Team Laser Cats

Women in Philadelphia who love bikes, cats, and snacks.

Junior racer Tamia joins up with TLC for her first CX Race

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Team Laser Cats is very proud of the fact that our very own Sophia Lee started the Rocky CX project — a cyclocross bike designed to be used by women interested in giving cyclocross a try. Rocky was put together by loving donations from members of our community, including a frame from bona fide pro Arley Kemmerer. A couple weeks ago, Rocky traveled to West Chester CX #1 with Tamia Santiago, a junior road racer with the Cadence Youth Cycling organization who also works with Laser Cat Taylor Kuyk-White at Neighborhood Bike Works. Read on for Tamia’s first cyclocross experience, then hop on over to the Rocky blog for more stories on the bike’s adventures this season, or to chip in a donation

A new beginning with no consequence of regret

by Tamia Santiago

Tamia Crossing Barriers LIKE A BOSS
Tamia Crossing Barriers LIKE A BOSS | Photo by Lee @ Bicycle Therapy

Two wheels one adventure. A memory in safekeeping, for it is one of a lifetime and irreplaceable to the mind. It’s amazing how a thought could become a reality with only the cost of a kind heart. Even as a road racer cyclocross seemed so far away. The challenge in joining the world of cyclocross was both an intrinsic and extrinsic factor. I couldn’t possibly afford a bike, nor imagine shifting from the smooth paved life of crits to loose dirt and stone pits. Yet the thought seemed fulfilling; deep down there was still a missing piece in cycling. A missing puzzle piece; Rocky showed me another side to cycling.

Tamia: EYE OF THE TIGER
Tamia: EYE OF THE TIGER | Photo by Krista Ciminera

This was a new beginning with no consequence of regret. The support for my first race in West Chester was unbelievable; not only did Taylor– best teacher/ racer / motivator ever– take time out of her day to coach me, she also introduced me to her team Laser Cats which gave me the opportunity to experience my first race with the full support of a team. However, my nerves were still at war with my adventurous tendencies. Steep descents were intimidating along with taking in the thought of dying ten seconds into the race. After reviewing the course dozens of times and conquering my hesitations, it wasn’t long before I let adrenaline take over. The descent that I once feared became the highlight of my race; I took every opportunity to zoom passed my competitors. Sometimes I fear that my mind is too adventurous for my own being.

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More rock than road! Photo by Lee @ Bicycle Therapy

This race was painfully fun. I cannot possibly simplify this experience. I was jumping with joy before the race and even so after. The Rocky movement was the most ingenious way to get females into cyclocross. If is wasn’t for Rocky I’d still be watching cyclocross races from the barrier of a computer screen. Cyclocross is just so FUN! There’s no other way to describe it. As of right now I’m hooked and plan to continue racing cyclocross every opportunity I get with Rocky. Who knows I might even purchase my own cyclocross bike some day.

Tamia IN THE THICK OF IT
Charging down the drop. Photo by Krista Ciminera
Tamia brought her crit racing strength to the grass

Tamia brought her crit racing strength to the grass, sightlining that turn. Photo by Willem Heydendael

Tamia on the junior podium!

Tamia on the junior podium! Photo by Elisabeth Reinkordt

All smiles at the finish!

All smiles at the finish! Photo by Blake Rubin

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