Thursday Night Lights 7/29/15

Last Thursday night was an evening of thrilling racing for both the women’s A and B fields. The A field featured all of the team’s new riders along with June “Tiny Terror” Osaki and France “Fancy Pants” Barbeau. Amongst the sea of Koochella was the lone island that was Kristin from the Hub, making the field 8 riders strong.

Screen Shot 2015-08-05 at 8.43.48 PMWith each race the women fought hard for their omnium points. Right from the gun, Rachel “Lazer” Zaidman snagged enough points to secure her in the lead in the 12-lap point-a-lap race in front of Sarah Bonneville and Renee “Dark Horse” Hoppe.

Screen Shot 2015-08-05 at 8.42.50 PMThe second race of the night for the women’s A field was the always crowd-pleasing Miss n’ Out. June “Tiny Terror” Osaki used her tactical skill to last until the end and out-sprint teammate Sarah Bonneville for first place with Emily “Bullet-Heart” Wade coming in third.

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Leading into the final race of the night, a 20-lap scratch race, the many of the women were vying for the final available points to boost them into the top spots for the night. While the field stayed together for much of the race, Sarah Bonneville managed to pull off on the final lap, closely followed by Renee “Dark Horse” Hoppe, taking first and second respectively followed by Crisi “The Fox” Lee.

Screen Shot 2015-08-05 at 8.43.31 PMIn the women’s B field, Anna “Mama Duck” Schwinn, Stephanie “Monster Mash” Aich, and Tiana “T-bits” Johnson lined up against some of the fastest women on two wheels around town. T-bits stole the show with a solid third place finish in both the Miss n’ Out and Scratch 10, while Monster Mash fell solidly mid-pack. Mama Duck finished near the back of the pack. Yet with a wave, a smile, and a cloud of charisma this proud matriarch primed herself for a self-proclaimed ‘COMEQUACK.’Screen Shot 2015-08-05 at 8.44.07 PMPro heckler Lilah “Fratboy” Guertin brought her usual zest for witty verbal jabs with to our lovely wooden circle. One of our favorites? “THIS WOULD BE MORE EXCITING IF YOU WERE GOING FASTER!” Thanks, babe. We love ya.

First Ever Koochella Classic

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Photo by Ben Hovland

The first annual Koochella Classic was part bike race, part babe fest, part three ring circus.

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Photos by Ben Hovland

Our ringmasters for the weekend were none other than Tiana “T-Bits” Johnson, Beth “Treasure” Franklin, and new kid Emily Wade.  The three crushers spent months scheming with France “Fancy Pants” Barbeau to make an event that equally reflected Koochella’s hard exterior and tender heart.  T-Bits even lost some sleep over it.

Photo by France Barbeau

Night one started with a meet up at Cherry Cycles, a back alley bike shop in Loring Park owned and operated by one of the raddest WTFs around.

Photo by France Barbeau

Around 9 PM Tiana, Emily, and the Tiny Terror headed off to an undisclosed location with friend Altan Gurel to set up the course for a fixed gear criterium.  The team finished chalking routes and placing glowing pink cones just in time for the racers to arrive.

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Photo by Crisi Lee

The competition was fierce as racers on all kinds of bikes clipped corners at break neck speed.  All in the name of these Phil Wood hubs graciously donated by the 2015 All City Championship.

Photo by France Barbeau

After ten laps local trackie Zak Mohr and our very own T-Bits took the top prizes in the men’s ad WTF categories, respectively.  The crew basked in the glory of the first successful fixed gear crit in Minneapolis in years.  Then they headed over to Sisyphus Brewing for drinks as mythic as the night.

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After a few hours of sleep, the team headed to the NSC Velodrome where they worked on sprints for three hours.  Yep, three.

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Photo by Beth Franklin

Track practice under their belts, the girls hurried back to the Twin Cities for a few last-minute alley cat preparations.  Racers began rolling in to Koochella shop sponsor Sunrise Cyclery at 4:30.  Among the herd was Kat McCarthy, local Sh!t Goose racer and co-organizer of  the original Minneapolis babe fest, Babes in Bikeland.

Photo by Ben Hovland

Photo by Ben Hovland

Koochella was also stoked to see their friends from the Hub Cycling Team #babetrain roll in to registration.

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Riders were given a spoke card, a crayon, and this manifest.  The crayon was to etch over stickers carefully placed on each of the unmanned bonus stops, listed in the center column of the manifest.

Photo by Ben Hovland

Photo by Ben Hovland

With the rest of the team posted at stops around the city, Beth and Tiana sent off the racers just after 6 PM.

Photos by David Lopez and France Barbeau

Photos by David Lopez and France Barbeau

Like most things Koochella does, the alley cat stops were totally boring.

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Photo by Ben Hovland

Local legends Ben Laugerquist and SK were the first to roll in to the final stop in the Chrome MPLS back alley.  The pair finished at 6:53 PM and 6:55 PM, respectively.

Photo by France Barbeau

Photo by France Barbeau

Ben’s finish was good enough to earn him first place in the men’s category.  You could say his teammates were pretty stoked.

