Saturday, September 19, 2015

Looking Towards 2016

As we look back at the 2015 season, we are happy to have had such an amazing year of racing.

Kirstin Borda took the overall win in the Category 3/4 New Jersey Spring Series.


Sarah took the win in the 35+ Master's Road Race and Time Trial Championships.


 Beth brought home another state champion jersey in the 30+ Time Trial.


All in all, the team logged over 20 podiums and 5 wins.  For a team of only 6 riders, that's not too shabby!  Annnnd, at the NJ State Banquet later this year, we'll bring  home the Garden State Cup 1st place Team Award.

To say that we've had a great season would be an understatement.  We've grown as individual riders and as a team, working on developing strong lead outs, always being aggressive, and having FUN while we do it.

We held a great in jury prevention workshop at our sponsor Specialized Physical Therapy and worked hard to rep our amazing sponsors both on and off the bike.

We thank our sponsors once again, for their continued support of the squad and belief in us!

As we turn to 2016, there will be some changes afoot.

It is with a bit of sadness, but much love that we announce that Kristin will be returning "home" and rejoining the Action Wheels women's race team for next season.  This wonderful group of women have been like our sister team, as we were welcomed into the Action Wheels family.  Kristin will undoubtedly bring some strong legs and experience to the team.  They're going to be a force to reckon with, for sure.

The next big piece of news is that we're joining forces with the women of Team EPS/CSS p/b Shebell and Shebell.  The newly created Riptide-CAWES team draws from the strengths of each squad - adding our strong break riders to their powerful team of sprinters.  We expect that this combination of powerful squads will allow us to make some serious waves in both the local races and in the regional NRC/NCC and USA Crits series races.

Riders joining the Riptide-CAWES team will be Beth Bonilla, Maria Dziembowska, Meredith Ehn, and Sarah Iepson.



For now, we leave you with the mystery of how, exactly, we will blend orange, green, and blue and what the heck the 2016 kit will look like.  All we can say is... it's sure to make our butts look FAST!!

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Last Race of the Year

Today was the last race of the 2015 season.  Meredith and I lined up at the Doylestown Criterium Race.  It's a great downtown course that has some really technical elements... a screaming fast descent with three turns, and a slow and steady uphill climb to the finish.

We were streaming live on the interwebs, so Meredith and I made sure to show our faces, kit colors, and sponsors tat the front as often as we could.  We launched some attacks, covered some moves, and raced hard.  In the end, a break of three got away.  Without enough team power in the peloton to chase, their lead stretched out of sight pretty quickly.  So, we settled in for the finish.

It was a tough race with a few additional attacks coming from those remaining in the field, but the group stayed together to the final climb.  In the end, I finished 10th and Meredith 14th.

Some videos for your viewing pleasure, thanks to Mr. Porkchop...




Not a bad way to end the season, methinks.

As always, we are so incredibly grateful for our amazing sponsors and their support.  Without you, we could not conceive of racing as often and as hard as we do.

THANK YOU!!

Monday, August 17, 2015

Updates!

There's been a LOT going on for the ladies in green over the past few weeks.

We brought home TWO State Titles in the NJ State Master's Time Trial!  Beth won the 30+ race and Choppah brought him the 35+ title.

The 40K time trial was held on the relatively flat, but always deceptively windy, roads of Hammonton, NJ.  Beth rode an amazing race, beating her time from the previous year and proved her amazing skill at the TT by clocking the 2nd best time for the women on the day!

Chop was admittedly the only woman in the 35+ race, but she rode super hard, clocked the 4th best time of the day out of all of the female competitors, and brought home another gold medal and jersey.  And, spent the rest of the day with ice on various body parts.  40K Time Trials HURT, people.  They hurt.

Since then, we've Toured with the Fishes, Honored the Sacrifice of Sandrino, taken a Twilight beer break at Iron Hill, ambled around a beautiful new course in Ambler, and suffered the heat in the Dawg Days of Summer.

At these events, we've gotten 4 podiums, 1 win, 1 stuffed puppy dog, and had a ton of fun!

 Dawg Days 35+ podium!

 Dawg Days Women's Open podium!

 TEAM PUPPY!!

Maria took 2nd in the Cat 4 race at Ambler!

Next week sees Meredith and Choppah go up to Binghamton, NY to race against the BIG girls at the Chris Thater Memorial Criterium series.  One of the last stops in the Professional NCC circuit, some of the biggest names in domestic cycling will be on hand to give us our due comeuppance!  We're really exited for that race and the rest of the season!

