When you train, you are challenging your body with a difficult task. After the workout, your body will adapt to be able to meet the new demands you have asked of it. This takes recovery! One important aspect of recovery and adaptation is having the building blocks repair tissue that were overstressed in training. To do this we must replenish glycogen stores (muscle fuel) while also building new and improved tissue. It is recommended to get 20-25g of protein and 25-35g carbohydrates back into our system within 20-30 minutes of a hard training session or race1. We use Gu Protein Recovery Drink Mix after all of our workouts and have created several amazing shake recipes with the mix. We thought we would share!

“With a busy lifestyle, I like to have my shake ingredients prepped so they will be quick to make and consume. I made this recipe up at the coffee shop I owned prior to my cycling life and simply added recovery mix to it!”

Nikki

Nikki’s OTC Shake

Ingredients

Directions

I like to prep the banana and avocado into baggies in the freezer every few days so it is always quick and easy. If you freeze them, you won’t need ice! Throw all of the ingredients in a blender and blend for 10-15 seconds. There will be a few date chunks that don’t blend…the texture is my favorite!

“When it comes to recovery I like mine to be just as firey as my workouts. Nothing is better than a chilled chocolate smoothie with a hint of cayenne to sip on the drive home!”

Jen

Jen’s Spicy Recovery Shake

Ingredients

Directions

I am all for quick and easy meals and drinks so just add all of the ingredients into a blender and pulse 4 to 5 times until everything is mixed. If you are looking for a thicker texture add chia seeds!

Emma’s Mint Chocolate Chip Recovery Shake

“The ice cream truck has been doing its rounds lately making me nostalgic for childhood treats.  I’ve always been a sucker for mint chocolate chip milkshakes and have made an adult version that is delicious after a hot and dusty training ride to enjoy as I soak my legs in the Deschutes River.”

Emma

Ingredients

  • 1 pouch GU Vanilla Roctane Ultra Endurance Protein Recovery
  • 1 c. almond milk (to make it creamier but water works too)
  • Several ice cubes
  • 2-3 kale leaves (bonus nutrition and it makes the smoothie green)
  • ¼ tsp. Peppermint extract
  • 8-10 mint leaves
  • Handful of chocolate chips

Directions

In a blender mix the Gu, liquid, ice, kale and peppermint extract. Blend until smooth. Toss in the mint leaves and chocolate chips and pulse a few times to chop them up a bit, but not puree them. 

Pro Tip: Pour your recovery drink into a Hydroflask to keep it cool in your car at the trailhead so you have it right away post ride!

Do you have a blissful Gu recovery shake recipe?  We would love some inspiration. Share it with us! We will pick the tastiest recipe to win a free bag of the NEW GU Roctane Ultra Endurance Protein Recovery!


1 http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6521324/

Crawling into camp at 11:30 PM

A late work day meant a late arrival. Ryan and the rest of the TSE crew stayed up to make sure I could navigate to my cabin!

I had no idea how many people I would be with or where they were sleeping.

I didn’t want to wake anybody up [the door creaked] so in a state of awkwardness I decided I would be fine sleeping in my sweatpants and t-shirt and did not unload the car.

It was pretty cold so I used my pillowcase as a micro-sleeping bag.

Turns out nobody even heard me come in and took all of about 10 minutes for our floor to basically become an instant family! One of my favorite parts about each day was spinning back to the lodge and hearing about everybody’s races. Seriously, this crew was amazing!

The Eagle Lodge 1st Floor Crew! Marlee’s “awkward podium arm” post is for sure my fave!

On Stage 1 Bob charged ahead at the start as I buried myself to stay with him and the leaders. After about an hour of XCO pace he called out and said that it was not sustainable and we slowed up a bit. Good thing we did because at the 90 minute mark my back seized up and it was my turn to ask for a pace change.

Bob charging at the start of Stage 1! Photo by Bruce Buckley

We were able to rally and with rain pouring down and thunder clapping, we finished strong with nothing but smiles on our faces.

Photo by Bruce Buckley

The rest of the stages went by crazy fast and we learned more about how to pace without blowing each other up, which is something I haven’t had to think about when racing before. I would pull us on the gravel sections and Bob, a more experienced technical rider, would help guide me through some gnarly sections. Teamwork was definitely making the dream work!

