For the Ladies: Madtown Maidens Alleycat/Ride

As you can see from our previous post, Wisconsin has no shortage of cycling/bike related events. With that being said, there are few that truly cater to the female cyclist. Some women have no issue riding in male dominated events, but others can find it intimidating and enjoy the camaraderie of an all lady event.

Lucky for us, we have the Madtown Maidens alleycat/ride. For those not in the know, an alleycat is an unsanctioned cycling race filled with fun pit stops on the route. The pit stops include anything from writing haiku’s to solving puzzles or even showing off some bike knowledge. Usually the races are in the spirit of fun and not to be stressed over. There’s almost always a beer/coffee sponsor and some sweet prizes for top riders or for riders with enthusiasm.

We took the opportunity to chat with Madtown Maidens founder, Kierstin Kloeckner, on what motivated her to start the event and to see who the race supporters are. A little background on Kierstin, she’s a yoga/fitness instructor at a local Madison athletic club, avid cyclist, occasional Wisconsin Bike Fed blogger, and all around wonderful supporter of the local cycling/outdoor community. (Check out her blog!) Here’s what Kierstin had to say about Madtown Maidens:

Three years ago, after being terribly jealous of Minneapolis having an all women’s bike event, I decided to start one here in Madison.  Babes in Bikeland (the Minneapolis event) was my inspiration.  Kayla Dotson started it about six years ago and they often have over 400 women show up at the starting line.  I felt  women needed more events just for them since cycling has been such a male dominated sport.  When I started racing in the 80’s, I was one of the only junior female racers in the Twin Cities area and was forced to train and race with boys.  I wanted to get women and girls, of every ability, out on two wheels.  I wanted them to discover the joy of riding with a group of women and chose to have most of the volunteers be men.  I set the cut off limit to 100–that’s where it still stands–and was floored by it filling the first and second year.  Although it has been a lot of hard work, the volunteers and sponsors have been so kind and helpful.  Just seeing so many women with smiles while riding makes me want to continue putting the event on.

This year, Milwaukee has joined in and has started their own female/transgender alleycat.  My hope is that it’s contagious and spreads.  I truly feel events like this inspire women to embrace the sport as their own.

As I said before, I couldn’t do this event without my volunteers and sponsors.  This year, Martha Laugen, the former Madison Bike Fed Ambassador, is helping me put Madtown Maidens on.  Nathan Vergin and Lisa Snyder will be taking pictures and I’ll have roughly 15-20 guys working checkpoints and helping out with the after party.  Each year, I change the start/finish location.  This year, Machinery Row has graciously donated their space for the start and after party.  I receive donations from bike companies like Fyxation,Velocity,Hell Yes!, All-City, and Stray Cat Bicycles.  Food comes from Foodfight, Barriques, Dominoes and Willy St. Co-op.  Other donations include beer from Ale Asylum and gift cards from Century House, Harbor Athletic Club and Monkey Bar.  Finally, Adam Turman donates a piece of his artwork each year for our use for free. 

We’ve also gotten wind that Knog has recently agreed to be a product sponsor as well as the Wisconsin Bike Fed and Saris Cycling Group. This year’s event is taking place Saturday, May 4th. SAVE THE DATE! You won’t be sad that you did 🙂

Check out the photos below for some awesome alleycat action. Photos are property of Madtown Maidens and their respective photographers. Please don’t use without permission!

Thanks again to Kierstin for hosting this wonderful event and giving us the rundown! We hope to be a part of the event in some capacity whether it’s racing, taking some photos, or pitching in another way. Keep an eye on the Madtown Maidens Facebook page for sign up information!

Cyclo-cross Nationals- Days 1 & 2

One of the many reasons I love working in the bike industry is that I get paid to hangout at events like Cyclo-cross Nationals. This is Madison’s second year hosting the USA Cycling/UCI event and it’s much colder and snowier than it was last year!

Day 1 included non championship races for men and women as well as my personal favorite, the single speed races. While most of my day included watching over the Cycle Ops sponsored warm up tent, I did have time to escape and shoot some photos.

The men’s 30-39 race was a must see as one of my co-workers was competing. He didn’t quite podium, but still had a good place in the standings.

Day 2 was the masters series. These are the folks who have been racing for a LOOONG time. Well, most of them at least. It’s always inspiring to see someone 60+ get out there and rage. Especially on an icy death trap of a cross course!

Today I spent a little more time visiting some of the other exhibitors. I chatted with the guys over at Trek. They have some swag they are giving away like cycling hats and cowbells, so be sure to stop by and say hi to them! Trek also has a sweet corn-hole game set up (aka beanbag toss). Oh, you can also enter to win a Cross Rip. It’s their entry level cross bike.

Later in the day I wandered over to the Skratch Labs food truck. They are dishing up some tasty, yet healthy meals for everyone. If you get a chance, stop by and try a sample of their hydration mix. It’s made with all natural ingredients and tastes AMAZING! I trained with it all summer long and LOVE the stuff. It also doubles as a great hangover remedy 😉

Shortly after, I stopped by the Knog tent. I can’t remember the gentleman’s name who was working it, but he’s pretty much their only US employee. Knog is based in Australia and has done so well that the company doesn’t need a giant team of reps to travel around, so it’s just one guy and a tent. He gets to travel all over to cool events and showcase the latest Knog gear. If you see him, stop and chat with him. He’s a very friendly dude.

Some other spots I checked out were the Felt tent and the Stan’s No Tubes tent. Felt didn’t have much going on except for a few cross bikes. I was hoping they would have showcased a little more product, but they were probably more focused on supporting their riders. Stan’s had a sweet set up with repair stands, bike parking, a nice product display, some trainers. Pretty legit stuff.

Inside of the main food tent was Twin Six. They have some limited edition swag for sale and some product catalogs showcasing their 2013 line up. I had wondered by there two days in a row, but unfortunately they were a little standoffish so I just ended up walking away. Bummer as I really like their gear. I seem to think that if someone is showing interest in what you have going on, you should drum up conversation. It’s just good business practice, rather than being standoffish or complaining loudly about how you dislike your most recent job performance review. Sorry, but it’s true.

The overall selection of food is pretty decent. There’s the Fine Italian Beef stand (Chicago dogs, Italian dips, etc.) , the Wisconsin food stand (cheese curds, brats, etc.), a (must have) Southwestern/Mexican food stand, a coffee stand (great chai latte), and the Skratch Labs truck. Nearby is also Pasqual’s and the Draft House. All are great options for the hungry spectator!

I have to say that this year’s set up is much better than last year’s for the event as a whole. The flow of everything makes more sense and the expo is more visible. I’ll be sad to see Cross Nationals leave Madison. Hopefully we can bring it back again in a few years.

Check out  photos below of Day 1 & Day 2. I sadly won’t be able to make it out tomorrow, which really sucks because I want to watch the women’s races. I have a lot of in office work to catch up on though, but I’ll be back out on Saturday!

One last thing to note is that the Saris/Cycle Ops shanty is now in the expo. It got dropped off this afternoon and it looks KICK ASS! Go find a photo of it on the Cycle Ops Facebook page. It has a beer pong table and everything!

Enjoy!

-Cass