Meet the Saddle Slingers

Meet the Saddle Slingers

Written by Contender Bicycles, on March 23, 2022

It probably doesn't come as a surprise that women are vastly underrepresented in the bike industry. Having six women on staff at Contender Bicycles across all areas from operations to service to sales to e-commerce is a rarity, but our voices help to make our shop unique. We ride bikes, we sell bikes, we work on bikes. We love bikes but come to the industry with different interests and experiences in cycling. From commuting to road racing to riding the lifts, we all have our unique interests in the different facets of cycling. For two of those members - Madi and KJ - that unified interest was in gravel bike racing. 

Their goal? Start training together to attack the ENVE Grodeo this summer, a 92-mile gravel event in Northern Utah. This ride pushes the limits of what a bike and its rider can manage in a day. Of course, we thought you might want to follow along as this team of awesome women step out of their comfort zones to learn what it takes to prepare for a gravel ride like the Grodeo.

Meet Madi in service. She is a mechanic and often times that smiling face checking your bike in for service. Name something outdoor-related, and Madi has probably done it.

Madi Larsen at Contender Bicycles

Meet KJ in sales. Need a bike? See KJ. Having just returned to the shop after finishing basic training, she is a member of the Utah National Guard. And we are proud.

KJ Phillipps at Contender Bicycles.

Together they are the Contender Saddle Slingers. 

Why gravel? While relatively new, gravel bike riding has a unique feel compared to road and mountain biking in that its priority on community building often leads to a more diverse set of voices, backgrounds, and experiences. And while our shop members Madi and KJ have plenty of experience in the cycling industry, gravel events offer an accessible way to physically and mentally push themselves further on the bike than they ever have. After all, gravel is less about being the first across the finish and more about the journey along the way.

Over the next few months, we’ll be highlighting their journey from training to competing and everything in between. Catch us sharing gear reviews, training plans, event footage, candid takes on how hard the sport can be, photos, routes, fun, and more! Join us along their ride.

1 comment

  • So great to be a woman today. No boundaries—just commitment and hard work pay off.

    Nikki on

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