Become an MC3 Member

***IMPORTANT NEWS***

MC3 will be charging membership dues in 2014. After three years as a grassroots organization, MC3 has filed for official 501c3 status. Insurance requires official membership dues, so we’ll be inviting you to join via BigTent.com. Membership is only $25 for a full year, and gets you access to the following members-only events and perks:

* Monthly Wine, Wenches & Wrenches mechanical seminars ($5/nonmembers)
* Weekly women’s road rides March through October
* MC3 U: Season-long series of FREE 2-hour MTB skills clinics (ladies only!)
* Seasonal parties, special events, and instruction FOR women, BY women
* 10% discount at participating bike shops
* Early-bird registration and discounts on paid clinics/events
* Opportunities to meet and ride with other women who love bikes

Click here to join MC3

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Oct. 24-26: MC3 Mulberry Gap Trip

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Ladies! It’s time for the 4th annual MC3 Mulberry Gap trip: Oct. 24-26! A women-run mountain-bike retreat in the mountains of North Georgia, Mulberry Gap offers bunk-style cabins, home-cooked meals, hot showers, and ride-in-ride-out access to the Pinhoti trail system. This will be our fourth annual fall trip, and spaces are limited. You must make your own reservation and pre-pay to guarantee a spot.

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Friday: We’ll leave Birmingham around 9 AM or so to caravan and stop in Chattanooga for a trail ride. (Trail TBD… could be Raccoon Mountain, Enterprise, or Five Points.) After a 2-3 hour ride, we’ll continue towards Mulberry Gap in Ellijay, Georgia, and arrive in time for dinner home-cooked by our hosts and camaraderie.

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Saturday: After a big breakfast, we’ll start around 10 a.m. to get in a full day of riding: about 18 miles and 5-6 hours (with plenty of stops). Riding with a big group increases photo ops and regrouping opportunities, so plan to be out for a while and bring a good hydration pack with water, lunch, and a light rain shell. We usually ride Bear Creek, Pinhoti 1, and Pinhoti 2.

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What to expect: Your screaming legs will wake you up on the 5-mile unrelenting fire road climb to the Bear Creek trailhead (or just take a shuttle, courtesy of Mulberry Gap, $15 per carload), but here’s the reward: miles of squeal-inducing downhill. Expect more climbing on single track trails (no pain, no elevation gain), but don’t feel rushed. It’s not a race. Just pace yourself and marvel in the beauty of the North Georgia mountains. The trails are suitable for advanced beginners and up; if you’ve been to one of our clinics, you are well-equipped to handle them. After the ride, there are hot showers, hot tubs, and a hearty dinner awaiting us back at camp. BYO beverage for enjoying around the fire pit.

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Sunday: After another hearty breakfast, we’ll start again at 10 a.m. and have plenty of time for a different, shorter loop, after which we’ll shower and make our way back to Birmingham.

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Details:

Accommodations: We’ll share rustic, bunk-style cabins that sleep 4 to 6. Prices including breakfast and dinner, are $83-$93/per person, per night. Primitive camping is $12-$18 per person/night. Dinner + breakfast are $28 plus tax. You must bring your own camping gear.

Book now: To reserve your spot, you MUST call in a credit card to pay for your first night (706-698-2865). You can pay the remaining balance upon arrival and check-in. WE CANNOT GUARANTEE SPOTS WITHOUT PRE-PAYMENT. If you must cancel, they will offer a credit that can be used on a future trip within the next 3 months.

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WWW: Thurs, Aug 21 — Gear Swap & Charity Road Rides

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It’s that time again! Been a while since our last Wine, Wenches & Wrenches, but Rosie hasn’t forgotten about y’all. Please RSVP to our FB page (or if you’re not on FB, add your name in comments). This way we have enough food and libations.

