Stop Saying “______ is dead.”

Disclaimer: The author of this article is 100% guilty of doing the thing she’s writing about, which is what inspired this post. – Renee Hoffmann 

 

When people say “[insert cycling discipline here] is dead” they mean one of three things:

  • It’s not popular anymore.
  • It’s not exclusive (to me and my group of friends) anymore, therefore it’s no longer cool.
  • I don’t like doing it anymore.

In the land of bike talk, this phrase seems pretty innocuous. Here’s the thing, though — it’s not. When you start dissecting what this phrase means, what it assumes, who says it, and the effect it can have, it becomes evident that it’s actually pretty problematic and ultimately harmful.

Check Your Privilege

When you think about it, trying out a cycling discipline and then moving on to something else actually takes a lot of resources. And I don’t just mean money (which is also a big factor). It takes access to certain gear/equipment, industry or social connections, and living in an environment or society that supports you and normalizes what you’re doing.

For example, cycling “trendsetters” who wax poetic about a certain discipline getting “too popular therefore it’s dead” tend to be privy to inside industry information or know influential industry professionals that many people don’t have access to. Spoiler alert: It’s a (cis/white) boy’s club.

Or there’s the classic case of “person who tries out road, goes really hard, and decides it isn’t for them.” (aka me) During my two-year pursuit of Cat 4 road glory, I had access to a bike team, sponsorships, industry friends/knowledge, and all the equipment I could possibly need. I’ve lived a pretty damn privileged life and used up a ton of resources just to be able to say, “road is dead.” 

For some people, road is a goal.

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Recent discussion on Facebook about 2018 goals. “CRITS” indeed.

Don’t Shit on my Parade

Unless you’re using some sneaky-ass reverse psychology, chances are telling someone that a certain thing they want to try “is dead,” will dissuade them from doing it. Yeah, [insert cycling discipline here] might be old news to you, but for them it’s brand new, shiny, and exciting. Maybe it’s the discipline they’ll fall in love with. Maybe it won’t be, but that doesn’t mean us curmudgeons should make new riders feel like they’re late to the game and shouldn’t bother giving [said discipline] a shot.

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Remember: One person’s midlife crisis is another person’s 21st birthday.

People are Amazing…Even if You Don’t Know About Them

Finally, this phrase and way of thinking is problematic because it fails to take into consideration all of the incredible progress that POC, women, LGBT folks, people with disabilities, and others (basically anyone besides your typical white dude cycling bro who gets all the attention) are making. Examples of a few amazing people/groups that should get way more attention: A Quick Brown Fox, Foxy Moxy, WTF Bikexplorers, SS Gravel Crew, Ellen Noble #bunnyhopthepatriarchy

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Chris Foome, meet Ayesha McGowan.

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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):

August 19-20 – 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.
on facebook

August 19-20 – 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.
on facebook

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
on facebook

Sunday, August 21 – CX Skills Clinic by Marcus Bush, Week 1 of 3:  Corners and Barriers
@ Sibley Field
on facebook

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!
on facebook

August 24-27 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
on facebook

Tuesday, August 29 – Fuerza Cycling x The Hub WTF CX Clinic
SAVE THE DATE! Our buddies on Fuerza have something great in the works!
on facebook

September 1-3 – Singletrack Mind Festival
on facebook

September 17 – UCI Cyclo-Cross World Cup/Jingle CX
@ Iowa City, Iowa

CX Worlds! Get Dirty! We’re camping!
on facebook

Saturday, September 23 – All-City Intercontinental CX Champs
probably a LOT of fun.
on facebook

Sunday, September 24 – Gravel Grovel, p/b Venga Velo, Miesville, Minnesota
Sounds messy and so so great!
on facebook

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.

Saturday, 9/30 RevoX

Saturday, 8/7 Donkey CX @ Baker Orchard

Little Guy Racing CX p/b Tonka Cycle & Ski

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!
on facebook

Tuesdays through SeptemberCX 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.
on facebook (((taking a break because Nicole broke their collar bone at Trek CX Cup)))

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

Pep Talk

My first track race of the season, 2013.

First night of racing, first race, 2013. What you can’t see is that I’m so scared that my legs are shaking.

Race License: check

Track Pass: check

Velodrome Bike Parking: check

Gear: check

Sweet bike: check

I have all the gear I’ll need for the season. My bike is good to go. I have lycra for days and a brand new pair of track gloves that I’m in love with.

I’m an hour away from being picked up to go to my first night of structured training for the season, and I’m so nervous I can’t sit down. My palms ache. I had to force some food into my stomach so I won’t get lightheaded at practice… I’ve been so nervous, I haven’t eaten all day.

It’s funny. This will be my fourth season racing, I’m captain of a team, and I’m still nervous.

I am telling myself now that I’m nervous because I didn’t train enough (I’ve been traveling and working a lot). I’m going to embarrass myself. All the new women are going to be so much faster than I am. It’s going to be me off the back, all alone, looking stupid. I’m listing excuses to not go.

It’s funny because I remember that one season where all I did was train and I was a total beast… and I sold myself the same negativity and excuses then as I am now.

When other people say these things, I have a pep talk for them. When it comes to myself, I just pace and worry. The koolaid hasn’t been self-serve.