Here are some of the stage highlights:

  • Stage 1: Finishing the race in a thunderstorm. This made it dramatic and exciting! Four more days to go.
  • Stage 2: Eating 3 GU gels + drinking a bottle of drink mix per hour. I may have gone overboard, but man did I feel energized on the ride!
  • Stage 3: Nabbed 5th in the Enduro Timed Section. I have been working on my descending skills so this felt like a well-earned victory!
  • Stage 4: Conquered the Three Bridges of doom. These were slippery bridges with a 16-ish inch step-up to get onto them. Physically it was hard, but mentally is was REALLY challenging!
  • Stage 5: Helping an injured rider off the trail to get to a road where she could be taken to the hospital. Bob and I ended up missing the GC podium but it was well worth it to help the rider get out safely. Completing this stage meant I completed my first stage race!
Photo by Icon Media Asheville

The week was definitely challenging as I learned about how to be a good partner and manage my pace and expectations. Not going immediately into the red meant that I was able to see technical sections more clearly and gained a whole new sense of rock-riding confidence.

While my legs and mountain bike skills (especially riding rocks!) will come out of this week stronger and more capable, I feel like my mental strength and balance as a competitive athlete have shattered a ceiling I didn’t even know I had.

See you next year!

I am still processing what I put my body and mind through on Sunday. I went through many emotions, but surprisingly most of them were on the happy side. The Belgian Waffle Ride is the BEST event I have ever done. From the recon rides to the race itself to the after party, every aspect is meticulously planned to give the rider the best experience. I am in awe with how awesome the crew for BWR is. Some say this is the most difficult one day event in North America. Regardless of difficulty, it is certainly one of the most fun!

I absolutely suffered out there but my headspace was in a place where I was just stoked to be out there! My Pivot Vault ended up being the perfect machine. My Shimano gearing was just what I needed and I suffered ZERO flats thanks to my Kenda tire and Orange Seal combo. This in itself was a major victory as I passed more people with flats than I could even count.

I ended up finishing 14th in the largest and fastest field of women in the history of BWR! The field more than tripled over last year and I bet it will increase even more next year. In case you want to see how I stacked up, check out my Strava!

And now, a recap of my race and how it played out:

Start (0-20ish) – I WENT OUT HARD!!

To be honest, the start was terrifying! It was yo-yo’ing for the “neutral start” and my power was fluctuating a lot! I was committed to going out hard to get onto Lemontwistenburg, the first dirt section, in a good position. I did just that…and then unfortunately people did not go all of the way to the end of the U-turn and I ended up mid-pack going into the dirt. The first dirt single track was painfully slow. I will admit, there was some anxiety in those first dirt miles as I imagined the lead women gaining minutes on me just from getting in ahead of me. When I got back onto Del Dios Highway, I kicked it into high gear and got with a pack that was moving forward. When I say I went out hard, I mean it. I got my third highest one minute power EVER on this section. Near the end of the next dirt section there was a pile up in the sand. All of a sudden I saw two more women!

Can you spot me in the chaos? Photo by Chris Cox, courtesy of BWR.

Mile 54ish – I CRASHED AND HAD A DUDE LAND ON TOP OF ME

Black Canyon was sandy! It was graded a few days prior which left massive sand piles everywhere. All of the dirt was the same color so it was hard to tell where the sand was. After the first section of the long climb, we started descending. After passing a man who was very unsure about this section, I went into a sandy section and started sliding. Boom! The man rammed into me, flipped over me, and landed on top of me. My chain was stuck in between my derailleur and my chain ring, my kit was torn at the hip, and I was bleeding at my elbow, arm, hip, knee, and shin. Yikes! As a mountain biker I am used to crashing so I got up and kept on going without thinking twice.

Mile 54-59ish – I CRACKED SO HARD

I was in a dark place here. I was cracked. Bonked. Done. I thought my power meter was malfunctioning because the power was reading so low. Nope, I was just not doing well. I got passed by countless women. It was a bit demoralizing. I kept looking at my mantra bracelet that says, “Be where your feet are.” It helped remind me that it didn’t matter who was behind or in front of me, I needed to be present. I drank fluid as much as I could going up that climb in an effort to stick to my nutrition plan.


