Posts tagged 11 Questions
Taking it to 11 with Jenn Levo
Photo Nov 19, 2 09 32 PM.jpg

(11….hard hitting questions with Jenn Levo. OG Speedvagen designer and customer service manager)


1. Where are you right now?

1735 SE Powell Blvd. 
Workshop headquarters.

2. Road or CX?
My favorite race is a crit. When I first started racing here in Oregon, every weekend in the summer from June to August we'd have a crit on Saturday and then on Sunday. You spent all summer going fast in circles around city blocks and people would come out to watch and cheer you on. It was a good summer if you won enough money to pay for all of your races, buy some beer for your teammates, and you still had all of your skin left. 

3. Give us a cycling "Pro Tip" that has made an impact on you?

Skate deck grip tape on my CX levers for better tactile advantage in wet muddy conditions with gloves. Hat Tip KFC!

4. Tater tots or Fries?
Sweet potato fries.

5. What do you put on a bagel? 
Did you know that a proper crispy but chewy bagel is my favorite food? It's my favorite because it's such an easy thing to get anytime you want. I figure, why have a favorite food like a fancy restaurant steak that you only eat once and a while, when you can eat something simple and amazing and it can make you happy every day?! It's so easy and affordable! But... at the same time, if I ate a bagel everyday it might get old real quick. That's why I only have one bagel a week. It's a rule. And, I always get the chive spread, but if I wanted to treat myself I'd get lox, capers and tiny little slivers of red onion. *Also, if I have poppy seeds in my teeth please tell me.*

6. Last book you read?

I'll Be Gone in the Dark, by Michelle McNamara. (It's about the Golden State Killer. I actually borrowed it from the library twice; however, the first time I chickened out of reading it because... murder. The second time I borrowed it, I polished it off in about a week. It was that good!)

7. Favorite race you have ever done?

My favorite race was also my favorite day on the bike ever, and also the hardest day on the bike ever, the 2013 Rapha Women's Prestige. We had a really solid crew of Ironclad ladies together for the 123 mile race, but at mile 30 we had some mechanical issues on Mt. Tam that put us in last place pretty quickly. There were so many opportunities in the remaining 90ish miles for us to quit, but we pulled together, problem solved and finished before Rapha shut the clubhouse down at sunset. 

8. Favorite Cyclist all time?

Tina Brubaker. ;) LEGEND!

9. Whats next?

Good question.

10. Soup... true or false? Why? 
False. I like chewing my food while I still can.

11. Favorite bike we have made since you started 
I'd have to say that while there have been a lot of really super nice builds that we've put out the door in my almost seven years at Vanilla, it's hard to pick. I help everyone with their orders, so I've most likely seen slightly under 1000 bikes go out the door. I think picking my favorite of those would be like Charlotte (from Charlotte's Web) picking the favorite of all her spider children. As a result, I'll say my favorite bike that we've made was my first Speedvagen, a geared CX bike. In my first year here, I spent a lot of time day dreaming about my bike... especially what paint scheme and colors I wanted to use. When you can do "almost" anything you want, it's harder to decide than having a limited amount of options (the struggle is real). I loved how it all turned out and every time I look at that bike, I smile. It fills me with so many warm fuzzies. Which, that's what I want all of our customers to feel when they look at their Speedvagens. I understand.

Taking it to 11 with Laura Winberry

(11….more like 18 hard hitting questions with Laura Winberry, OG Speedvagen Family Racing team member. Wordsmith, poet, and all around amazing human being. )


1. Where are you right now?

I'm never not in the middle of a snowstorm, among the tall-tall trees, looking up. Expansive & everywhere, but also nowhere.  

2. Can you give us what a Race day looks like for you today. How is it different from when you were super focused on racing? What's your routine from waking up to racing? 

I still get the shits. Well, not the shits. But rather race shits (I write about them in one of the poem's in bell lap, ha!). In other news... after deciding to not race UCI this past season, the first local (Oregon) race I went to felt different. In a good way. I felt extremely thankful and happy to be there. I was genuinely psyched to race. And it was fulfilling to see folx from the community whom I love, and to just be surrounded by this mellow grass-roots scene. I think feeling these things, in this way, also helped me to have a decent race on nominal training. Training? Yeah. That's another thing that was different. Mostly because... my "training" was going surfing and skateboarding at the coast with Mr. White. Sure, I was still riding bikes. But it was not the priority by any means. Hm, race-day routine? Eat something, drink something (coffee and H20), stay pumped, stay positive. Don't take myself too seriously. Make frequent trips to the bathroom. Get really tired on the start line (not sure why this happens; I have my theories, but perhaps someone else can tell me why). Go. I would probably benefit from being more methodical in the hours leading up to a race, but that's not me. I would call my pre-race routine a free-range kind of experience.   

