CHALLENGE: Not to jinx it but… <3 by Becca Schepps

by Tiffany Pezullo 

The only thing I am more superstitious about discussing than lack of flat tires is how surprisingly calm the wind has been or how the rain/snow hasn’t started yet. My weather and barometric pressure superstitions are ok to discuss once the ride is over (I mean DEFINITELY not during the ride especially before the halfway point). But NOT getting flat tires? Who wants to tempt fate? So let's talk Challenge.

But here I will do exactly that, setting aside my superstitions to talk about how much I (along with the rest of the girls on the team) appreciate and enjoy our Challenge Tires.

 So now you are looking for the reason why...

... For those of you waiting for an in-depth discussion on rolling resistance, thread count (not just for sheets anymore!) and watt differentials as speed increases by 1 Km/hr at different pressures...Allow me to direct you to a million great articles on the internet. You will find no charts here. I actually tried to educate myself about some of these things in an effort to articulate WHY I love these tires. And it wasn’t a waste of time. At least I came up with some tech-y sounding terms to use in this blog post like VULCANIZED (which it turns out isn’t something that happened to characters on Star Trek). I would also like to provide a disclaimer about my failure to use the word “supple”. I. just. Can’t. It’s like that thing people have with the word “moist”. Not a total visceral reaction, but I would just prefer to not say that word or ever had it said to me.

But onto our Challenge Tires! They are Italian, and everyone knows Italians do it better (at least if you’ve seen Madonna’s “Papa don’t preach” video or taken my computrainer class at House of Watts).

 These tires are bravissimo. We ride the Forte clinchers for training and the Strada Tubulars for racing. At the risk of angering the racing/riding/tire gods...no flats in any races thus far! The tubulars corner like they are on rails (for you “Pretty Woman” fans out there) and the clinchers are super comfy without feeling slooooow.

And I can’t remember the last time I flatted on a Forte clincher and I live in Salt Lake City where we have great skiing and super fun winter  and mountain non-smooth riding for the adventurous in spirit.

Forte means strong in Italian. We like these words in both languages. On our team we also like snacks which translates roughly to “merenda or uno spuntino.”

 In sum, our Challenge tires get a collective 18 thumbs up. If you are looking for a secret race weapon or just to give your steed a little upgrade, consider acquiring some of these excellent tires! See you out there!

 

TULSA TIME - NO CRY BABIES ALLOWED by Becca Schepps

Okay.... It's Tulsa Tough Time! Aka, BEST RACE EVER, aka BEST TIME OF THE YEAR, aka AWESOME, aka, YESSSSSS, aka YAASSS. 

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FRIDAY @ 7:55pm  - MCNELLIE’S GROUP BLUE DOME CRITERIUM - THIRD STREET AND ELGIN AVENUE

SATURDAY @ 6:50pm - GEORGE KAISER FAMILY FOUNDATION BRADY ARTS DISTRICT CRITERIUM - BRADY STREET AND BOSTON AVENUE

SUNDAY @ 3:30PM - CRY BABY HILL, AKA: NEW MEDIO RIVER PARKS CRITERIUM - 15TH STREET AND RIVERSIDE DRIVE 

So who's racing? Our LA Sweat Roster for Tulsa is: Kim Lucie, Christa Ghent, Mel Beale, Brenna Wrye Simpson, Tiffany Pezullo & Anna Grace Christansen

MOST IMPORTANT FOR THOSE OF YOU ON THE INTERNET: YES THERE IS A LIVE STREAM!

But really, we love TULSA! Right now we're camped out at Double Shot, aka OUR FAVORITE COFFEE PLACE. 

....HERE IS A REPEAT OF OUR SCHEDULE FROM RIGHT NOW THROUGH THE WEEKEND.....

WEDNESDAY 6/7: We'll be doing the Wednesday Night Group Ride. You can find all the info and stuff here. It rolls around 5-5:30 ish for 20-45 miles. It's awesome. It has a HUGE BBQ at the end.

THURSDAY 6/8: We'll be rolling from Spoke House Bicycling for their group ride they host the day before Tulsa Tough. We will try to update on times.. but maybe like 6pm ish?