Thanks, as always, to our sponsors for making this all possible!

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

This Post Brought to You By the Number 4

So... it seems that number 4 is lucky for me at the moment.

Meredith and I headed down to the MABRA Criterium Championships in Frederick a couple of weekends back.  First of all, it was so nice to see the southern gals again after a season of racing up here in the north.  The women of ABRT are so strong and so lovely - I just have the best time racing and hanging with them.  And, the field down there was such a nice size - with the 1/2 and 3 race on course at the same time, we had over 30 women vying for the win.

Meredith and I had a good plan - we knew who to watch and we knew what we wanted to do.  We launched a few attacks, we covered moves off the front, and then... when nothing seemed likely to stick, we found good wheels for the finish.

ABRT was, of course, highly active throughout the race... particularly attentive to NCVC rider Alexis Zink and a few others.  With about 2 to go, ABRT began to string it out and I moved onto the very familiar wheel of BChan!  Following her through the final corner right at the front, I heard a crash behind and just gunned it for the line.  I ended up crossing in 4th and was really happy with that!


This past weekend, I went out to the Oldmans Time Trial in South Jersey.  With my modified Amira and my Zipp wheels, I was feeling pretty fast and managed to finish 2nd to Lauren Dags in the Women's Open.  

Then, we headed up to Basking Ridge for the NJ State Crit Championships.  The course was... strange.  It's a big oval with a screaming descent and a big ring hill.  Things were going ok for the first 20 minutes or so, and then we had a rather nasty crash in our race.  It was on the downhill section, so speeds were high.  I was near the front, so I have no idea how it happened, just that I heard it and could tell that it was a hard crash.  In the end, four riders went off to hospital and while all are ok - they have some major healing to do.  I hope that all of them heal up fast and well... gentle hugs and lots of love, ladies!

After some hemming and hawing, we decided to restart the race with a truncated distance and a smaller field.  It was so hard to get the legs back in the game, not to mention my brain - which was pretty distracted.  But, we did and with 1.5 to go, Masha attacked and got a bit of a gap.  Emily Spence, Lauren, Amy Cutler and I chased and with about .5 lap to go, Amy jumped to finish closing the gap.  She caught Masha before the line, and I came in just behind Lauren for 4th.  

Up next, the girls head to the Tour de Fish in big numbers!  This race is fantastically fun, technical, and fast.  CAWES is helping to support the race by providing merchandise and dollar prizes for the women's race.  Come on out, race it, watch it, drink some beer, have some fun - BIKES!!

Finding Our Legs at Fitchburg

A couple of weekends ago, a few of the ladies (Meredith, Beth, and Sarah) went up to Massachusetts to race in the always awesome Fitchburg Longsjo Classic.  Years ago, this race was a several day stage race that included a crit, circuit, and road race.  Sarah gives a report of this on her blog (from her much younger years!) here and here.   

This year, it was a series of three criterium races.  Each one had it's own particular peculiarities - lots of corners, crunchy road surfaces, rain.  But, each was fun and fast.

With a stacked field of racers, we went in with the goal of racing hard, aggressive, and safe, and working on our finishes in terms of positioning and sprinting.  It was going to be a tough weekend, but we were excited.  Plus, we got to stay at a Goat Farm, so... there was that!!

 Our amazing home for the weekend...
And the local residents...

 Sarah walking a goat...
 Beth walking a llama!
Recovery was the name of the game between races.  Thanks to NormaTec for making these amazing "Space Legs!"  We LOVE them.

Now, about the racing.  The events were really great and the gals felt fantastic in the fields.  Before the first event we overheard, "It's going to be tough, those CAWES girls are here."  That felt pretty good.  And, we did our best to make it tough.

The first race went well with us launching a few attacks and trying to go with moves off the front.  As expected, though, things generally stayed together.  With a late race attack from Zimmer Capital's Beth Ruiz, Sarah chased it down and still managed to finish 11th on the day with Meredith in 15th and Beth in 18th.


Day 2 was highly technical with some rough roads.  But, the girls kept it strung out and hard through the rough areas and with a lot of attacking, it was another fun race.  Sarah improved on her previous day's race with a strong 9th place finish.  Meredith and Beth raced strong and hard - launching attacks and chasing breaks to finish 14th and 25th.

The last day was the traditional downtown Fitchburg criterium... this awesome photo by Ashley Green appeared on the cover of the local paper the day after our race.  You can see some lime green just to the left of the center of the pack!


