CXISHERE

USE THIS cxiscoming v1.0

Cyclo-cross season is upon us and we’ve been gearing up.  BUT WAIT!  Road season never ended!  And track is still in HOT pursuit!!  What if I don’t care AT ALL about competitive cycling, but still love having fun on bikes?  This list is not at all comprehensive (there are links to better calendars on here), but we think there’s something for everyone happening this fall.  At least one Koochella team member will probably be at each of these
upcoming events (all locations in Minneapolis, unless otherwise noted):

Fixed Gear Classic
@ our local National Sports Center Velodrome in Blaine, Minnesota
The Fixed Gear Classic features sprint and endurance omniiums for both men (Pro,1/2) and women (Pro, 1/2/3). $5000 in cash prizes will be divided equally between the men and women’s competitions.
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Powderhorn24 Community Ride
@ Midtown Greenway/Powderhorn Neighborhood
Powderhorn 24 is a celebration of the Powderhorn neighborhood of South Minneapolis encouraging cyclists, neighbors, families, and spectators to come together to race, volunteer or cheer on riders.
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Friday, August 19 – Mounds View Crit Road Race p/b PJW Racing,
@ Mounds View, Minnesota
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Saturday, August 20 – Ride Like A Girl Cycling Dirty Girl Gravel Series #3, p/b Penn Cycling
@ Rosemount, Minnesota
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Sunday, August 21 – CX Skills Clinic by Marcus Bush, Week 1 of 3:  Corners and Barriers
@ Sibley Field
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Wednesday, August 23, 6pm-8pm – Sunset Road Ride
Join Koochella team member, Kim, on a ride from the Lake Harriet Bandshell over to Sociable Ciderwerks!
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All-City Champs, p/b Bike Jerks:
Friends, the ACC’s are back to spice up your Summer! Please join us in Minneapolis from August 24th-26th for three days of partying and a lazy Sunday spent at the beach!
The big news is that All-City is supporting the event this year by purchasing the entries for all Women/Trans/Femme riders.
From All-City:
“To further our goals of helping to make the cycle community as inclusive and welcoming as possible, for our sponsorship this year, we have agreed to pay the entry fee for all women / trans / femme riders. So if you’re thinking you’d like to join in, please do, the good times are on us.”
Thursday, August 24 – Bandit CX, Location:  TBD, afterparty at Fulton Brewing – 414 6th Ave N
Friday, August 25 – SK After Dark Alleycat, registration at 9pm @ Rockit HQ – 715 W Franklin
Saturday, August 26 – All City Championship 2017 Alleycat, registration at 4pm, race at 5pm @ One on One Bike Shop – 117 Washington Ave N
Bring a lock and a map. Expect 25-35 miles all over this fair city of ours.
After party to follow @ the Nomad – 501 Cedar Ave
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Tuesday, August 29 – Fuerza Cycling x The Hub WTF CX Clinic
SAVE THE DATE! Our buddies on Fuerza have something great in the works!
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September 1-3 – Singletrack Mind Festival
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September 17 – UCI Cyclo-Cross World Cup/Jingle CX
@ Iowa City, Iowa
CX Worlds! Get Dirty! We’re camping!
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Saturday, September 23 – All-City Intercontinental CX Champs
probably a LOT of fun.
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Sunday, September 24 – Gravel Grovel, p/b Venga Velo, Miesville, Minnesota
Sounds messy and so so great!
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Friday, September 29 – FTW Cheers! Ride p/b Grease Rag
Saturday, September 30 – 6th Annual FTW Wanderabout Ride p/b Grease Rag
Sunday, October 1 –  FTW Brunch! p/b Grease Rag
After last year’s 10-year-anniversary of the Babes in Bikeland Alleycat, Grease Rag is taking a little break from the huge hoopla and hosting a few smaller events this year.