AND NOW THE RACE SCHEDULE. 
All info can also be found on Tulsa Tough's Website. The theme for CRY BABY HILL is FLOAT PARTY - so like..... we will have floats, and you should too. WE CANNOT WAIT FOR THE WEEKEND! Follow the livestream, here.

FRIDAY 6/9 @ 7:55pm  - MCNELLIE’S GROUP BLUE DOME CRITERIUM - THIRD STREET AND ELGIN AVENUE

SATURDAY 6/10 @ 6:50pm - GEORGE KAISER FAMILY FOUNDATION BRADY ARTS DISTRICT CRITERIUM - BRADY STREET AND BOSTON AVENUE

SUNDAY 6/11 @ 3:30PM - CRY BABY HILL, AKA: NEW MEDIO RIVER PARKS CRITERIUM - 15TH STREET AND RIVERSIDE DRIVE 

After Tulsa, Kim Lucie, Mel Beale, Brenna Wrye Simpson and Anna Grace will be joining Erin Goodall up in Minnesota for North Star accompanied by Team Manage, Kelli Samuelson. 

JUNE GOES VROOM by Becca Schepps

June 1 @ Bike Appreciation Ride! - Oklahoma City, OK
June 2-4 @ OKC Pro Am - Oklahoma City, OK

Yes! We are so stoked to be heading the OKC Pro Am Classic! We've heard a ton of awesome things about this race and can't wait to give Oklahoma City a sweaty hello! 

Here's a run down of the races and LINK to the flyer.

8pm Friday, June 2 - 815 N Hudson, Oklahoma City, OK 73102

12:25pm Saturday, June 3 - 726 W Sheridan, Oklahoma City, OK 73102

1:05pm Sunday, June 4 - 900 N Broadway, Oklahoma City, OK 73102

 

Here's a video from the 2015 race... WE ARE STOKED!

June 9-11 @ Tulsa Tough -  Tulsa, OK
June 14-18 @ Northstar Gran Prix, Minnesota

THE MEL-ENNIAL REPORTS - SPEEDWEEK 2017 by Becca Schepps

As a big block of races approach- I look back on Speed Week. What a fantastic first team race of the year for LA Sweat. For some perspective- I am the baby of the team. The MELennial, if you will. I’m a little new to this team tactics- or even team- thing because I raced mostly solo all throughout college. Fake it till you make it, right?

We spent more time over these 10 days in a car than actually on a bike- probably 2-3x as much. But we had such a joyous time eating snacks and doing town line “sprints” (aka who can reach their hand out the furthest and possibly smash it into the windshield.) Not to mention our incredible CAR! A Buick Roadmaster borrowed from Christa’s lovely uncle. We got numerous compliments on the car, plus it fit all of our Castelli bags and the Yakima rack held 4 of our 5 bikes. (Plus Christa’s tiny person bike in the back.)

We had all met and jived really well at team camp- but we had no idea how we would work as a team. Kim and I had raced together a bit last year when I guest rode for her team, but neither of us with Brenna and it was just the three of us for the first three races. Our instructions were to not be too aggressive- which I guess we failed- but in a beautiful way.

Day 1: Rock Hill Criterium

It was on a “BMX criterium” course (whatever the F that is) with what Kim called a “MOUNTAIN” of a climb to the finish. All of the racers were quite antsy and with such a wide open course staying at the front was kind of difficult. Not to mention we were all like “wtf how do I race a crit again?!” But there was a prime, Kim got in a break, and all was rad. Brenna and I rushed to the front to slow the field down and the gap grew. Until it shrunk. And shrunk. And the last 200 meters… they got caught. But you know how awesome Kim is?! She stayed up there and sprinted for 6th. Not a bad start to the week. I got like last because I was yelling at Kim from a switchback on the last lap and dropped myself. LOL. Who cares. Mission (kind of) accomplished.

Day 2: Belmont Criterium 

We heard it’s a doozy! It was supposed to be pouring rain and the course featured a semi-technical descent with a climb to the finish. We had Kim 7th in GC and we needed advice. TIFFANY PEZZULO TO THE RESCUE!!! Also known as #tiffspo, like #fitspo but way cooler and more Italian and badass and stuff. Here’s the plan: Erica Allar will try to get in a break, probably with Peta Mullens. Kim gets to follow them and Mel and Brenna get to do what they did at Rock Hill. COOL! Sounds hard. BUT WE DID IT! And Tiff was 100% correct, of course. Unfortunately the weather forecast was correct as well. Pouring rain. Kim was in a 5-woman break and that thing was GONE. She sprinted for 3rd (!!!) and I managed to take 2nd in the field sprint for 7th, and Brenna was in the $$ as well. GUYS WE’RE DOING SO WELL!

