LA Sweat NEW Partners for 2017 --> Lake, Tetra Bike Care, Stages Cycling, Sellwood Cycle Repair and MORE.... vroom zoom! by Becca Schepps

As La Sweat is gearing up to head to team camp in Trinidad, CA. We wanted to take a moment and share with you all our exciting new partnerships for 2017 and beyond. As many of you already know we have moved our HQ to Portland.. But don’t worry we will always be LA Sweat... or La Sweat, whatever works for you, works for us.  

Moving up north is super exciting because it provides us hands on engagement with some of our long standing partners, and brings us some new partners as well. 

This year we'll be working with Sellwood Cycle Repair for all our mechanical needs. Owner Erik Tokin has been a huge supporter of women’s cycling in the Portland area and is excited to expand that support on a national level with LA Sweat. Also, Portland local Annalisa Fish from Endurance PDX is not juat a bike-fitter extraordinaire, but her PT prowess keeps the ladies bodies in crushing order.

Speaking of fit, we all know that happy feet are very important -- and our ladies have precious feet. So we are super excited to team up with Lake Cycling alongside Magura USA to help provide the best fit for each rider.  

I am really excited about offering a Fit Solution to the team with these cycling shoes. I am dedicated to making sure the shoes fit well for each athlete and that the team is successful as a result.
— Brett Lindstrom, Lake Cycling Brand Manager .

We're also excited for our equipment partners. This year to make our trusty Cinelli Strato Fasters even faster we're bringing on Jagwire Cables, Issi Pedals, Q- Tubes, Stages Power Meters and Tetra Bike Care.

2017 is going to be big! Thank you so much to the brands that have been with us year after year with continued support ---> Cinelli Italy, Cinelli North America, Smith Optics, Giro Cycling, Challenge Tires, Nuun Hydration, Yakima Racks, BikeFlights.com, Castelli Clothing, and Selle San Marco.

Be on the look out for the official release and unveiling of our 2017 team Kit!

We are so excited for 2017 and cannot wait to get racing!!!

The Griswolds Go to Portland!! by Becca Schepps

(AN LA SWEAT RIDE, RAFFLE AND RAGER RECAP, by Tiff)

When Kelli (the Boss) announced the date of the team party/fundraiser in Portland (February 4), the wheels started turning. It wasn’t a mandatory attendance type of thing, and there are a lot of gals on the team that call Portlandia home. But I was excited to try to make it there to meet some of the new teammates. And maybe to provide first hand knowledge of what having me on the team would be like (aka my 4 year-old comes to lots of races) in case they wanted to change their minds.  I was also interested in checking out  PDX as I had never spent much time there (I call Salt Lake City--about the opposite of Portland--home).  I had so many preconceived notions. Did everyone have tattoos? Veggie gardens in their front lawns? Did everyone have nice skin from there being no sun? Was the bike scene just crazy? Would we even be cool enough to GO THERE? I needed to know.

My husband, Steve (aka the Hubs), was going to be off for 2 weeks as he would be changing jobs around that time.  In addition, he was planning a boys ski trip to Bend, OR during this period. I knew he felt a little guilty about leaving his wife (moi) and his kid (the Dman) behind.  As a recovering catholic, I’m an expert on feeling guilty, and manipulating the guilt of others, so I pitched the idea of a family trip to Portland ahead of his ski trip down to Bend. Sure it would add a bunch of hours to the drive but then it would partially be a FAMILY trip! Once he acquiesced, we sent word to Kelli and Anna Grace Christiansen (aka my former teammate and bikewife).

Two days before the party, we loaded up the mini van (aka the Limosienna/Swagger Wagon) for our road trip. We made an overnight pit stop in Boise to see our good friends (family of former teammate Liza Rachetto) as they have lots of kids and toys. And Boise is awesome.