Reoccurring Happenings:

Mondays, 6pm-dark – W/T/F Bike Polo p/b Twin Cities Bike Polo
@ Green Central Park Elementary
(TCBP) has created this event for WTF – women, trans folx, femmes, and non-binary people of the greater Twin Cities area to come play bike polo and learn more about the sport. Come learn about bike basics, the rules of bike polo, or simply come hang with some rad people! They’ll have extra mallets on hand for new players. Please feel free to reach out to any Twin Cities Bike Polo member if you have any questions. This event will be weekly – come check it out!
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Tuesdays through September – CX Skills Clinic with local crusher, Nicole Mertz, p/b Park Tool
Join Nicole for hands-on instruction and the opportunity to learn and practice skills and drills specific to the sport of cyclocross. Each week will focus on a different set of skills, ranging from dismounts/remounts, off-camber cornering, and proper bike maintenance. Participants will have the opportunity to win some ParkTool product and swag at the end of each session. This is a FREE clinic, open to people of all ability levels, held every Tuesday evening at 6:00pm starting Aug. 15 and running through the end of September. The clinic takes place at Saint Anthony Park in NorthEast Minneapolis.
Bring any bike, some water, and a helmet. *Helmets are required*
Week 1 focused on mounting/dismounting, shouldering your bike, and barriers
Week 2 will focus on cornering, off-camber, and tire pressure.
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Thursdays (2017 season ends on September 14) – Thursday Night Lights @ NSC Velodrome.
This is where Koochella got its start. Come watch or race us!

Friday mornings, 8am-11am, Powderhorn Park
practice CX skills with Wreckhouse Racing’s Eamon O’Hara and Koochella’s Lisa M. Olson

Keep up to date with Minnesota Cycling Federation’s local calendar (some dates and locations TBA)
CX schedule
Track schedule

Koochella Classic 2k17: KOOCH GRABS BACK

Our third annual summer weekend-long party, the Koochella Classic, is coming up quick!

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FRIDAY, JULY 28, 2017
KOOCH GRABS BACK zine release party
6pm-9pm @ The Smitten Kitten
$5 for a fresh-printed zine created by Koochella and The Smitten Kitten, proceeds going to Family Tree Clinic
GoldSprints matches – $10/race ($5/person/race), proceeds benefitting Minnesota Cycling Center
snacks! thirst quenchers! so many friends! and you get to hang out at one of the most progressive, queer-friendly, sex-positive sex toy shops in the country!

 

SATURDAY, JULY 29, 2017
alley cat race
registration 4:30PM, race 6pm @  Sociable Cider Werks
race cutoff 9PM, followed by podium, prizes, and DANCE PARTY (til midnight)
fun (regardless of bike or experience)! competition (only if you want it)!
if you’re new to alley cat races, worry not. this is a good idea.
if you’re experienced, worry not. this is a good idea.

 

SUNDAY, JULY 30, 2017
BINGO Brunch @ Red Stag Supperclub
10AM-1PM
BINGO Britt is back to host another BINGO brunch. BINGO.
delicious food. definite fun. more prizes.

 

 

RSVP on facebook

So Long, You Are All Diamonds

Anna Schwinn

All smiles moments after putting on a Koochella skinsuit for the first time. May, 2014

People of Earth,

My goal in starting Koochella with my friends was to facilitate growth of competition in our local track racing community. We would foster new racers and recruit our competition and make racing fun in the process. We would talk about the beginner amateur racing experience and how it can be positively transformative to the individual and community.

Our track racing community has grown substantially in the three years Koochella has been in business. And while there is always room to grow, Minnesota track racing is on the up and up.

And what’s probably most exciting to me is that Koochella can’t take all the credit. Growth is a community imperative. That’s why we’re successful.

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As a result, my personal focus has been elsewhere. With a great group of women in action on the Koochella team, I sought to broaden the team’s impact by extending space within the Koochella club umbrella to women’s teams starting up in other cities. In the 2016 racing season, Club Koochella consisted of five women’s teams in four states. Four of those women’s teams were track-focused to help grow programs in other velodromes.

I started to realize months ago that with the unique demands of my professional life and my broader personal focus that I was not the best Koochella team captain to have at home. My mission had diverged from that of the team I had helped to build. I looked around and it was obvious that I was taking valuable space and resources from an up-and-coming racer that would benefit from it far more than I.

I shared this with my teammates and they stepped up immediately and with enthusiasm, because that’s the kind of strong, capable, and motivated people they are. And, to be honest, they were running most of the team operations as it was.

Anna Schwinn

Photo by Kyle Kelley

It isn’t a sad departure. I’m happy for where the team will go, as I always am. I am happy to have gotten to know and race alongside these incredible people. I am better for knowing every single one of the women who has worn a Koochella kit. But I know in my heart that the success of the program is more proven by what it can do without me than by what I can do for it.

