A Closer Look: Koochella Edition All-City Nature Boy 853

They’re bold. They’re fast. And they may just remind you of a certain artist whose work graced the front of your folders in elementary school.

Thanks to our friends at All-City Cycles, Paul Components, and Sunrise Cyclery, the women of Koochella are now getting rad on a brand new fleet of custom Nature Boy 853’s with custom Paul hubs and disc brake calipers.

Perhaps even cooler than the paint job, is the fact that Mama Duck herself designed the dropouts to accommodate single speed gearing that would flawlessly work with a disc brake set up. Read more about her design process here, here, here, and here in a series of blog posts that appear on All-City’s website. For those of us who aren’t necessarily engineers, the challenge with single speed or fixed gear bikes is that, because of the horizontal dropouts (which are necessary to get the proper chain tension), the rear wheel can move forward and backward horizontally quite a bit. Most disc brake calipers don’t work well with this type of set up, which requires some unique engineering and a bit of creativity. That’s where this design came in:

Copyright: All City Cycles

The women took the bikes on their maiden voyage two weekends ago at Velo CX. Beth “Treasure” Franklin has already named her new whip.

On Sunday, got to debut the new whip, the Lisa Frank(lin) Nature Girl! And had so much fun. The thing just eats up whatever is thrown at it! I’m in love. – Beth

22289172448_b2bc4fcbbc_z

21854036704_4d33dabb1a_z

22450859246_c8c1971c4a_z

21854142294_f5309a09c6_z
Photo by: Blake Kelley

22450647756_e558dac7a8_z

Photo by: Blake Kelley

This bike just rips. Prior to getting the Nature Boy, I was racing on my commuter bike (a Bianchi San Jose that I love dearly!), which was fine, but definitely not optimal for cross. After just a few turns on the course at Velo CX, I totally had a new appreciation for cross bikes. This bike handles great, has way less toe overlap than my Bianchi, and climbs like a mountain goat. – Renee

21855674143_96b7a973c2_z (1)

22288914800_89dd3fd585_z

Photo by: Blake Kelley

 

 

Velo Cross

With fluttering hearts, giddy excitement, and brand new Lisa Frank-inspired cross bikes in tow, the women of Koochella flocked to their beloved velodrome last weekend. Rather than riding hard and turning left, however, they were racing through mud, over hurdles, and around sharp turns at Velo Cross, a two-day even held on the Velodrome grounds.

22487845551_b94f9d953e_z

Day one provided Lilah “Fratboy” Guertin with the taste of sweet, sweet redemption.

Lined up for the hole shot knowing I had a chance at this course due to my experience. Three years ago Velo CX p/b Little Guy Racing was my first ever sanctioned race. The barriers were shallow (about 7-8 inches) allowing experienced riders to hop over with comfort. I on the other hand had almost no skills coming into cross and was intimidated by the winding course, through ditches, over barriers, off camber, soggy patches, paved patches and spectators watching my every move. Well, this year I had it in the bag. My handling skills are dope, I saw the mud and was immediately excited. – Lilah

21855869033_67b3df7de3_z

21855785643_59b692584d_z-3

Being surrounded by a bunch of new female racers, a supportive environment, and a velodrome with an existent future made the weekend for Anna “Mama Duck” Schwinn.  This time last year, the NSC Velodrome was essentially shut down. Fortunately, however, with efforts from the Friends of the Velodrome Racing in Minnesota (FOVR) combined with work from individual teams and riders, the velodrome still stands today and has numerous seasons of racing ahead of it.

It was an overwhelmingly positive weekend for me. A year ago at this race, the NSC had voted to close the velodrome. The weather was cold and rainy. I was in mourning… especially with the track just sitting there. This year was great in contrast. Not only is the track still there, but I just had a fantastic summer of racing with a ton of new ladies… some of which were out racing cyclocross after having tried the track. –  Anna

22463649942_e6aae423a7_z

Velo Cross was an exciting weekend of racing for the team for more reasons than the mud, riding around the velodrome, and excellent competition…it was also new bike day! All City Cycles, PAUL Components, and Sunrise Cyclery all worked incredibly hard to make our dreams come true with our truly gorgeous Nature Boy 853’s and pink anodized custom brake calipers and hubs.

