Amber Hoadley - January Athlete of the Month

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Amber Hoadley is a cyclist and bike technician living in Bozeman, MT. Aside from bikes, she loves film photography, camping, a good cup of black coffee, and baking! We are super proud to have her on our team. Be sure to follow her on Instagram : @amber.hoadley

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1. Where are you from?

I was born and raised in Jacksonville, FL

2. How did you end up in Bozeman, MT?

One of my relatives convinced me to come visit her when she found out I was considering living in Boulder Colorado. I came to Bozeman in February of 2015; and 2 months later I was moving up there with my car full of clothes, and 3 bikes!

3. When did you first start riding bikes?

I first started in middle school on a mountain bike; but the true love of cycling began in the spring of 2012 when I purchased my first road bike to commute on.

4. How long have you been working as a bike technician?

I've been working in a bike shop for a little over 2 years now, but really wrenching on bikes for about a year.

5. Congratulations on your completion of the Trek bike technician program! We noticed the program was for female technicians. Can you describe more about the program and how you got the opportunity to participate?

Thank you so much! Yes, so, the program was the first time that they have ever offered something to women specifically; and, they actually just made it available to women who were Trek dealers, or, working in Trek shops. Every time I see something bike-related, I just apply. Regardless of my situation! So I ended up getting a phone interview from them, and I told them about my bike shop, and how I had an agreement with Specialized already. They did not care! Honestly; their whole mentality is just to get more people out riding, especially women! I completely agree with that mindset; and I ended up flying out to Waterloo, WI for 4 days to learn more about bike assembly and maintenance. What an amazing week! WOW. So; they chose 12 women from all over the U.S. to come out to HQ and learn more about proper bike assembly. This included proper business techniques, dress code, public speaking, bike maintenance, overall knowledge, as well as some business strategies. Overall it was an incredible experience that I will never forget!

6. What was the coolest thing you saw while at the Trek facility?

I watched a woman build a carbon rim from start to finish! Absolutely amazing!

7. What is your favorite thing about cycling?

Ultimately; I think cycling is one of the greatest things that has ever happened to me. I can explore, race, adventure, commute, a make friends. Its amazing! Oh my gosh. I think my favorite thing is just feeling free. I can go anywhere at any speed, Wow!!

8. You are a great photographer. Do you do this as a business taking photos of others or mostly just for yourself?

Thank you so much! I truly love it. Portraits are my absolute favorite. I actually started my own business back in 2009; and worked at the local newspaper in North Florida for 2 years. I learned SO MUCH about how to "be invisible", and just capturing the human emotion, and what is happening. I truly love it. Generally, I will shoot digital for my clients, and I love shooting 35mm film for my own personal stuff.

9. How long have you been a Levi's Commuter ambassador? What's the best thing about their products? Are they made differently than regular jeans?

Yeah! I started working with them early 2016, I love their pants honestly; It totally just fell into place. The best thing about their products is; they are actually made with cyclists in mind. So; things like; a higher waistline in the back, so your pants don't slouch while you're sitting on the bike at a red light, and the fact that all their commuter jeans come with extra deep smart-phone-friendly pockets, reflective features in the cuff, and also a layer of water-resistant Scotch Guard on all their commuter jeans. Brilliant!

10. What's something a lot of people may not know about you?

I used to race horses before I raced bikes! Haha. Still not sure which is cheaper...

11. Are you also a Specialized ambassador? What is your favorite Specialized bike and why?

Yes, I am a Specialized Retail Ambassador. That means I represent their brand, and do the best I can to help customers find exactly what they need when they come into the shop! Basically I think their stuff is the best, and they help me out with my racing. My favorite bike from Specialized is the Amira. Its a road racing bike; and in my opinion, they totally nailed it. I had one last year, and again this year; and the bike fit me perfectly right out of the box! I didn't have to change a thing. Its a fast, light, efficient bike, and happens to be absolutely gorgeous!!

12. Coffee or tea?

Coffee!! I make french pressed coffee every morning, but when I treat myself at the shop, I always get an americano.

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13. We saw you recently went to Specialized HQ for a course? What was the course? How long were you there? What were some of the highlights?

Yes! I have been working for a Specialized dealer for 3 years now, and I have been dying to visit headquarters. My manager sent me there for the Body geometry Fit Level 1 class at the beginning of this month... it was absolutely incredible! The BG fit class is a 3 day course on how to properly fit someone on a bike. We learned a lot about anatomy & the human body, which was fascinating. Outside the classroom, we had the chance to ride a different bike of our choice everyday at lunchtime- (I could get used to that!) Meeting some of the people that I only knew from social media was a cool experience, as well as test riding the new 2017 bikes, and then visiting the Win Tunnel (yes, I spelled that correctly!). We chatted with a few pro triathletes about aerodynamics and how they test their helmets there. I'd say it was a successful week at HQ!

14. It's Winter! Are you still able to commute to and from work? If so, what changes (besides bundling up) did you have to make to your bike?

Oh yeah! Winter is here. Thankfully I don't live too far from work, and this season I was gifted a fatbike from my shop! I'm riding the Specialized Hellga, and I LOVE IT! Last winter I was commuting on my cyclocross bike, so this is a huge upgrade. The wider tires give me a lot more traction, and I feel pretty safe out there being on a bike with such a wide tire. the only other thing I had to add was a rear fender, for when it gets slushy in the afternoons.

15. What is your favorite or most essential piece of gear or kit for cold weather cycling?

This season I invested in a merino wool cycling cap which covers my ears and also has a brim for sun. It is one of those things I wear everyday! Whether I am road riding, or commuting, it pretty much goes with me everywhere! It folds up nice and small in my pocket for when it warms up in the afternoon. I would recommend picking one up for sure if you live in a colder climate.

16. Is there a point where you won't ride outside when it gets below a certain temperature?

Hmm, not necessarily a certain tempterature... once it gets into the single digits, everything pretty much just feels the same amount of cold. It's usually the road conditions, or really extreme wind that I call off a ride.

17. Do you ride on a trainer? If so, do you use any programs like Zwift?

Yes I have an indoor trainer setup in my living room. Last season I had a coach, and he sent me workouts each day so I focused mostly on that. This season I have a few different goals, so I actually just downloaded a free 1 month trial of Zwift on my laptop! I still need to buy one more little gadget to get everything set up to experience the digital rides on Zwift, but I'm excited to try it out and do something new this season :)

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