#shredly

Gear Review

The Journey and the Jersey


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I have to admit something. I have never even been on a cycling team before. I was searching for a team that I could feel proud of. I wanted to be on a team with like-minded, kick-ass individuals who were passionate about cycling the same way that I was. I wanted a team that was about more than performance. So, when I realized that there weren’t enough teams that fit this profile, I decided that we would just have to make one!

A team that I could count on when storming the castle!
You have to find the right team that will help you storm the castle when you can’t even stand up.

The thing about creating a team when you have never been on one before is that it can take time to figure things out. However, one thing that I knew from the start is that we needed jerseys. We needed cute and cozy jerseys that we would be stoked to wear. So, we started the search. For a small team in the sunrise of their career, it can be a daunting task. We struggled to find options that wouldn’t break the bank and would be able to support a small order size. We also struggled with the diversity of our team; as not everyone would want a tight fitted cross country style jersey.

That is when it was time to step out of the box a bit. Why not find a company that would fit our values AND our style needs and print them ourselves? Enter  Ashley Rankin, founder of Shredly. From the beginning, Ashley was super supportive and helpful. She dealt with my questions about screen printing, order logistics, timelines AND she was still happy to support our fledgling team.

So many colorful options!
So many colorful options!

We knew that supporting a US clothing company that designs gear for and by a lady shredder was a no brainer, but we had never had the Shredly experience. There are not enough stores that carry Shredly. I hope that will change in the future, but for now, perhaps our experiences can help inform your decision to go Shredly.

Once we got the gear in our grubby little hands, we knew it would be magic. It was REALLY hard not to wear the jersey before getting it printed! A quick try on gave me my first impression. All I could think was: Stupid Sexy Flanders! I was dancing around the house repeating: “It’s like wearing nothing at all!” Seriously cozy.

I couldn’t resist getting a pair of the Louise MTB shorts and yogachams to go with the jersey.  Neither of these disappoint. The chamois sit a little shorter then I expected. At first a felt a little startled, but in performance, it allows it to sit better when worn with knee pads. The chamois itself was has been super comfortable on every ride. The shorts, besides have a great print, are made with a light weight fabric that I will continue to praise as the summer continues.

Shredding in comfort
Shredding in comfort

The jersey printed like a dream. As Ashley promised, it took the print really well. Even our Honeybones designed Branson looks great on the back of the big jersey pockets. Beyond the print, the lightweight jersey is completely breathable, fits well and provides the perfect amount of coverage. As demonstrated by that stupid sexy Flanders, I frequently forget about it when I am on the bike. This is a wonderful thing. The last thing that you should be thinking about when you are shredding is your jersey. Although highly discouraged, it performs well during shoulder reductions as well.

Can't miss these jerseys on the race field!
These colors don’t hide.

The added bonus is that the jerseys are super easy to spot! It is easy to spot your teammates out on the field!

Still need convincing? Here’s what other No Apologies! have to say:

Stephanie Says: “I love supporting a homegrown company, especially a women’s specific company that shreds.  I mostly like that Shredly has well thought out clothing for the task.  It seems that Shredly has hit the nail on the head.  I have to say the jerseys are very comfortable and flattering, and provide enough coverage on the backside.  The only thing I would request would be deeper pockets with more security.  I also added the Yogacham and a pair of the Kortney MTB Long shorts.  I do agree with Rheannon that the yogasham is a little on the short side, but they keep my butt happy with well thought out padding.  I enjoy that overshorts are a lightweight material, and have adjustable velcro tabs on the sides.  These are not only great for shredding, but I’ve also used them for commuting.  They are the perfect length to keep your knees comfortably warm on chilly mornings and you can pop the zipper vents open on the front if things start to heat up. The side leg pocket is also great because you can put stuff in without it feeling baggy and flopping around.  All in all I am impressed with Shredly threads, I like that you can get down and dirty and look great doing it.  I look forward to adding more Shredly to the bike clothes corral.  Thank you Ashley for creating Shredly!”

Michelle Says: “I love my Shredly jersey – it’s long enough that it doesn’t ride up on my belly, and it’s a true-to-size fit; if you’re a medium, buy a medium. If you’re a large, buy a large! There’s nothing more irritating than purchasing what you think is your size and end up either flapping in the wind or feeling like a stuffed sausage. The fabric does a great job of wicking away moisture, and odor. Comfortable, looks great, stays dry… perfect!”