As far as what’s next for me, I’m going to keep doing what meshes with my mission statement: facilitating opportunities for women/trans/femme people within cycling, the sport and the pastime. I will continue to be active and work for good things. I will push for elevating the sport. And yes, there will be a new crazy-kitted vehicle for my personal racing- which I am able to have because I know that Koochella is in better hands than mine.

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Thank you, Koochella, for everything you’ve given me. I’m a much better person because of you and I’m so excited to see what you become. I know you’ll knock it out of the park.

You are all diamonds. Stay dry.

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Anna “Mama Duck” Schwinn
Co-Founder and Proud Former Captain of Koochella

IG: schwinnatallcosts
Other: You Are All Diamonds

Give Cross a Chance- by Someone Who Hates Cyclocross

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Cross is here.

Last night, my cyclocross season began with the Angry Catfish sponsored Wednesday Night Cross at Aquila Park. It’s our local cross warm-up series, a great opportunity for new riders to check out the sport or to get their feet grassy. And if you listened closely, you would have heard me yelling obscenities at the grass from every point in the course during the Intermediate race.

See, typically, I’m a track racer. I love everything about track racing. It’s warm, dry, smooth, fast, and fancy.

Cyclocross, on the other hand, is cold, wet, muddy, slow, and gritty. It’s a completely different game. Each sport has its merits. Just because you love one doesn’t mean that you’ll hate the other. But my relationship with cyclocross is complicated. Despite the title of this entry, I won’t say that I genuinely hate cyclocross, but I certainly don’t think it is fun. I find cyclocross races to be completely miserable, actually.

So why even jump in the race? Racing costs money. Bikes cost money. Training takes time. It hurts. It’s slow. If it isn’t fun after all of that, why even do it? This is the question I ask myself when I line up for any cyclocross race- which I do a lot during the Fall. Despite how I feel about the sport, I still train and race for it.

See, cyclocross is amazing. Even as someone who finds no joy in the sport, I really can’t recommend it enough.

Why do cyclocross?

Cyclocross is a spectacle.

It’s a big, ridiculous obstacle course for adults on bikes in the middle of a party. If someone would have just explained this to me to begin with, I would have taken up cyclocross a lot sooner.

Think about it. You meet in the park on whatever bike you have, and you ride through sand, dirt, puddles, and jump over obstacles. In Minnesota, you do all of this, but you get to battle snow towards the end of the season. Oh, and then people dress up in costumes and give out snacks and beer to you while you race. That’s pretty freaking hilarious.

When you look at the sport this way, even on your worst race day, you can’t not look around and laugh a little.

Cyclocross makes you stronger.

On the velodrome, when you push really hard you have the instant gratification of speed- it’s one of the things that makes track racing super rewarding from a mental and physical perspective.

It doesn’t work that way in cyclocross, that’s for sure. You’re fighting a course and the elements. They’ll throw mud and dust and cold your way. They’ll muck up your drivetrain to a point where you’re fighting that as well. You will be in scenarios where it takes all of your physical strength to barely propel yourself forward and all your mental fortitude to keep pushing even though you may only be moving at a speed juuust fast enough to keep you upright.

It can be soul crushing at points. However, without even realizing it, you’ll notice that it gets easier from the first lap to the second, from one race to the next. You soon realize that you’re not just getting stronger, but that you were stronger than you thought you were to begin with.

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Cyclocross makes you a fantastic bike handler.

Your ability to push your pedals is only a fraction of what it takes to be successful on a cyclocross course. You have to know what to do with your bike… and be able to do it. You have to be sensitive to the surfaces you’re riding on and how these surfaces change throughout the race. You need to know what lines to hold and how to hold them… on an off-camber hillside… in the dust… while turning right… without crashing into someone else.

You’ll be able to bunny hop curbs. You’ll be able to dismount your bike like a pro when you get to school. You’ll also be much better at your next derby in the park. You’ll be a bike ninja before you know it.

Cyclocross makes everything else seem more fun.

That sounds pretty grim, but I mean it! Because the sport is so mentally taxing, you’ll find yourself able to enjoy other riding and life experiences more. Your threshold for what is unbearable will have been extended and suddenly, that one tough hill on your slog to the office doesn’t feel so bad because, after all, it isn’t uphill in the mud with your heart exploding out of your chest. Piece of cake!

