GA Cyclocross - Weekly Practices and Upcoming Clinics

Cyclocross is personally my favorite type of racing. It can be as low key or as serious as you make it, it's spectator friendly, beginner friendly, and overall just really fun. It's also really hard, but like, a fun kind of hard. :P 

WHAT IS CYCLOCROSS?

I won't even pretend to explain it better than CX Magazine, so here is what they say:

"Cyclocross is a very specific type of bike racing. For the most part, the course is off-road but there are sometimes portions of pavement included in the course. You can expect to encounter grass, dirt, mud, gravel, sand, and a whole slew of other assortments and combinations. The races are based on a set time (measured by numbers of laps), not distance. Depending on your category, a race can be as quick as 30 minutes (for beginners), or as long as 60 minutes (for pros).

Courses typically, but not always include barriers, as well as other ‘features’ that will necessitate hoping both off, and back onto, your bike. Often there are hills, sand pits and muddy sections that are too difficult or slow to ride, and thus a racer will shoulder their bike and run with it. Running has become a smaller part of the racing over the last decade, but especially in the Pacific Northwest, you’ll find mud so thick it’s often faster to run.

It is a fall and winter sport, with the first crop of races usually popping up in early September, followed by Nationals, and the World Championships in January. This means that if you look outside and see rain, snow, sleet, or shine, the show will still go on."

WEEKLY PRACTICES IN GEORGIA:

Intro to CX 2017!
Presented by the Spindle.

1 hour of practice and a mock race at Atlanta’s premiere CX training location.
Mondays at 7 pm at Ellenwood CX Ranch.
(4693 Bouldercrest Road)
Optional ride out from the shop at 6 pm.
(659 Auburn Avenue)
If you plan on riding from the shop, remember lights. We will be riding back at dusk.
Clinchers or tubeless strongly recommended. Tubulars and Dekalb County roads don’t get along.
Open to all skill levels!

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Jim R Miller Practice on Wednesday Nights
Riders show up as early as 4-4:30p. They typically start practice laps around 5:30-6p and run until 7p.

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Ellenwood CX Ranch Wednesday Nights! 
6:30p start
(4693 Bouldercrest Road)

RACE SCHEDULE

More info here: http://georgiacx.com/gacxschedule/

CYCLOCROSS CLINICS

TBA

Permission to Pause with Athleta

I am SO excited that this week I teamed up with Athleta and gave myself #PermissionToPause in their new Restore collection. I chose to go to the Atlanta Beltline as it's one of my favorite places to walk around and unwind. You get to see A TON of dogs (and if you know me you know how much that excites me), stop by for a popsicle, watch people go buy on skateboards and bikes; and admire the art that lines the entire pathway. Because I previously lived walking distance away, I find it both nostalgic and fresh as it's always changing and updating, but still so full of memories.

If you don't have a local place like this that brings you peace (and popsicles) consider these alternatives:

- Take time for gratitude and involve those around you. I use an app called "Gratitude Journal" if I'm in the mood to document my day with photos or even just to list off the things I'm thankful for. It keeps it sorted for you by date - almost like a bullet diary with only positive memories. If I'm around people when I'm entering my thoughts, I'll ask them to do the same!

- Reach out on social. Sometimes I take my mindfulness to Instagram stories. I'll list three things that I'm thankful for or proud of and encourage others to think of three things as well. Then I give everyone the option of sharing their thoughts with me if they want to. It creates a really amazing community!

- Guided meditation. My boyfriend and I use the Headspace app. If you haven't tried it, I recommend giving it a go. It has a free basics pack and gives really great tips (and animated videos) on how to use it. I even have it set up to send me little "Mindful Moments" which are push notifications on my phone that keep me grounded throughout the day. 

If you live near an Athleta, I encourage you to stop by their store and attend their "Permission to Pause" meditation class. Not sure where one is near you? Check out the list HERE.

Now, on to these ridiculously cozy and extremely soft clothes that I'm wearing! The white "With Ease" tank is tied up, but you can wear it like a normal shirt - but really, what's normal these days? The softest joggers I've ever worn are called the "Restore Joggers" and if you buy only one thing from this line it should be these. The roomy grey short sleeve is called the "Eco Wash Restore Sweatshirt" and it's a really nice structured shirt with an oversized cozy twist to it. Lastly is the super snuggly black sweater called the "Pranayama Wrap" and can we just take a moment for the amazing thumb holes? Yes, please! 

I'd love for you to share your ideas, mantras, and ways you stay mindful below. The more the merrier! Also, make sure to check out the Athleta Chi blog for more tips to unplug!

Lastly, a HUGE thanks to Athleta for collaborating with me and sponsoring this post. #PowerOfShe

Saris SuperClamp EX 2-Bike Review

If you follow me on Instagram stories, you would have seen just how proud I was when I put together this bike rack by myself - even the FedEx guy who stopped by was impressed. Full disclaimer, this rack was sent to me to review, but opinions are always my own, so here I am telling you allllll about it. 

This is the new Saris SuperClamp EX 2-Bike, it retails for $469.99, and I've been using it for mountain bikes only so far. It was pretty simple to put together, a one woman job, and everything needed to assemble was included except for the adjustable wrench. The rack weights 35lbs so I have no problem taking it on and off my car. I'll list the detailed specs below and elaborate on some or my favorite and not so favorite things so far. 