What: Wine, Wenches & Wrenches is a monthly(ish) gathering that’s part bike education, part happy hour. Sometimes we teach mechanical tricks, like how to fix a flat or clean your drivetrain. Other times we share ways to connect with your community on a bike. We start with snacks and libations and give you a minute to mix and mingle, then get down to teaching you something that makes you even more capable and confident on a bike.

When: Thursday, August 21, 6-8:30 p.m.

Where: MS Society, (Old Brownell Travel building) 813 Shades Creek Parkway, Suite 100B

Why: This month’s hosts, our friends at the MS Society will talk about upcoming charity rides and group training programs that help you increase your mileage in preparation for the rides. Also, we’ll have a Fall Gear Swap, so bring gently-used items of cycling clothing and gear to sell, trade, or give away. If you have a bike to sell, bring a flier (and maybe have the bike on your rack in the parking lot for inspection!)

Gear Swap: We’ll share the rules at the event, but make sure to LABEL anything that you want to SELL, and whatever you want to trade or give away will go into a big pile from which everyone will have a chance to pick something to take home. 

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MC3 U: MTB Mini-Clinic Series (Sundays 3-5 p.m.)

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Coaches Grace Ragland (L) and Maaike Everts spot a log-hop drill as Mary Anne Swanstrom, president of SORBA-Huntsville, executes a very nice front wheel lift.

 CLICK HERE TO REGISTER (MANDATORY) ON BIKEREG.COM. 

New and improved! OK, so after our first three or four clinics got cancelled due to thunderstorms, we ditched the summer plan and redesigned the series to play out in the fall. Ready to earn your B.A. in “Shreducation?”

What is MC3 U?
Thanks to the popularity of our two-day women’s mountain-bike clinics, we decided to try a new format this year: a series of 2-hour clinics on Sunday afternoons—FREE to paid MC3 members. This new approach A) rules out the chance of getting weather-bombed, B) teaches one skill at a time, in a progression that gradually gets more advanced, and C) offers you an a-la-carte approach as well as a thorough “semester” of skills classes. There will be approximately 12 classes from August through October. The “final exam” (optional) is the grand finale: a group ride on the entire IMBA Epic red trail at Oak Mountain State Park. No woman left behind.

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IMBA ICP coach Maaike Everts (also MC3 Vice-President and Treasurer) is one of our head coaches, and one of the nicest, least scary badasses around.

I’m a pretty good rider. Do I need this?
Only if you want to ride with more finesse, skill, and confidence. Even intermediate and advanced riders can benefit from honing the basics, and many of the coaches were shocked to learn they had been cornering improperly for years. “I have more confidence and I’m faster and getting better times because my skills are better,” said one of our students (pictured below), who was already signed up to race the Leadville 100 when she attended her first MC3 clinic. “I will sign up and attend every clinic I can with you in the future.”

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MC3 member Jen Talley, from Niceville, Fla, practicing cornering on a berm at Coldwater Mountain during our intermediate/advanced women’s clinic with Lindsey Voreis.

What are the classes like?
Taught by IMBA-certified Level II instructors, each class will start with 30-45 minutes of skills drills in a soft, grassy, low-consequence field. The coach will explain the skill, answer questions, demonstrate good technique, and then offer feedback and encouragement as you practice it. When everyone is comfortable, we’ll then head to a trail where you can apply those skills and practice your form in a singletrack environment. We may stop and “session” at certain spots, like logs, tight corners, or drops, providing spotting and encouragement. We’ll conclude with a quick review. At the instructor’s discretion, there may be a little “trail-gating” afterward. BYOB.

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High school student and future NICA star Nikki Costello, 15, tests her balance with a track-stand drill at the MC3 intermediate/advanced clinic in Huntsville.

Do I have to attend them ALL?
Nope! Though if you are a beginner, or an intermediate rider looking to ride with more confidence, you’re encouraged to attend as many as you can. You can take the classes a la carte, picking and choosing according to the skills that need work, or you can take them in a series (recommended) that progresses from beginner to intermediate skills. The riders who attend a minimum of 8 classes will get a free MC3 U shirt upon “graduation.” Whoever attends the most classes will earn a special prize (it could be jewelry…)

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MC3 founder and IMBA ICP coach Kim Cross (left) coaches a student at the Midwest Women’s Clinic in Nashville, Indiana.

