Race Recap: Katrina Dowidchuk at Masters Cross World Championships

This week we’ve got an extra special race recap lined up for you, because we’ve now got a World Champion at our Newark, DE store! Katrina Dowidchuk, one of our store associates, won the Womens 40-44 division race at the Masters Cyclocross World Championships in Louisville, KY. We recently caught up with Katrina to hear more about the race, her training, and her advice for those thinking about racing cross.

How long have you worked at Performance Bicycle?

Since August 2008, so almost 3.5 years.

How long have you been racing bikes and what’s your current team?

I’ve been racing triathlons primarily since 2005. Then I started dabbling in road racing, endurance mountain biking and time trialing, but found the perfect fit with cyclocross in 2009. I currently race with Team TBB/Deep Blue which is a local team based out of Wilmington DE.

What was your first bike?

My mom bought me an upright pink bike with a banana seat and coaster brakes when I was about 8 years old. That thing was cool – racing up and down the driveway – I wasn’t allowed on the road. My first upgrade was a giant orange flag that attached to the rear wheel. Then I didn’t ride again until after college, to rehab a torn ACL , and now I have more bikes than I can count. You can never have too many. For cross, I ride the Fuji Altamira CX. It was a great upgrade this year.

Katrina Dowidchuk (Team Tbb/Deep Blue) racing on her pit bike. Photo: Wil Matthews

What’s your favorite part about racing cross?

Best thing about cross is that it’s incredibly hard, but it’s only 40 minutes! I give everything (I am not working hard enough if the drool isn’t running down my face) – run up some steep muddy hills, leap over barriers – but you finish a race knowing that you got out of it what you put into it. Plus, the cross community in the Mid-Atlantic region is very supportive. You see the same people at every race, and it’s so great to cheer for your buddies and have them scream for you.

Let’s hear about the race – what was the course like?

Course was perfect cross conditions. I was lucky, it was frozen solid earlier in the morning, but my race was at 2pm, so it warmed to about 33 and sunny. That made it thick gooey mud almost everywhere, at times covering deep frozen ruts, with the steep short climbs becoming muddy frozen runs where it was difficult to get traction. Overall, one of the most challenging courses of the year because of the conditions.

Katrina Dowidchuk of Team Tbb/Deep Blue takes the win in the womens 40-44 race. ©Steve Anderson

It sounds like you had raced against many of your fellow competitors before – did you have a set of race tactics in mind before the start? Did the race go as planned?

I raced some of them previously at the National Championships in Madison so I knew what I was up against. Louisville was different in that I really wanted to get out in front at the start. I figured if I got caught behind a crash that would be a deficit too much to recover from. So I gave it everything at the start – it was wild, as we turned the corner off the pavement, it was very slick and everyone went for what they thought was the best line. We were all over the place, you could feel racers sliding and swerving, but fortunately I was able to move up to about 2nd wheel. If I didn’t get jammed early, I knew I could be competitive. This race, I also planned better knowing when to get off the bike and run versus attempting to power through a technical section – you can lose a lot of time making stupid decisions. And in Louisville, I made much better decisions – I pitted every half lap, which means swapping my heavy muddy bike for a clean one. I kept my outstanding pit crew very busy!

So what did it feel like to win a World Championship & pull on the rainbow stripes?

Coolest thing ever. Although it was so cold I was bundled up like the Stay-Puff Marshamallow man, and when they gave me the jersey I was sure it would not fit over my many layers of clothing. But then I did finally get it on, and they played the National Anthem and people were cheering – it was the greatest! I didn’t take it off for at least another 6 hours.

Official UCI world championship medals await presentation. Photo: Wil Matthews

How do you train for racing cross?

One of the great things about cross is you don’t need hours and hours of training time. I try to simulate race conditions as much as possible. So I run stair repeats, get on the trainer and do sets of all-out max power for 30 seconds, with 30 seconds rest, and I do sessions of 2 minute race-simulation intervals where I practice starts, sprint, dismount and carry the bike, all at max effort. I don’t do any long and slow riding during the season.

What’s your best advice for someone who’s thinking about racing cross?

