FTW Racing in Minneapolis/St Paul

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Team Retreat + Jackson Meadow CX

This past weekend the ladies of Koochella packed up their bikes, sleeping bags, and fireworks (because priorities), and headed out to Wisconsin for a weekend of team bonding and bike racing.

A bonfire was had, Beyonce was danced to, and Pugsleys were ridden off jumps. Most importantly, however, the team had an opportunity to connect and have fun together outside of a race environment. #Koochipatrolcabinretreat was a success.








On Saturday morning the team rolled out of bed, ate Beth’s delicious breakfast burritos, and made their way to Jackson Meadow to race. Seven Cat 4 Koochella women lined up to start. For both Sarah “Bee” Bonneville and Laura Schaefer this would be their first sanctioned cyclocross experience.


Lining up with everyone was awesome. Our whole team was at the race. We’re all busy and we aren’t often in the same place at the same time. Feeling everyone’s support was really special.

I was excited for the paved straightaway which made me nostalgic for criteriums in the spring. After a great start my left foot unclipped causing me to fall back a bit. I clipped back in and caught the middle of the pack. Yet, as we went around the first turn, I crashed. It was a 90 degree bend on pavement–very much like a crit. I took an inside line and got caught on the wheel of a rider who cut his line in from the outside. Splayed across the pavement I hurriedly grabbed my bike and got back on. “You’re badass!” a voice called from the sidelines.

I was able to catch the end of the field at the first barrier positioned on the uphill right around the corner. Quickly dropped by the main group, I fought my way past a handful of riders and pedaled strong with blood dripping down both my legs.

Anna joined the race at the last second, skeptical about her abilities due to a knee injury. Though the race was difficult and painful for her, she followed me through the course until the end cheering for me and sharing in my pain. Sometimes Anna’s cheering empowered me. Other times I pedaled harder just to try to get away from her. Either way, I was glad to have her behind me, going hard Koochella style. The course was beautiful. Rolling hills through the woods and familiar, smiling faces scattered throughout made the race really fun. -Emily “Eagle Screech” Wade 




I dug how many jump barriers there were at this race. I’m into those. The woods were super beautiful and pretty fun to roll through. Cyclocross is so weird. -Sarah “Bee” Bonneville 


I always heard Jackson Meadow wasn’t worth racing, but I thought it had a little bit of everything, except sand; It was interesting and challenging enough. It was fun to see the Koochella ladies spread out on the course to cheer on. My most memorable moment was Crisi taking pictures of Elena & June doing yoga, which was funny. -France “Fancy” Barbeau




Renee “Dark Horse” Hoppe was able to hang on to the leaders for the first two laps, and held her third place position for the remaining two, securing herself a 3rd place finish in her 3rd ever cyclocross race.


This course suited me because it wasn’t very technically demanding, but was pretty hilly back in the woods. I learned that I’m better at less technical courses because I can really push myself harder if I’m not as worried about crashing. – Renee “Dark Horse” Hoppe





Beth “Treasure” Franklin and Tiana “T-Bits” Johnson both toed the start line of the Women’s Cat 3 race. Because of the smaller field size and fast course, they were eager to see how the race would play out.






While Katie Thompson ended up crushing the competition (coming in ahead of even the Women’s Cat 2 field!), Beth stayed on her for as long as her legs and lungs would allow, snagging second place, and on a single speed to boot!


Get your weekly dose of Koochella at Green Acres this weekend, where the fine cyclocross women of Minnesota will continue to crush.



Metal Cross 2015

This past weekend 6 Koochella women made the trek out to St. Cloud, MN for Metal Cross. On day 1 Beth “Treasure” Franklin, Renee “Dark Horse” Hoppe, France “Fancy” Barbeau, and Anna “Mama Duck” Schwinn all took to the course for the Women’s 3/4 race where Franklin ultimately raced to an impressive 2nd place finish.

I got a good start…got in the breakaway with the ultimate winner, Jenna Westlake & Emily Nordahl, who eventually took 3rd place. As one of the only single-speeders out there, I knew I needed to hold onto their wheels so I could keep that lead — praying my lungs would outlast the ladies behind me & get me a spot on the podium.

Well – Jenna took off fast and didn’t look back (she later told me she had enough of a lead to help carry one of the little junior’s bike up the stairs!) … but there was an exciting game of leap-frog between Emily & I the entire race. Thankfully, I was quicker through the sand & able to bunny-hop a log to make up the time I lost in the climbs each lap.

