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New Cycling Club Announcement-2nd Crack Cycling


Do your plans for 2014 include getting on your bike or maybe even trying out a little racing? Or perhaps you know someone who does? Check out Second Crack Cycling – a fun recreational women’s cycling club hatched by Vicki Bocash of Evverge Creative and me! Karen Lynn of Sip, Clip, & Go! Coffee.


We love bikes, coffee, and good design & technology. In addition to all those things being a bit like crack to us, in coffee roasting terms, the “second crack” is the point of roasting when the coffee bean cell wall breaks open and the richer flavor develops. That being said, this may be our second+ time around on many things, but we like to think we just keep getting better one sip and pedal stroke at a time.

Sometimes it’s tough to hit the reset button when you’ve been out of the game for a while, or just feel a bit intimidated or don’t want to go it alone. It doesn’t matter your geography, or if you are a beginner or already belong to another club or team, we welcome all affiliations and skill levels – and encourage it, actually. Same goes for the dudes who support, train/race with, encourage, heckle and cheer us on. We don’t take ourselves too seriously, but we do intend to have some serious fun! And we’re not afraid to try new things. We also like to mix it up with other sports and recreational activities and spend as much time as possible outdoors. But our common ground is cycling and its soul-liberating power!  Almost every discipline of cycling is open:  road, recreational, mountain biking, and even cyclocross.  We love it all!  Racing is NOT required, but if you’re game, so are we.  Vicki competes in Triathlons, Cyclocross, and is generally up for anything.  Karen competes in Cyclocross, Mountain Biking, Dirt Road rides/Events, Road Cycling Rides (no races), OCR (Obstacle Course Races like the Warrior Dash) and 5Ks.

Join in the fun and get cracking!! Club kit apparel and random merchandise will be available for the upcoming season. Connect with us while we crack the code on a new website and make plans to organize opportunities to ride, train and race together.
Please send us your ideas, comments and suggestions and please pass along!
Main Website:  TBA (in development)

We welcome you to the sport of cycling, and encourage you to get on your bikes and ride!

-Karen & Vicki

Vicki Bocash & Karen Lynn pictured her at the DAS Beaver CX Race in December 2013.

Vicki Bocash & Karen Lynn pictured her at the DAS Beaver CX Race in December 2013.


Helmet Care

How long is too long with the same helmet?  If it’s my helmet, it was 6 months ago.  The bike helmet is the most important piece of equipment a cyclist has. Caring for you helmet is simple, but very important.  Here are some basics:

  • Wash your helmet if you sweat.  Most newer cyclists don’t realize what a bacteria festival the bicycle helmet is.  A little dish soap, warm soapy water, air dry thoroughly.
  • If you crash, replace your helmet immediately.  It doesn’t matter if it doesn’t crack, you weren’t injured, the helmet looks brand new.  A crash= immediate replacement.

Last summer I took a friend mountain biking.  She’s new to the sport.  She fell and crashed, and her helmet saved her from a serious head injury.  She was traveling less than 2 mph, it was a freak fall, and it cracked her helmet in two and she escaped with a minor concussion and some scrapes and bruises. So, it goes without saying , but I’ll say it anyway.  WEAR YOUR HELMET.

It’s the washing that throws some newer riders off.  I’m pretty good about washing my helmet regularly, but there comes a day when it just  can’t help things.  My helmet should have been replaced a while ago, but money’s been tight and I’ve put it off.  I’ll come clean.  My helmet stinks.  It’s gross, and tonight I finally ordered a new helmet.  I’m sticking with my traditional red/black and sometimes white color scheme.  Old habits die hard.

Screen Shot 2013-07-10 at 10.17.54 PM

I’m looking forward to when it arrives–I’m tired of the funky smell after a hot ride.  Yes, that gross, even with frequent washing.  Normally I would have just paid the 50 bucks for it sooner–but I was watching my finances and it seemed like a sacrifice that I could live with.  Once it arrives, the old helmet will be retired like so many others before.


NEW BIKE ALERT! Kona Major Jake 2011

Since my first cyclocross race ever last September, I knew I was in trouble.  I knew I was hooked.  I wouldn’t be able to stop.  And judging from my numbers on Crossresults for the season, I knew I’d need a faster bike.

No disrespect to my Specialized Tricross Sport, but truthfully, it wasn’t meant to race.  Dirt and gravel roads, a randonee perhaps, but it just wasn’t made for speed.  Weighing in at 23.5 lbs, I got strong riding it, but placed at the end of the pack every time.  I decided at the end of CX season in 2012 I needed an equipment upgrade.

