Monthly Cycle – NEW indoor MC3 “margarita ride” (Weds 4/16)


Finally – a social ride for all abilities, fitness levels, and cycling disciplines! (You don’t even need to own a bike.)

Join MC3 this Wednesday, April 16 for a 45-minute indoor cycling class at Sweat and Gears studio in Homewood, followed by free hors d’oeuvres (compliments of MC3) at Little Donkey. This ride is for MC3 members (join here), but feel free to bring a female friend.

We wanted to create an event that would bring MC3 members together for a fun ride where everyone can participate at their own speed/level and still enjoy the camaraderie of riding with a group. No matter how fast, slow, fit, or aspiring you are, you can ride your own ride and get a GREAT workout in, catch up with friends, and enjoy a little post-ride treat.

What: A 45-minute indoor cycling class — women only — that’s a great workout regardless of fitness or riding experience

Who: Any woman who wants to pedal, sweat, and “earn” her post-ride treat. No indoor or outdoor cycling necessary. Beginners welcome. (For indoor cycling newbies: You control the difficulty of your ride, so it can be as easy or hard as you want.)

When: 5:45 p.m. Wednesday, April 16 (class starts at 6). After class, free hors d’oeuvres at Little Donkey (buy-your-own drinks)

Where: Sweat & Gears Studio, 2809 Central Ave., Homewood (located in the former Iron Tribe Fitness gym)

Why: Um, what woman doesn’t need a mid-week workout to blow off steam, see friends, and have a happy hour?!

How to sign up: YOU MUST SIGN UP IN ADVANCE HERE. No fee this week (future classes will be half price). Create an account, choose a bike (if you’ve come here before, it will be adjusted in advance for you!), and fill out the “MY STATS” page. (Your workout details will be emails to you after each class.

What to bring:

  • Running shoes OR bike shoes with SPD cleats. (Mountain bikers – please clean the mud off your cleats before class)
  • Water bottle
  • Heart-rate monitor (optional). If you have an ANT+ heart rate strap, you can pair it with the S&G computer once and it will “recognize” you on future rides, so your heart rate stats can be emailed to you after the class.
  • Clean clothes to change in to if you plan to join the after-party at Little Donkey

Note: Bring a friend and help us make this first event a success. If there’s enough demand, we may make this a regular thing, with half-price classes (courtesy S&G) and free margaritas (courtesy MC3). First class is on us, compliments Sweat & Gears. If you love the idea but can’t make the date, let us know how Sunday afternoon/evenings would work for future rides.

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MC3 U Class 1: Bike-body separation

Final1Instruction for women, by women! Improving your skills does wonders for your confidence. And mountain biking, like life, is all about confidence. There will be obstacles in your path. If you believe you can get over them, you can.

A little technique goes a long way in this sport. But so many elements of good technique are not intuitive. In fact, they feel downright counter-intuitive. That’s why MC3 created the region’s first team of certified mountain-bike instructors who’ve been trained to coach clinics.

This season-long series runs March-October. Each 2-hour class focuses on one skill at a time, in a deliberate progression that builds upon itself through the weeks. You can take an a-la-carte approach, focusing on the skills you need to work on most (e.g. drops or wheel-lifts), but we encourage beginners to take the whole series. Even advanced riders learn new subtle techniques that improve their riding. (Our instructors did!)

The first half-hour to hour will be taught in a flat, grassy field where instructors break each skill down into basic steps, demonstrate proper form, and provide feedback to riders as they practice it. The setting is designed to build skill and confidence in a non-intimidating, non-competitive environment. Once everyone feels confident, we’ll take it to the trail, stopping to “session” at certain spots. You don’t need a high level of fitness for this, as it’s more about skills drills than a workout.

Because women feel less intimidated in an all-female environment, this class is intended for women only. However, we will make exceptions for beginner males who need the same skills and come without disrupting the estrogen. (Fair warning: If a guy treats this class as a “target-rich environment,” we will promptly begin detailed discussions of menstruation.) If you are a dude and wish to attend this class, you must get pre-approval. Also: Because our instructor team has only three females, you may on occasion have a female instructor teamed up with a male instructor. Beginner-friendly. Appropriate for riders ages 12 and up. Questions? Email at kimhcross (at) yahoo (dot) com.