First off, I love that the lock is integrated. I live in Atlanta and bike theft is rampant so that is a MUST have if I'm taking my bikes anywhere at all. Make sure you feed the cord towards to middle of the rack and through the frame rather than coming towards you and back into the rack (I hope that makes sense). The cord is just long enough with no extra slack so it's nice and snug. Like I said, so far I have used this rack with two mountain bikes and I'm happy to say that they are both easily secured. I was able to tighten everything down myself which I was happy about, as this has actually been a problem I've had with another bike rack in the past. A few simple pushes on the wheel-clamping hooks, a couple of clicks, adjust the straps at the bottom for the wheels, and you're ready to rock and roll. This rack also has zero contact with your frame, another pervious problem I've had, so I'm very happy about that! Lastly I love the tilting mechanism. I can fold it up when I'm not using it and tilt it back with the bikes on to access my trunk. 

Cons: So far the only problem I've had was loading TWO downhill mountain bikes on at the same time. It was a two lady job as one person was needed to hold the first bike steady as I loaded on the second one, and then brought the arms up. In the future, it would be nice to see a version that has the arms independently adjustable in order to put on bigger bikes one at a time. Realistically, this won't be much a of a problem as my go-to bikes are small enough to load each bike in one at a time with ease. 

There you have it! The new Saris SuperClamp EX 2-Bike rack in all of it's glory! If you have any questions, please let me know. 

Check out the detailed specs straight from the Saris website below:

  • Platform style hitch rack
  • Carries 2 bikes, up to 60 lb/each.
  • Two shepherd's hooks hold bike by top of both wheels -- does not touch the frame of the bike.
  • Sleek, compact and lightweight design transports two bikes on a single bar.
  • Adjustable arms and wheel trays fit almost any type of bicycle, including those with fenders, mountain bikes and ebikes; bike spacing accommodates widest combination of bicycles.
  • Integrated locking cable secures bikes to the rack.
  • Locking hitch pin secures rack to the car
  • Tilting feature allows access to rear of vehicle, even when fully loaded, and folds up when not in use.
  • Ratcheting arms pivot on case hardened brackets for superior strength.
  • Reflectors on outside wheel trays ensure extra visibility in low light.
  • Bottle opener integrated into tilt handle.
  • Built and tested to outlive the elements.
  • Universal hitch works with 1¼” and 2” hitch receivers.
  • Rack weight: 35 lb
  • This rack fits a wheelbase of up to 48”.
  • Universal wheel trays accommodate a wide variety of bikes and wheel sizes (up to 4” tires).
  • Wheel straps are provided for the rear wheel if needed for kids bikes, e-bikes and bikes with fenders.
  • For use with tires wider than 4”, add the Fat Tire Wheel Holders.
Here are some stock photos incase mine just aren't doing it for ya! 

Here are some stock photos incase mine just aren't doing it for ya! 

A weekend in Florida

This post was written for Specialized. See the original post here.

Well, it’s definitely no secret that my Camber and I have become quite the pair. My boyfriend and I have even started making a tiny course to practice on in our backyard AND I signed up for a Women’s Downhill Camp that’s happening in July. I pretty much jumped in with both feet to say the least. I’m still SO incredibly new, but very set on learning. 

This past weekend we took a trip to Destin for a little beach vacation and while we were there we thought we would visit a local MTB trail. We reached out for suggestions on social media, found the address of a trail near by, packed up our stuff, and headed out. The trail head had no map of the trail system, but plenty of bear warnings. As we’re riding along I’m thinking to myself how flat it is, no one would need anything more than a CX bike out here, easiest trail ever, so and so on and then BAM I over correct and throw myself into a tree. Just goes to show you that you can literally fall anywhere so use this as my friendly reminder to wear a helmet while riding. Regardless of the tiny scratches (and slightly hurt ego) I ended up with, we had fun, explored through the path of palm trees, admired the crazy amount of white moss, and of course stopped to take photos.

We finished the ride, stopped for acai bowls, and ended our day playing in the ocean while enjoying Floridas white sandy beaches. Bikes, food, and the beach - I’d say this is one of my favorite ways to spend a day. 

Meet my new Specialized Camber

*This post was written for Specialized. See the original post here.

Meet my new beauty - the Specialized Women’s Camber, but first let me give you a little back story as this was not an overnight decision.

Nearly a year ago I felt some major and loving peer pressure to get a mountain bike. Considering my first experience prior to that was awful, I wasn’t too keen on getting back on one, much less buying my own. Unfortunately I made the mistake of borrowing a bike much too big for me, slammed my lady bits on it within the first five minutes, and felt as if I was going to fall off at any point. Let’s just say I was not one with that bike and because of this experience I thought I hated mountain biking.

Sometime in the following year is when I joined an off-road cycling team (for CX) where the majority of those girls also love mountain biking. Lucky for me they gave me the itch to give it another try. After hearing I wanted to try MTB again, my friend Carol reached out to me and offered to let me borrow her bike and have a mini clinic with me as she was in the process of getting her certification to be an instructor. I took her up on it and wow, what a difference that made. When I met her at the trails she took the first 20 minutes or so to set up the bike to accommodate me. We went out and did a mix of riding and skill training where she would take video of me to better explain either what I was doing right or wrong. Long story short, this made a massive difference and I became hooked. I spent the next few months trying to educate myself on the various types of bikes and figure out (with the help of others) what would be the best bike for me.

Once I decided on the Camber I spent a solid few days visiting my local Specialized Dealers to try a few sizes and chat with them about sizing. Because they didn’t have the exact bike in stock, it took some side-by-side geometry comparing to really figure it out.

Fast forward to this week when the bike arrived and I rode it for the very first time. I LOVE IT. It was a process to get to this point, but completely worth it. I’ll be sharing my MTB adventures (the good and the hilariously bad - as I always do) in the next coming months!

Source: http://thespecializeddigest.com/post/15953...