Don’t stress. There are a lot of local races that are age and skill-level graded – borrow a bike and just get out there and try it. Learn the basics, then laugh as you have to get over a barrier or run through the sand – I guarantee it will be the most fun you’ll have in a race.

Wordless Wednesday

Roundtable with Rep. Earl Blumenauer & Rep. David Price

This week we were invited to participate in an interesting roundtable discussion about Livability and Smart Growth in our local Triangle community (which consists of Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill, where our home office is located), focused on efforts to improve access to and funding for bicycle and pedestrian projects.

Organized by Multi-Modal RDU and McKinney (and hosted at McKinney’s offices in Durham), this discussion, open to the local community, featured the participation of our local U.S. Representative David Price, an important supporter of multi-modal transportation and environmental protection efforts in Congress, and Representative Earl Blumenauer of Portland, founder of the bi-partisan (or “bike-partisan” as he likes to call it) Congressional Bike Caucus and long-time bicycling advocate in Washington.

Rep. Price, Performance Bicycle CEO David Pruitt & Rep. Blumenauer

The room was packed with passionate cycling advocates and community members who were there to talk about bicycle and pedestrian planning on the local and national level. In addition to Reps. Price and Blumenauer, the roundtable discussion was led by representatives from the East Coast Greenway Alliance, the Mountains-to-Sea Trail, the Open Space and Parks Advisory Committee, the Durham Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Commission, and our Performance Bicycle CEO David Pruitt, who was there both as part of the local community and also as a representative of the bicycle industry.

Passion for their cause was evident with all of the speakers, whether it was supporting the construction of greenways along the east coast, building a path to bisect North Carolina from west to east, advocating for new bike lanes, or, in our case, reaching more customers with the cycling products, services and knowledge they need to ride more often. But the most interesting part of the discussion was hearing how these plans were being implemented – what strategies were and are still needed to bring these visions to reality. It was in this realm that Rep. Blumenauer was able to bring his experience as an advocate for the cycling community to the fore, as he talked about the need to make the case for both the economic and health benefits of increased access to cycling.

In addition to boosts to recreation and tourism, he cited examples from his home district in Portland where cycling-specific infrastructure fueled measurable economic growth and added value to the community (plus served as a catalyst for a thriving $100 million local cycling industry), all for a cost-effective investment.

It is for these reasons and more that we support the efforts of the National Bike Summit, and are a sponsor of Bikes Belong, a national coalition of bicycle retailers and suppliers that works to put more people on bikes more often, through projects, partnerships and advocacy efforts across the country. Because the one key lesson from this discussion was that it will take a concerted effort on both the local and national stage for cycling advocates to continue to create a safer, more accessible, and, in the end, more valuable cycling infrastructure in our country.

Wordless Wednesday

ProTour Team Kits

With the ProTour Cycling season already starting up this week at the Tour Down Under in Australia (in the middle of their summer, of course), we thought it would be fun to take a look at all of the ProTour team kits. After all of the changes and mergers for the new year, at least you’ll now have some idea what you’re looking at in the colorful professional peloton. Plus we threw in links to all of the official team websites, if you want more info about the teams and their riders.

AG2R La Mondiale Pro Cycling Team

Pro Team Astana

BMC Racing Team

Euskaltel-Euskadi

Francaise des Jeux-Big Mat

Team Garmin-Barracuda

Photo: © Mark Gunter

GreenEDGE Cycling Team

Katusha Team

Team Lampre ISD

Pro Cycling Team Liquigas-Cannondale

Lotto Belisol Team

Photo: © Mark Gunter

Movistar Team

Omega Pharma-QuickStep Pro Cycling Team

©Copyright Tim De Waele

Rabobank Cycling Team

Photo: © Mark Gunter

RadioShack-Nissan-Trek

Team Sky Pro Cycling

Team Saxo Bank

Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team

BettiniPhoto © 2012

Wordless Wednesday

Looking Ahead to 2012

The title of this post may be looking ahead to 2012, but it seems like we should start by looking back at 2011. It was a busy year around the world of cycling, and the same was true for us here at Performance Bicycle. We opened 11 new stores across the country, from Michigan to Texas to California to Illinois to Indiana to Georgia to Idaho, bringing our grand total of stores to over 100!

