Team Laser Cats

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


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Seeking Unconventional Women: The Gorgeous Ladies of Enduro

The following is reposted from State College Laser Cat and resident #femdurobro, Lindsay Hall-Stec. You can read more about her adventures at http://trainingonaprayer.blogspot.com/.

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“The best rivalries are not about the rival. They’re about the insecurities that your rival brings out in you…” – Rogelio from “Jane the Virgin”

GLOE

When I first read Gloria Liu’s Bicycle magazine article titled “That Time I Went Full Enduro” a few weeks ago, it was hard to get through it without my heart racing and my eyes welling up with tears. I had developed a bit of a girl crush on Gloria a year or so before, when I discovered the value of reading bike and gear reviews from a real person who I’d encountered in real life and whose riding style and terrain was close to my own. Gloria’s opinions held much more weight than any random woman in Colorado, California, or the UK talking about howwell (or not) bikes and gear performed. When she won both the enduro stage and overall enduro classification at the Tran-Sylvania Epic this year, I was stoked…and jealous, but knowing that it wasn’t my time yet, I can’t think of anyone else I’d rather see it go to.

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Laser Cat Shaniyla Hard at Work at BUP!

Quick Intro: A few weeks back, Team Laser Cats instagram featured a GoFundMe to help Shaniyla pay for a really cool summer program. That one didn’t pan out, but she managed to find another one that is doing great work in Baltimore. From the Baltimore Urban Program (BUP) website: “During this intensive 6 week internship students grow together in their understanding of the city, the ways God is at work here, and their own response and involvement as Christians. After initial orientation, students serve as interns with various Urban Ministries and non-profit organizations throughout Baltimore.” (Link to BUP “About” page

The following is cross-posted from BUP’s blog, an entry by Shaniyla Johnson. Excited to hear more!

BUP IST SHICKE TOLL!

By Shaniyla Johnson

CAUTION: THESE ARE ALL OPINIONS DERIVED FROM SHANIYLAS BRAIN BUT PLEASE FEEL FREE TO CHALLENGE MY OPINIONS IN THE COMMENTS. ALSO FEEL FREE TO COMMENT WITH ANY QUESTIONS OR THINGS YOU WOULD LIKE ME TO INCLUDE IN THE UPCOMING WEEKS.

I was reserved about leaving my house again as I’ve been all over the place this year. Do I really want to spend my summer away too? So many places, so little time.

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Grindcore scores a podium at Ramsey’s Revenge

Three years ago, I moved to Philly. I came from a land with few rocks and scant log overs. I felt like I had to completely relearn how to mountain bike. I got a bike that fit better, and I’ve broken some parts and collected some bruises overcoming physical and mental barriers.

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A nice long downhill rock garden wasn’t something I used to look forward to. Photo: Paul Freeman

Sunday, I felt like it all came together. I lined up with no expectations but to ride a good ride and not get hurt. I didn’t start particularly fast. I watched the front group ride away. But the pieces connected, and by the end of the first lap, I found myself climbing into 3rd in the Pro/Elite field. I spent those next two laps just keeping on keeping on. Ride clean. Focus. Don’t get hurt. HAVE FUN. And I did. And I’m really, really happy about it.

Thanks to Bicycle Therapy for the new brake setup at the last minute. Those were essential!

Ramseys_Diego_FreemanDiego always has our backs. Photo: Paul Freeman


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Winter in Summer

Disclaimer: The following is a description of my recovery from a prolonged concussion. None of this should be read as medical recommendations, and I strongly urge anyone who has had a head impact or suspects a concussion to see a doctor specializing in concussions as soon as possible. I wanted to share this story, not to offer medical advice, but to shed light on an highly mercurial injury whose recommendations are changing very rapidly as it becomes better understood. Every concussion is unique, and only a professional knows how to distinguish between unpleasant but non-serious symptoms versus symptoms that may point to something much more serious that could lead to serious complications or permanent brain damage.

The Dream

2017 was going to be the year that I’d try for CX Nationals. Fall 2016 would have been my fourth real CX season after two fairly strong ones as a cat 3, and I finally felt mentally ready to say that yes, I wanted to see how far I could go in this strange, wonderful sport I fell into, and yes, my life circumstances finally allowed me to structure my schedule to make this happen.

I didn’t make this decision lightly. Although I had a passably strong martial arts background, I had been a very mediocre XC runner in high school, and it was to my great surprise one day that I was somehow able to win a bike race. I was very comfortable with being a “mediocre” athlete, but it was also empowering to believe that a part of my identity I thought was unchangeable, I actually could change. It was another sea change to begin to wonder and possibly believe that perhaps I could be part of an elite group of athletes, that even if I was far from being a contender of National Champion, that I would at least be a part of “the best” at something athletic.

As one does when reaching for lofty goals, I found a coach to build accountability. After years of luddite resistance, I purchased a power meter and garmin, learned to use them, and altered my decade of ingrained ride routine to include data downloads (the horror). I didn’t skip any workouts, but between my full-time job as an architect and my part-time job as an adjunct professor of architecture, it meant I frequently got very little sleep. I wasn’t too worried though, as when school let out, I’d have more time to recover and build before the fall CX season. I kept dreaming.

The Quietest Punch to the Face

01_the stick

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Philly Phlyer Cat Squad!

With wide smiles and faces full of salty road spray, the Team Laser Cats TTT squad claimed a commanding 2nd place for the 2nd year in a row! This year’s tall squad featured not one but two junior racers, with our dirt superstar Emma trying out this skinny tire thing and guest rider Maddie of KMS jumping in for her first ever TTT. Mama Cat Elisabeth and resident poet-on-wheels Knar rounded out the team.

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