GÜP Aid Station (mile 60ish) – BACON AND COCA COLA BROUGHT ME BACK TO LIFE

Tomas of GÜP saved my day! He hand fed me turkey bacon and several cups of Coca Cola… and I came back to life! What?! Over the next 20 miles, I continued eating, took an electrolyte pill, and continued to focus on hydrating. I was with two other riders and we were going at a decent pace; not too fast and not too slow. A faster group caught up and I was recovered enough to hop on!

Tradition of waffle breakfast at BWR helps prepare for a long day. A total of 4000 meals were prepared by on-site catering for breakfast and post-ride. Photo by Wil Matthews,
courtesy of BWR.

Mile 80-100 – ALL OF A SUDDEN I FELT AMAZING

Out of nowhere, I started feeling really good! This was a huge, welcomed surprise! These miles included a lot of dirt and I was able to pass people along the way. During this part of the race I started to notice that every aid station (they were spaced about 20 miles apart) had women at them as I stopped quickly and kept going. I was moving up! The crazy thing about this race is that you have no idea where you are in the field. It truly is a race against yourself.

Mile 100-133 – I KICKED BUTT AT THE END

This is the part I was most mentally prepared for. I had such a positive attitude and I am so stoked on my performance during these miles. I continued to pass people while encouraging them, was able to get in with a fast group, and I was still taking pulls! I raced in fear for much of the race because I didn’t want to get a purple card/jersey, which means you were sitting in and not doing work. Thanks, MMX (Michael Marckx, the race director) for the scare! Double Peak was grueling but I was able to turn the pedals over, with a max grade of over 20%. Ouch! With less than a mile to go I caught up to two more women. On the last little kicker of a hill I got out of the saddle and and was able to get a big enough gap to finish ahead without a sprint finish. The crazy part is, I would have been ready for it.

Finish – THIS IS THE BEST PARTY OF THE YEAR!

This year’s BWR fell on Cinco de Mayo and with an event held less than 40 miles from the border, the race organizers did not let that go unrecognized. Photo by Wil Matthews,
courtesy of BWR.

At the finish I was greeted by Nic and MMX. I got a big hug and a congrats from both. Having part of my tribe at the end was really special to me! I chugged a recovery drink and went straight for the waffles and ice cream! Next, I had a delicious Cinco de Mayo meal with a Lost Abbey Cinco de Drinko Mexican Lager. Pure epicness!

The BWR is hands down the best day I have ever had on a bike. It is everything a bike event should be. As MMX said before he sent us off, “this is a parade of bikes with your friends.” We are here to help each other out, before during, and after. I am already looking forward to lining up for the 2020 BWR. You should join me!

Nikki confidently playing on the rocks with her KS dropper post!

KS LEV Ci Carbon dropper post. Seriously, a dropper post is a game changer! No Matter the dirt discipline your cyclist enjoys, a reliable dropper post will make descending faster, obstacles easier, and smiles larger. The LEV Ci Carbon is so light we have it on our featherweight hardtail Pivot LES XC race bikes, so reliable we use it on our ultra-distance and stage racing bikes, and Emma even put one on her Pivot Vault CX bike to really whip around the off-camber hair-pin corners with confidence. Of course a dropper is right at home on our Enduro bikes too!

KS Lev Ci Dropper Post Retail $460. KS does not sell Direct-to-Consumer so you can go visit your local bike shop to get your hands on one (they can also install it for you). Better yet, win one!  Submit a reason the person you would gift this to really needs one by Sunday, December 2nd HERE. Include Good to the Last Drop on the first line of the comments section. The winner will be notified by December 7th and the story will be shared on our social media after the holidays.

Hyperthread kits are stylish and sturdy enough to handle Jen’s monkeying around.

We all have that riding partner who we try not to ride behind because their shorts are see-through thin and has so many holes in their kit that it’s embarrassing to be seen with them at a post ride pizza stop. Or how about when you go to get dressed and realize that all of your kits are in the dirty laundry pile? Solution, a kit from Hyperthreads!

Hyperthreads Hyper Pro Jersey and Bib Retail $270, use our discount code HYPERKSKENDA for 50% off of a shopping cart with $250 or more! ** This discount is good for the first 15 shoppers** Even better, you can submit a pic of the person you want to gift a kit to (or self-gift) in their ridiculous “dirty laundry” riding outfit on on Instagram or Facebook by December 2nd to win one. Please tag @ks_kenda_women (IG) or @kskendawomenmtb (FB). We will sort through the submissions and post the finalists on our IG for public voting.  Winner will be notified by December 7th!