On Friday, we started our supposed low key drive to Portland from Boise. Things started out nicely. Dman passed out (after being overstimulated to the bejesus from the super fun times with his Boise buddies), the roads were decent, and the caffeine was flowing. As we got within a few hours of Portland rain started to fall, temps started to drop, and the drive got real. Going through the Columbia River Gorge was the worst experience ever. Black ice FOR REAL, semis doing what looked like couples skate on the highway, cars everywhere and zero traction. Though the Hubs was cool as a cuke (in a white knuckled kind of way) I started to regret the whole idea.

Miraculously we made it into Portland to Anna Grace and Garrett’s house. AG and I were teammates last year (and this year!) and, though she is many years younger, she took care of me on the road last year: bike mechanic, psychiatrist, chef, DJ, Dman buddy. Accordingly, I think of her as my bikewife. The arrival in PDX was consistent with this characterization. She and her partner (because in Portland you say partner) Garrett (and Val the dog) rolled out the red carpet with a super delishy dinner and dinosaur tattoos for Dman.

The next morning AG and I got out for a quick workout on Sauvie Island (aka Tempo Island). In spite of the rain, it was a great ride. We got back to the house for a shower and Dman handoff so the Hubs and Garrett could get in a ride. Bikewife skills were in full effect as she hustled me and Dman through lunch and packing up the limosienna to get to Sellwood Cycle Repair (party and afternoon ride location). Met up with Kelli (the Boss), along with new teammates Erin and Brenna. We helped with some party preparations and Dman made himself at home in the shop. And by make himself at home, I mean he began torturing the employees and getting underfoot as much as possible. Luckily, Sellwood owner, super badass former pro racer Erik Tonkin also has small kids, so there was a well stocked toy area where Dman also logged some serious time. Also, everyone at Sellwood is a saint, including teammate Brenna who also works there.

Shortly thereafter, we got dressed for a ride from the shop. With rain and temps in the 40s, most other places I’ve lived would’ve seen ZERO people showing up for a ride in conditions like that. Not PDX. There were at least 40 people that showed up for the ride, decked out in rain gear and rocking an assortment of fenders I didn’t even know existed (mud flaps?!). The ride had a variety of riders like 13 year rockstar, Madeline, up and coming young racer and Sellwood employee, Clara, and elite racer and bike fitting expert, Annalisa Fish (aka BARB). I chatted with lots of really nice, interesting people on the ride as we rolled.

At one point about halfway through the ride, there was a bike path we needed to take. There were lots of closed signs and fencing. Enter Annalisa Fish, who saved us from the precipice of chaos and disorder promising “a way through.” We pedaled down a road with about 20 gravel sections (because duh) and NO OTHER CYCLISTS. As we approached another closed off area, there were several police cars. Thinking that was the end of everything in addition to a probable citation souvenir from the trip, the cops waved and we just went right through. A couple people rang bike bells. Because yes. BIKE BELLS on road bikes. I was waiting for the Portlandia director to say “and scene”, but it turns out this really is what life and riding is like here.  I also flatted and before I could even say “does anyone have a tube?”, teammates AG and Brenna took over and changed my flat in record time because Brenna works at a bike shop and AG knows how to do everything.  

Back at the shop, the party was getting underway. Once again, nothing left me disappointed. Yummy snacks, a keg of something local and probably artisan (that’s almost a redundant word in PDX), tons of great people and...an arm wrestling competition. Sellwood actually has a certified, branded table...so what better way to raise money for our upcoming season! The men went first. The competition was fierce and there were some strong fit gentlemen. In the end it was the guy that I think is a bartender and I know I saw him pouring a coffee in his beer earlier.  I will say I probably wouldn’t have put my money on him, but he dominated so hard that it almost wasn’t fair. It was still amazing and I’m not being facetious.

The climax of the evening was the women’s competition. Former teammate Beth Ann Orton (a Portlandian) secured a hard fought 3rd place. The ladies that competed? Oh. my. god. It was intense, it was awesome, it was a nailbiter. It ruled. These women were beasts and everyone just gave it. I shouted myself hoarse.