Enter the Kona.  I walked into a bike shop I’d never set foot in in Southwick, MA called New England Bike Shop.  The only reason I went there was because my friend and I were bored and she said they carried Cannondale, and I had my eye on the Cannondale SuperX Carbon Rival.  I was dismayed, because despite having a really wonder selection of mountain bikes and road bikes, I couldn’t find any CX bikes.  Finally after a bit of browsing, I asked if they had any Cannondale CX bikes and they pointed to a CAADX.  But next to it was this……

Kona Major Jake


The price was reduced from $3282 to $2252 and it was a leftover demo from 2011. They had demoed it last year at the NEMBA Fest. The new Major Jake (2013) retails at $3400. I was surprised to see it there, since it was a 2011, and was loving the price.  Once I picked it up I was very, very interested.  It weighed in at 17 lbs, 15 oz.  A very noticeable difference from any of my other bikes.  Oh the difference a full carbon frame makes.  A seed was planted, and a few days later I returned with my pedals and cleats and bike shorts for a test ride.  3 hours later, after a few adjustments to the stem and handlebars, I was packing it into the back of my Element and taking the Major home with me.

Carbon CX Kona


One of the deciding factors was watching the “Bike Talk” video with Helen Wyman, the British 8 time National Champion, who rides the Major Jake.  I’ve watched Helen race the Gloucester Gran Prix in 2011 and 2012, and I even managed to sneak her a bag of my coffee to her at the 2012 race (although I missed meeting her, she tweeted some nice words about the gift the following day).  Helen is FAST.  Like, no one can touch her fast.  A few months back, I openly polled my Twitter Stream for CX bike recommendations and Helen responded with “Kona.  End of Discussion.”  Sure, she races for them so of course she says nice things.  But her performance speaks for itself.

After I got the Jake home, I had almost no time for a ride before my son returned home from school. I jumped on the Jake and sprinted over to the closest patch of woods to my house.  I have a nice, private CX loop segment I do there, and it’s saved on my Strava profile.  It’s a great area to practice CX.  My best time on the Tricross for this segment was 6:02.  On the Jake, without going 100%, my time was 5:09.  Almost a whole minute.  What would that mean over the course of a whole CX race?

Middle of the pack, here I come.


Bike fitting needed

I never knew how poorly my road bike fit me until I spent some serious time on a bike that actually fit me.

For the past 18 months, I’ve been riding my CX bike almost exclusively. Before that I had returned to mountain biking for a spell, and as a result, I spent spare little time on the road bike (a Specialized Dolce Elite).  During that time, some nagging physical conditions evaporated–but I didn’t notice they were even gone until I started riding the road bike again.

Here is what hurts:  lower back, my shoulders, the base of my neck.  The neck is an issue–and I was in PT last year because of it.  I have some disk that’s askew and the position I have on the road bike makes it worse–so much so I cannot turn my head.  What hurts most this morning is the lower back.  All of it is no good, and I can’t believe I endured these aches and pains for so many years.

The road bike is a women’s specific frame.  The CX bike is a standard frame, also a Specialized.  I can ride and ride this without issue.  So to solve my pain problem, I have 2 options:

  1. Get the road bike professionally fitted to me.
  2. Sell the road bike and get slick tires for road work with the CX bike.

I have to say I’m leaning toward option #2.  I wouldn’t mind the extra cash and would use it toward buying a true racing bike for the CX season, something I’ve been saving my pennies for.  The CX bike I have now would be a great all around training bike.  If I had more disposable income I’d upgrade the road bike outright, since I bought it back in 2006.  But that’s not where I am right now (at the moment).  I really don’t want to invest the time and money in getting my road bike professionally fitted to me.  And I suspect the women’s specific frame was a little too much marketing and not enough function for a woman who is as tall as the average male.

The one (silly) reservation I have is that although painful, the road bike is faster.  I can go longer, faster on it. When I ride the CX bike with friends who are on road bikes, I have to work harder.  Maybe that’s a good thing overall, maybe it will make me faster come race season.

So what do you think I should do?  Weigh in, because Craigslist is a few clicks away….




New toy: Garmin heart rate monitor

Like most cyclists, I am a self-confessed data junkie.  Because I love data, analysis, and retooling performance to achieve better numbers, I had resisted plunging all the way down the rabbit hole by getting a heart rate monitor.  But after last season’s cross racing experiment, I decided–I’m in.  Let’s do this, the right way.  With data and stats and some real training.  So I asked Santa, and Santa delivered.

My new HR Monitor is a Garmin and works with my Garmin Edge 500.  I tested it out on my “high intensity day” yesterday and here was the result, as provided by my Garmin data and Strava:

Strava Heart Rate & Watts

I’ve started playing with the Miller Formula to learn where I should be. I am quickly learning that a lot of this is subjective, and not everyone is the same. According to the formula, my maximum heart rate is 181. But clearly my numbers are actually higher.    These numbers are appropriate because it was a high intensity training ride, and designed to make my performance faster. But I should be hanging out in 130-150 zone to build endurance.

