Ras Na mBan 2014 official Team Roster

Ritte announces the 2014 Ras roster! 

Returning this year will be Team Captain Kelli Samuelson and rider Katie Donovan. Both having competed in last years event they feel confident in this years squad. 

" After my 1st stage crash last year, I'm more then determined to return this year with with more knowledge and a better expectation of the race. I'm really excited for this years squad and feel we have a really good chance at a GC position" - Kelli Samuelson ( Team Captain)

Joining them will be riders Abby Mickey of Colorado, after a very strong season this year with Twenty 16 and the US national team we know she will be a great asset to the team. Rider Priscilla Calderon of Los Angeles will be joining us as our team sprinter, a seasoned road and crit racer  this will be "PC's"  first international race. And joining the team from Denmark will be Amalie Olsen, this will be Amalie's 3rd edition of Ras having ridden last year for Team Rytger. The team will me directed by Robin Farina and managed by Murt Rice of Dublin. 

We are very proud to be involved in such an amazing event showcasing women's racing. Rás na mBan is the premier women's cycling event in Ireland. In its current format it runs for five days with a total of six stages to a total of over 400km of racing action. For 2014 the event will be headquartered for a second successive year in the County Clare town of Ennis in the south west of the country. The event is promoted by the Rás na mBan committee under the auspices of Cycling Ireland. The 2013 edition of the race was the eighth under the title of Rás na mBan and the 27th annual international stage race in Ireland. Over 100 riders took the start in Ennis in 2013 representing 21 teams from 11 different nations for an event that has become established as one of the toughest and friendliest Autumn stage races on the calendar.

They are Finally Here!!!!

Its been a year in the making, but they are finally here and available. As you all know we are headed to Ireland and our amazing friends over at Team Dream designed these amazing caps for us to help raise money for the trip! You can pick one up in our big cartel store ! Help us out and look good while doing it! 

BEERS, BIKES and BUCKFAST!

So none of you may know what Buckfast is and in all reality thats probably for the better! The most important part is that you know that the ladies of Ritte are hosting a shindig with our good friends at Pedalers Fork ! They have been so kind as to help us raise funds for our 2nd annual trip to Ireland for the Ras Na mBan Women's Stage race, By donating 10% of the food and Beverage proceeds to the Ritte Women's Team.   We have put together a team of very talented racers and just need a little help getting there! Please come to Pedalers Fork on Saturday July 26th, 2014 at 6pm. There will be a silent auction with goods form some of our great sponsors like Chris King , Giro, Sommerville Sports and more. A Special Thank you to Ass Savers for not only creating a custom Ritte Women's Team Ass Saver with good friend Sean at Team Dream but also donating 100% of the proceeds to the team and our efforts for going to Ireland! Lets be real… after last years rain fest we will need those! We hope to see you all there! 

P.S. you might also be able to snag an Ass saver or Ritte Women's Team Cap or Lionheart Embrocation from Buckler Embrcation while you are there!  

April showers bring May flowers

April and may have been a bit of a whirlwind for the ladies of Ritte. There have been races, and photo shoots, and crashes and birthdays and all sorts of things going on! We are fighting that mid season lul and pushing through. 

       On the horizon we have the Cascade Cycling classic, Tour de Nez , and of course the Manhattan Beach and Brentwood GP's. We recently took a wonderful group of Ritte Ambassador women on the Rapha Women's Prestige. Ritte Women's Ambassador Tracy Chandler shares here story here...

Friend: “So how did you do?”

Me: “It was awesome! We did well!”

Friend: “No I mean, how did you doooo?”  

Me: “Oh, you mean, like what place did we get? Did we win? I actually don’t know. I never thought to look.”

That was the exchange I had with a friend after returning from a weekend in California’s East Bay area for the Rapha Women’s Prestige. A “race” that includes a handful of all-women teams from around the country coming together to ride an epic course of miles, climbing, and dirt.

I had the privilege of riding with Ritte, a bike company and women's team which I had greatly admired ever since starting cycling a few years back. Not only are they about quality and results but do it with style and personality. When my friend, Kelli, asked me to join their team of ambassadors for this event I jumped at the chance. I did not think twice about it. That is until after I had already committed….