Top finishers in the arm wrestling comp walked away with some sweet prizes including a brand new wheelset! There was also a raffle in which tons of swag was dispensed...kits, gear, you name it, and a silent auction for a complete Cinelli bike.

At the end of the evening, we pulled a cracked-out Dman from the toy corner where we finally tapped out and we let him watch a movie. Had a nice final catch up with AG and Garrett before Dman and I flew home to SLC the next day while the Hubs went down to Bend for his man ski trip.

It was a short but sweet trip. We all had such a great time. PDX did not disappoint and I can’t wait to race with these ladies this year and hopefully get some time with the extended LA Sweat PDX famiglia.

Thanks for reading and a HUGE thanks to everyone that attended the party at Sellwood Cycle Repair! For the record, I’m not getting any tattoos but I did invest in some fenders.

 

The LA Sweat Ride, Raffle & Rager @ Sellwood Cycles on February 4th! by Becca Schepps

 

We're hosting a ride and rager at our favorite shop, Sellwood Cycles 

So brave whatever wacky Portland weather is happening and join us for a ride, or at the least, come to the party -- we're going to giving away AWESOME schwag from our sponsors ---> A CINELLI TEAM ISSUE BIKE, Castelli Gear, Nuun Gift Packages, Yakima Racks, Smith Gear, Challenge Tires and more!

Quick details: 

The Ride: Feb 4 @ 1:30pm

The Rager: Feb 4 @5-9pm

The Raffle: Feb 4 @8pm SHARP

 

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:

THE RIDE

Meet at Sellwood Cycles @ 1:30pm  --> Ride rolls at 2pm

This is a super chill cruise of a ride (think like 1.5-2hours). It's not a race. Let's keep it conversational. But that still means you NEED to bring a helmet and lights. That's a must. K?

 

THE PARTY

The party is at Sellwood Cycles from 5:30-9:00pm.

We'll have drinks and snacks for a suggested donation to the team. We use this $$ to give our ladies awesome support so they can get to races and be absolute crushers.

We'll also have some team issue water bottles for sale and awesome extras from last year's legendary Rodeo-Drive-GucciGucciVersaceChanel-Chain Kit, and WHEELS (you can never have enough wheels) and Team Issue Bikes. You can check out other team gear we have for sale on our shop

Now for the RAFFLE.... yes, we will be raffling off rad stuff from our legendary sponsors. Including a complete CINELLI bike. WHAT? Yes.

Raffle tickets prices are

1 for $1  

5 for $4

As long as you can stretch - $20 

Raffle begins at 8pm! 

If you can not attend but want to donate to our girls, you can do so below.

 
I'd like to donate...

THE LEGEND OF KELLI by Becca Schepps

If you don't know Kelli, you probably know of her. She's covered in tattoos and has a haircut that screams attitude. But Kelli doesn't bite. In fact, at LA Sweat we have a different name for her.... 

 

You see, Kelli is not just the founder and owner of LA Sweat. She's our Oprah. Seriously, she's like a never ending Oprah's Christmas Special. Walk up to her and compliment her glasses and the next thing you know, YOU GET A PAIR OF GLASSES! Tell her you need a new backpack and YOU GET A BACK PACK! If you're hungry, you'll find you're all of a sudden holding a sandwich. Thirsty? Your water bottle will be full of your favorite flavored Nuun. Your tire pressure is always perfect. Your bike is clean and already packed in the car and ready to go. Forgot to pack that post-race recovery drink, she's got extras, along with Sour Patch Kids and Australian licorice (just for Christa). It's nuts. Maybe she has secret invisible tattooed elves working for her? We do not know. But however it happens, we love it. 

Screen Shot 2017-01-08 at 11.33.12 AM.png

The other crazy thing is, if you asked Kelli 5 years ago if she thought she'd be driving around the country, providing opportunities for riders to showcase their talent on a national stage with her own elite women's cycling team, she'd have problem said, "What is an elite women’s cycling team?"

Kelli as a P-R-O Commuter.

Kelli as a P-R-O Commuter.