Emma is setting up her wheels with Happy Mediums for some gravel adventures.

Kenda Tires has recently come out with a new tire called the Alluvium Pro. It is capable on pavement as it is on hard packed single track and gravel. Use these tires if you are a fan of chasing sunsets on all-day gravel adventures (that may include a touch of single track) with a group of friends that include stops to eat pie!

Kenda Tires Happy Medium retail $49.95 and use our discount code KS-HOLIDAY25 for 25% off of your order.

Nikki’s bike sporting some gold bling.

Some people just love something sparkly under the tree. How about a gold chain, for the bike! Not only do these chains prolong the life of your drivechain, but they will shave some grams from your bike too.

KMC X11SL Ti Nitride Chain Retail $75 and use our discount code KSKENDA30 for 30% off your order.

Emma’s all smiles with toasty toes.

Lake Winter Riding Boots are a game changer if you plan to ride in the cold. Commuting,fat biking, road miles, you name it – these boots will get you playing bikes year-round. Warning: your trainer may collect dust.

Lake Cycling MXZ 303 Winter Riding Boots Retail $ 300

Mix and match colors or go for just one. Either way let your personality shine through!

ESI makes grips in every color of the rainbow! Grips that match the frame or a rider’s favorite color is an eye catching statement and can freshen up the look of any pedaling machine.

ESI Chunky MTB Grips retail $15 and use our discount code FREESHIPPING for free shipping on orders of $45 or more.  Code is good through Cyber Monday.

Jen’s flashy bike tricks need flashy socks.

You can never have enough cycling socks and HB Stache has some of the coolest and brightest designs we know of. They also have great non-wool winter sock options and for every two pairs of socks they sell, a pair is donated to the homeless! You could put coal in them for that cycling partner who is naughty (pirate trails, down on the uphill only, borrows your bike and returns it filthy…).

Handlebar Mustache Socks Retail $16 and use our discount code THANKS25 for 25% off your order.

Some of the spots of the QSE course call for mid-ride celebration.

We are going to race Quebec Single-track Experience in August. This is a must do for anyone who wants to ride incredible terrain fully supported for a week and enjoys riding with really cool people.

Quebec Single Track MTB Stage Race All Inclusive Package Retail $1500 and use our discount code EMMA150 for $150 off your entry.

Tasco kit, Lazer helmet, Lake shoes, ESI grips, and Pivot bike all in eye-catching blue.

Tasco glove and sock kits, Double Digits, come in all sorts of hip designs and colors to spice up a neutral-looking kit, add some personality to your team kit, or be completely matchy-matchy!


Tasco MTB Glove and Sock Kit Retail $45 and use our discount code
KSKendaHoliday good for 20% off all items, even sale items.

Nikki is post ride ready.

Heading to post ride beers and want to get to know the rider who just moved to town? Run into the restroom to rinse the sweat and dust off your face then apply Aeemelia face oil to your skin to put a glow on your cheeks. Plus, it will fight the damage done from the sun!

Aeemelia Everyday Face Oil Retail $65 and use our discount code KSKENDA for 20% off of your order.

Emma out for a night ride with the local posse.

Extend their ride time window (and safety) with a serious night riding light kit. We’re talking 8000 Lumens blasting out from the Magicshine MJ-908 Bicycle Light to fly the descent way after the sun has set or to be seen by traffic on the way to the trailhead. We’ve used this budget friendly light in 24 hour races and post work bike park sessions. Pair it with the MJ-886B headlamp that easily attaches to your helmet and darkness will not be a deterrent for getting out there.

Magicshine Bike Lights Retail $240

Jen getting a chance to do some reading for fun while on the road.

Time on planes ofers a rare opportunity for many of us to read. Traveling to Bentonville, AR for Epic Rides OZ Trails, Emma read the story of Gino Bartali who not only was a Tour de France winner, but smuggled identity papers to help Jews escape documents in his bikes down tube. Who says riding a bike can’t save the world?