The course was rumored to be over 100 miles of road and dirt with at least 10k of climbing including the famed Mt Diablo. Mt. Diablo…. I had heard of that. Over 10 miles of steep twists and turns with a nice fuck-you punch at the end. Mt. Diablo. Like Mt. Devil. Even the name is scary.

I started to panic. I can’t do this. What am I thinking? This is for real “racing girls,” not some enthusiast like me. I called Kelli and expressed my doubts. She was so calm and cool. “You got this. We are there to have fun.”  Fun? The thought never entered my mind. I was consumed with words like “sufferfest” and “off-the-back.” Fun? Really? I thought she was crazy. Then I thought.. she is way more experienced than I am. Maybe I should trust her?

I am glad I did. She put together a group of awesome girls from around the state. A mix-match of talents. Emilie Cole, an experienced road racer with fast legs and even faster wit. Julia Geischen, a talented coach and rider with the stamina and strength of ten men, Dara Richman, a pint-sized mountain biking bad-ass, and Crystal Talbot-Haggard, an industry vet who has probably put in more miles on a bike than I have in a car.

Not only was the team great we were styled-out with top notch gear from Giro, Oakley, Continental, Golden Saddle Cyclery, complete with the coveted Ritte Women’s Team kit. This made everything even more real. Damn, how will I live up to this?!

As we met for training rides, my fears began to melt as I learned we were all intimidated in some way. This was a big event no matter how talented or experienced you are. We made a pact… the only goal here… have fun!

And that we did. After, road-tripping up the 5, (complete with obligatory stop at In-And-Out,) we arrived in Livermore for dinner and team briefing... Course profile - gnarly. Weather - windy. Mileage - a lot. Butterflies started forming in my stomach. Then our team meeting focused on the more important details…. Food - PBJ portables made by my husband, Andre. Support - team car driven by Dara’s boyfriend, Garreth. Emergency supplies - a flask of bourbon to be carried by Kelli. Reminder - team goal is to have fun. I thought… Ok. We will be ok.

The day came early. Captain’s meeting at 6:30. We decided to ride the 3 miles from the hotel. A good way to spin out the morning nerves. As we waited for our start, we had plenty to keep us busy. Last minute flats, valve malfunctions, Garmin freak-outs due to course changes, and cramming in the last bits of food and coffee. We nervously scrambled about the other mingling teams of girls in their own throws of preparation. As per usual, Rapha did it right with coffee, support, photographers, the whole nine yards. It hit me again. This is the real-deal. Then it was our turn to roll to the start. Everything got kind-of quiet. Crystal pointed out I was chuckling. Not at anything in particular. Just a slow nervous he. he. he. he. Then we were off.

Ah, it felt good to get rolling. Give my legs something to do and my nerves quickly calmed. A moving meditation. Pedal pedal pedal. We started out through the rolling hills of a nature preserve and I started to come back to the present. The sun was just coming up giving every detail a rim light and long shadow. I noticed a massive bird flying ahead, it swooped down beside us almost guiding our mini peloton up and over the rollers. “What is that?” I asked. “A crane?” “An egret,” answered Dara with the expertise of an x-bay-area-local. I appreciated her confidence and tried to soak it in.

First up was Morgan’s Territory, a large swooping climb through the ranch lands. The wide-open fields gave us no room for cover from the already hot sun and strong side winds. The chatter died down as we tucked-in and climbed. The pitch was steep and changing. Just as you found a groove the terrain would kick and push you out of saddle. Up down. Up down. Hard to get a rhythm. Then I heard.. “photo op!” I looked up from my pedals to see a gaudy archway leading to a not-so-humble abode. Ah, great place to pee! We all did our thing, losing all sense of modesty due to the practicalities of bib shorts. Then pulled ourselves together for a photo. The theme for this one? Metal!! I immediately had Iron Maiden’s Run to the Hills stuck in my head. It stayed with me down the shady decent and through the suburbs towards our next big feat… Mt Diablo.