A mere 5 years ago Kelli was the ultimate LA casual commuter. She had a successful career as a hairstylist, and had just moved from Seattle to LA. She had a bike and found her home in cycling in the “fixie” world. Mostly, she rode around at night, drank beers and never wore spandex.

Fast forward to now. She sits in an office surrounded  by bikes, parts and team gear and will be debuting LA Sweat for the 3rd year on the national level.

Kelli formed LA Sweat out of the Ritte Women's Cycling team -- a team she started with 2 friends after attending Interbike 4 years ago. When looking back Kelli remembers something clicked that week. "I was where I was supposed to be, in my element. I went home and a few months later quit the career I thought I would have my whole life and threw caution to the wind. I wanted nothing more to become a professional bike racer. Let’s just say my parents weren't super excited and thought I was crazy."

The Ritte Women's Cycling Team bloomed and in 2014 Kelli sat down with her friends from Manual For Speed and devised a new concept. Let's not be moving billboards, let's be a team, like the LA Lakers and Chicago Bulls. This new team will be the same thing, year after year, representing brands in a new way.

And LA Sweat was born.

Screen Shot 2017-01-08 at 11.32.46 AM.png

Sooooo how's it going? I, Becca, am going to step back let Kelli to you, in her own words, what it's like to be a team manager.

Enjoy.... 

KELLI: LA Sweat is going into it’s 3rd year, we operate on a budget thats laughable. I make sacrifices in my personal life, invest my own money and I wouldn't change a thing. After running the team also while working a full time job I was in the position to take 2016 and focus fully on LA Sweat. My days are filled with constant emails, logistics, answering rider questions, and an insane amount of organizing. My racing has taken a back seat and my focus is the continued success of this team. With each year comes more pressure to up the support to my riders. I'm constantly networking and searching for that “pot of gold” at the end of the sponsor rainbow. I've said before that this is my full-time job, it just doesn't pay. I am paid when I get to see and be a part of this amazing group of inspiring women accomplish their goals and in their success.

The struggle to run a women's program is real and it isn't always the easiest. I am incredibly thankful to the brands and people who have supported me personally and in my career and never hesitated to jump on board with all my crazy ideas! I couldn't do any of it if I didn't have my best friend/teammate/partner Becca Schepps. She runs our site, blog, and helps with our social and her eye for style is insane. 

I will continue to strive to grow this team and grow the support for my riders. I am mom, doctor, director, mechanic, driver, chef, bottle filler, number pinner,  boss but most important life long friend. I will keep searching for that perfect partnership to turn LA Sweat into a force to be reckoned with on and off the bike.

Thanks for reading!

AND it's only a matter of weeks before we unveil LA Sweat 2017.


 

 

TIFFANY PEZZULO, The Italian Stallion, SWEATS 2017 by Becca Schepps

When you say the words "Anna Grace Christiansen" you may be referring to many things (which you can read about in the last post), but one thing is for certain, Tiffany Pezzulo. 

Where there is Anna Grace there is Tiffany. If Anna Grace always travels to races with books, coffee beans and an aeropress, Tiffany always travels to races with more books, coffee beans, a grinder, a pour over filter and Anna Grace, her bike-wife (sorry hubbie and kids). I'm assuming they share the grinder. This tag team, dynamic duo might quite possibly be the most joyful bunch in cycling, and all that comes without sacrificing any speed

Now a disclaimer: This story is pictureless mostly because Tiffany hates Selfies and therefore does not own a gratuitous amount of photos of herself. Even her Facebook Profile photo yields no results.  But speaking of results... 

Tiffany Pezzulo, also known as The Italian Stallion, is no stranger to the podium's favorite step. She stood on top when won the USA Crits overall in 2015 and Team Competition in 2016. She spinted away with the win at the Oklahoma City Film Row Criterium. And those are just a few. She loves Boise Twilight for the town, crowds -- and it's driving distance from her hometown of Salt Lake City. She's also a big fan of Rochester Twilight Crit for it's really fun technical course in the town where she grew up and a lot of her family still resides.