Another tough race found the girls positioning themselves well at the end to finish 9th, 10th, and 20th.

All in all, we felt that the weekend was a great chance to race hard for three days straight.  We can't wait to come back next year for the races AND for the amazing hospitality at Goat Ridge Farm!  :)

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Getting to Know Us...

Since we're such an enigmatic bunch, we thought we'd give you a little insight into our riders.  Editor's additions are in green!

So, we'll start off alphabetically with the oh-so powerful Beth Bonilla!!

photo credit: Sara Brams-Miller

Nickname: Beth (of course!)

Hometown: Great Falls, MT - Big Sky Country, kids... waaaay over there on the other side of the nation.  It kinda looks like this:


Profession (other than pro bike racer chick)?  Mechanical engineer.  Translation: smarty pants.

What first drew you to race your bike?  A friend, who was a semi-pro cyclist said he thought I'd be good at it.  (We'd say he was quite right!)

photo credit: Will Rivas

What motivates you to get on your bike each day?  Different things... sometimes it's a way to enjoy the sunshine or just be outside.  Sometimes it's for the companionship.  Sometimes for the feeling after a difficult ride of knowing I pushed myself as hard as I could.  Sometimes so I can race better, sometimes to maintain a healthy body weight, and sometimes I ride because it's fun to go fast!

What is your favorite cycling related word?  Cadence (it just sounds cool)

What is your least favorite cycling related word?  Crash

What is your racing style?  Breakaway or readout rider, but hard, fast crits are fun, too!

What profession, other than your own, would you like to attempt?  Restaurant business.  I haven't decided if I would focus on fresh, healthy meals that make people feel good, or desserts that make people happy.  I love both kinds of food!

If you had a super power, what would it be and why?  Flying, because flying dreams are my favorite!

Hit shuffle on your music playlist... what are the first three songs that play?  "Dear John" by Taylor Swift, "Swingtown" by the Steve Miller Band, and "O Come and Mourn with Me Awhile" by Jars of Clay.

Proudest Cycling Moment: The first time I finished the Wilmington Grand Prix Pro Race with the field.  It was my second year doing the race, and I've never been happier with 18th place!

Most Embarrassing Cycling Moments:  At one of my first road races in Lancaster, I broke away from the field and thought I'd won. However, I hadn't paid enough attention early in the race, and another rider had gotten away before I did.  After the race, my husband gently pointed out that if the lead car is not in front of you, you're not leading!

photo credit: Sara Brams-Miller

Goals for 2015: Race hard and smart, and have fun with my new teammates!

We are so excited to have Beth on board for 2015... she's had a great start to the season winning the Doleur en la Cul Circuit race with a solo break, taking 2nd at the Upper Freehold Time Trial, and finishing top 10 in the NJ State Road Race and the Historic Riverton Criterium.  


Monday, June 22, 2015

Giro Del Cielo...

I'll try to sum up this awesome weekend in as brief a blog post as possible.  Which, if you know me and my posts, brevity is going to be a tall order

TT course Pre-Ride:

With my modified Specialized Amira, I rode alongside EPS rider and compatriot Deborah Leedale-Brown and the Yellow Rocket to preview a TT course that was old to the race, but new to me.  It was awesome... complete with a Category 5 climb, screaming descents, and BEARS!  Yep... a momma bear and a cub were spotted just a few miles into the course. That had to be good luck, right?

TT race:

I felt great on the bike and with the help of my pig sticker and disc wheel, I managed to put in a great effort to finish 3rd on the day!  I think I could have gone a bit faster... especially considering that I nearly got nailed by a van that turned on to the course near the end and that I nearly missed my start - 8:00 start time and I show up at the line at 7:59.53.  Yeah... a bit too close for comfort, but at least my adrenaline was rushing when I went up the Cat 5 climb!!!


Saturday's Criterium:

It wasn't much of a crit... with only 2 real turns, it was more like circuit race.  Still, it had one little punchy climb and a rather tricky and short sprint to the line.  I knew that positioning was going to be a major thing for this race.  I watched the first and second placed ladies in the GC... marked every more that they made, and ended up having a great sprint for 3rd on the day.  This put me tied for 3rd for the GC, with the winner of the TT - since TT placement determines ties, I was technically 4th in the GC.


 After a lot of this on Saturday night...


We headed to the road race on Sunday...