The course circumvented the beast, teasing us, looming as we made our way through stop lights and strip malls to the north side. Fuck, let’s just go already! On Garreth’s cue, we crammed in more food in prep for the climb. Another pee stop, a wrong turn or two, and we were there, passing through the ranger station and starting up the grade. It was beautiful. Sweeping views all the way to the city, trails of hikers dipping down into the shady canyons, and looking up a perfect switchback to the summit. I settled in to a pace.. one two one two. Metronome legs.

The climb went on for 10 miles or so. Kelli, Emilie, and Julia had gone ahead in quest of a rumored QOM prize. Dara, Crystal, and I hung back and marched our way to the top. Teams passed us with hi’s. We passed teams with hello’s. After a while we could see the summit. Just a few switchbacks to go. As per usual with these famed climbs the pitch in the last few strides kicked up for a final blow. We charged it knowing the rest of our team was there to greet us.

A few swigs of coca-cola (and maybe a shot of bourbon for some) and we were off again. Half way through the day and we had already tamed this beast. Not bad. I knew we had miles ahead of us as well as some dirt but felt good to have a few of the hurdles behind us. Plus we were having fun. We had all settled into a groove, trusting each-other and ourselves. Like Kelli said.. We got this.

The descent was technical but fun, leapfrogging our way back to sea-level. At the bottom, we wound our way through miles of strip malls, subdivisions, and stoplights. After a few big rollers and a wilderness pass we came upon Redwood park and started to climb through a preserve among campers and hikers. The potted roads were a mess. Why are we here? Oh shit. This is the dirt section!

I have ridden dirt here and there, I mountain biked back in high school, but I was in no way confident about taking my road bike through miles of trail riding. I rode up to Kelli… “um, not feeling so good about this dirt.” Once again she replied… “Oh please, you got this.” Once again, I chose to believe her. We circumvented some campers setting up a tent and charged up the trail.

The path was compact and smooth. The grade was mellow. I thought to myself… “Ok, not so bad. This is totally manageable.” That is until we rounded the corner and faced the descent. Super steep grade, nothing but ruts, and basically a cliff running alongside the off-camber turns. There were girls everywhere. Skidding out, walking their bikes, lots of expletives.

My team charged ahead like it was nothing. All I could think of was “holy shit, hold your line, hold your line!” I let my body go loose and let the hill guide me. I dodged the ruts and just hung on for dear life. At the bottom, I looked around… 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 teammates. We were all here and all plastered with the hugest smiles on our faces. “Dude, that was crazy! We just charged that! Hell yeah!”

The rush gave us a second wind and after that everything felt easy-peasy. With the wind now at our backs we rolled towards home chatting and laughing, recounting the highlights of the day. Kelli announced we were super close. Not long now. On our last turn towards the finish, there appeared to be a virtual wall in front of us. A 20% last-laugh grade from our friends at Rapha. There was nothing to do but break out the beer and start celebrating early. (We had purchased Miller High Life the night before. It is the champagne of beers, after all.) A few swigs, and we charged the hill.

The sun was now low in the sky and hinted at the days end. We rolled in to the finish and were greeted by friends, family, and burritos. It seemed that everyone was floating with a sense of camaraderie and accomplishment. A great day on the bike. A great day with friends. We turned in our Garmin so our time could be calculated and I was reminded that this was a “race.” I had totally forgotten. We all had. That was the plan. Besides, no matter what our time was, we won. As Crystal put it perfectly…. We won at fun.





Big things come in small packages!

Rider Charlotte Hart tells the story of her post crash comeback!

So it has been a long month of recovery.  The weekend prior, against pretty much everyone's approval, including my doctor, chiropractor, and even Ruste, I decided to test racing after my bad crash.  I reasoned 4 weeks was close enough to the magic "6."  The race was very hard on my body, so much so that leading up to Clovis Hills, I spent a week in discomfort, feeling like I might not be able to recover in time for another hard race.  Yet, by Saturday I felt improved and excited to race.