Sarah Says: “This jersey is like wearing your favorite t-shirt, fitting perfectly without any itchy/flappy/zippy drama. But unlike your favorite tee, it’s super breathable and the mesh panels perform well in this crazy heat.  Style-wise, it strikes a great balance of having a technical fabric with great coverage in the back, while looking pretty sweet  when we’re walking around at an event. I wasn’t so sure about the coral color at first, but it’s unique and the fit is flattering. It has become one of my go-to jerseys I grab for a ride!”

Race Report

2015 Mudslinger Breakdown


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NO Apologies! team members, Rheannon, myself (ZimZam), and Soso represented at this years Mudslinger. We had two podium finishes and 1 happy upgrade to the longer loop (Cat 2). The morning started early with volunteering at registration, followed by a quick change, a lightning speed warm up and a one mile group ride to the start line. And there is where this years Mudslinger began….we all started together in the same women’s group, you could feel the nervous energy of the first race of the season.  We were off with a 30 second countdown, Rheannon and I stayed together for the first couple of miles, it felt good to be racing again and to be riding in my old backyard. As we progressed uphill though I couldn’t keep her pace, and I slowly fell back.  I kept Rheannon in view for a bit and then the pink jersey became a small dot before it disappeared. My first goal was met, stay with her as long as I could, and then race my race, and as long as I could keep a decent pace I knew I would finish, and not finish last.

IMG_2641There we were, riding and jostling for position. Looking for the position you most likely will maintain during the race, you usually end up leapfrogging with people. This results in riding with a group familiar faces by the end of the race.   I settled in and was happy to keep picking people off. Races for me are funny, I scream going uphill and I am always caught by the slow climbers on the downhill, it seems to be a good equalizer.  The first major uphill was a virtual mudslide, and it had some walkers already in progress. I was never going to make it up and past 3 walkers, so I dismounted and fell into the uphill walk.  This is where I lost time, a lot of time. I knew though if I could get up the hill, back on my bike and put my feet to the pedals I could make up some of the lost time. All I could do was just keep pedaling, the course played to my strengths of climbing and singlestrack, so I focused on those and let the rest go. Most importantly I still felt really good and was happy to be riding, I wasn’t dying or wanting to throw my bike off a cliff. The only times I get really nervous in a race is if I don’t see any other riders for awhile, that happened more than twice but I eventually caught up with other riders. In the back of my head I was hoping one of those riders would be Rheannon, but no such luck. I did fall back with the group I had been leapfrogging, and we were near the entrance of the Panama Canal I got in front and took off, disappointingly it was the readers digest version of the Panama Canal, as soon as it started it was done. I was so looking forward to that section, its technically challenging, some great single track and just enough off camber to make it fun.  I knew we were getting close to the turn off to head of the road, and if I could conserve enough energy to get up the road quickly my race would be done.  Once we made the turn to the road I shifted into the large ring and took off. And yes I did use a few groups along the way for a pull, but it was up to me to stay in front of them.  And that I did, I finished by myself at 2hrs.  I was scanning for Rheannon, I knew she had finished and in the back of my head I did wonder how far off her time I had finished.  It ended up being 8 minutes, and a great motivator to know what things I need to work on to stay with her.  So 2 of No Apologies had finished, we waited anxiously for Soso.

IMG_2642 - Copy

We were excited to hear how her race had gone, and if she felt like the long course was a good decision. We of course believe the longer you are on your bike, the better. But I am sure not everyone feels the same. She looked great as she crossed the line, and decidedly was glad she had done the long course. We were excited to have the first race with multiple No Apologies! in the books, we were officially a team. We finished, had some fun, and came out unscathed. All of that equal success in my book.  As we stuffed our faces with food we recounted our experiences and waited for results.

IMG_1675I was hoping for top 10, and not last place.   They have WebScorer, which gives live results, and as people cross the line the results are continually changing.   So there I was in the open women category looking at a 3rd place finish, I thought it was for surely a mistake, so we waited, everybody was in and they were updating and getting people into the correct categories. Strangely I was still 3rd, unbelievable I thought to myself. During all of this 3rd place uncertainty in my mind we checked Rheannon’s results, she was first in her age category for women.  It then started to sink in, we really are badass.  I was 3rd and she was 1st, and Soso made an upgrade to Cat 2, it couldn’t have been a better Sunday.