How do I know if I’m good enough to attend?
All levels welcome! We have at least one 73-year-old student who began mountain biking at 69. In fact, the less confidence and experience you have, the more you will benefit from each class. We teach in an all-female environment (with the possible exception of occasional male coaches, since we only have two certified females right now). And ALL our coaches are trained to create a non-competitive, unintimidating environment that builds skills, confidence, and camaraderie. The MC3 motto is, “Building courage, confidence, and community…two wheels at a time.” We hope those next two wheels belong to YOU!

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Singlespeed world champion and MTB Hall of Famer Marla Streb coaches a student on jumping at the BMX track. Streb was the head coach of our first women’s clinic in 2011. Photo: Michelle Craig of Two Pedals Photography

How do I sign up?
First, you must be a paid member of MC3 (this is important for insurance purposes). Click here to join—it takes a few steps for us to confirm your membership, so don’t wait until the night before to sign up! Email Coach Kim at kimhcross (at) yahoo (dot) com to secure your spot at least one day in advance (by Saturday night, please). That way she can email participants in the group of cancellation due to weather, etc.

Class Schedule (SUBJECT TO CHANGE)

Aug 10     Bike-body separation and braking

Aug 17     Cornering (beg) — switchbacks, med-speed turns (Note: 4:30-6:30 p.m.)

Aug 24     Wheel lifts (front & rear), log hops

Aug 31     Cornering (int) — no-skid turns, counter-leaning the bike

Sept 7     Johnson’s Mt drops, peek-and-push

Sept 14     Climbing and descending (red road climb!)

Sept 21     Switchbacks (uphill and downhill), uphill obstacles

Sept 28     Rock gardens, lunging rear wheel over obstacles

Oct 5       Pumping and jumping

Oct 12     Cornering (adv) — Berms and hi-speed, off-camber corners

Oct 19     TBD — Instructor’s choice (rainy day makeup class or review)

Oct 24-26    Mulberry Gap MC3 Women’s Weekend (tentative)

Nov 1 (Sat)   Graduation: Operation Red Loop

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Preparation for the Rapha Women’s 100

With less than two weeks until the Women’s 100 some training rides have been put together to help prepare for the big day! Here is a link to the Facebook event page where you can register for the event if you have not yet done so.

This Sunday, July 13th there will be a 55 mile ride leaving from Cahaba Cycles in Homewood at 7:30am.

Next Monday, July 14th there will be a 25 mile ride leaving from BBC (Birmingham Bicycle Company) at 5:30pm.

I will keep you all updated if any more rides develop! Looking forward to seeing you all at the Rapha Women’s 100.

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July 20: Rapha Women’s 100 / Tour de Cahaba

10364019_10152855294161982_8892968855899206976_nJoin MC3 on July 20th for a must-do road ride that combines two of the best cycling events of the summer: the Rapha Women’s 100 and the Tour de Cahaba. We’ll be posting specific meet-up details within a week or two of the event (but plan for an 7 a.m. start, if not earlier to beat the heat). We’ll post updates here and on our Facebook page, and also on Twitter and Instagram @RideMC3.

What is the Rapha Women’s 100?
Rapha, a London-based maker of elegant road-riding apparel, is encouraging the growth of women’s cycling by organizing the second annual Rapha Women’s 100. On Sunday 20th July 2014, thousands of women around the world will ride 100km in hundreds of local rides. Last year, 4,000 women participated, and this year we aim to double that. Bring a friend and share your love of the sport!