Tiffany is a class act. She is a solid human being. Honesty, we don't think it's possible not to feel grounded and self-assured in her presence. She has this way about her. Most people can remember the first time they met Tiffany. For me it was singing, at the top of my lungs, Billy Joel with her former teammate in the parking lot of a race. I'm not sure what she thought about our musical choices, Tiffany prefers Beastie Boys and Madonna pre-race, but I do know at every other race that season, I felt like I could always talk to her, before, after or during a race and feel like everything was gonna be okay. She's also tremendous at making salads, drinking wine, eating meat and quoting Parks & Recreation. Oh and did we mention she's also a killer mom?!

However, like all people, Tiffany is human, and here's how to turn this ray of sunshine into a storm cloud: Don't wave back when you're on the bike, take lots of selfies in her presence, utter the phrase, "I'm bad with names," or play 'The Wheels On The Bus Go Round and Round' on the way to a race. 

We're taking notes and vow to do our best not to do any of these things... well minus the selfies.  When it comes down to it, this Italian Stallion is (pardon my french) the crème de la crème. There's nothing much more you can ask for in a teammate.

LA Sweat is sweating Tiffany Pezzulo! 

The Sheer Grace of Anna Grace Christiansen by Becca Schepps

Is it just me or does it seem like all cyclists from PNW travel with their own aeropress and local beans? Welp, Anna Grace Christiansen does not disappoint. This Portland based, Minnesota bred, super strong cyclist is hopping on the LA Sweat train for 2017, and we can't wait to have her along for the ride. 

Anna Grace is no stranger to racing in the US of A and every aspect of it. Waaay back in 2013 she rode her way to best amateur at Nature Valley Gran Prix (now known as North Star Gran Prix) on one of the toughest courses on the calendar, Stillwater. This race holds all sorts of warm fuzzy feelings and trips down memory lane for Anna Grace. It's not only in her home state of Minnesota, but It was her first professional level race and the race that scored her some big "glamorous" gigs on big teams. You know the roles: domestique/breakaway rider/leadout pony.

photo credit: Matthew Lasala 

photo credit: Matthew Lasala 

Her "teamwork makes the dreamwork" attitude locked down the team competition at the 2015 Redlands, as well as securing one teammate the green sprint jersey and the other landing 2nd in GC. Then in 2016 her team won the team competition at USA Crits. And even when she's gunning for herself, it's all about t-e-a-m. Like last year's 1-2 punch at Arkansas' Rouge Roubaix. Anna Grace landed 2nd and her teammate 1st, so really it's like a win/win/win/win. PS, on topic Rouge Roubiax Anna Grace says, "Gotta love dat gravel jam."

photo credit: Pat Malach

photo credit: Pat Malach

We are excited to have Anna Grace with us next year and turning her from work horse to full fledge crit pony at America's true favorite races, Crits. Anna Grace describe Tulsa Tough as not just her favorite race but, "the epitome of a uniquely american style of bike racing. The courses are awesome and diverse, the crowds are off the hook, the excitement level is all the way turnt up, Tulsa is rad." 

But really what we are more excited about is the fact that Anna Grace can edit for us. Which if you've been reading these, you've noticed we sometimes need. She hates pour grammar (see what I did there?).  She also travels with an overly-optimistic amount of reading material, which is good for me and Christa - who always have a nose in a book, when it's not in our phones...and "HOUSEPANTS." WTF are housepants? We do not know, but we are excited to learn. 

Let's get sweating, Anna Grace Christiansen!

The Return of The Money Train -- Tracey Craniosacral Camero by Becca Schepps

Tracey has been scared of this announcement since she realized her riding at Gateway Cup wasn't just dipping her toe back into the domestic cycling ocean to see if it was swimmable, but more like dipping her toe in, and simultaneously realizing the temperature was fantastic and she had been desperately missing that perfect blend of salt water, waves and sun. So instead of slowly wading into the ocean to that awkward point where the water hits the small of your back and you're not sure if you're gonna go in or get out because you're awkwardly and uncomfortably cold, Tracey just dove straight in, head first. She swam out as far as she could and caught a ride on a wave, or dolphin, or mermaid, who knows. Whatever it was, Tracey Cameron is back on the domestic cycling scene. 