Day 3: Walterboro Criterium 

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Ugh, not my favorite race. Kim, however, was feeling great. No breaks stuck, but she was in 4th wheel going into the 1st corner on the last lap. BUT WAIT! Coming through for one to go, someone crashed into the barrier around the wheel pit and there was a massive crash. Neutralized! Shoot. We waited around for 15 minutes, then they gave us 2 to go and all hell broke loose. Someone else slid out on the 2nd to last corner, but Kim still managed 7th and we all stayed upright. Survival mode: expert.

Day 3.5: WE DID A KICKR TRAINER RACE AND BRENNA KICKED BUTT.

The Athens people asked us to do a fundraiser/trainer race for free beer and prizes in between Walterboro and Spartanburg. It was an 8-minute “how many miles can you do” test. So naturally all three of us did it. We quickly found out that Brenna is a freaking rock star and crushed everyone else. She won us $1000 and then 5 minutes later was sipping a beer. That’s our Brenna. 

Day 4: Spartanburg Criterium

CRISTA AND TIFF ARE HERE!!! The five-woman squad ready to crush. The main idea: take primes, stay at the front, make it fast, work for Kim. And that’s exactly what we did!! As I mentioned, I’d never worked with a team before and it was so much fun. I loved hearing my teammates tell me what to do, and we did a perfect leadout…. Three laps too early. Oops. We still got Kim in the top 10 for 8th and Tiff 10th, plus lots of primes.

 

Day 5: Athens Twilight Criterium

 GUYS I HAVE BEEN DREAMING ABOUT DOING THIS RACE SINCE 2014 WHEN I FIRST STARTED RACING. I was feeling a bit tired from all of the races thus far, but I was beyond excited. I dug deeper in that race keeping it fast and grabbing primes than I think I ever have in my life. LA Sweat walked away with 10+ primes and the announcers really noticed us too. And we kept Kim in her 5th GC spot as planned, so it was a success.

 

Day 6: Roswell Criterium

Ok not going to lie, my legs were 110% shot by this day. It was difficult for me to even stick with the accelerations and just stay at the front. But holy crap was it amazing to watch my teammates control the race yet again- snagging primes, sitting on the front, getting Kim into the mix… it was incredible. They got Kim up to 4th to bring her to 4th overall, and we got 3rd overall as a team!! What a feeling.  

Long story short, I love this team. This is going to be a great season.

Up next: OKC Pro-AM and Tulsa Tough!!

 

 

Tulsa Tough is my favorite crit series of the year, hands down. As I’m sure many other people would agree, Cry Baby Hill is my favorite. The crowd has more energy than you can even imagine and the course is hard and selective. I JUST GOT GOOSEBUMPS THINKING ABOUT IT!

Plus: the theme this year is “float party” so naturally, we have already purchased floats.

I can hardly wait. See you in Oklahoma!

 

LOOK LIKE US 💋 by Becca Schepps

Yup, the time you've been waiting for is here... WE ARE DROPPING LOTS OF NEW GEAR, SO THAT YOU CAN LOOK SUPER AWESOME IN LA SWEAT STUFF!

Check out how stoked Mel Beale and Christa are.... 💋 💋 

 

Now....  IF YOU WANT THE KIT... just click here.

IF YOU WANT TO LOOK LIKE US FROM HEAD-TO-TOE, HERE'S WHAT WE GOT:  We have socks. We have caps. We have gloves. AND NOW.... we have taller socks, baselayers and THE LA SWEAT FANCLUB KIT, for sale - well the kit is pre-order! But yeah bro, we are super excited to be able to offer up these to you, so here's a run down of how you can get sweaty in LA Sweat gear. 

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TALL SOCKS:

You know what these are, they are basically exactly like the socks pictured below, but taller. Basically, we have some super shorties (me included) on the team that were like, hey can we get some small socks that don't end up being knee-highs? And then the tall people, like Kelli and Erin and well, everyone but Christ and I, were like.. um, can we get some socks that aren't ankle socks and look SUPER P-R-O?! So now you can look super fly in these tube-sock inspired tall socks.