It was raining and rather miserable at the start.  With my Honey Stinger chews in my pocket and my bottle of Cerasport, I was ready for one more race!  There was a brief breakaway from 1st and 2nd in the GC on lap 2, but after we worked our rear ends off to get them back it settled in for the rest of the race.  Once again, a bear graced us with its presence, running across the road in front of the field on lap 3 and causing a slight bit of panic!  Man... those things are BIG!!

People were clearly tired and though my legs felt quite good (yay), the finish was a MESS!  I lost all positioning and just got swarmed, finishing a terribly disappointing 15th.

In the end, I managed to hold on to 5th in the GC, which makes me quite happy.  This was my first true stage race (ToAD doesn't count) since 2011!!!  So, I feel like this was a great foray back into the realm of stage racing.  I'm sure that I'll be back again next year - hopefully with more teammates and friends in tow.

Thanks for a great race weekend, Skylands Cycling!!

Monday, June 15, 2015

History at the Historic Riverton Criterium

This year was the first time women had our own field at Riverton!  Sarah started the conversation last year with Carlos Rogers, the promoter of the Historic Riverton Criterium.  And for the 2015 event, he made a decision that many promoters are not willing to make: he added a women's field!!!  We promised him a minimum of 15 ladies on the pre-reg.  A day or two before the event, we met that minimum.  Ultimately, over 20 women were at the start line on Sunday.

(Photo courtesy of the Amazing Will Rivas)

Sarah "Choppah" Iepson was determined to show the spectators at Riverton what they have been missing.  She hammed right from the gun, stringing the field out and putting a hurtin' on those of us at the back of the pack.  After the race, there was a lot of chatter about having one's "legs ripped off" by Choppah :)  

(Photo courtesy of the Amazing Will Rivas)

Beth and Sarah pushed the pace the entire race, finishing 7th and 9th, respectively.  Meredith had an unfortunate mechanical late in the race.  I fought with the "Race until Pulled" mentally, finally being defeated by a rear flat with 4 laps to go.

By the way, Meredith is taking her board exams for medical school this week - so everyone send her lots of positive vibes!  Good luck, Mer!

A continued "Thank You" to all of our sponsors, who provide us with all kinds of support so that we can keep doing what we love.


Friday, June 12, 2015

I want to be a fast lady when I grow up

I never was an athlete.  I was in the band in high school. The first real “workouts” I ever did were in college...20 minutes jaunts on the elliptical, trying not to stick out because I had never been to a gym before.  When a friend from college told me I should take my bike out on the trails - I didn’t even really know what she meant.  Soon after, I traded in that would-be commuter bike and bought a mountain bike with a front shock...and so the obsession with bikes began.


When I moved to New Jersey, a small but fierce group of women on the Action Wheels road rides motivated me to continually move up the ranks of the Monday/Thursday night groups.  They taught me how to ride in a big group, how to dose my effort so I could finish long rides, and the best types of chamois cream :)  These women inspired me to push myself.  I wanted to be as fast, as smooth, as respected as they were.


Several years later, my husband joined the Action Wheels race team - and I was offered the option of ordering a women’s jersey for that team.  I raced my first time with a Cat 5 men’s field.  I think I got lapped once that cold, rainy, March morning.  In spite of it all, I knew I would be back for more.  Little did I know things were gonna get so much more awesome!  A few weeks later, I entered my first women’s Cat 4 race.  Lining up with a field of ladies was such an incredible experience - even though the field was small.  I didn’t know how to corner.  I had no idea what a sprint would be like.  But I made it through.  Then, my first WOW moment in racing happened: lining up with a large Womens Open field at the Ronde von Mullica.  All I could think was, “All of these ladies around me!  All these fast, fierce women.  This is so rad!”


After a few years of racing, I made friends with some new fierce females...the ladies of CAWES.  I knew I wanted to be a part of that team.  They always raced hard and seemed to have this awesome sense of what to do in a race.  I wanted to be like them.  As luck would have it, I have been fortunate enough to be a member of CAWES for three seasons now.  Being on this team made me realize what I missed by not playing sports in my younger days.  I push myself harder for the women on this team.  Just being on a ride or in a race with them brings out strength in me that I didn’t know I had.


I continue to be inspired, encouraged, and in awe of the numerous fierce women on our team, women on teams with which we race, new riders who come out and are destroying fast group rides in a matter of months, and the professional female racers who continue to fight for equity.

There is something really special about how I have been “brought up” in this sport.  Riding with a group of guys didn’t give me the same thing that I received from being mentored by female riders.  I can’t speak for all woman.  I just know this to be my truth.

Monday, June 1, 2015

New Jersey Jerseys!!

