In the piece Jude covers a wide variety of topics about hand built wheels and running a specialized business, including engagement, turning out the lights and locking the door on time and what it is like to work in the bike industry.
Jude also talks about how a hill is never simply the same hill, especially the more you ride.
Back in 2010, a few women cooked up the idea of a team of ladies who would get muddy, work hard and race fast, but all under the umbrella of having serious fun.
The result is Ladies Auxiliary, a team supported by Sugar Wheel Works that rides and races, primarily cyclocross with a little bit of short track in the summer. The club is comprised of 50 people but only about 10 of them race seriously and some don’t even race at all.
“What I love about the team is we’re not focused on having the strongest athletes,” says Leslie Carlson, one of the longest standing team members. “We all want to do well, but there is no pressure to be a certain kind of cyclist. We want our teammates to learn how to enjoy racing. Camaraderie, working hard and trying to do your best while hanging out with the others is our focus. We like to laugh while we race.”
“I get just as excited when a beginner joins the team as aI do when a pro joins. I like to watch how team members progress to the best of their abilities, especially when they start out with us as complete beginners.”
Leslie says this process is particularly fascinating for women. “It is so empowering for women to really own their physical bodies in the way you need to for a sport like this.”
Ladies Auxiliary is a supportive team where everyone works together to make it possible for the teammates to pursue their cycling goals.
“It’s not easy to get into the bike industry and racing. There are many hurdles for women. It’s exciting to see that there are more women’s race teams these days. Ladies Auxiliary is doing out part to put a female mark on cyclocross. We might even go so far as to race in lipstick.”
As a dedicated team member, Leslie says her main responsibilities include the nitty-gritty like hauling around the team tent. She is committed to helping the team succeed in whatever ways they want to, because she reaps such great reward from the rowdy band of ladies. “Personally, cyclocross has brought so much joy into my life. It has helped me re-discover play in my life.”
Beyond racing, Leslie says the team has plenty of responsibilities on race day that keep them rather busy. “We are dedicated to crazy music and heckling. And we’re really into the costumery of it all. I guess you could call it the lighter side of working hard.”
This is the kind of cycling spirit Sugar Wheel Works supports 100%, which is why Ladies Auxiliary is one of our sponsored teams. Leslie says that support is important to the team. As they roll around on their Sweetpea bikes, arms linked and heads raised high (perhaps with wigs on), they know they are part of a strong network.
“It’s meaningful to race on wheels that someone I know – and a woman – built. Our wheels, literally rolling underneath us as our foundation, are a symbol of the support our team has.”
Plenty of laughs, high-fives, podiums… and of course costumes.