BASE LAYERS:

Oh hello! This is Castelli's incredible baselayer with our motto, "SWEAT" across the chest. It'll give you that secret pop of EFF-YEAH under your kit, and will keep you cool when you're hot and hot when you're cold. Plus they look stunning and they support our team. 


THE LA SWEAT FAN KIT:

Okay, now work with me here. The FAN kit is the LA Sweat training kit in all NAVY BLUE. So this photo you see below? That's our team training kit. See how the top is WHITE? The kit we have for sale is NAVY BLUE through and through. Which you can see in the awesome rendering from Castelli. Why is the kit we're offering different from the one our team wears? Email us and ask. Or just deal with it :) And slip into this super rad, super fly, super svelte, stylish kit. And support our bad ass group of fricking fast women.

ITS LIKE THIS BUT DIFFERENT.

(the bibs are the same, but see below for the jersey)

BASICALLY, What we're offering to the public is a navy version of our kit. The NAVY, once printed will be lighter, because it'll be on Castelli's awesome aero materials. The BIBS on the other hand will be exactly like ours.... #TWINNING!

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BIBS. GET THEM.

(seriously, they're fantastic)

 

DON'T FORGET THE BIBS! You can see them on our butts from coast-to-coast. Next stop, OKLAHOMA!

(and those gloves below, they're also for sale)

 

 

 

 

SPEED!!!!!! TUNE IN AND WATCH LA SWEAT LIVE! by Becca Schepps

Okay! Giddy up! It's officially race season! WANNA WATCH US RACE LIVE? Scroll down....

HERE ARE SOME SUPER QUICK LINKS SO YOU CAN WATCH US RACE LIVE:

FRIDAY, APRIL 28 @7:05pm - SPARTANBURG REGIONAL HEALTHCARE CRITERIUM, SC -- 🎥 LIVESTREEM LINK

SATURDAY, APRIL 29 @7:15pm - ATHENS ORTHOPEDIC TWILIGHT OMG CRITERIUM, GA -- 🎥 LIVESTREEM LINK

SUNDAY, APRIL 30@ 3:35pm - HISTORIC ROSWELL CRITERIUM, GA -- 🎥 LIVESTREEM LINK

If you aren't, you should be totally following the team on INSTAGRAM, we're trying our darnedest to be Grammin up a storm on our Instagram Story. Luckily we have Mel-enial, our go-to millennial to make sure we're on top of all the apps. If you have anything you need googles, you can told shoot her a message. She's really good at the google. 

BUT BACK TO THE IMPORTANT STUFF! Last week we saw KIM hock-a-LUCIE race hard at the front, and earn her a spot on the podium at what, I personally think is like THE HARDEST CRIT EVER, The Belmont Crit.

We are so stoked. Kim even managed to stand atop the podium without doing anything super weird with her arms. She's super self-aware about arm placement. 

We have to think it was with some coaching from her teammates Mel and Brenna that she was able to hold those gangly phalanges upright.

NOW! You're probably like, wait we thought you were gonna be at REDHOOK? Or maybe you weren't. But yes, we are going to be at REDHOOK. In fact we are there right now. Erin, Ashley Faye and Flauer are kicking in the streets of NYC, ready to race on Saturday. Kelli will be with them and documenting. SO FOLLOW US ON INSTAGRAM --->

Here's a cool photo of them skitching around on fixies in NYC. Or maybe like trying to figure out where to go, but whatever. They're so dreamy. 

NOW FOR LIKE THE SUPER IMPORTANT INFORMATION AGAIN

HOW CAN YOU WATCH US? 

Allegedly there WILL be LIVESTREAM action Friday, Saturday and Sunday night down at SpeedWeek. You can check that info over here on the USACrits

For some more EASY CLICKING. HERE IS OUR SCHEDULE.

FRIDAY @7:05pm - SPARTANBURG REGIONAL HEALTHCARE CRITERIUM, SC -- 🎥 LIVESTREEM LINK

SATURDAY @7:15pm - ATHENS ORTHOPEDIC TWILIGHT OMG CRITERIUM, GA -- 🎥 LIVESTREEM LINK

SUNDAY @ 3:35pm - HISTORIC ROSWELL CRITERIUM, GA -- 🎥 LIVESTREEM LINK

LA Sweat Gets Hooked by kelli samuelson

Hey Redhook Crits, we're coming for ya!

