Seven Ambassador Julie Wright checks in with us after a challenging start to her cyclocross campaign that’s taken in both World Cup races and the other big US events.
We just added a Mudhoney SL to her race day equipment.
For those who don’t know me, here are some random and less random facts about me. I race on a small women’s elite team, Team Averica. We’re based out of Boston, though I live in Western MA. My day job is working in analytics in the health care industry. Chocolate and coffee are two of my favorite things. So are bikes, vegetables and swimming. And riding trails. When I decided to get my Mudhoney PRO, my goal was to have a bike that would elevate my level of racing, be fun to ride and be a source of inspiration to work harder. I found all of that and more! I’m beyond excited to have the Mudhoney SL now, which is proving to be another absolutely amazing bike.
I’m fresh off my first block of racing for this cyclocross season! As is expected, there were some ups and downs. The results weren’t what I hoped for, but I’ve learned a ton from the racing and the women in the UCI field. Two years ago, during my first full season in the UCI field when I was coming up with my cyclocross goals, my ultimate goal in cross was to race in a world cup one day. At the time, I thought it was a long shot. This year, I got to start my season off with not one, but two World Cups, and both right here in the United States. It was an amazing way to start the season.
I made the trip in my little Honda Fit, packed with two bikes, five wheelsets, a trainer, clothes for racing in any imaginable weather and my work gear. I was gone for a solid three weeks, starting the season off in Rochester. I made my way west to Iowa, for the Jingle Cross WC, then on to Wisconsin for Trek CXC WC and then back again for KMC. I knew it would be a trip where the learning curve was steep, but I couldn’t have imagined how steep. I definitely lean toward the type A end of the spectrum and I really wanted a FAQ on traveling for bike racing, what to pack, how to budget, what to expect at a World Cup, and how to calm all the nerves that had been building up since wrapping up the cross season last year in Belgium. The funny thing about racing World Cups is that you don’t pick up your number at a reg table like you do at any other bike race. For those of us that don’t have a DS, we have to find the US representative who picks up our number for us either at the venue the day before the event, or if you don’t find them in time, at their hotel later that night. It’s kind of like Where’s Waldo, except for that you don’t know what Waldo looks like or what he’s going to be wearing. It was an adventure. It turns out Waldo was very nice and he had my numbers.
Lining up alongside some of the fastest women in the world is incredible and a bit terrifying. World champion stripes have the ability to be a little intimidating. We also had Annika Langvad, the 2016 XC MTB World Champion lining up. It took some practice reminding myself that I belonged there and that it was still pedaling around in circles like any other bike race.
Here’s my bike, post trip. It’s also a good metaphor for how I felt after the road trip back from the Midwest…
This past week, I’ve been camped out at home, enjoying some more of my favorite things: sleeping in my own bed, cooking in my kitchen, drinking coffee slowly, getting out on some long rides and mixing in rolling dirt roads, as well as beginning to work on the long list of things I learned I need to work on from the trip. Lots of turning practice!
Mark is a rider we’ve collaborated with a few times. He brings a lot of forethought and passion to his bike projects, and this was no exception.
This is Mark’s Expat S, monster cross bike, and some kind words, below.
Thanks again for your help (and Neil’s help) on the monster cross…”Orange Crush.” I’m still working rounding up a few orange accessories, but for the most part, she’s all built up and ready to ride ! I’m excited for future adventures!
Regarding the build, I decided to use a SRAM 1 x 11 drivetrain. A work colleague was selling parts, so I was more than happy to buy those from him! I’ve always loved Shimano parts, but I do really like the simplicity, reliability, and range of the SRAM single chain ring set-up. To support the orange theme, I used the Chris King mango headset, headset spacers, and bottom bracket (ceramic…so smooth!).
I tracked down a Phil Wood orange seat post collar. And I had the head badge powder coated at a local auto paint store. The orange flame decals are a work in progress. These ones aren’t sticking very well, so I suspect they will be short lived. For wheels, I stuck with DT Swiss hubs…so reliable and easy to service. The anodized Chris King, I-9, and Hope hubs are nice, but I’m a DT Swiss fan. The hubs are laced to DT Swiss XM401 rims and I’m currently using Maxxis Treadlite tires. The cockpit is complete with Thomson post and stem, Salsa Cowbell handlebars, and Cobb saddle.
Team Seven rider Scott Livingston in a feature for the Hartford Courant as Cyclocross Nationals run all this week in Connecticut.
It’s hard to tell Scott’s on a Seven, but it’s there, under the mud.
I never sent you a pic of the new rig!
I love the geometry! Great descending bike and my back is really liking the slightly taller front end!
Here’s the build:
-Chris King Headset, 44 mm
-Whiskey No. 9 fork with through axle and fender mounts (nice stiff fork, but the fender mount is located too close to the head tube and is not compatible with any existing fenders on the market)
-Wheels: DT Swiss 240s hubs laced to Pacenti SL25 rims, Specialized Robaix 32 mm tires (nice tires!)
-Shimano components: Shimano mechanical hydraulic disc brakes, R 685 STI 11-speed levers and RS 785 brake caliper set, Shimano Ice tech rotors, Dura ace compact 50 x 34 crankset, Shimano Ultegra 6800 long cage derailleur, Shimano Dura Ace front derailleur
-Shimano Pro PLT handlebars, Thompson seatpost and bar
-Brooks Cambium C15 carved saddle…nice saddle for me for short distances, but I have a tendency to sit where the rivets are located. So I’ve since put my trustworthy Cobb saddle on this bike as well.