Sunday, January 25, 2009

Can you be seen?

Here is another cool product I ran across at Interbike: I took a sample of the Lightweights for Clothing to put on our helmets, shoes and jerseys to become more visible in low light conditions (we use 200-600L lights, but even that doesn't seem to work for cross traffic like driveways, side streets, intersections, etc). I also stuck some on the bike cover that was covering all the bikes on the rear of the van when I realized other cars could not tell how far the bikes stuck out behind the van at night. I didn't iron the cloth stickers on, so expected them to start peeling off, but after 2 cross country trips and way too much rain, they look as good as new. I like the roll of tape and am now I am finding all kinds of uses. Plus they have different colors (so you can see them or hide them in daylight). I think I need to try the red tape. Check out this video clip of Lightweights for Wheels. Lightweights are not one of my sponsors but have offered a 10% discount code for anyone who enters Krista Park in the coupon code box. Check them out.

Monday, January 19, 2009


Who are my cycling Heroes? Who inspires me? Our 2008 Olympic athletes: Georgia, Mary, Todd, and Adam as well as other top pros. These are the people who have "made-it". Now that I know what pro cycling is and how much effort it takes, I really look up to those who have made it to the US podium and have had success in international racing. Mary and Georgia placed 7th and 8th at the Olympics, wow! Other heroes are those who are training to compete, have an additional handicap and don't let that get in the way. A prime example is a friend I met while doing a MTB clinic in Alabama. She raced in the Sport 40+ class in 2008, placed 2nd in the National championship race, won the Tennessee State series and the GA Snake Gap Creek Series. Grace was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis as a teenager. She doesn't have a blog yet (you can find her on Facebook), but here is a bit of her story: "The type of MS that I have is RRMS (relapsing readmitting multiple sclerosis). This disease has not stopped me from living my dream - in fact it has helped me live my dream. Yes I have issues that I have to deal with on a daily basis, such as numb fingers, my right leg dragging, a weak right arm, slight nastagmus, and fatigue. Since I have lived with MS for over half of my life, I don’t really know any differently. I feel as though things could be a lot worse with my MS or most any other disease. I have continued to ride bicycles on a daily basis and have actually become stronger through a lot of hard work and positive attitude. I’m very competitive and will not let MS get in the way of accomplishing my goals. In a way it is like I challenge my MS to catch me. I am living my dream of being a competitive mountain biker with a bonus of getting to share my story of life with Multiple Sclerosis. For me this is the perfect dream. The message I would like people to learn from me is first and for most, don't roll over and die, don't give up, fight like you have never fought before. The outcome is amazing. You will be amazed at what you can overcome in life in general. When I have a flare-up, I keep pushing on in my everyday life. If one sits down and feels sorry for themselves, MS as well as any other disease, will consume you. Surround yourself with a great support system of friends and loved ones. Keep them informed and get them fired up with your passion to be healthy as well as positive. Watch what happens to your friends when they see what you can overcome. It is also very important to learn to manage everyday stresses and eliminate the unnecessary ones. Be as positive as possible!! “Your glass is half FULL,” not “Your glass is half EMPTY”. It would thrill me to make a difference in as many people’s lives as possible by showing them that I’m not just living, I’m thriving with MULTIPLE SCLEROSIS." Grace Ragland

Sunday, January 11, 2009

SoCal MTB High School Clinic

Coach Joy assembled her new high school MTB race team for one of my basic skills clinics. I hope to attend their first race and see what they think of all this madness.

Shimano Fun Weekend

Saturday kicked off the first race in the:
I have been adopted by the San Dimas Incycle Downhill team, I fit in well I think. I will be wearing Incyle until my 2009 kit arrives, I think it looks pretty sharp. Thanks LaLa and the guys! Kid's Race. Super-little kids on bikes are too cute.
I was very excited to be mechanical free in my XC race. Pua must have gotten bored with her lead, on the third lap she spotted me a flat and I was able to step on the top of the podium today.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