Tracey has had many nicknames. Juicyfruit, T-Money, Tray-Cray-Cray, KetoTeeto, Yogi Tracey, That Girl... the list goes on.  No matter what you happen to call her, or what we end up naming her, there is one thing for certain. She is fierce. She is a competitor. And she crushes anything she focuses her energy on -- Which is why we are stoked she's stoked about cycling again. 

Some things Tracey is not stoked about is when the last song we listen to before race time is Britney Spears', "Hit me Baby One More Time," and the fact that at theTour of America's Dairyland's they give out cheese and milk on the podium. Tracey is lactose intolerant. She is also gluten intolerant, sometimes meat intolerant, but other times fruit intolerant, although she used to be a fruititarian and subsided on 30 bananas a day. However, now-a-days she exists mostly on Jun (which is a honey based Kombucha drink) and Bacon.

So wait, let's backtrack. Who is Tracey and where did we find her?

Tracey burst onto the cycling scene out of nowhere with a literal and figurative box of bananas. Seriously, she burst into one of her team hotel rooms, at a pretty big UCI race, yielding a giant box of browning bananas. Fueled by Bananas, Brown Rice and Lentils, she upgraded her way through the categories in less than a season, even getting a top 20 result at the then UCI Women's Winston Salem Crit. That year, she went on to guest ride for some of the best teams in 2013 like Pepper Palace, Fearless Femme and more. She earned some major results, her quads got huge and most noteworthy was her solo breakaway at the Tour of America's Dairyland's Road America road race where Tracey, this no-name powerhouse of a rider, rode off the front and kept going and going and going. She was on fire.

Then after a bad spill later in the season, which left her down half of both of her front teeth, she posted a ridiculously long message on Facebook about how she was quitting cycling that may or may not have ended in a Bob Dylan or John Lennon quote and also somehow tied in Monsanto, gnomes, climate change and possibly transcendental meditation.

With her departure from cycling cemented, Tracey was set on literally bending her body back into the contortionist ways it was used to (she was a child gymnast). Tracey did a ton of yoga, a ton of rehabilitation for her crashes (including new front teeth), a ton of soul searching and documented the progression, which was incredible. She also moved out of NYC to southern Florida. Then decided it was time to turn in the palm tree life for the mountains, and made her way to Boulder, Colorado. She was working as a massage therapist and with the transition took her practice in a new direction and got certified in craniosacral therapy.

In Colorado she felt connected to the earth again. She did more yoga, hiked, and moved into an awesome home with a cuban hunk, 20 birds, 4 cats and maybe a chinchilla and an emu (again, that's the myth). Then on a whim, and perhaps with a bit of persuasion from yours truly, she came and raced with LA Sweat at the 2016 Gateway Cup. On two weeks of training she proved she her fire for cycling was still hot. Color us impressed. 

You may be reading this and thinking, "WAIT, WTF? WHO IS THIS PERSON?" That's what everyone thinks the first one, or maybe seven times they meet Tracey. But then you realize that her passion has no bounds. Her friendship is unwavering. Her generosity is limitless. Her strength is overpowering. And her speed at flipping a toilet paper roll that isn't facing out to out at a host-house is faster than a speeding bullet.  And then you'll fall in love with her too.

Welcome Tracey The-Incredible Cameron to LA Sweat.

It's gonna be a wild ride.

Tenacious E.....rin Goodall by Becca Schepps

We are officially moving on from the braided LA Sweat'ers and moving on to the shorter haired, but taller stature of Erin Goodall. Erin guest rode with LA Sweat the latter half of the 2016 season and this ever trendy, shaved head had us countless times confusing her with former LA Sweat rider Chris Birch (who after finding success at Pan Am's decided to focus more on track next season) as well as team owner, Kelli Samuelson.  

