenge to finish in a week. Riders begin together and leapfrog along the way, sharing kilometers and stories. At different junctions, there are options for routing— to take the smoother longer course or the rougher more direct track. There’s always a debate about equipment choice— whether to ride a gravel bike or a hardtail, both have their benefits. Camping and staying in shelters along the way are recommended.