Heart Rate Zones for Exercising Chart:

* Healthy Heart Zone (Warm up) = 50 – 60% of maximum heart rate:
* Fitness Zone (Fat Burning) = 60 – 70% of maximum heart rate
* Aerobic Zone (Endurance Training) = 70 – 80% of maximum heart rate
* Anaerobic Zone (Performance Training) = 80 – 90% of maximum heart rate
* Red Line (Maximum Effort) = 90 – 100% of maximum heart rate

More to come on this as I learn more about training within heart rate zones.  The reading I’ve done so far indicate that mixing things up will make me strong, fast and with enough endurance to last.


Cyclocross Clinic

I’ve gone crazy and signed up for a free women’s-only cyclocross clinic for Monday night.  I’m a little nervous and excited.  I have been practicing the dismount and I’m getting better.  Adding real barriers will add a layer of reality to it though.

I’m not sure what tipped me in this direction.  I bought the cross bike last year but rode it once in 2011.  A series of flat tires on the road bike has forced me on the Trisport for 85% of all my rides this year.  I’ve done well over 1000 mile on the cross bike this year.  So I’m comfortable riding it, but riding it on the road and riding a cross course are really two wildly different things.

Still, I have been surfing BikeReg for a suitable low-key race.  I think I found one in Lancaster, MA this October.  Hopefully I’ll feel comfortable enough with the dismount, remount, and shouldering the bike to give it a try.  I’m looking for a good set of cyclocross tires for the event.  Is it just an excuse to shop for more bike gear?  No–I think I just want to be serious about this.  I’m looking at the Michelin Mud 2 which looks like a good all around tire that will perform in the mud and still not slow me down on the packed dirt. Not that I’m fast.  That hasn’t changed.  But my bike handling skills are decent so I think I can survive a 40 minute event.

What about this picture looks fun? Yeah, I’m not sure either.

I will post about the clinic next week.  It’s on Monday at 6PM so if you are a female and interested and live in western Massachusetts, email me at sipclipandgoATgmailDOTcom and I’ll give you the info.


Sip, Clip & Go! Coffee: Two Passions, One Blog, & Now a Business Gifts for Cyclists

I’ve been busy.

It’s been 6 years since we started this blog–all over two passions that for us–seemed inextricably linked: Coffee & Bikes.  On about the 3rd of January this year, I had an idea while on a 3 mile run during my lunch break from my office.  I remember where I was on the farm road when it occurred to me, but not what led me to the idea, other than it must have been gestating for the last 6 years.  Except now I was finally in a place in my life where I could cultivate it.  Bikes & coffee.  Coffee & bikes.  I wanted to start a business–and do work that gives back to the cycling community and create a product just for us.

It’s not a revolutionary idea.  There’s not a thing proprietary about it. It’s coffee for cyclists. But moreover, its coffee for the cycling community. Here’s my official “About Us” Statement:

Sip, Clip, and Go! Coffee began 6 years ago with two friends who shared a love of cycling and coffee. They started a blog about their cycling adventures, their love of coffee, and the cycling community in their bucolic section of western Massachusetts. What started as a whim became a ritual, and five years later, one member of the Sip Clip and Go team has brought that love of cycling and coffee culture to the next level (with her co-blogger cheering her on).

Cycling and coffee go so well together because they do the same thing–they bring people together. You can see this at any charity bike ride or Gran Fondo, any group ride or at any cafe or coffee shop; people chatting, connecting over a cup of coffee or a new crankset and enjoying the day in front of them. This is what Sip, Clip and Go! Coffee endeavors to do: bring two great loves together. That perfect cup of coffee after a long leg-burning ride.

Karen works with local roasters in the Pioneer Valley to create Sip Clip and Go’s delicious blends. As an experienced coffee drinker she knows a good cup of coffee when she tastes one. Beyond her personal tastes, in her professional life she oversaw the operation of a very popular cafe serving very popular brand named coffee inside a very brand name bookstore for over a decade. Now she’s offering her own coffee–all to compliment the cycling community that she loves.

Sip, Clip and Go! Coffee is 100% Organic and Fair Trade. We also give 1% of our coffee profits to Bikes Belong, a non-profit organization that works to put more people on bicycles across the United States. So when you drink our coffee, you are supporting several worthwhile economies and causes at once. That’s powerful stuff.

We hope you enjoy our coffee. Care was taken in selecting it with the cyclist in mind. We’re happy to be along for the ride.

If you’d like to check out the site and the coffee and coffee related items I’m offering, feel free to visit me at Sip, Clip & Go! Coffee.  This blog will remain as is–dedicated to writing about our rides and related bike topics, products, trails, culture.  It will probably also mention coffee–sometimes our coffee, and probably others as well.  But the focus will remain on the sport of cycling.  I like to keep boundaries, and this is Heather’s blog too.  Besides, if I don’t blog about riding, I’ll likely pop, it’s become too great a habit to abandon.

And so here we are, the eve of the launch of my new business.  I’m not sure where it will lead, but if it’s a half as fun as it has been riding my bike, sharing adventures with good friends and writing about cycling, I’ve already hit it out of the park.