MC3 U Class 1: Bike-body separation
When: Sunday, March 23, 3-5 p.m.
Where: Oak Mountain State Park, South Trailhead
Course size: 2 instructors, 14 students max
Cost: Free for MC3 members; $20 for non-members
How to join MC3: Click here to become a member
How to register: Click here to register for Class 1
Future clinic dates? See the calendar

MC3: Building courage, confidence, and community…two wheels at a time.


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MC3 Hall of Fame

Kat Sweet sending it. Photo: Cash Kiser (Yo, Cash: Kat said you'd be ok with us using this)

Kat Sweet sending it. Photo: Cash Kiser (Yo, Cash: Kat said you’d be ok with us using this)

KAT SWEET IS IN DA HOUSE! No, really, she’s in our house. Right now. Eating bacon.

The hot-pink-haired star (and co-producer) of a groovy film called If She Can Do It, Kat Sweet is an IMBA-ICP Instructor Trainer and head coach of Sweet Lines. She flew in from Seattle for the weekend  to teach an ICP Level I Ride Guide certification course in Anniston, a course we helped bring to Alabama. One of her students this weekend is MC3 member Nat Smith (the one jumping on our website banner above). We’re sponsoring Nat through the certification course in exchange for her commitment to help coach MC3 U, our season-long series of mini-clinics that will focus on one skill at a time, two Sunday afternoons each month. (First clinic is March 23. See all dates here.)

If you didn’t catch our MC3 special screening of “If She Can Do It,” a documentary about a women’s free ride clinic and comp called Sugar Showdown, you can watch it right here. It captures the ethos we strive for at MC3: a supportive environment where instruction for women, by women, inspires confidence. When a woman sees another woman do a jump, tackle a drop, or perform a wheel-lift, she often says in her head: If she can do it, so can I.

Now, pardon me while I shamelessly name-drop, not for the mere sake of name-dropping, but to illustrate how many awesome women we have recruited to help support our MC3 mission: Building courage, confidence, and community…two wheels at a time.

In the film above you might notice a certain slayer wearing an MC3 shirt. That’s Gale Dahlager, who taught herself a back-flip on a mountain bike when she was 35. She coaches women’s clinics around the country. She mocks gravity:

Photo: Paris Gore

Gale Dahlager at Sugar Showdown. Photo: Paris Gore

Gale came to Birmingham with DH legend Shaums March, a world champion downhill rider who is one of the few people on the planet who can say they are part of the Red Bull team for life. Shaums and Gale trained our MTB instructors Maaike Everts, Kim Cross, and the dudes of our IMBA-certified team. Shaums was the head coach of the International Mountainbike Instructor Certification (IMIC) program, which was bought by IMBA and now goes by the name IMBA-ICP. Shaums is the rare dude who can shred like a Cuisinart AND coach women without condescending, intimidating, or pissing us off. Which is why we are granting him special “manbassador” status in our MC3 Hall of Fame.

Shaums March pinning it in a corner with great form.

Shaums March pinning it in a corner with great form.

You also might recognize in the “If She Can Do It” film a certain raven-haired angel of free ride named Tammy Donahugh, who taught our MC3 flow trail clinic on Lightning. Tammy is now the head of the IMBA instructor certification program, and she has her own women’s slope style/free ride event called Dixie Trix (which is held, interestingly, in Colorado…). (Read about Gale, Kat, and Shaums here.)


Oh, and did you see BIKE magazine’s tweet this week about Marla Streb? Yeah, this member of the Mountain Bike Hall of Fame came to coach our first big event in 2011, the MC3 Women’s Weekend. You can read all about Marla’s storied past (and see a PG-13 photo of her naked on a bike) here. She is the one who asserted the importance of having certain events off-limits to dudes. Here’s her version of “barefoot and pregnant”:

Marla Streb's version of "barefoot and pregnant." In Costa Rica.