Just a couple of photos to show what we've been up to in the early part of this season...


Meredith won a bronze medal and a 6-pack of rather delicious beer at the NJ State Master's Criterium Championships.  With a strong sprint finish, she brought home the team's first Championship podium.


Kristin secured the leader's jersey for the South Jersey Spring series that began in the freezing temps of April and ended on a warm weekend in May.  Her perseverance and consistent finishes led her to the top step of the podium!  We're also proud that our sister in pink, Christine joined her on third step of the podium.  Action Wheels riders were making their mark in South Jersey!!


As May came to a close, Meredith and Sarah lined up for the Master's Road Race Championships.  For the 3rd year in a row, CAWES brought home the 35+ champs jersey with a monster sprint from the Choppah (who'd a thunk it even possible??).  Meredith took the 2nd step of the podium and a silver medal after an amazing lead out at the finish.

To say that we're having fun is an understatement this year.  The team is small, but powerful and tight-knit.  We're having a blast riding hard, taking chances, and bringing home some bling in the process.

If you want to catch us in action, here's where you might see a flash of green in the month of June:

June 6th - NJ State Elite Road Race Championships, Pedericktown, NJ
June 14th - The Historic Riverton Criterium, Riverton, NJ
June 20-21st - Giro del Cielo, Augusta, NJ
June 21st - Race Avenue Criterium, Lancaster, PA
June 26th-28th - The Longsjo Classic, Fitchburg, MA

Monday, April 6, 2015

Spring Series and Navy Yard

The podium count continued at the Spring Series two weeks ago when Beth Bonilla took a strong solo break win in the Women's open race.  On a super windy day, Beth kept the pressure on with repeated attacks.  Finally, she launched an attack and realized that she was off the front solo.

She held the gap and finished several minutes in front of the field for a fantastic win!


Kristin and Maria raced the Women's 3/4 that same day and finished 6th and 7th in a tough field that saw a late break for the win to Action Wheels rider Maureen Gribb!  :)

Maria lined up for the Women's Cat 4 race at the Navy Yard this past weekend.  With winds gusting at upwards of 30 miles an hour, the race was one that saw most fields shatter and riders suffer as they faced a wall-like wind on several portions of the course.  Maria kept herself safely at the front of the field and managed to finish strong in 5th place!

Meredith, Beth, and Sarah stepped up to race in the super stacked Women's open field.  With three riders from Zimmer Capital, three from H&H Racing, a handful of EPS riders, and the likes of Laura Van Gilder, it was destined to be a really tough race.  With constant attacks and counter attacks, the ladies played it smart and tried to find the move that might go away from the field.  But, it was not to be and the field of 31 dwindled down to a sprint field of about 16 riders.


Thanks to Bob Wellmon for some awesome shots during the Navy Yard race... the three green amigas appreciate it!  :)




Sarah finished 11th, with Meredith in 14th and Beth in 15th.  With a field that strong and conditions that tough, we are really happy with our first real team debut in 2015!  We had an absolute blast together and can't wait to take on another Spring Series race next weekend.

Borda is currently sitting 2nd in the Cat 3/4 series, so we've got some podiums to find!

Monday, March 23, 2015

The Spring Series Begins

OK - so this post is over a week late... the South Jersey Spring Series started two weekends ago.  It was supposed to start earlier than that, but Winter has been drunk lately and refuses to leave the party.  I mean, seriously, Winter... just go home and sleep it off.  We'll see you in a few months and won't even discuss that you tried to grab Summer's.... ahh, never mind.

For the team, our local Spring Series started with a bang!

Borda took the line for the 3/4 race on March 15th.  Just over a 6 mile circuit, the course may be flat (highway overpasses do NOT count as "hills), the famed south Jersey headwind is ALWAYS hanging about to try to knock you off your bike at the most inopportune moment.

It was a blustery day, but Borda managed to comfortably cover all of the attacks and conserve a lot of energy.  When it came down to the finish, she launched a strong sprint to bring home the team's first podium of 2015 with a 2nd place finish!


Borda and the Polish Pocket Rocket (Maria Dziembowska) lined up this weekend for the 3/4 race and again, things went swimmingly well for the Wasabi Warriors.  An early race solo break from Breigh on the Action Wheels Women's Team put the rest of the field on the defensive.  With some help, Borda was able to fight through the headwinds to catch her and solidify a small break group.  The six of them came to the line together and sprinted through a cross headwind.  Breigh showed her pure power by taking the win.  Borda crossed the line in 4th and Maria finished 8th on the day!