On Sunday morning I was stoked to race my new bike. I’d only ridden it a few blocks back and forth to Sunrise the night before, but I was already in love. As I rode with Renee to the Velodrome Lilah text me, “Get that new bike dirty!” She told me that the course was muddy and windy, but that I could ride it. The first time I went into the mud I actually had Lilah in my head telling me I could do it. Riding through the mud was a lot easier than I thought it would be – and super fun. That first muddy rut one of the spectators told me I rode it better than anyone before me – half shocked because of the gap between me and most of the field. I’m sure it wasn’t true, but it felt good anyway. – Emily

Photo by: Blake Kelley

Photo By: Blake Kelley

For most of the race on day two, Renee “Dark Horse” Hoppe, Sara “Bee” Bonneville, and France “Fancy” Barbeau were neck and neck. With Renee’s dominance on the hills, Sarah’s barrier hoping prowess, and France’s mud riding skills, they each excelled in different areas of the course.

This course was really fun: lots of straightaways and mud! I also totally bunny-hopped over some shorty barriers for the first time which was pretty neat! I gotta say though, racing around the outside of the track? What a tease. – Sarah

21855574233_10c370331f_z

Beth “Treasure” Franklin raced both days of Velo Cross, adding yet another podium finish to her impressive cyclocross season.

I had originally planned on just doing the MWSSC [Minnesota Women’s Single Speed State Championship] race, but when I realized Denise was the only one racing in the 3’s, I figured I’d give her a little competition and signed up for that race as well! After she flatted out, I managed to get the top step on the podium…but I feel like I’ll save the celebrating until I really *earn* that top spot. -Beth

22290275619_244826a612_z

While seeing the Velodrome, riding through mud, and cheering on our fellow racers are all things that make our Koochella hearts smile, nothing is quite like getting new ladies out racing for the first time. Our good friend, 11-year old Jaya (you may know her as the girl with the trumpet at cross races) decided she wanted to try out cross racing a couple minutes before the State Champ Single Speed race. Koochella sprang into action, switching out pedals, slamming a seat as low as possible, finding a helmet, and pinning numbers to get Jaya out on the course in time while her dad sprinted to the reg tent to get her all registered. Like a champ, she rode the full 45-minutes, plowing through the muddy pits, leaping over barriers, and mounting her bike better than most adults do, earning “Top Rookie” and her own podium. Way to crush, Jaya. We can’t wait to see you develop as a rider!

To see the full album from Velo CX, visit our flickr. 

Night CX p/b Koochella

21765481864_1491a97934_k

With new gear from Knog and Paul Component Engineering Koochella racers needed a setting to put the Qudos Action Video Light and MiniMoto break to the test. While local sanctioned and unsanctioned races challenged the Koochella babes’ skills, the team needed just the right combination of dirt, friends, and darkness to make conditions perfect. Naturally they decided to throw a race of their own – Koochella style.

lurlanightcx

On race night Koochella Queen of Fun Lilah “Fratboy” Guertin began the quick work of setting up a rogue course through the urban landscape. Armed with a handful of Knog blinders, Guertin joined teammates Renee and Emily in lighting the most technical parts of the course so racers could clearly spot obstacles after darkness fell.

12027262_1223164284365609_1962621975112557654_o

Photo by Matthew Pastick

Meanwhile, a slew of riders streamed across the pedestrian bridge into Bryn Mawr Park.  Cross celebrity and Koochella Classic award winner Lee Penn made sure to arrive with plenty of time to get to know the course.

22362269476_752f5736d2_k

By dusk dozens of local crushers congregated in Bryn Mawr. The Hub Cycling Team’s Holly Windschitl came hot off the Green Acres CX podium sporting one of the raddest kits around.

22399008531_efa779e0c3_k

22388226585_095b4c248c_k

Once every Knog light, glowing pink cone, and scrap of course tape was in place, Lilah led the racers to the far side of the pedestrian bridge connecting the Cedar Lake Trail to the park. After a neutral lap for riders to get to know the course, Fratboy broke out her best heckling voice and set them off on a six lap tear.

PA217005
The course started with a sprint up a dizzying ramp to the pedestrian bridge and a matching descent on the other side. From there racers maneuvered through a tight, wooded single track dotted with fallen trees lit by Knog. Winding out of the woods the course hooked left under the pedestrian bridge into a construction zone where racers navigated building materials strategically placed as barriers.

22375083682_63fa7d9151_k

21765450204_cc5462d2a5_k

22201344069_54a5dccb5e_k

22201371339_85cb1bca19_k

After shouldering their bikes across railroad tracks under a pitch black overpass, racers blasted through a gnarly straight away atop a torn up asphalt trail. At the trail’s end riders sprinted back into the woods forming a figure eight with their competitors rounding the bend.