Road to Valor: a True Story of WWII Italy, the Nazis, and the Cyclist Who Inspired a Nation, by Aili and Andres McConnon Retail $10

This past weekend I took a whirlwind trip…to Arkansas. I made the trek to compete in the final round of the Epic Ride Series, which also happened to be the largest mountain bike payout ever in North America. Oh, did I mention I missed the other three races due to pneumonia, bronchitis, or the NICA National Conference (two of those were awful, one was fantastic)?! This made the event even more special to me and to top it off I got to spend the weekend with Emma, who was about to complete the entire series! Being an Epic Rides Coin Carrying Badass is a really big deal (the prize you get for finishing the series). I keep mine by my bed and am damn proud of it!

Fun Friday- Fat Tire Crit

I arrived to the South majorly lacking sleep. After a 1 a.m. flight on Friday out of Ontario Airport in California, I landed in Bentonville, Arkansas at 8 a.m. I drank a coffee, put my Pivot Mach 429SL bike together (I also added some slick honey to my KS Suspension seat dropper), and headed to the Pro Rider meeting with Emma, Nic, and Fischer, my Yorkie (he attends many races, including the Whiskey 50). A few hours later, I found myself fumbling at the start of the Fat Tire Crit and missing a pedal for the first 30 seconds. It was embarrassing, but also not surprising after such a long venture to arrive! I found some good wheels to draft and put in some hard efforts in the Crit. Later in the race, I ended up cheering on Emma as she killed it and covered attack after attack with the top women in the race! Excited about our efforts, we cooled down together and went back to our house to cook a delicious Pesto pasta dinner. We caught up in person and went to bed at a decent hour before we turned into pumpkins.

Pre Race Stoke.jpg
Emma and I were stoked to be racing together in Arkansas!

Saturday- A Day to Hang Out at the Venue

After 12 hours of sleep, I awoke feeling much more refreshed. Emma had been up for hours and had a very productive morning. I ate a good breakfast, savored a mug of coffee from Backporch Coffee Roasters (thank you, Emma!), and got ready to go. As soon as we got to the venue we took off our Kenda Flintridge tires and swapped them for the 2.2 Honeybadgers with the KSCT casing. We rode the beginning and end of the 50 mile course and even met up with Jenn Jackson for a bit. Emma knew her from the other Epic Rides. She also met some of her crew at the Quebec Single Track Experience! At the end, we couldn’t help but stop a few times at the awesome features to ride them, film them, and snap a few pictures! Once we finished our ride, Emma and I made sure to hang around the venue to chat with locals, cheer the amateurs finishing, and soak in the vibe. Epic Rides does such an awesome job with the atmosphere, which is one of the reasons that Emma and I keep coming back for more!

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Emma snapped this shot of me playing on one of the many features on the All-American trail, which leaves straight from Bentonville’s downtown!

Sunday- 50 Miles of Backcountry Mayhem

On Sunday we woke up at 6 a.m.…. or to be more accurate, we woke up at 4 a.m. our time. Pre-race breakfast included coffee, bagels (gluten-free and gluten-ous), and eggs. We headed to the venue at 7 a.m. so that Nic could begin warming up first. Emma and I warmed up together on the empty, peaceful bike path. This is one of the coolest parts about having teammates at races! Our easy spin was similar and then we did efforts on our own. It is relaxing to wake up the legs together before splitting off to do what is best for ourselves. These rituals have become more and more a part of my routine and I hope they continue for a long time. There is something to be said about warming up with a teammate who has big goals yet remains cool and collected!

The race was epic! After a nice start, attacks started to happen on the dirt road. For the first time ever, I was able to remain with the lead group until the single track. From my point of view, Emma was nicely settled into the middle of the pack and was at a relaxed pace. When I am in races with her I often look at her to see her positioning and place in the pack. I am constantly learning! Once we reached the single track the race split up. I went at a hard but realistic pace. The course required a lot of pedaling which means it also required being mentally “on it” at all times. Sometime into the single track it began to thunder…and then pour…and then pour…and then dump! As the rain lightened I entered a new part of the singletrack that was amazing! I looked around and saw the leaves were a beautiful mix of green, yellow, orange, and red. At one point, I remember thinking, “Holy Crap!!!! This is the coolest thing ever!!!”