What is the Tour de Cahaba?
Also on July 20th, the annual Tour de Cahaba is a fun social ride with 20-mile, 50-mile, and 70-mile routes and great rest stops at Cahaba Cycles shops around Birmingham. Here is the link to the Cahaba cycles page where they list the details about the ride. Cahaba charges a mere $10, a portion of which will be donated to tornado relief. MC3 will be doing the full 70-mile route as a group. Anna Carrigan will be leading this ride-within-a-ride. No woman left behind!

Sounds fun! How do I sign up? 

  • Register on the official Rapha Women’s 100 page.
  • Please RSVP on the MC3 Facebook event page so we will have an idea of how many ladies will be joining us.
  • Bring $10 to register on the day of the event.
  • Stay tuned for updates on the MC3 Facebook event page and follow MC3 on Twitter and Instagram:@RideMC3

What should I bring? 

  • Wear your MC3 jersey or Cahaba Cycles jersey
  • Helmet mandatory
  • Two water bottles filled with a sports drink (there will be refill stops along the way)
  • Sunglasses and sunscreen highly recommended
  • Spare tube

What if I can’t hang?
The point of this ride is a social ride, a celebration of women riding together. No woman will be left behind. The group, especially if it is big, may split up into sub-groups that ride at different speeds. That’s fine! But there will be a ride leader accompanying the most casually-paced group, so no chix will be left behind. If you’ve never ridden a metric century before, you couldn’t ask for a more supportive (and supported) environment.

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May 31st: Specialized Women’s Ride Day

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This Saturday women across the nation will be gathering for a ride to celebrate women in cycling. With two different rides you can be sure to find a group that is right for you whether you are an experienced biker or you just want to get out and go for a fun ride with friends, we hope you will join us for a special ride and reception.  

Who: Ladies only! (ages 13 and up)

When: May 31st

10 a.m. Intermediate Ride 
Join a group of women f
or 25-30 miles at a frisky-yet-friendly pace (15-18 mph), with frequent      regrouping spots so no one gets dropped. Expect a not-too-hilly route with a few moderate climbs. Helmets mandatory, of course (we know you know what you’re doing!). 

10:30 a.m. Beginner Ride
Whether you ride a road bike, mountain bike, cruiser, or hybrid, join us for 10 miles or so at an easy, casual pace (10-15 mph) led by an encouraging female who will make sure no woman gets left behind. If you don’t have a bike, come early and we will loan you a demo for free! (Bring your license and credit card for us to hold while you borrow the bike.) We can loan you a helmet, too!

Where: Bob’s Bikes1944 28th Ave S, Homewood, AL 35209; (205) 879-2258

Cost: Free (no strings attached!) Bob’s is treating us to lunch after the ride, catered by Homewood Gourmet! (Gluten-free and vegetarian options will be available, but tell us in advance if you have any allergies.) And no, you don’t need to ride a Specialized bike to join the fun. 

Note: Please RSVP by joining the event on Facebook here and select “join” at the top of the page . If you’re not on Facebook, RSVP by adding a comment below, so we can make sure to have enough food!

We look forward to seeing you all there!

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May 11: CycloFemme – Le Tour de Ham (Ladies’ Edition)

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Sunday, May 11 is not only Mother’s day but CycloFemme, a global women’s cycling day, with rides taking place around the world. For our local ride, we’ve asked local artist and cyclist Véronique Vanblaere to lead a ladies-only version of Le Tour de Ham, a no-Spandex-required social cruise through Birmingham.

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Photo: Courtesy Veronique Vanblaere

The ride will start at 4 p.m. in front of Silvertron Cafe and will conclude at 5 p.m. with a happy hour at Naked Art Gallery. Vero has generously offered to donate 10% of the proceeds of any art sales during our event to MC3. If for whatever reason you cannot join the ride, you’re still welcome at the reception.

Read about CycloFemme, started by Girl Bike Love founder (and satellite MC3 member) Sarai Snyder, who is based in Boulder and shares our passion for getting more women on bikes. @cyclofemme @girlbikelove 

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