3. State of the racing - whats working? whats not? what do you want to see more of??

Ah... I wish I could say "Go see 'The State of Cyclocross.'" Because that's the film where a bunch of us 'cross racers wax poetic on the state of cyclocross. But, the film was only available for viewing, in person, for a short period of time. In lieu of seeing TSC, I'll just say that women's 'cross is stronger and more dynamic than ever right now, domestically and internationally. And that's a beautiful fucking thing. In other words: the future is female.

4. What Races/Rides will you be attending this season?

TBD. Maybe some crazy thing called Landrun? Though, on the party train, not the focused race train. 

5. You've been on your custom cross bikes for years now. What are your thoughts, does anything about the bike surprise you anymore?

Yeah. It still surprises me how I can descend on that thing like a motherfucker. I'm not talking about my skills in going downhill, because I ride with plenty of women who are the same, if not more proficient at this than me. I'm talking about the solid platform that is my rig. I'll take it out on the local trails with folx who are riding mountain bikes, and keep up. Even lead sometimes. Which is half neat-challenge and 87% the ways in which the SV's frame geometry holds up as a platform. Yeah, this thing is S O L I D without being heavy. And having something you can trust beneath your body is not only important but, I'd wager, more enjoyable.

6. Give us a cycling "Pro Tip" that has made an impact on you?

From Marcel Russenberger: no matter what, don't let that gap open up; just stay on the wheel. Applies to racing and a lot of other things in life. 

7. Tater tots or Fries? Fries.

I always like tots (I almost wrote tits), but then I eat too many and feel slightly ill. The tot to fries eating ratio, in terms of speed, is probably about the same. But I think maybe the tots hold a bit more grease and a bit more undercooked potato than fries do, so maybe that's the reasoning behind the early-onset stomach churn with tots versus fries. 

8. What do you put on a bagel? 

B U T T E R + S A L T. Endless amounts of salted butter. Plus extra salt. 

9. Who or where was the best cup of coffee you have ever had? 

The Route 4, exit 17E Dunkin' Donuts in New jersey. Either that or the Mobil on West 145th in Manhattan. It's a tossup. 

10. Last book you read?

Breakfast of Champions

11. Go to after race treat? 

 After races, I'm sugared out and nothing actually sounds appetizing. Later on, though... intermittent bowls of cereal at weird hours.

12. Hardest race you have ever done?

Shenandoah 100 on a hardtail? Maybe that one. And maybe because ten minutes into the race a bee flew into my gaping mouth and stung the back of my throat. Things started to constrict and close a little. I pulled over and yelled for Benadryl, something, anything. And this sweet-sweet lady stopped and gave me two vials filled with homeopathic pellets used for bee stings (I will never forget that, or her), which she let me keep and which I proceeded to take every half-hour or so for the remainder of the 100 miles. 

13. Favorite race you have ever done?

Oh. So many! Maybe... any race where it's not too hot? Grinduro was really good time. Racing in Japan was awesome. China was insane. Ohhh... I know, Cyclocross Nats in Hartford, CT (2016?), because there was so much snow, and the pre-ride took place in the absolute middle of a blizzard. What we do is absurd, and that tipped the scales beyond absurd. I loved the magic of it.

14. Favorite Cyclist all time?

Tina Brubaker.

15. What's next?

More snowboarding. More skateboarding. More multi-day gravel/dirt routes with good friends. Into the ether.

16. Favorite movie all time?

Richard Linklater's Waking Life

17. Soup... true or false? Why? 

True. Miso with Shiitakes. Because: Jersey Strong. 

18. I heard you were going to Landrun 100, Ive also heard you are a big fan of driving the Money Truck, any interest in driving it out?

HahahahaHA! Yeah, right. I've had my turn at that wheel. No regrets and excellent memories from the Chicago to Portland road trip But. I ain't driving that shit across the country again!