Spinning the prize wheel at a Grand Opening celebration!

We’ve been busy here on the Blog as well, bringing you our always different Wordless Wednesday posts, our informative Spin Doctor Tech Tips, plus our coverage of interesting events like Jeremiah Bishop’s Alpine Loop Gran Fondo, racing with our coworkers at the Burn 24 Hour Challenge mountain bike race, and getting  to see a small race in France that you might have heard of (we’ll give you a hint, it involved some pretty cool scenery).

Getting up close and personal on the Galibier.

We’ve also had a great time giving away some great prizes, through our website and over on our Facebook page, including some lucky Ride Like a Pro SRAM winners, and of course our Scattante Americano Giveaway over the Fourth of July.

Our head copywriter Chas played Uncle Sam.

We always enjoy watching the professionals do their thing every year,  and 2011 didn’t disappoint in that regard. The folks over at Bicycling magazine put together a great slideshow of pro cycling highlights from 2011, from the season-long dominance of Phillipe Gilbert, to Alberto Contador’s win in the Giro d’Italia, to the drama of Cadel Evans’ first Tour de France win, to Juan Jose Cobo’s Vuelta a Espana triumph (aboard a Fuji Altamira):

JuanJo Cobo winning the Vuelta on a Fuji Altamira.

We also loved finding and sharing all manner of cycling videos, from ones that inspired:

To ones that involved crazy German mountain bikers:

To ones about the incomparable Chris Akrigg:

Or the equally awesome Danny Macaskill:

To a postman living his dream of riding with the Pros:

To a mountain biker losing a battle with a hartebeest:

Ouch!

Basically, we just loved all things cycling!

So what are we looking forward to in 2012? More and better things, of course! We’ve got new store openings planned, a fantastic lineup of new gear and new bikes (seriously, there are some awesome bikes we can’t wait to show you), more cycling events to cover, and fun giveaways and prizes to share. Plus it’s our 30th Anniversary, so that’s a pretty big deal (and it should be easy to find “pearl” cycling gifts)! Performance Bicycle was started in Garry Snook’s basement here in Chapel Hill, NC in 1982!

We promise to share everything with you here and on our Twitter and Facebook pages, and we hope to see you out on the road (or trail) in 2012!

Wordless Wednesday

Community Events: December Recap

This month we thought we’d get a jump start on the new year by looking back at some of the local community activities that our retail associates supported or hosted in December. With over 100 stores all across the country, we’ve got many events to highlight (in addition to their regularly scheduled Spin Doctor clinics & group rides), so let’s get started!

First up is our Chapel Hill, NC store, which helped out the local East Chapel Hill Rotary Club bike build this month.  Earlier this month, John Bigelow, Store Manager of our Chapel Hill store, along with Gene Carleton and Bo Peele from our Corporate Headquarters, assisted Rotary Club members with building and conducting final checks of 50 brand new kids bikes. The bikes were donated to the Chapel Hill Christmas House, organized by the Chapel Hill Service League, and donated to local families in need to make their Christmas a little brighter.

Our Roswell, GA store was also involved with a Christmas bike build this month, participating in a North Fulton Community Charities organized event.  The NFCC collected over 500 used bikes, along with an assortment of scooters and tricycles, to give away this year, in addition to about 300 new bikes donated by various individuals and companies.

After some organization and triage, the bikes needed to be washed, repaired and polished up for NFCC’s Santa Shop (held later in the month). Over 100 people showed up to help out with the bike build, including three other local bike shops, in addition to Performance Bicycle, which had donated goods or mechanic help to the event.

A few of the volunteers looked like they must have run a shop in their garage with the huge toolboxes they brought with them (many with Spin Doctor work stands and tools)! Everyone had a great time and enjoyed giving back to the community – although the most fun was test-riding the completed bikes on the impromptu test track set up inside!

