Wisconsin Cycling Association Annual Meeting

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SAVE THE DATE: ANNUAL WCA MEETING JANUARY 18

Date: January 18, 2015
Time: 1PM – 4PM
Location: Delafield Brewhaus (3832 Hillside Drive, Delafield, WI 53018)

Please note: as always, members of any WCA club can attend. On voting matters, each team receives one vote.

We’d like to encourage any and all ladies who participate in the local cycling scene to attend the WCA’s annual meeting this coming Sunday. WCA’s leaders are looking for more feedback on how they can better serve women racers and make the sport more appealing to potential racers.

Spoke Haven is NOT currently a registered team with the WCA, but there is always potential for us to be more involved. Please consider attending this meeting and help make all cycling disciplines better for all who enjoy racing!

Seven Deadly Sins Alleycat

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Alley cats are making a comeback here in Madison. There’s been a small group of dedicated cyclists throwing some pretty fun races. Seven Deadly Sins is possibly the last one of the summer, so come out for the race and have a good time!

The sponsors are all awesome and the $7 you pay goes to a good cause 🙂

Parks-N-Wreck Yo’ Self THIS WEEKEND!

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Sorry for the blurry image. We haven’t been able to find a good version of this poster. In the same vein as the Stupor Bowl, some folks are hosting the Parks-n-Wreck Yo’ Self alley cat this weekend. There are two divisions of the race. The first is for speed with 15 checkpoints, the other is for drink. You will have 10 bar checkpoints where you will need to consume a beverage before proceeding with the race.

Race organizers want people to be smart, use your head and wear a helmet (especially if you’re drinking!)

There are some sweet sponsors of the event where top riders will win prizes and there will be a raffle as well. Proceeds of the race will be donated to charity. Ride is capped at 100 riders and is open to fixed or freewheeling folks. $6 gets you signed up!

Registration is at Willy St. Park and after party at the Argus Bar. HAVE FUN!

Almanzo 100 Photo Dump

Keri and I finally arrived home from Minnesota. It was quite the weekend and we’re glad to be home. Since the hotels booked up pretty quickly in Spring Valley, where the Almanzo race series is held, we decided to stay in Rochester.

Unfortunately, Keri’s car decided to have some issues the day before we were supposed to leave, but I was able to get the Saris company vehicle and off we went! The drive to Rochester vs. to the Twin Cities is much more beautiful. It’s always amazing crossing over the Mississippi in La Crosse, and seeing a vast expanse of rolling farmland and trees.

Once we arrived in Rochester, we dropped our stuff in the hotel and grabbed some coffee. The Midwestern outside sales rep for Saris was meeting us there and we later got dinner. At dinner we went over our game plan for the next day. We had to be in Spring Valley and setup by 6AM because that’s when the Royal 162 riders were leaving.

The Almanzo actually has 3 bike races. The Alexander (which used to be the Nellie) is 385 miles over 3 days. The Royal which is 162 miles in one day (I suppose you could take 2 days if needed) and the Almanzo 100, which is the most popular, 100 mile option.

Setup by 6AM meant having to getup by 4:30 so we could get ready, pack up, and drive down. Setup was fairly quick and there were a handful of other sponsor tents in the expo area. Things didn’t really pick up until about 7/7:30 when the Almanzo lineup was about to take place. For having 1,000+ riders, we only had a handful of people who actually came to chat with us. Most of them were from Madison and were glad to see us there.

Eventually riders rolled up to the start on Main St. The event’s organizer, Chris Skogen, got up and said some words. It was pretty emotional because the dude has worked his butt off the past few years to make the Almanzo a successful event. To see 1,000 people show up to your hometown to do a gravel bike race is really something.

Eventually all the riders rolled out. There was a wide range of riders and different bike setups. It’s always fun for a bike nerd to attend such an event!

The rest of the day was filled with frisbee tossing, mingling with company reps, eating food, getting sunburned, riding bikes, drinking beer, and trying to escape the heat. Uneventful, but still a good time. We had all hoped that more locals and supporters of the riders would hangout and talk to us, but that wasn’t the case. Some of the Spring Valley folks didn’t seem to take too kindly to having a bunch of strange cycling folks in their city. I’m sure as the event evolves and changes, people will start to support it more and see what it does for the local economy. It really made us appreciate what we have here in Wisconsin. Not all towns are cycling friendly, but we’re pretty spoiled by the amount of cycling enthusiasts outside of our big cities.

Riders started returning around 3pm. It was a hot day and the route supposedly had 2 river crossings. One was somewhat unintentional as a bridge was out, but it was too late to change the route. A lot of folks looked like they had taken quite the beating and ended up in the shade with a cold Coke in hand. Once 4pm rolled around, we decided to call it a day. We had to drive back to Rochester and our outside rep had to head back to Wisconsin to setup some shop visits.

The drive back to Rochester was pretty as we took County Hwy. 1 or County Rd. 1. Nice rolling hills and gravel roads EVERYWHERE! Keri and I decided we definitely want to do the ride next year. We had both signed up to do it this year, but lack of time for training and other commitments sort of got in the way. The challenge seems great though and we love doing new events.

Once we got back in Rochester, we found a crappy pizza place that was grossly overpriced for what we got, but we were so tired we didn’t care. We got back to our hotel at about 6:30pm and I ended up falling asleep at 7. We were totally beat by waking up early and being out in the hot sun all day.

Overall we both had a lot of fun, even though there wasn’t much happening as far as the “race expo” goes. We definitely have some ideas on how sponsors can get better exposure and involvement next year and we look forward to making the trip again! Check out some of our photos below 🙂

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!