Now ya see, LA Sweat Team Owner/Rider Kelli Samuelson doesn't come from a traditional racing background. In 2012 Kelli began racing the Redhook Crit. There was no women's race and there were only a few women lining up, all lining up and trying to qualify amongst the men. Now Redhook has it's own women's race, that's reaching crazy speeds and has attracted some major World Class talent.

That's why, fast forward 4 years later to NOW, and La Sweat is excited to announce the official launch of our Redhook #SQUAD!

Thanks to the support of our super dedicated sponsors and the addition of Kryptonite Locks (keeping us locked and loaded throughout all our adventures) and Fast Forward Wheels, we are stoked to be able to race the complete Redhook Crit Championship Series, with it's four destination races, Brooklyn, London, Barcelona & Milan.

Pictured of above is LA Sweat's newest addition to the Redhook Squad, Ashley Faye, at one of last years Redhook Championship Series races.

Pictured of above is LA Sweat's newest addition to the Redhook Squad, Ashley Faye, at one of last years Redhook Championship Series races.

In addition to our regular gear the Redhook Squad will be riding Vigorelli Cinelli track bikes, track-wheels from Fast Forward, tires from Challenge, and special edition skinsuits courtesy of Castelli. Grazie!

Select riders from our domestic team are super excited to drop their gears and take on a new the Fixed Gear Race Scene, including Tiffany Pezzulo, Anna Grace Christiansen, Kim Lucie and Erin Goodall. Plus, we're also super stoked to announce we'll be adding veteran Redhook favorites Fleur Faure and Ashley Faye from the other side of the pond (France and the Netherlands specifically). 

I am really looking forward to introducing and sharing what Redhook is all about with the rest of the LA Sweat riders.
— Kelli Samuelson 

 This team feels unstoppable! 

Follow along with us as we take on Redhook Brooklyn with Fleur, Ashley, Kelli and Erin, while the rest of the Squad will be down south racing the USA Crits Speedweek. 

Keep up with us on the road by following our calendar, here (and below).

What Happens in Trinidad, Stays on The Internet #SWEATCAMP2017 by Becca Schepps

Mid March 2017, nine girls descended on the northern California coastal town of Trinidad, California to ride bikes and share of love of composting and bubble water, amongst other things. 

First, thanks Castelli for driving the cars and capturing some amazing footage (see below):

The riding was insane.

At times we really weren't sure where we were. It looked like something out of Lord Of The Rings and that early 90s computer game MYST.

We nailed a few potholes while having our breath taken away by scenery. But it was nothing our Challenge tires and Cinelli Strato Faster's couldn't handle. 

And thanks to Castelli, they made us go up a climb also known as THE WALL, which was part of the race, Tour of Trinidad, from way back. Then they stood at the top and took photos of us suffering.. Thanks for that. 

Basically, Sweat Camp 2017 was awesome. And we can't wait to get racing.. 

XOXO BikeFlights.com by Becca Schepps

We <3 BikeFlights.com  --- and you probably will to, click here and you'll get 20% off!

Over the past three years we have been so lucky to be working with them. They have saved us a lot of moolah, and a lot of headaches. Seriously. 

Using them has meant --> No more airline fees. No more airlines crushing your bike and then being out of luck, cash and a bike. 

Best yet, when things go wrong, because come on, the mail isn't perfect, they are SO on top of it. They handle everything - they chase down your bike, help you figure out what to do while you're san shipment. It's like this little slice of heaven in a seriously stressful thing. 

SUPPORT OUR SOCKS! by Becca Schepps

If you were paying attention to the internet last week you may have noticed that LA Sweat 2017 is now a thing. 

Team Camp happened, more on that later, and we got our new look. Throughout the season we'll be releasing a very limited run of special pieces from our 2017 collection.

First up, socks!

These bad boys are tube-sock inspired and perfect for playing b-ball, or cycling. Or just looking like the flyest person at the coffee shop. White with navy blue stripes, these socks feature the 2017 LA Sweat and Cinelli logos. They're lower cut, which means you won't have to worry about them covering up that calf muscle. We think they kinda elongate our legs -- and by WE, I mean @Bescka & @SkiBikeGlitter.