My favorite part was when her teammate yelled, “don’t let her beat you – she’s on a single speed!” In my head I was like, “damn right this single speed is going to beat you.” And we (my bike & I) did it! Took 2nd place in that race – overtook Emily at that log on the last lap & kept telling my lungs that in about 2 minutes, they’d be able to recover & hustled to the finish line. Took 2nd place w/ about 8 seconds to spare! -Franklin

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anna 1

renee 1

On day 2, Hoppe, and Emily “Eagle Screech” Wade represented Koochella in the Women’s 3/4 race. For both Hoppe and Wade, Metal Cross provided them with their first sanctioned cyclocross race experience.

emily and renee

I definitely felt a lot more comfortable on the second day of racing. I pushed myself and tried to ride through as much of the sand as I could, switched to a smaller gear so I could power up the hills, and remounted after the hurdles a lot faster than the day before. I’m excited for the rest of the season! -Hoppe

Photo by: Blake Kelley

Photo by: Blake Kelley

Tiana “T-Bits” Johnson took the big leap and moved up to a category 3 ranking this season. This didn’t stop her from fighting her way through the sand and running up the stairs more times than she could count, putting her in 4th place on day 1 and 2nd place on day 2.

Photo by: Blake Kelley

Photo by: Blake Kelley

Of all the Koochella riders who participated in Metal Cross, it’s safe to say that for Steph “Monster Mash” Aich, results and times mattered more than ever.

Metal Cross was one of my first races as a judge in cyclocross! The other officials were great to work with and eager to help me learn the ropes. It was a very positive experience and I look forward to participating in cyclocross as an official rather than a racer. -Aich

Photo by: Anna Schwinn


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Monday Night Match Sprints

This past Monday evening provided velodrome racers with yet another opportunity to pit themselves against their competitors under the bright lights and the ever watchful eye of Bob Williams. Rather than the typical points races, miss n’ outs, and Keirins, however, Monday night was a night for sprinters. Specifically, match sprints.

match sprints 3

Two #koochellanextgeneration (aka new kids) brought their game faces and raced their first ever match sprints. Renee “Dark Horse” Hoppe was narrowly beat by strong sprinter and Major Taylor rider, Carolyn Stanley, placing her solidly in the middle of the women’s open field, while Rachel “Lazer” Zaidman spun her way to an impressive 2nd place in women’s category 4.

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Meanwhile, things were heating up for the women’s overall title. Stephanie “Monster Mash” Aich and Beth “Treasure” Franklin went head to head in a track stand and sprint battle over 3rd place. Beth used her knowledge of match sprint tactics and sprinting prowess to snag the coveted podium spot, right behind Linsey Hamilton and Margeaux Claude in women’s overall. Steph “Monster Mash” continued to mash her way into the 1st place in the women’s category 4 races, taking home some shiny gold hardware.

match sprints 2

match sprints 1

See us in action this week at the NSC Velodrome on Thursday night for our regularly scheduled races, in addition to time trials on Friday evening. #allmuscleandhustle

Our track requires repairs in order to open this Spring.  Help us to keep our track open so that we can make this coming season even better than last season!  We have big plans for next season.



Save track cycling in Minnesota.

The NSC Velodrome – the only velodrome in the state and a unique part of the USA’s small portfolio of velodromes – needs major repairs immediately.  The track is currently closed until it can be repaired. These repairs will extend the life of the facility, keeping the track cycling community active until a new, future velodrome facility is completed. We are asking the broad track cycling community to help out.


Friends of Velodrome Racing in Minnesota must raise $60,000 in 5 months.

Friends of Velodrome Racing in Minnesota is a newly-formed, volunteer-run nonprofit organization working to keep track cycling in Minnesota.

The Velodrome is owned and operated by the National Sports Center Foundation, a nonprofit organization that administers a large complex of state-developed sports facilities.  Given the age of the velodrome, the NSCF was prepared to close the facility permanently, but Friends of Velodrome Racing in MN has worked with the NSCF Board of Directors on a plan to preserve our unique public cycling facility.

Friends of Velodrome Racing in Minnesota will share the cost of repairs with the National Sports Center Foundation.  The complete cost of the repairs is about $60,000 and will be completed by professional crews.

Friends of Velodrome Racing in Minnesota has already secured materials donations for the repair, volunteer labor for additional maintenance, and some funds from individual and institutional donors – but more is needed.


What you can do. There are many ways to help out:

1. Donate to this fundraising campaign. Any amount helps to preserve the velodrome and keep growing the sport. You can donate through this GoFundMe campaign. Or, you can hand us a check or send us a Paypal gift tofriendsofmnvelo@gmail.com
2. Come out and ride next year. We need the current ridership to buy season passes, ride the velodrome, and support major events. Bring a friend, take a Learn To Ride class, or come out and race. The track has loaner bikes – all you need are shoes, pedals, and a helmet.
3. Connect the velodrome to sponsors. Email us at friendsofmnvelo@gmail.com for more information.
4. Help us connect the National Sports Center with major corporate sponsors. The NSC is a major multi-sport facility that has over 4 million visitors per year. If you know somebody who could benefit from this opportunity, please help us get in touch. friendsofmnvelo@gmail.com

Thanks so much for your time, attention, commitment, and donation