Missing 2/3rds of a podium
Missing 2/3rds of a podium
First Podium!
First Podium!
Personal

Accepting Injury with Grace?


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I was hoping that this post would be an encouraging tale of how hard work pays off, about the excitement of taking my first podium, and about the decision to upgrade to Expert. Instead, it will be an introspective post about dealing with injury. As a group, cyclists are no strangers to injury. It is part of the sport. Hopefully it is a minor part, but eventually we all have at least a small brush with it.

Sling time!
Sling time!

After a fun packed day of trail building, I ventured out on a fun ride with my husband Jim and my teammate Soso. It was supposed to be a quick ride packed with some fun roots, a great view and some smooth steep descending. The route is one of my go-to routes when I want something short but engaging. Everything was going along great and I was discussing my goal of a weekly ride on the trail because it plays to my weaknesses but gives back with an extraordinary amount of fun. As we began a wonderfully steep root filled climb, I broke one of the top mountain bike rules: DON’T LOOK WHERE YOU DON’T WANT TO GO! I was passing by a small upturned tree/washout that someone had stuffed full of cut logs and I was pondering the reasoning behind it when suddenly I was in it. Oops.

The pit of doom
The pit of doom

It was one of those classic low speed falls, but the landing was so awkward. I knew right away what had happened. Jim and Soso asked if I was okay and I calmly responded, “I dislocated my shoulder.” There was no mistaking it. I couldn’t move it. I couldn’t put weight on it to get myself out of the pit. Jim held me upright as Soso carefully extracted my bike from under me. My training as a wilderness first responder only put one thing in my head: relocation was gonna hurt. Soso pulled out her handy wilderness first aid book and it told us about a magical technique for reduction. Below the scene of the fall was a log over a small creek. It was the perfect locations for the Stimson technique. I wandered down there and hung my arm over the edge. Without weight it went right back in. It was such a relief that I didn’t even think before lifting my arm up in celebration. Oops again. It went right back out. After an extra minute and some weight, it was back in for the second time. This time I carefully cradled the arm and started the hike out while Jim and Soso struggled with the extra bike. When we got to the road, I carefully propped my arm on my knee and rolled out on the bike. After a few phone calls, ice and ibuprofen, the realization of what happened started to sink in. I certainly would not be racing the Coast Hills Classic the following day, and my plans for upcoming months started shifting in my mind.

Perfect location for the Stimson technique
Perfect location for the Stimson technique

I am still waiting to get the full picture of my recovery. The x-ray showed that nothing was broken and that our reduction was successful. I am in a sling for the week and waiting for a more detailed exam once the swelling goes down. The next step will either be physical therapy or an MRI to see if anything was torn. But for now I wait.

A better kind of pit to fall into
A better kind of pit to fall into

I use cycling to keep me sane. I tend to think of it as a healthy addiction; but like any addiction, coming down is hell. My calendar was bursting with weekend plans and training rides. I was going to seek my revenge on the Cream Puff. My social life is integrated with cycling. Now what? I have enough work from my PhD program to fill the time, but what I need is something to balance that out. I need something equally as demanding to give me an outlet.

Fungi can be demanding
Fungi can be demanding

I am trying to find the grace to accept this injury. I am trying not to dwell on lost training, social rides or races. I am trying to accept this as I would accept any cycling challenge. I am trying to see this as nothing more than another technical feature, that with time, courage and the right approach I will master. After I master it I will be stronger, better and more confident to master the next challenge. So I am making my own skills clinic of how to accept injury. Please wish me the patience to see it though so I don’t get impatient and dislocate it again! Here’s to a full recovery and a quick return to the bike!

To recovery!
To recovery!
Gear Review

Shredly is here!


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This little package arrived in the mail yesterday!

Super excited to be sporting Shredly jerseys this year. Next step is getting them printed. Stay posted for a full review of the Shredly gear. My first impression is that these are the most comfortable MTB shorts I have ever tried on.
For those of you that don’t know. Shredly is MTB/outdoor gear designed by and for Women and made in the US. Check it out.