2008 Product Reviews

First off, I am very grateful to all of my 2008 sponsors (a few of which are listed below), 2008 teammates, coach, friends, family and of course my awesome husband Todd for making 2008 such a great year. This is a review of some random items I used in 2008 whether it was a sponsorship product or I paid full-price. This is not a complete list, so if you want my opinion on anything else I used please let me know. Titus bikes- Ti Fireline hardtail, Carbon Racer-X Full-suspension, and Ti Estrella road. Yes, these were sponsorship items, but I have raced Titus bikes for the last four years, there is just something about them that makes you smile - and go fast. I have written about the MTBs but I enjoyed the road bike as well. The Ti road frame made a big difference on rough roads (compared to my Al CADD8 Cannondale frame) but seemed just a hair slower to jump on an attack. Hayes Brakes - I used both the Stroker Carbon and the Stroker Trail brakes and loved them. I liked the dial adjust, while I am sure it added weight, it was a nice feature. My pads lasted all year which was cool. Once I got them bled right I could store the bike upside down or flat and there was no performance change (great for me and the amount of travel I do). I did have two issues, one: the hydraulic line had not been crimped tight enough so it pulled out on the way to the starting line, two: in a race I tangled with another racer in the start, the brake lever plunger pulled out and the brake didn't work at all. Other than the initial bleeding and these two issues everything worked perfectly all year and my brakes were not something I had to worry about. I swapped between two different wheelsets so had to do the quick "self-centering" (loosen the two 5mm bolts, pull the brake and re-tighten, same as the Avid Ultimate Carbons I ran in 2007) Manitou R7 MRD Absolute Fork - There was an issue with this fork in 08, but it looks like they have fixed it. I went to the interbike seminar and saw the fix they were testing, a new check-valve, it increased the weight a bit, but will be worth it. Tifosi Glasses - Great buy. These work as well as my Oakleys and cost much less! My favorites were the Dolomite and Vogel, I want to try the 2009 Torrent and Dea. Voler Kit - We looked good! Plus red is my favorite color. I have used Voler kits, arm and leg warmers and undershirts for two years now and really like the fit and quality. I am outfitted with ~5 kits per year. I wear/wash them almost every single day and they really stand up compared to other cycling wear I have tried. The stitching is still 100% intact, they are not stretched out, thinning, pilling or fading. iStick - It works, I use it everyday. So much better than arm bands. gel-bot lids - Get your water and gel the same way. Get a new gel with every bottle feed, no more hassle. Hydrapak- I really like the Reversible Reservoir II, I have a 50oz and a 70oz. I especially appreciate these since my camelbaks required pliers to budge the cap off. The Hydrapak solution is awesome for filling and cleaning (for those who do that kind of thing). I had an issue with one of my bite valves leaking, but they replaced it quickly and I have had no futher issues all year. ALINE Insoles - These insoles replaced my custom insoles and helped with hotfoot, I'm impressed. Ergon - Grips. Seems like everyone has a different favorite pair, mine is the GE1 Enduro, size large, with the barend that comes with the GC2 grips (anyone need a set of grip-shifter specific GC2s without barends?). I wish they were both a little lighter, but the performance is awesome. For long, non-SS, non-technical rides I like the GX1 grips. Pack. BD1 This was a sponsorship item, the first thing I thought was "what am I going to do with a backpack?". I assumed I would just use it to haul my gear from the car to the team trailer as it has a nice helmet strap on the back. Well, the way it is designed puts all the weight on your hips, not your shoulders and can be adjusted so that it moves around less than the smallest hydration pack. It has a pocket for your hydration bladder and routing for the hose (and for headphones if you want to stash the ipod in the pack). I ended up using the pack all the time, on long road rides up into snow when I had to carry an entire wardrobe for the descent and on the mountain bike where I needed a hydration pack. I liked the stability on techy descents. Best of all my shoulders quit hurting on long rides. ZeroGoo - Hydration Bladder/Shoe Dryer. No more disgusting bladders! I have three gross ones in the sink now (pre-zerogoo) if I ever get around to cleaning them, it should be the last time. (if you buy one use discount code: "Krista" for 10% off) lightweights - Very thin reflective tape/material you can add to anything. Iron it on for a permanent solution or just stick it on. (I don't own an iron since I don't ski anymore, so I just stick.) (discount code: "Krista Park" for 10% off) Specialized Stuff - S-Works Helmet (best I've tried), BG Pro women's shoes (best I've tried), gloves (tie with Fox gloves for function, Specialized fits better, Fox looks better). Swiftwick Socks - I have three pairs (two 4s and a 12), I really like the way these socks fit. They seem a little more high-tech than your standard cycling socks, they mold to your feet, no "extra" material and seams in the toe area. Facebook - okay, not a cycling product, but a great way to stay in touch while I travel.