Taking it to 11 with Christian Meier

(11 hard hitting questions with Christian Meier, former world tour pro, owner of The Service Course, Espresso Mafia, and La Fabrica. Speedvagen owner who purchased his Custom SV Road as a retirement gift to himself form the pro peloton )


1. Where are you right now?

Sitting in The Service Course in Girona.

2. Can you give us what a Race day looks like for you today. How is it different from when you were a pro? What's your routine from waking up to racing? 

Race days for me now tend to be riding full gas all day, especially at gravel events! Pro life was a bit more complex because I was working for a team and tactics were decided with the intention of winning, now my intentions are just to arrive to the finish line Fucked! My routine these days is wake up, drink coffee, scramble, drink more coffee, make it to the line just in time before the gun goes off!

3. State of the racing - whats working? whats not? what do you want to see more of?

Gravel is working, its fun, engaging for all levels, open to everyone and not elitist. Professional road racing is the least professional of all the sports out there, no solid rider´s union and the races seem to rule the sport more than our own organising body. I want to see people having more fun!

4. What Races/Rides will you be attending this season?

Hoping to get to Land Run 100, Nova Eroica,  Dirty Kanzaa, Torino-Nice Rally and some multi day mixed terrain adventures in the mountains!

5. You've been on your Custom Road Bike for around 3 years now. What are your thoughts, anything unexpected? 

Its been three years of owning my SV but also trying many other bikes from steel to carbon and while there are some excellent builders for my personal tastes no bike has the balance of comfort, fit and raciness of my SV, love it every time I swing a leg over It´s a bloody Swiss army knife of bikes, ridden it on Strada Biance, with packs on multi day trips up to smashing Strava KOMs. 

6. Give us a cycling "Pro Tip" that has made an impact on you?

Everything is about balance, live, ride, eat and love. As a pro I was a valuable to the team because I was always in good shape and that came from not doing crazy things that may get me super fit for a short period but a sustainable routine that allowed me to be fresh and ready always. This is not a fad diet. 

7. Tater tots or Fries?

As long as there’s Ketchup. 

8. Who made the best cup of coffee you have ever had? 

The cups that changed my life was Stumptown circa 2006 ish in Portland when I was there for the Mt Hood Classic, ruined coffee for me forever and sent me down the rabbit hole to opening my own shop and roasting.

9. Go to after race treat? 

Haribo Star Mix or after a hot one a crisp beer. 

10. Favorite race you have ever done?

The Tour was a pretty special race.

11. Whats next for The Service Course?

Next up is a new location in Florence, Italy, the food is so good we had to open a shop there!

Taking it to 11 with Ashton Lambie
Photo by:  Elliot Layda

Photo by: Elliot Layda


(11 hard hitting questions with 4k individual pursuit world record holder and SV Rider Ashton Lambie)


1. Where are you right now?

Hobbiton! But seriously, New Zealand with Team USA for the World Cup. We’ve been here just long enough for me to get super sunburned, but I’m having a great time! 

2. Can you give us what a Race day looks like for you. What's your routine from waking up to racing? 

Wake up. Coffee. Eat. Go to the track. Warm up. Play phone games (alto’s adventure or Minecraft) and listen to Iris Temple to get in the zone. Race. Cool down. Repeat as needed.

3. Long ride or gravel race nutrition, what do you eat and drink?

For long rides, I usually want more than just liquid nutrition. Before a gravel race, I usually have some egg and rice mess. On the ride, I'll have gels and  Margaret's cookies. At the checkpoints, I like to have some savory options like wraps. I get bored with all the sweet stuff. A coke is great after a long hot ride!

4. What Gravel races will you be attending this season?

I'm for sure going to Landrun 100 and the Epic. The rest, I'll fit in as it works out.

5. You've been on your Custom Rugged Road for almost 4 months now. What are your thoughts, anything unexpected? 

It's way faster than I thought it would be, and it's crazy how well it fits! I've had bike fits before, but the custom fit is incredible. Even after test-riding one of Sacha's bikes for the fit, this one is so much better. It's amazing to have a bike fit this well and also do everything I could possibly want. I can keep up on road rides, throw on aero bars, or go for a leisurely gravel ride all on the same bike! I can't emphasis enough how great it is!