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With prizes from a slew of incredible sponsors including Trash Bags and Knog, the excitement was understandable.

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But the most coveted prize of the night went to the WTF field with this Chrome Custom Barrage made by local sewer Rachel Dye.

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Photo by France Barbeau

The first WTF prizes of the night went to Kristin Greeley and Airen Bijou, a time-tested alley cat duo that pre-dates Kristin’s status as a crusher at the NSC Velodrome.

Photo by France Barbeau

Alley Cat Queen Jana Velo’s 7:04 PM finish with 3 bonuses earned her the top spot in the WTF field and the super slick Trash Bags Wastebasket.

Photo by France Barbeau

Then came Koochella’s favorite prizes:  WTF & men’s Overall Crusher.  These high profile titles went to individuals who raced both the crit and the alley cat.  While neither competitor took the top title in either race, they beasted both nights leaving nothing on the courses but their warm smiles and positive energy.  As Emily said when presenting the awards, “They did it Koochella style.”

Photo by France Barbeau

Photo by France Barbeau

Men’s crusher went to Minneapolis courier Jeff O’Neil who took home the golden wheel from Behind Bars.  He also scored some beer from East Lake Brewery, which he poured before leaving the podium.

Lee

Photo by France Barbeau

WTF crusher went to Lee Pen.  Lee took third in the crit, and raced the alley cat with only 30 seconds to route.  Shout-out to Fratboy for the podium assist.

Photo by Ben Hovland

Photo by Ben Hovland

A total powerhouse, Lee remembers thinking to herself how much she wanted the Chrome bag, but knowing there was no way she could win it.  Surprise!

Photo by Ben Hovland

Photo by Ben Hovland

After awards, the party raged on well into the night.  There was dancing, picture taking, and even some back alley bmx shenanigans.  Koochella had so much fun they’re thinking about hosting another Classic next year.  Maybe.

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.

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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.

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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

July 22 Thursday Night Lights

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June “Tiny Terror” Osaki started her winning streak early with a pre-race snack of raspberries and homemade rice rolls.

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Then she saw the races for the evening.  Two separate fields for women (A & B) with a Keirin for the Bs and a Miss & Out for the As.  What’s not to love.

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The first race of the night was a fast-paced point-a-lap with big moves across the field.  Just look at Monster Mash go.

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But nothing was as big as the roar of cheers coming from the infield as women in one field got to watch and cheer for women in another for the second time in the history of the NSC Velodrome.

High on lady-love, Koochella took five of the top six places in the Miss & Out.  For new rider Crisi “The Fox” Lee, fifth felt like first.

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While newbie Laura Schaefer may have been the first rider eliminated, she was the only lady to win the National Hot Dog Day prize.

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Next Anna “Momma Duck” Schwinn got back in the game after a few weeks of rest with her favorite event – the Keirin.

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But the night’s biggest come back came from Lin-zilla Hamilton who crushed the Keirin on her first night of racing since a shoulder surgery earlier this year.

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Rachel “Lazer” Zaidman also had a stellar night taking 2nd in the Omnium to Sh!t Goose’s Ash-slay Murray.

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By the end of the night, many of the ladies were taking breaks from jumping for joy only to hug each other.  And plan the Koochella Classic.  And dream of unicorns.

 

Southside Sprint 2015

11174368_1168063796542325_6317879995171181033_oPhoto by Matthew Pastick

In Minneapolis the Southside Sprint has a special place in the heart of every crit champion and hill climbing queen.  The 3/4 mile course on the south end of Chicago Ave is known for its tight curves and tree-lined thrills.  This past Sunday four Koochella racers rolled out of bed early to compete in Southside’s Category 4 women’s race.

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Always ready to pounce, Koochella took a quick lap around the course after the conclusion of the Juniors race and lined up just behind the start finish while officials readied the road.

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While she couldn’t compete, June “Tiny Terror” Osaki came in her best dress and cape for moral and mechanical support.

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When officials gave the go-ahead, the team was quick to grab as many front-row seats as they could.

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Tiana “T-Bits” Johnson set herself up for early success with a prime position in the pack.  While a a minor crash in the final laps threw a wrench in this mechanic-messenger’s game, she quickly jumped back in the saddle earning herself a 9th place finish.

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Beth “Treasure” Franklin fought her way to a 5th place finish proving her calves could carry her through a crit almost as well as a chariot race at the track.

For Rachel “Lazer” Zaidman, Southside marked the one year anniversary of her first sanctioned race and the day she decided she wanted to be on Koochella (that’s Lazer in the back on the right).

Photo by Matthew Pastick

Rachel finished the race stoked to see just how much she improved over the past year.

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Rookie racer Emily Wade paced with a well-organized chase group, making new friends on the Birchwood and Omnium teams.

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Of course, no bike race is complete without Lilah “Fratboy” Guertin.  Also unable to race, Lilah made it to Chicago & 48th in plenty of time to cheer her face off for fellow trackie Heidi “Game Face” Goodson as she #yolosolo’d her way to the state championship title in the elite women’s race later that afternoon.