Ruste and I decided to reverse rolls for this race to try to shake up the local dominance of a team that has elite riders and an entire cohort (more like Army of attackers) that have been showing up to events with teams of 6-10.  That makes it hard to counter everything (as I learned at Hanford) and it requires more help from other teams.  Typically I try to cover everything eventually resulting in missing the one counter that stays away.  Without much firepower from others, I would be left setting Ruste up for the pack sprint.  Which we always take easily.  We wanted to change that.  Little did I know that meant surviving a sketch fest, crash-a-thon.

15 minutes into the race I was darn near the point of DNF by means of pure fear.  I had already been off road and onto the grass, bumped, dodging a rider who clipped a pedal in one of two awkward corners, all while chasing and countering the moves of the strong local team.  I weighed the consequences of crash and mid-way through my pity party I simply came to the conclusion: can't crash when you're 1) attacking from the front 2) in a break.  Time to unlock this race and get to business!  Pre-race plan back on track.

Ruste made sure to patrol the front end as I sped off hoping to take a strong enough dig to break things apart.  Eventually it worked.  There was me, the local strong team and another smaller team in the move and I worked with the smaller team rider to drive the pace.  However, we had a barnacle stuck to us that was not pulling. Okay, no problem.  Hope you like gaps!  I was doing my best to make her face the wind some.  The laps came down to 3 to go, then 2 and in the last corner a bad spill occurred.  Our break was about 15 seconds ahead when I heard the all to familiar sound, and I immediately went to the front and drilled it more (after a quick check-for-Ruste-glance), suffering and stretching the limits of my healing rib cage.  With 1 to go the strong team's rider stuck to me like a fly to honey.  I tried to force her around by letting up in the wind (did I mention it was a hurricane???).  This forced her to work some but it wasn't enough.  Good thing I know how to sprint, because from the last corner I stood, stomped and looked back to see my nice gap which grew all the way to the line.  I was hoping the rider that worked with me would be rewarded with 2nd but racing isn't always fair.

Meanwhile, back in the pack Ruste turned on the turbo and brought home the pack sprint solo.  She was a huge factor in the break's success because any rider who tried to bridge got shut down immediately.  It truly caused confusion in the masses since our roles were reversed.  It's great to have a team mate that is versatile, can read the race, adjust and execute.

So, it's probably a good thing I didn't wait 6 weeks to race! 

A Team Dream come true!!!!

Last year as a way to help raise funds for our trip to Ireland we thought about a lot of different things, we even went as far as to auction off a date with Pro cyclist Jesse Anthony. One thing we came up with was designing a Ritte Women's Team cycling cap. Kelli and our good friend Sean Talkington got to talkin'. Sean had recently created "Team Dream Bicycling Team"  and we loved what he was doing. So their two heads came together and Sean designed something FABULOUS!  After waiting on the cap and perfecting its design we will soon be ready to sell! Thank you to Sean and Ritte , all proceeds from the cap will go to the Ritte Women's Team to help fund their racing and their return to Ireland in September. Here is a sneak peek at the cap, and be sure to watch the Ritte Cycles online store for when they go up for sale!

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Photo shoot Outtakes!

With being spread out in norcal and socal its always nice to be able to get the whole gang together and spend some quality together and get in a "little" riding. This weekend Charlotte and Ruste came down to LA for our team photo shoot. yea yea yea I know its a little late but we were waiting for our amazing Sommerville Kits to come in! After a few days of rain we headed to the historic Griffith Park to shoot some photos looking over all of LA and thanks to that rain the sky was crystal clear. Here are a few outtakes and behind the scenes shots… Stay tuned for the real deal from photographer Jesse Carmody . And a special Thanks to rider Charlotte Hart for making the trek and riding her bike with 3 broken ribs after a bad crash in the Turlock Road Race in Norcal. Head over to the Ritte Women's Facebook and send her some well wishes! 

March Race Madness

Shortly after the success of the WCA ride and great finishes at Valley of the Sun, the team was getting prepared to head up north and meet up with Charlotte and Ruste for the Madera Stage race. The first day crit was great we had a chance to all be in the same race and work together. It was a long weekend of great races put on by Velo Promo. With top 10 GC results all around. Great job to Amanda for taking 2nd GC in the Women's 4 race.