WARNING! Do not try this at home! Or in Costa Rica. Unless you are Marla Streb! Photo: Courtesy Marla Streb’s belly

We were introduced to Marla by fellow LUNA pro team member Shonny Vanlandingham, who calls Oak Mountain “the best course on the circuit” and won the Xterra World Championships in 2010 and has been called “the winningest racer in the history of mountain biking.” We have Shonny to thank for introducing our founder to the life-changing phenomenon of the women’s clinic.

Shonny Vanlandingham playing on the pump track near her house in Durango, CO. Photo: Kim Cross

Shonny Vanlandingham playing on the pump track near her house in Durango, CO. Photo: Kim Cross

In a state that is still off the radar of most mountain bikers (a status that is quickly changing), this is an All-Star roster of world-calibur talent, brought to you by a humble organization that started in 2011 as a Facebook group. Which is just one of the reasons it’s worth the $25 membership we’re finally charging this year, mostly because insurance requires it, but also to help bring you more awesomeness. Exhibit A: Coming soon to a trail near you…

Lindsey Voreis in various states of awesomeness. Photo: Courtesy Lindsey's abs.

Lindsey Voreis in various states of awesomeness. Photo: Courtesy Lindsey’s abs.

… Lindsey Voreis, former Survivor star and current founder of Beti Allride clinics, who is featured in this month’s issue of Mountain Flyer magazine. We’ve booked her for an intermediate/advanced women’s DH clinic that will be offered in three different locations on May 24, 25, and 26.

So if you were wondering, “Why should I join MC3?” we hope we have answered your question. Stay tuned for an exciting 2014 lineup of weekly MC3 road rides and mountain-bike rides, a season-long series of 2-hour skills clinics, happy-hour mechanical seminars at Wine, Wenches & Wrenches, and more. Everything but the advanced DH clinic is FREE…for members. Click here to join. It’ll be the best $25 you spend all year.

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WWW: March 14 Jamis demo bikes at BBC



What: Jamis is bringing their fleet of 2014 demo bikes, and will give us a tour of the new features as we sip and snack. Also, we’ll have a fit kit of our 2014 tank style jerseys by Moxie. They run small, we have heard, and we’ll only have the fit kit for a week or so. This is your chance to try one on! (More details here.)

Where: Birmingham Bicycle Company, 1105 Dunston Ave., Birmingham, AL 35213; Shop phone: 870-8330

When: 6-8 p.m. Friday, March 14

Contact: Angela Schmidt will be our official MC3 hostess for this WWW. (Kim and Maaike will be in a CPR and Wilderness First Aid training class.) Reach her at angela (at) chefubham (dot) com.

Senorita CenturyNote: Photo shows style and cut of jersey. Our colors and design will be customized for MC3 and the design is still in progress. Should be ready in time for summer!


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March 15-16: Wilderness First Aid certification course


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Become an MC3 Member


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 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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Feb 19 WWW: True a Wheel at BiciCoop!


What: This month’s Wine, Wenches & Wrenches will be at Bici Bicycle Cooperative, and we’ll be discussing the zen-like art of wheel truing! Wine and snacks will be provided by MC3. Please bring something to share with the group if you feel so inclined!

When: February 19, 2014. Snacking and socializing will begin at 6, and we’ll start the discussion around 6:30.

Where: Bici Bicycle Cooperative, 1211 28th Street South, G2, Birmingham 35205

Details: What is wheel truing? Basically, bike wheels are straight and round because of spoke tension. Normal riding causes certain spokes to losen, and in turn causes the rim to become “out of true.” This leads to less smooth riding and braking. The way to fix this is by tightening certain spokes where the wheel wobbles, and getting the wheel back in proper alignment. Wheel truing can also be used for rims that have gotten hit (like if you got hit by a car or got a bit too rad on the trials) or developed a site-specific hop. For more info, check out this article from Park Tool Co. Or watch this video:
What to bring: Feel free to bring a wheel that you feel needs truing, but we might not have time for everyone to work individually. Bici has plenty of wheels at the shop to practice on as well, which might be a wiser so you don’t mess up your own :) Also, we encourage you to bring something tasty to share if you can, but don’t worry about it if you don’t have time. 

If you’re on Facebook, RSVP here so we have enough food. Otherwise, we’ll just see you there! Email us at magiccitycyclechix (at) gmail (dot) com if you have questions.

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