Cyclocross makes you want to play on whatever bike you’re riding. With your new bike handling skills, you won’t think twice about riding what used to be intimidating obstacles on the road or trail. Plus, in Minnesota, training and racing cross equips you beautifully to ride on the ice and snow come winter.

Sucking at something is the first step to being kind of good at something.

The immortal words of Jake the Dog apply extremely well here. There are people who will naturally be great at the sport and who will find joy and encouragement in winning- wonderful for them.

For the rest of us, know that the only way to go from your first cyclocross race is up. You can only get better from here. Look for those signs of improvement in yourself and you’ll see them with each race. Last night, I managed to get through a 45 minute Intermediate race without needing to walk my bike up a hill. Sounds like peanuts… but that certainly wasn’t where I was last season. Plus, I know I can do better for the next race… and that’s what I’m looking forward to.

Eat your vegetables. They are good for you.

Look, not everything that’s good for you feels good- cyclocross is a perfect example of that. It feels terrible… but you quickly learn to relish in the fact that it’s making you better just for participating.

Anyway, I had fun last night- the kind of fun you have when you’re at the depths of your misery. I’ll do it again. And again and again.

I hope you’ll give it a try.

See you on the course!

You are all diamonds.

xox

Anna “Mama Duck” Schwinn

Last Dance, Last Chance for Love: Track Season Closer, 2016

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2016 NSC Velodrome Season Finale, Women’s Field (max field 2016: 36 women)

(Sorry in advance, this is going to get sappy)

I started writing this post after the final night race last season… in my head… during the warm up.

I was wearing a wrap dress for the final night (we dress up every year at the NSC Velodrome for the season closer), which was pinned like crazy to the bib shorts underneath so it wouldn’t flap around in the draft. I was warming up with Beth Franklin and Sarah Bonneville, dressed as a roller girl and Wonder Woman, respectively. As we were doing exchanges and laughing and talking, I remember thinking that as younger person I would have killed to know that women like this even existed, strong women with drive and amazing attitudes. They were just so cool in all the best ways.

There we were, having grown faster and stronger with one another over months and years, looking ridiculous. We moved fast as a single entity in the way you really only can on a steep-banked track. Matching speed and lines, flying over other riders, sitting super tight on each other’s wheels, listening to the tires’ low rumble on the boards. The track surface was pink and everything was beautiful.

I teared up in that paceline. I felt so fortunate to be these women’s friend, teammate, and competition. I was so grateful for what the sport and community had given to me and I was so happy to see it thriving, especially after almost having lost our velodrome the previous winter.

I realized as I jumped out of the paceline and came off the track to get myself together, that I was descending into an infield full of women who I also totally respected and adored (an amazing problem to have). I did some slow laps on the inner track with my head down so I wouldn’t make eye contact with anyone. It was a race night, after all, and people were pulling their focus together. I was pretty certain that tears in my eyes would have set off a hilarious chain reaction.

Last night was the final race night for the NSC Velodrome 2016 season. If 2015 was about understanding the value of what a racing community could mean for me, 2016 was all about seeing how it could transform other people.

Where last season saw the introduction of a regular second women’s field, 2016 is the first complete season where a separate women’s 1/2/3 field was assumed throughout the season schedule. Despite being the third season in a row with 20+ women coming through the introductory clinic, we enjoyed the highest retention of new women racers yet thanks to new teams such as Fuerza.

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Because I wasn’t racing them, I had the pleasure of watching as the W4 group not only picked up speed, but rode in tighter and tighter formations and lines as the season progressed. It was straight up magical to watch this group grow stronger physically and mentally in the way I had enjoyed my first few seasons. Plus, the confidence these women exuded by the end of the season both for the form of racing as well as the venue itself was straight up inspiring. They owned their sport and they owned their place on the infield.

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I’ve been notified by several of this year’s fresh class of racers that they are coming for me. Which makes me smile like an idiot. I know you are. I see you sizing me up over there. I can’t wait. I’m already working on my training calendar for next year in anticipation of you.

Thank you, women of the NSC Velodrome community. You’ve made me a better person over the years that I’ve been fortunate to spend with you, and you continue to make me better. I love how we build one another up and how we get stronger together. I wish we could bottle what we have and send it to every velodrome in the world.

I’m totally humbled and inspired by you, and I can’t wait until next season.

See you in May.

Xoxo

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Anna “Mama Duck” Schwinn