Erin is a ball of vegan joy that never gives up based out of Portland, Oregon. This girl has fight. She has been competing on the track for some time, however this past year marked Erin's first year taking to the P-R-O criterium circuit. It was how she fought so hard to improve, move-up and get results, in a matter of a few races, that earned her the nickname "Tenacious E." You can also see this PMA (Positive Mental Attitude) scribed on her leg in the picture below.

If you need an example of how this towering powerhouse fights and overcomes any adversity, here it is:  Erin is much more of a 4-corner crit racer, she says these races are "her jam," and names Boise Twilight as her favorite race of the season. However, this past year at the Montinore Road Race in Oregon, a race that officially marked her transition from track racing to road, she found herself in a 25-mile solo break. Ouch. She powered through. 

Hailing from the land of dampness, Erin is very Portland. She is not only a vegan, but participates in many Feminist Facebook groups that provide endless conversation, discussion and entertainment in the team car. And whilst Top 40 often blares through the car's speakers, Erin's ears yearn for A Beyonce/Suicidal Tendencies mix (she loathes the idea of having "Call Me Maybe" stuck in her head pre-race).

However the long rainy Portland season doesn't diminish any joy from the ever-present Erin. Although it might because she gets to ride in Castelli's Gabba Longsleeve jersey and Nanoflex Bib tights. Those things are Portland proof. On the road Erin is a calming presence who puts us all at ease by breaking the ice by showing us YouTube Spanish Language Lawyer commercials. But more on that another time. 

To us, Erin is a Portland Unicorn. She's strong, an individual, rough-and-tumble, tender hearted and kind. And if nothing else qualifies her for Unicorn Status, her dreams of having a rainbow mohawk should. We think team owner Kelli Samuelson (a former hairdresser) can make this happen. 

Welcome to LA Sweat, Erin! May 2017 be full of spikes and rainbows. 

Guts, Glitter & Ghent = Christa by Becca Schepps

She goes by SkiBikeGlitter on the internet, and in our opinion that handle is not in preferential order. In fact, we suggest Christa Emily Ghent change her name to GlitterBikeSki. However when you say that fast it makes her sound Polish, and Polish, Christa is not (not that there is anything wrong with being Polish).

Christa Ghent is Coloradan through-and-through. Born and bred in the mountains, this girl can shred anything, skis, mountain bikes, cyclocross courses, hairy descents, sketchy corners, gravelly roads and paper (probably). And LA Sweat is excited to have her back in the saddle with us for 2017.

She also has the most amazing hair. 

However, you may not have even noticed her amazing hair because Christa is fast. Really fast. (Or maybe it's because she often wears it tied back in a bun or pony tail -- like Brenna the Braided Bandit and Mel -- do you see a theme here?) But really, Christa is so fast she will blaze by you and you'll be like, 'WHO WAS THAT?' 

So we will tell you. 

Christa is a fancy girl. Each morning she starts her day with perfectly steeped English Breakfast Tea and quiet contemplation and a book. She adorns her earlobes with blinged-out, post-back earrings that'll have Kate Spade herself wanting to grab hold of each lobe and yank. Her sunglasses look like something Audrey Hepburn would yearn for. Her nails are always the most understated, but perfect color, and always meticulously manicured.

But don't let any of this fool you. If you catch Christa on any Boulder infamous weekend group ride and you mess with her, expect this 5'2" powerhouse to land an elbow in your side. Basically: Do not steal her wheel unless you're going to hold the wheel.

Christa trains and races with a ferocity and determination of someone twice her size.  

She is that rare rider that shows a passion for hard work, no matter what it is. She takes conference calls from the back seat of the team car, talking big business lingo and tapping away on her laptop. If we had to guess, her favorite app would not be the Training Peaks app, it would be SLACK. What we are really trying to say is.... Christa is dialed.