I finished with a clean race and a huge smile on my face. I was 22nd and had a race that I was satisfied with! Even better is that Emma finished with a 12th place finish in a sprint finish. We celebrated with Onyx Café lattes and pizza! There is nothing better than having two stoked teammates because they raced their hardest, took chances, and most importantly, enjoyed the ride. As we each finished a pizza on our own, I looked around and realized that as much a racing is about results, it is so much more than that. It is the experiences, knowing that you gave it your all, having flawless equipment, and sharing the stoke with others!

Emma After Race Latte
After a stellar race, Emma celebrated with a latte and a Honey Lavender macaroon!

Believe it or not, cycling shoes are designed specific to the type of riding a rider does. For example, a road rider will spend long days in the saddle spinning a high cadence. An exact fit to control the foot is needed for efficiency. When mountain biking, a rider will maneuver over obstacles with varying angles of pressure on the pedals and occasionally need to hike up a slope. The cycling shoe will need more room in the toe box but a secure heel not to pull out of the shoe, plus a grippy sole with a tiny amount of flex.

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While we are a cross country mountain bike team, our riders cross-train and compete in a multitude of cycling disciplines. Emma refuses to get on a trainer in winter and gets out on her fat bike most winter days. Jen races UCI cyclocross as a Pro as well as the mountain bike. Nikki makes sure to take advantage of the sunny days in SoCal on weekends by participating in Gran Fondos during base season. It is a good thing we teamed up with Lake Cycling this season to meet all our team members cycling demands!  Here are some of the shoes we love this season:

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MX180 Enduro is at home on the bike and hiking through the bush.

Our custom XC race shoe, the MX332 is not just eye catching, but also a high performance mtb race shoe. It features a more snug fit than training shoes to maximize efficiency. One of the unique features that Lake offers is the ability to tweak your shoe even more to your needs with their mouldable heel cup. For riders like Jen, who have a narrower heel, the ability to further adjust the fit so that it does not slip is a huge win! I mean, who doesn’t love to cook their shoe in the oven?!

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Our custom MX332 Is function and fashion.

Our mtb training shoe, the MX241 Endurance, will be worn for long hours, walked in while scouting and working lines, lounged in trailside while recharging on GU Waffles, and standing around the trailhead with friends gushing about the ride. This shoe is a little more roomie in the toe box for trail maneuvers and is a bit more snug in the heel so the heel does not rise when hiking back up the trail.

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Our training shoe, the MX241 Endurance is comfortable for any post-ride celebration.

When coaching skill clinics, we find ourselves running around a lot, getting on and off the bike repeatedly, and still needing to perform (perfectly) bike skills. For this, the MX180 Enduro shoe is a great choice. It is a more flexible shoe that you actually want to stand around in. The tread heavy sole gives confident grip when standing on rocks while spotting a rider in a technical section. The “high tops” protect our ankles from rogue shrubbery when dragging logs to practice jumps over. And, it is still a performance shoe for riding where we can wheelie and track stand as well as sprint off a start line in.

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Nikki’s Enduro shoes are at home in the bike park and the bike classroom coaching NICA coaches to coach.

We ride year-round.  Even though Nikkis lives in SoCal, her home is in the mountains of Idyllwild at 5,400 ft and she often finds herself riding in colder temperatures on weekdays when she finishes workouts at dusk (and they even get snow). On the mountain bike, fat bike, or even the road, a winter riding boot is a game changer!  Warm, dry feet are a must if you want to enjoy riding in the elements.

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Emma is all smiles with toasty toes in her MXZ303 Winter Boots, racing in -22 temps at Frosty’s Fat Bike Festival.

Running through sand, grinding in mud, and going fast is what Jen loves about cyclocross.  The MX237 Supercross has the properties of a mtb shoe, but also is drilled and tapped for 4 cleats so that banana peel turf is no match for her as she tackles calf burning run-ups.

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The mud at Jingle Cross World Cup may have been to slick to ride, but Jen’s Supercross shoes with cleats had no problem finding traction.

Do you need six pairs of cycling shoes? No. Need is a strong word but finding a cycling shoe that meets a riders cycling demands will make the ride not just more fun but also more safe and enable a rider to do the cycling things they want to do. If Imalga Marco was a cyclist, her closet would have had 3009 pairs of shoes; the extra nine would be Lake Cycling shoes.

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