But seriously - show your feet some love and support LA Sweat---> Get yourself some SOCKS!

We hate to see you go. But we love to watch you leave. by kelli samuelson

It is bittersweet to have to say goodbye so early to one of our riders. But we are really excited for what she has in store.

Welp, here we go. We were so stoked to get Tracey back on a bike. But the world had other plans. Tracey Cameron has been offered her dream job (and promotion), and we are so freakin sad to say with all the good news, comes some bad --> She won't be able to make the full commitment to the racing calendar. We hope we'll get to ride with her a little but because, we absolutely cherish Tracey and are wishing her all the best in her new endeavor.  

Kelli Samuelson, Team Manager of LA Sweat put it best, "It's things like this that make me work harder to be able to provide enough support for riders so one day they won't have to make these tough decisions. Tracey will always be a Sweat-er, even if she isn't lining up every weekend with us. We thank her for her selflessness in stepping down and opening up an opportunity for another women to chase her dream."

Goshdarnit! We love you Tracey. At Team Camp your presence was with us, and I hope your ears were ringing because we were totally gushing about our love for you. 

Tracey is always be up to something amazing. And this won't be the end of you + cycling. 

We love you and we wish you all the success in the world! 

Ugh. Sigh. I love Tracey.
— Becca Schepps

THIS JUST IN: KIM LUCIE by Becca Schepps

Yup! We've got some late-breaking news. Kim Lucie (that's not "Hey, Lucie I'm Home," but "Hey, Loochie, I'm home.") is officially joining LA Sweat for 2017. 

We are stoked. Not just because she's going to fit right in with our coffee crazed Portlanders and her travel-ready aeropress, need for locally sourced beans, and desire for the perfect black pourover - she claims any use of milk is waste of space that could be devoted to caffeine - -  but because if she was a unicorn she claimed she would use her horn to hold doughnuts. DOUGHNUTS. Yum. And seriously, what better way to use a unicorn horn? What's it for anyway? Magic? I have no idea.

But really, Kimberly, Kim but never Kimmy, Lucie (which is pronounced like LOO-CHEE, not Lucy), came out swinging last year. Based out of Tucson, Arizona, she made a name for herself on the fixed-gear circuit (more on that to come....stay tuned), and on the free-wheeloing road won the Manhattan Beach Grand Prix. Yas!

She's a real crit monster and perhaps a glutton for punishment. Her favorite race is the 3rd day of Tulsa Tough - you know the one with the giant hill that makes babies cry? Yeah that one. She claims, "I hate hills, but you kind of don’t notice how much is hurts when people are screaming and handing you dollar bills…plus I won the crowd prime last year so that kinda made it the best day ever." We're skeptical on the whole "I didn't notice how much it hurt thing," but it could have been because she was guzzling her favorite flavor of Nuun, which is Grape, while she charged Cry Baby Hill over and over and over again. 

We <3 Kim because Kim has good car music taste, which is super important when you're traveling by vehicle for hours and hours to go from race to race to race. What's good car taste? It means she basically will listen to anything. She told us the 4 most recent stations at the top of her Pandora (we'll have to switch her to Spotify) are Fleetwood Mac, Calvin Harris, Kevin Gates & Aaliyah. We like!

Kim says she will NEVER ride indoors. She uses the hashtag #layersnottrainers and you can see her climbing into the arctic abyss, or through mega, torrential downpours in her Castelli Nano-Flex warmers and Gabba jersey. LIFESAVERS. But more hard core than that is one time on an extremely long solo ride sans music, sans training partners, Kim had nothing in her head but the word "accoutrements." Brutal.

For all these reasons we're more than excited to welcome Kim Lucie to LA Sweat in 2017. 

You can follow her on Instagram: @ride_eat_repeat. But don't follow her all the time, unless you're looking to also run into her Tucson comrade, Mel Beale. Both of them get easily snacktrackted. 

OH AND DID WE MENTION LA SWEAT-CAMP STARTS WEDNESDAY NIGHT?!

OH YEAH IT DOES!

 

Stay tuned for updates!! 

 

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. 

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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.

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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.