This past year was Christa's first year returning to consistent national level racing and once she got the hang of it, she was on the up - which you can see as she begins her domination of the cyclocross season. She rode her way to 6th place at the legendary and big money Downer's Ave Criterium at the Tour of America's Dairyland, and tore it up at the last race of the season, Gateway Cup.

On par with her results is her choice of music. You can count on Christa to know all 40 of the Top 40 - however don't you dare play "Shake It Off" before a race. Sorry, T-Swift.

She also loves Australian Licorice. We thought this was weird, but then we tried it, and that tart, tangy and sweet combination sums up Christa perfectly.

    The Braided Bandit: Brenna Wrye-Simpson by Becca Schepps

    Now meet Mel's twin: Brenna Wrye-Simpson, hailing from Portland, Oregon. Both Mel and Brenna have the thickest blonde hair we ever did see, that's often braided into a Rapunzel like rope hanging off the side of their head. While both these ladies guest rode with LA Sweat last year, then never rode with us at the same time, which we're sure is going to provide some difficulty in telling them apart in the future. 

    They both also have an obsession with caffeine, although while Mel is all about quantity, Brenna is a stickler for quality. She enjoys a perfectly brewed cappuccino in the morning and a black coffee in the afternoon. Nothing gets Brenna worked up more than a bad cup of coffee. Which is why her coffee kit is as important as her helmet and goes with her everywhere. Oh and did we mention this coffee kit isn't just an aeropress, hand grinder and some beans, they must be hometown beans. But enough of their similarities.  

    Last year Brenna rode her way to 11th at the super tough Stillwater Crit on the last stage of the North Star Grand Prix, landing her a top-20 spot in the final GC. #colormeimpressed. She also tried track racing for the first time this year and loved it (which is good because we hope to push the whole team into some new experiences this year... fixie crits anyone?). She told us racing on the short, super steep and rather rough pavement of the Alpenrose track was like rollercoaster racing and was, "super rad." 

    When Brenna joined us at Tulsa Tough this past year, we knew she was a keeper because one, she was aggressive as hell. Two, she loves Citrus Froot Nuun. Three, she loves the way a Castelli Chamois feels on her butt.  Four, she has major bike mechanic SKILLZ. When one of us (ahem, me) basically stripped our hub and destroyed our cassette, she was on it and had it working (I can't be trusted to touch bikes). And five, while she can be quiet, (probably because Brenna hates unnecessary noise like loud gum chewing, repetitive filler words in conversations and pen clicking), she knows that any Beyonce is the best song to play on the way to a race.... and you can't argue with that. 

     So Brenna! We are so excited to have you! Welcome to 2017! 

    Mel Beale is SWEATING CAFFEINE! by Becca Schepps

    We're excited to announce the signing of the ever caffeinated Mel Beale to LA Sweat in 2017. 

    Mel Beale or Melanie Nichole Beale if we're being all proper, started sweating with LA Sweat towards the end of 2016 and we just couldn't get enough of her blonde braid and sassy remarks. Or maybe it was when we brought her with us to Intelligentsia Cup and she solo lapped he 2/3 field in her first race ever riding with us.

    Eh-hem.... We were happy for her, and then let her know she won't be doing the 2/3 race again. Especially since early that year she took fifth at the Tour de Murrieta behind some big women's teams like Colavita, Twenty16 and Hagen Berman.

    Oh mel... We're shaking our heads, Mel (and clapping our hands...Y-E-S!)

    Often times we lose Mel when we're trying to do a team meeting or warm-up, but now we know where to find her ----> The coffee shop.

    This girl can drink more caffeine than anyone we have ever met. From wake-up to race time she averages about 3+ iced coffees, and still somehow manages to be the first person to fall asleep. That's talent.

    IN HER OWN WORDS: "Racing for LA Sweat is fantastic. In women's sports there is this stereotype that women have to be Tom Boys. LA Sweat completely destroys that stereotype! We can crush a bike race and then put on our rompers and look fabulous." 

    Follow Mel on Instagram: @mel_beale5