Borda then bundled herself back up, braved the ever increasing headwinds, and raced with the Choppah in the Open women's field.


A VERY early break occurred - about 4 minutes into the race, as we crested the "hill" of the first highway overpass!  The break comprised of the Choppah, Diane from Action Wheels, Lauren from H and H Racing, and Kristie from QCW.  A truly solid break with all of the teams represented, the four very quickly opened up a comfortable gap on the field.




Working together beautifully through the remaining laps, Choppah came to the line 2nd behind Lauren, securing the 2nd podium finish for the team in 2015!



As the field came to the line, Borda showed that she is "Strong Like Bull," by launching a powerful sprint.  As she comes to the line, head to head with Meg, the question is... will she, or won't she?!?


It was a SUPER close finish for the field sprint and 5th place, but Borda's powerful legs and awesome bike throw secured her 5th place in the Open field and put both CAWES riders in the money!  WOOT!


To say it was a good day of racing would be an understatement.  The best part is, we're together and having a blast.

A huge thank you and shout out to Matt Warner, who has turned this from a handful of small criterium races where we ladies lined up with the Master's Men, to a month long series where we have our own fields, a purse equal to that of the men, and absolutely gorgeous roads for racing.  Thank you, Matt... for your constant support of Women's racing in our region!

Watch for the Ladies in Lavender at next week's Spring Series races, and at the Navy Yard Criterium in South Philadelphia on April 4th.  Bring your cowbell, wear your purple and green, and cheer us on as we tackle the start of race season!

Sunday, March 8, 2015

The Long Long Winter

So, to say it's been a long winter would be putting it mildly.  Nothing has been mild about this winter.  From the low temps to the inches of snow... we've had our work cut out for us this year.  But, if we just look on the bright side of things... it's nearing it's end now!



Still, we've had lots and lots of this...


And, not nearly enough of this...


But, then... this happened.  Oh, Daylight Savings Time,  how we do love thee!
The sun came out, the roads dried up (well, mostly), and we got out for a ride with some of our favorite MAMBOs.  


Spring is coming.  Yes, indeed, it is.  And, the ladies of CAWES are ready for it.  Bring on the warm!!

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Why I Am Specialized!

My love affair with Specialized Bikes began in 2008 when I brought home my first real racing bike.  His name was Falco.  


He was a beautiful boy... an S-Works Tarmac in blue with world champ racing stripes.  I was in love.  He was the first bike that actually fit me.  Falco took me to the top of the podium a few times and was with me the first time I raced up the Manayunk Wall in the Liberty Classic in 2009.


After joining CAWES, I was able to get my second Specialized S-Works bike.  With his amazing green and gold Team Highroad paint scheme, the aptly named Bernie, was another amazing ride.  With increasingly better carbon, Bernie was a small step up from Falco in terms of stiffness and response.  He was fast.  He was nimble.  He was a great bike.

And then... I got a "girl's" bike.


Mari was my first S-Works Amira.  I admit that I was nervous about going with a "girl's" bike.  I'd always ridden standard "men's" frames and this was going to be quite a change.  But, once I got used to the feel of the geometry of the frame, I found that I simply didn't feel right on the Tarmac anymore.  I had found the perfect bike for me in the Amira.  The geometry allowed me to change my center of gravity and I found that zipping through corners in fast professional crits was easier on this bike than Bernie or Falco.  I was hooked.  Again.

But, then it happened.  I fell head over heels in love with Lozen.  A feisty girl with a wickedly gorgeous paint scheme, Lozen is my 2015 S-Works Amira.


With a few hours under our belts together, I realized on today's ride that this bike is THE best bike I have ever owned or ridden.  She is super light - I didn't think bikes could get much lighter than Mari, but I was wrong.  And, this is without her race wheels!  Seriously, I'm afraid I'll get air time when I put my Zipp wheels on her for racing.

This bike is incredibly stiff - which means that she is ultra responsive to pressure on the pedals.  When you stomp down, this bike shoots out from underneath you!

I am so excited to get her out in a race situation to see how she handles fast cornering, but I have no doubt that she will continue to wow me!

If you're in the market for a new bike, I can't say enough about awesome Specialized bikes.  I feel lucky to have been on a Specialized sponsored team since I began racing in 2007.  I fully expect to ride a Specialized until I'm old and gray.  Well, ok... older and grayer!

Thanks for creating amazing bikes, Specialized!

Maybe my next post will gush about your awesome shoes and helmets!  ;)