People who use this adjective often find other more common descriptors like ‘cool’ and ‘awesome’ as tired and overused mainstream language with lower value. The sport of cycling is consumed with outfits and bike frames graphics that fit the standard 'cool' mold. It takes someone unique with the vision and courage to break the norm. A standout. We had the chance to talk with Emily about her cycling success, Squid Bikes, and her sources of individual motivation. After two hours of incredible conversation, it left us with but one term to describe Emily Kachorek, rad.
Growing up in sunny San Deigo, Emily did things you’d expect a typical California tomboy to do; surf, swim, and play a handful of other sports. Early on though it was clear that her athletic future was bright. She routinely sent boys home with their tails between their legs when they challenged her to sport of any kind. Emily was special, and with no challenge seemingly too large, she proved that she was destined to be great.
While in college at UC Davis, she had her first foray into endurance athletics with a sprint triathlon. She found that the run really wasn’t her thing and the swim was just in the way of what she really enjoyed, cycling. Over the next decade, Emily made a national name for herself in cycling while at UC Davis, Sacramento State, and as a powerful member of a few US National road teams competing on the international circuit. Then in early 2014, she again felt a ceiling of progress, and as the extremely motivated individual she is, found a new way to race the domestic elite class of cycling, Cyclocross. Emily found it as a familiar feeling, but with a whole new set of challenges and a much faster pace of technicality. Almost overnight Emily switched to Cyclocross and since then has never been happier.
“Its 45 minutes of constant decision making. I have to think three steps ahead of the competition and not only pick the right line, but also simultaneously have to figure out how to pass a rider through a tight muddy switchback.” It's chaos and she loves it. Emily’s cyclocross performance to date has made her magnetic on and off the track. Traveling across the globe to compete against the international elite, she again is a undeniable cycling force that oozes confidence and positivity.
Now, not only does she lay down a blistering pace, she also does it while riding her hyper colorful and individualized brand of bike, Squid. Needless to say, if the hurtin' she puts on her competition isn't enough, don't pull a muscle when you try and catch a view of her steed. Spoiler alert: It's turning heads.
Squid Bikes became a reality as Emily knew that she had an individual style, and wanted her bike to be a direct reflection of her colorful personality. She was done with the generic stripes and lame downtube logo overlays on her bikes. So in perfect Emily fashion, she again took the reigns and partnered up with some top notch aluminum fabricators and local custom painters to create a psychadelic DIYFS brand of cross-specific bikes. The process is completely rattlecan, and one can really let their imagination run wild into a fully customized paint job, complete with childhood memory decals, dreams, and a little bit of experimentation.
Cyclocross as a sport is extremely technical, and with this technicality comes a new set of skills to master. As Emily describes, "Cyclocross is like a puzzle, and its a puzzle that I can't see the end of yet. I have some pieces; some though I'm still trying to figure out how to put together. It's a challenge, a work in progress. In comparison, road racing is more like chess. It's beautiful with intense strategy, move anticipation and timing, but it's different. You can visualize how the race will play out when you're in the pack, but in [cross], your plan from the perfect pre-ride race line can turn to sh*t at a moment's notice. It's much more individual and you have to judge not only your own strengths, but also the strengths of your immediate competition. Who will ride this corner fast, slow, or sloppy?"
Naturally with all this individual variation during a race and technical skill development, riders can become frustrated when things don't go their way. We asked Emily to speak about her motivators and what keeps her fire burning at the elite level. Her response was elegant and impactful. " It comes back to our biology, and the endorphins that we feel when we race. The sources of our endorphins can come from things like cycling, but everyone has a trigger for their release. Sometimes in a race people really struggle with finding that release because sh*t isn't going their way today, they're behind because of a mechanical issue, tactics, or just don't feel well. What separates the elite is how you deal with this and if you can push through it to find those endorphins. What I do when I feel down is revisit those feelings, and just know that I'm going to feel like crap. It sounds cliche like something your dad tells you when you're 5, but just suck it up and do it for the people who are supporting me. It's absurd that I'm able to travel around to these places riding a bike on terrain they're not supposed to trying to cross a line faster than someone else. I mean, we're all out there suffering. No one is out there not taking a beating. We're all in this together. Going through something like that and finishing, it makes you feel alive. There is something primal in pushing yourself through a physical challenge to achieve a goal, its the endorphins. That's why you feel sh*tty when you quit, so I just don't quit."
We're proud to support such a motivated entrepreneur, cyclist, and personality. Emily relies on Ginger Citrus SWORD to fuel her every corner without an upset stomach. She's a truly captivating person. A person that we can only describe as rad.