But today, for some reason, I really need it. So here goes:

Anna, girl, you just need to get out there.

Every season has a first training session. Every season has a first race. They are always terrifying- you just need to jump in and get started.

You only get faster and better from here.

Racing is so good for you, and you know it. It makes you stronger, physically and mentally. It makes those around you stronger, too, which is why you’re always dragging your friends into it. Best of all, it gives you a way of appreciating and respecting strength in yourself and others. And you love that. It makes you so happy.

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First criterium, 2014. I got lapped twice and was so sick that I was puking on the course… I still had a blast and learned a ton from it. 

Remember that in those races where you’re falling off the back, being lapped like crazy, that you’re still having fun. You’re cheering yourself on in your head, thinking of ways to get better for next time. You’re cheering on your friends lapping you because, goddamn, they are so much faster than last season. And that’s so awesome.

Remember every race where you’ve surprised yourself. Remember when you held on longer than you thought you could and how awesome that felt.

First day of track practice, 2015. I can't remember being happier that year. We blasted Prince over the speakers at NSC and tore up our legs.

First day of track practice, 2015. We blasted Prince over the speakers at NSC and tore up our legs. It was so wonderful.

You have waited all winter for today. Rubber is finally meeting boards. Last year, entering turn one for the first time that season felt like coming home again. That’s what you get to do today, and that’s pretty cool.

Girl, this season is going to be so rad. You’re going to have so much fun. You always do. You love it. 

Get out there and make those legs burn. Turn yourself inside out. And do it all with a smile. You deserve it.

Eat those vegetables. Try really hard. Get it, girl.

Anna

Anna "Mama Duck" Schwinn

Anna “Mama Duck” Schwinn

6 Reasons You Should NEVER Try Road Racing

Even though we personally think road racing is pretty great, that’s no reason for you to. Here’s our top six reasons you should absolutely never under any circumstances try out road racing…

koochella SSS

You must absolutely have the most expensive, lightweight, and top-of-the-line bike to compete.

Your aluminum or steel drop bar bike simply won’t work in race settings. The components are old, your chain could use some lube, and the brake pads squeak when you brake hard. Hell, the whole thing would probably fall to pieces before the start gun went off. Everyone knows that carbon bikes preceded the Tour de France, after all.

Steel is real, yo.

Steel is real, yo.

Hills.

What are you supposed to do about the hills? Ride up them? Riding up hills on your bike makes your legs and lungs burn, and sometimes even makes you sweaty. Those kinds of feelings should only be experienced within the sterile environment of an indoor gym.

It will be hard.

There’s a saying, “Nothing worth having comes easy.” That saying doesn’t apply here. You’ve seen those photos online of people’s “pain faces” during races. The faces that communicate that wearer is sliding down a slide made of cheese graters, or just drank an entire bottle of hot sauce. The incomparable glory that comes with finishing your first race or getting on the podium is not worth the temporary pain.

You won’t know anyone there.

The real reason road racers wear matching kits is to identify who their friends are. Otherwise they’d never be able to recognize each other with helmets and sunglasses on. It’s like whale calls for people. The only time people on teams interact with outsiders is when they go all sharks vs. jets on each other. *snaps*

friends

It’s too dangerous.

Imagine hurtling around corners and down hills in a pack of cyclists with nothing to protect you besides some lycra and a helmet. Better stick to bike paths. No one ever gets hurt riding there. Between the dogs on leashes strung across the bike lane, runners wearing earbuds, and close calls with other cyclists, you’re better off there than in a bike race. Bike paths are safe. Or better yet, hang up your bike helmet and lean your bike against your living room wall. The safest way to use your bike is to sit on the couch and lovingly gaze at it. No one ever dies from inactivity.

It’s your first criterium or road race and everyone else will be faster than you.

It is a scientific fact that every local race field is made up of riders who just decided that they didn’t feel like going pro. When faced with numerous sponsorships to choose from, fame, and international glory they were like, “nah, I’d rather do the local race circuit.” Better quit while you’re ahead and avoid racing with those monsters forever.

Photo credit: Matthew Pastick (far right)

From left to right: Renee getting dropped in every Tuesday Night World, Renee getting mostly dropped in every Tuesday Night World, and Renee mostly keeping up in every Tuesday Night World. (photos taken over 3 year span)

 

**Most photos by: Matthew Pastick

Koochella Beginner Women’s (Trans & Non-Binary Inclusive) Road Clinic

In anticipation of our first week of sanctioned road racing in Minnesota, this Sunday 13 women grabbed their road bikes and headed out to Fort Snelling for Koochella’s second annual Beginner Women’s (Trans & Non-Binary Inclusive) Road Race Clinic. We covered everything from what race categories are, to equipment, to race skills and what to expect on race day. The women present ranged from racers with 1-2 seasons under their belt who wanted to strengthen their skills, to completely beginner women who are excited to sign up for their first races this season! Local crushers Erin Young, Tiana “T-Bits” Johnson, and Denise Ward helped out with tips, suggestions, and in assisting with drills. Huge thanks to everyone who showed up or helped out! We’re SO stoked to see some of you at crits and road races this week! If you’re attending or racing this week and see any of these women, be sure to give them a high five and cheer them on! #moreismore
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