Staying with our Roswell, GA store, they were busy a few days later helping a local Cub Scout den to work through some of the requirements for their Ride Right certification. In their session our store team covered cycling laws in Georgia, identified the parts of a bicycle and taught the Scouts how to patch a flat tire. Here’s a picture with the Den leader and about half of the kids that were present.

Our Boulder, CO store (the very first Performance Bicycle store) was busy this month helping out the annual Share-A-Gift bike giveaway. Steve LeGoff, Ben Potman and James Terry from the Boulder store volunteered to repair kids bikes for this annual event.

 Steve has been volunteering with this event for the past 17 years – this year they helped repair over 115 bikes! The event was a huge success once again, with lots of good cheer all around. Many kids got a great Christmas thanks to the hard work of our team and all of the other volunteers! Congrats guys!

Our San Diego, CA store got in the holiday spirit by participating in San Diego’s Christmas Tree Tabernacle. Here you can see our team of Store Manager Jason Eddy (and his daughter Leila), Spin Doctor Josh Job & Sales Manager Chris Murphy, ready to show off their decorating skills.

Chris, Josh and Jason headed over to Liberty Station to decorate their tree, as part of the event to benefit the less fortunate during the holiday season.

As you can see, they put a cycling twist on their choice of ornaments and decorations. Once the day of the event was over the christmas trees were donated to a lucky local family.

Our stores often host local clubs in for special “Club Nights”, and our Bonita, CA store hosted a special event with their neighbors from the “Donny’s Café” riding club earlier this month. Club leaders Donny and his brothers Tim and John picked up food and supplies, and our team helped set up a wonderful spread for about 50 guests and club members, which spilled over to the cafe next door.

There was even a full Taco stand with a gas stove to cook the meat and heat up tortillas, including all the fixings! Not to mention the pounds of fresh brownies and fudge and peanut brittle for dessert, with Donny brewing fresh coffee. It was a perfect crossover between two of our three favorite pastimes, eating and shopping, only beat out by cycling!  Here’s Store Manager Greg Heath modeling the Donny’s Cafe team jersey:

It was also Club Night in Arizona earlier this month, as our Peoria, Scottsdale and Chandler, AZ stores teamed up to welcome members of the Phoenix Metro Bicycle Club to our Chandler store. The PMBC showed up 71 members strong for this evening event, and our team got to meet and mingle with club members and their leaders in a fun and casual environment. There were even folks form the Coalition of Arizona Bicyclists in attendance, an important bike advocacy group in the state.

The club members and our team had a great time talking bikes and enjoying our complimentary refreshments.  There was even some shopping going on, as PMBC members got a special discount during the evening.

In our Novi, MI store, a Team in Training group came by this month for their first spin/run workout from our store. There were 18 spinners and 2 coaches, including one inspiring woman who is training for triathlons in order to lose weight, and she’s already lost almost 100 lbs! Our team said that it was great to be able to help her out with questions that she felt too intimidated to ask in other stores, and she even planned to try out our store’s indoor cycling class later in the month.Our Speedway Tucson, AZ store also held their first spinning class this month.  Here’s a picture of James Gurr, one of our store associates and a certified instructor, leading the class. The store manager of our Broadway Tucson store, Margarita Selden, decided to swing by and give the class a try, and Speedway Tucson store manager Wes Coons said everyone enjoyed the class and had fun.

Finally, we wanted to share an interesting story about elite marathon runner Susan Loken and our Chandler, AZ store. As you can read on her blog, Susan is training for the 2012 Olympic Marathon Trials, but an injury hampered her ability to train. Looking for low-impact alternatives that would keep her fitness levels up, Susan heard about the ElliptiGO elliptical bike and decided to give it a try at our store. After some instruction and fitting by our team, Susan was off and rolling in no time!

As you can see below, Susan quickly picked up on the basics of riding the ElliptiGO, and has now incorporated it into her training regime. As Susan said on her blog, “This bike will keep my cardiovascular system strong along with building core and leg strength. It will also keep me exercising outside!” It sounds like nothing is going to stop her from finishing the Olympic Trials, and our team was happy to be a small part of her efforts. We wish Susan the best of luck at the Olympic Marathon Trials in Houston!

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