22200479948_8f61af5d1b_k

22398971591_5e2e0a23a5_k

By the end of six fast laps through Lilah’s dirt dream several racers found themselves pulling tools out of their bags to tend to their bikes’ wounds.

22200441038_4a2d5517eb_k (1)

12032822_1223161614365876_4783853842036903147_o

A few flat fixes later the crew corkscrewed their way back over the pedestrian bridge, hopped on the Cedar Lake Trail, and descended upon Sisyphus Brewing for local beer as dynamic as Fratboy’s course.

22398909151_88859cb7a9_k

21767068073_2db2625ee7_k

At Sisyphus the Koochella babes turned to the very serious business of reeling new women into the local sanctioned race scene. And learning to hard style like a pro.

PA217071

 

 

 

Green Acres CX 2015

11230921_1221452421203462_4152733564811964749_o

Photo by Matthew Pastick

“To say that course isn’t single-speed friendly is an understatement,” Crusher Queen Beth “Treasure” Franklin said after Saturday’s races. With a steep climb up loose asphalt, double barriers among tight turns, teetering off-cambers and sections through woods and a cornfield, Green Acres CX posed one of the most challenging courses of the season. But that didn’t stop Koochella from tearing it up.

Photo by Matthew Pastick

Photo by Matthew Pastick

“Rolling up to the course on Saturday morning I looked at the off camber on the hill and was terrified. Thinking I would have to ride up it, I dreaded the climb, and my exposure to spectators,” Emily “Eagle Screech” Wade remarked, “Yet once I raced, the course was my favorite of the season.”

12112471_932324856941_1854844593925644277_n

Attempting not to worry too much about her finish position, Wade tried to tailor her race into a set of personalized challenges. “Going in to day 1 I set three goals for myself,” she said. “One of them was to make it up the asphalt hill every time. Though my finish position wasn’t stellar, I accomplished all of my goals and left the race pleased with a much better understanding of my gearing – I’ve never shifted so much in a race!”

Racing her second sanctioned cyclocross race, Sarah Bonneville also surprised herself. There were “what seemed to be impossible switch-backs down a big hill face,” Sarah said. “However, upon further investigation, they were quite possible with such knobby tires. The technology is truly amazing.”

12122406_932324807041_8903648573072529671_n

11996915_932324792071_2250348270000018647_n

But steep hills and slippery inclines weren’t the only challenging features at Green Acres. Renee “Dark Horse” Hoppe found herself thankful for all the hours of training she’s put in so far this season. “I got to put my cornering skills that we did at practice this week to use this weekend and it felt awesome!” She said. “It was a big course with lots of different features, which required a whole slew of different skills.” 

One of these features was a tall, wooden fly-over that propelled each racer high into the air and immediately back down into the corn field.

12138528_1221936634488374_2419393182636199565_o

Photo by Matthew Pastick

Second-year racer “Fancy” France Barbeau’s love for mountain biking helps her be comfortable zipping through technical twists. Yet France’s crusher status does’t keep her from seeking out opportunities to improve. “I love feedback from other racers while I’m racing,” she said. During the race another rider advised France to shoulder her bike at exactly the right time. 

12017623_1221936391155065_1310062358896772958_o

Photo by Matthew Pastick

Catch Koochella this weekend as they return to their beloved NSC Velodrome for Velo CX 2015. While they won’t be bringing their track bikes with them, these racers always have a few surprises up their sleeves.

 

 

 

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.

22083856426_32b58a4b39_z

21488963853_2b78fa4557_z

22084750906_1d34c61b0c_z

21923192929_8bc71d66a7_z

21923271649_d003319d0f_z

21489848913_20a3e2b237_z

21489872743_2827a0dc3a_z

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.

21922564850_7590ac6e2c_z

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 

22098167802_e425753efc_z

21922519770_d57d3dd266_z

21487853954_b1ffb37b6f_z

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 

22110687475_8f85fc3e0c_z

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

21487879294_9044914cd6_z

21487821664_31d1cfec15_z

21489592843_01f4a6b72c_z

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.

21922350020_271182cba0_z

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

22084417846_3ee5fe071e_z

22120684691_ef74c81245_z

21489363183_f55f18dc71_z

21923553649_e8714c1978_z

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.

22084246486_22a1c4a315_z

21489191573_8f2e1f5aca_z

22084187036_cf2f05fda0_z

22097756582_d200563e74_z

22110282815_0dda752478_z

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!

22120286851_ba959d24b9_z

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