6. Give us a cycling "Pro Tip" that has made an impact on you. 

"There's no such thing as over-training, just under- recovery."--Chris Dellasega, my strength coach.

7. Tater tots or Fries?

Home fries with mayo and mustard 

8. What do you put on a bagel? 

You can't go wrong with cream cheese, lox, and onion. Not capers, though. Those are a garbage vegetable.

9. Is the hour record on your radar? 

Definitely. It's crazy, and I love crazy.

10. Last book you read?

Growing Great Garlic. It looks great so far!

11. Go to after race treat? 
Reece's and scotch.

Photo by: @kbschlee

Photo by: @kbschlee

Taking it to 11 with Ivy Audrain

(11 hard hitting questions with Speedvagen SSCX Team crusher Ivy Audrain)


1. Where are you right now?

In Los Angeles for a long training block, initially plagued with heavy rain and a nasty cold. 

2. Can you give us what a race day looks like for you. What's your routine from waking up to racing? 

My race day routine is a reflection of my ethos applied to racing: it's just another day. Minor differences may include an third coffee consumed or second breakfast, depending upon the duration of the race. Favorite pre-race breakfast is rice with eggs and Bragg's liquid aminos on top, favorite Stumptown roast is Rwanda Huye Mountain, and favorite pre-race playlist includes Madvillain, Kendrick Lamar, and Method Man. Other absolutes include petting Catboi (if I'm home in Portland), calling Mom, and packing a post-race cooler with snacks and a few beers. 

3. State of racing - What’s working, what’s not, what do you want to see more of?

What's working in racing are venues that provide its participants an opportunity to be the best versions of themselves, get out of their comfort zones, and get what they need out of cycling. That includes cyclocross, events like the Epic Series races, gravel races, Grinduro, SSXCWC/SSCXWC, etc. As someone who has raced competitively for so long, I am acutely aware of all the feelings of inadequacy and constant comparison that go along with it, so it's unbelievably refreshing to now be a part of a community with 'come as you are' expectations. There is something really unique about the disparity of expectations for each person at events like this, where for one person, it might mean trying to win, and another person only had the goal of building up enough confidence to pin on a number and simply start the race. In a discipline that will inundate you with messages that you're not where you could or should be (even at your best), it's really cool to feel like you're finally 'enough', your ability level is 'enough', and it's okay to determine your own expectations for what you want out of racing.

4. What Races will you be attending this season?

Redlands Classic

Chico Stage Race

Joe Martin UCI Stage Race

Sea Otter (TBD)

Cascade Cycling Classic (TBD)

Whiskey 50


Carson City Offroad

BC Superweek

Downieville Classic

PDX Trophy Cup Series

Cross Crusade Series


CX Nationals

5. You've been on your Custom CX Bikes for around 6mo. What are your thoughts, anything unexpected? 

My favorite thing right now is taking my CX bikes where they don't belong. The most unexpected thing about these bikes is what kind of terrain they are capable of handling, *comfortably. My two most memorable rides in the past six months were in settings curated for trail bikes, full suspension, and big tires; and I surreptitiously 'crashed the party', in an act of both defyance and confidence in my machines. The results were: a flawlessly sturdy yet nimble ride.  

1) Riding SSXCWC in Bend, OR on my Speedvagen SS CX rig, and

2) Riding the Tahoe Rim Trail, another XC ride, on my geared Speedvagen CX bike. 

6. Give us a cycling "Pro Tip" that has made an impact on you. 

My 'Pro Tip': there is no secret recipe. Do what makes you feel good about what you're doing: whether it be training, racing, or resting. Make a decision that is right for you, and feel confident that you've made that choice in observation of your own well-being. 

7. Tater tots or Fries?


8. What do you put on a bagel? 

I like a super dank everything bagel with almond butter. Sweet + savory levels: uncharted. Alternatively: Butter + Marmite.

9. Gotta choose one... Eat only meatloaf for a week, or have to carry a boom box for a week that only plays Meatloaf. Why? 

Eating meatloaf for a week sounds like something I would do voluntarily, because I am a fan of most loaf foods. 

10. Last book you read?

A textbook in college. I'm an article reader, not a book reader. 

11. Go to after race treat? 

Miller HIgh Life, or a super salty margarita. 

Ivy T

IMG_3082 2.JPEG