       Next up we had the SCNCA Road Race Championships along with the Chuck Pontius Crit. Both women's races (1-3,3/4) were run together, and there were only a few big teams represented.  La Grange and Monster Media had full squads, Skyflash had a few riders, and the rest were mainly teams of 1 or 2. Becky followed a few early attacks that didn't stick, but missed one that was starting to look promising, will all the teams represented.  Daniela of ICE attacked, attempting to bridge. She followed and the two of them worked together for a while to try to catch. After about two laps, Daniela wasn't able to hold on.  Becky continued on her own,  until she latched on and we were then a break of 6. Kelli was in the pack making sure not to do any work and to not let any more breaks try and bridge.  The break stayed away and Becky had a solid 4th place Finish in the 1-2's While back in the pack Kelli finished 3rd in the 3's. At the Road Race Amy our climber new she was in for a long day, She easily made the break and focused on the finish, with not much left in the race she made a 2 man break from  the original break. Amy finished in a strong 2nd in a final sprint. Up north Charlotte raced in the Hanford crit, being all by her lonesome she had her work cut out for her with a large showing from a local team launching attack after attack. Charlotte covered each attack well and played her cards right, also finishing a strong 2nd place. Even with our little team we are able to make the podium against the larger ones!

WCA x Ritte Women's Team " Join the Ride" tour

Last September Kelli had the opportunity to meet and race with Lauren Komanski of the WCA in Ireland, after a couple of pints their wheels were turning about how Ritte could get involved in the WCA. When the idea of hosting a ride as part of the " Join the Ride" tour came up it was a no brainier, with Ritte's local connections and the WCA following we knew we would be able to put on a great event! After a couple months of planning and making sure every last detail was taken care of it was time for the event... and then came the rain!  We pushed through and had the event anyways and we couldn't have asked for a better turn out. Thank you everyone who came out and supported the event and the WCA . Ritte may not be a pro team or an NRC team but we are determined to be apart of the movement that is changing women's cycling and racing. A special thank you to Pedaler's Fork for the amazing hospitality and the WCA for allowing us to get on board and get involved.  Be on the look out for a "Join the Ride" tour near you.  Thank you to the Ritte sponsors who donated to the event, Giro, Chris King, Mission Workshop, Pedaler's Fork, Amgen Tour of California, Sram, B4-T9, 10- speed coffee and many more! photos by Nick Kova

Racing , Racing, Racing...

Ritte had an eventful weekend of racing this last weekend to say the least. We had races all over the state of california from a socal CBR crit to Ucla and Coppertown.  Becky and Amanda raced the 1-4 CBR crit showing great team work and had a great finish of 13th out of over 40 women. In prep for the SCNCA road championships Amy had a solo missioin to UCLA and Pine Flat RR, her ability to climb and play her cards right granted her two 3rd place finishes! She is well on her way to the gold in March. Kelli traveled up north to race with Charlotte and Ruste at Cantua Creek and Coppertown Circuit. Ruste and Kelli launched attacks, made moves and had a grand ol' time at Cantua Kelli finishing 14th in the p1-3 field and Ruste right behind after a major late attack burning a few of the girls matches along the way! The three then went to Coppertown Circuit with a last minute decision for Kelli to race both the w3 and wp1-3, she played her cards just right getting her the win in the w3! In the p1-3 no matter how hard we tried to get the pack to bridge to an early break we couldn't get them to move, so we switched plans and got Ruste lined up for the pack sprint and she took it flawlessly getting her 6th and Charlotte 10th!

 Amy, Becky and Amanda are on their way to VOS this coming weekend for the first stage race of the season! Wishing them luck in finishing up February with a bang!

See us Rollin' ...

We have some amazing companies we are working with this year and to thank them we made a little video, check it out!

2014 is underway!

