1. The World Cup season has finally begun! I have been counting down the days until Vital slideshows, watch parties and friendly bets commence and the first round of the year did not disappoint. Riders found themselves all the way in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa, where there were a few stand out performances in the women's downhill race. Manon Carpenter has been nipping at the heels of Rachel Atherton for quite some time, in South Africa she finally came out on top with her first ever World Cup win. Rach may not have won but she did fight some serious adversity to a 2nd place finish. After spending the week on IV drip with a bacterial infection, Rach dug deep and pulled out a remarkable finish on one of the most physical tracks of the year. I think that there is going to be a good battle between Manon and Rachel this year. After dominating everything else she has set her mind to, Jill Kintner got her best downhill World Cup result to date with a 3rd place (YESSSSS Jill!). She is fit, skilled and has some serious motivation, watch out for this one.
2. Gold Rusch Tour: I go on and on about the Gold Rusch Tour but I think that it is such a cool program and I am so honored to be a part of it. Rebecca is one bad a#$ athlete but she is also incredibly smart, motivating and approachable and she has put so much time and effort into making this an exceptional program. Check out the schedule for Rebecca Rusch's Gold Rusch tour and see if you might be able to #jointherusch.
3. Jolanda Neff & Maja Wloszczowska: I have yet to meet these two Liv teammates but they sure started the season with a bang. 1st and 3rd at the first World Cup of the year...and with some serious style at that. These girls can ride!
4. Clinics: Clinics are an amazing way to improve your bike skills quickly and safely. In my personal opinion one of the biggest things that holds people back from progression is a lack of a solid foundation. By foundation I mean body position, balance and braking (building on other elements from there). If you have problems here (which I have yet to meet someone that doesn't) it will hinder your performance down the line and you are more susceptible to crashing and frustration. There are so many great coaches out there who offer clinics, camps and private lessons which are well worth your money. Here are a few that I recommend: Lindsey Voreis at Ladies AllRide, Kat Sweet at Sweetlines, Katrina Strand, Claire Buchar & Chris Kovarik, & Simon Lawton at Fluidride.
5. Biking in Afghanistan with Mountain 2 Mountain: Following her idea that "women and girls are change makers and catalysts for peace and global prosperity," Shannon Galpin started a campaign to get women on bikes in Afghanistan. As one can imagine, this has been no easy feat. Shannon is currently in Afghanistan training with the Afghan Cycling team on the 53 bikes she just imported into the country. You can also check out the Bicycling Magazine Instagram feed where she is currently sharing her incredible story.
6. Trish Bromley: Trish has been absolutely killing it this year. After a season-ending injury early in 2013, she made it her mission to do 2014 right. She learned to flip this winter at Joyride 150 in Toronto and has since taken it to the famous Post Office dirt jumps in Aptos, CA where she landed it on the mulch jump at the post-Sea Otter Jump Jam. When girls are out there pushing it, it motivates other girls to step it up which leads to some incredible progression. I think Trish is going to be one to watch this year and I am so excited to push each other this summer.
7. Rachel Atherton: This video has some great insight into what keeps her pushing the limits year after year.
8. Giant #DreamUpgrade: In 140 characters, explain what you would do with your dream bike!
9. Sturdy Dirty: You live in the NW? You a woman who loves riding with your friends? Want to race but have dance parties, bacon shots and mini massages along the way? This race might just be the race for you.
I read stuff that I am inspired by and totally motivated by all the time. Rather than keeping it to myself, I thought I might as well share it in hopes that it motivates you too. :) Check back next Wednesday for another dose.