As the 2014 season seems to be in full effect we are happy to be out there racing our best. We had some good results and some early season jitters but we wouldn't have it any other way. Becky and Amy traveled to Poor college Kids Road race as the season kick off. Amy having a strong 12th place finish in the p/1-3 field and Becky doing her best to make sure some fallen riders were safe. The next day Becky decided to play around at the Moth balls crit racing with our mens team in the men's cat 3 field. Lets just say the girl has got some legs, attacking, chasing breaks down and letting no man get away she proved that girls can race bikes too! 

The next weekend Kelli, Amy and Amanda traveled as far south as you can get before it becomes and international race in Mexico to the Boulevard Road Race. This race is notorious for being "Hell on Earth" and all the rumors were right! It was freezing cold at the butt crack of dawn and its a lot of climbing. The race started as a decent and we knew we had to be towards the front as we were going into the climb. Amy had to make that break or there was no chance of catching it. And that she did! With her insane climbing ability she made the break and road to a great 5th place finish! We have more races coming up fast and we are ready! 

Flash back to the end of 2013

As all of you know the Ritte women were invited to Ireland to race in an international women's stage race called An Post Ras na mBan at the end of 2013. It was an experience of a lifetime and something we will never forget. We are happy to announce we will be returning to Ireland in 2014!  We look forward to seeing old friends and meeting new ones. Thank you to all of you for your support in getting us over there and also to Fixx Coffee House for sponsoring us while we were there! Check out the eurosport highlights below! 

Ritte Women's Team x WCA ride!

The Ritte Women's Team is honored to have partnered with the WCA to host a "Join the Ride" tour event! We have worked hard pooling our resources to make this an amazing event. All proceeds go to the WCA in support of women's cycling. Please join us on March 2nd for a day of riding, fun, food and it wouldn't be a Ritte event without beer! The pub is this way!

Register here !

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A new year a new look

Ritte is known for our kit designs, from pacman, and doughnuts to an all white kit we always try and bend the rules a bit when it comes to our kits. Lets face it looking good is half the battle! For the 2014 women's team Spencer and Kelli sat down and decided that we should bring it back to Ritte's roots keeping it simple and returning to our traditional "Ritte blue" color and this is what we came up with!  Made by Sommerville Sports out of New York, we are excited about this new partnership and of course looking good on the road!

2014 Ritte Women's Team Camp

With the 2014 season starting the ladies headed out to Palm Springs for a weekend of hot tubs, doing our nails, games of truth or dare, pillow fights ... oh yea and a bunch of riding our bikes!

The weather was perfect, the house was amazing thanks to the Williams family and we were ready to log some miles! Amy was in charge of planning the routes and she did a great job. The first day was a ride out to Joshua Tree on a "flat" route. We were welcomed with hot sun and a  sweet headwind the whole way. Can you say... Drafting practice!  We made friends, became closer friends and had a great day! Day 2 was a climb up the 74 with sweeping dessert views up the large switchback road. The perfect weather and smooth roads were a wonderful change.

Check out the gallery below of the weekend!

Changing the way things are done!

Last season Kelli had the opportunity to work with wheel builder extraordinaire Justin Spinelli of Luxe Wheelworks. After a season on the track with the wheels he built, she knew she had to get the ladies on some road wheels for 2014. We are so happy to announce our partnership with Luxe Wheelworks along with H plus son rims and Chris King Precision Components. We are excited to change the idea of a deep dish carbon rim being the only good race wheel. We can't wait to test out the Archetype. Go check out all of these amazing brands!

What all the BUZZZZZZ about?

There's a "buzzzz" going around that the Ritte Women's Team will be partnering with the infamous Chris King for 2014! We are excited to be buzzing around in the 2014 season! Go check out their amazing hand crafted components. And like them on facebook too!

It's not THAT cold out!

This weekend some of us  got together to go for a few rides. Waking up Saturday to a down pour was not ideal but we put on our big girl pants and set out to ride.... (opens door sees more rain turns right back around and sheds layers) so we put on our big girl pants and got on the trainers! Sunday was a bit different the sun was out on the brisk morning and so after a few tortuous hours on the trainers the day before we were going to ride outside no matter what. And that we did!!