Liz So What? Who? Where? When? and Why?

Ruckus rider Liz So is an elite Chicago cyclocross racer renowned for her tiny stature, huge smile, ridiculous kit, and her fabulous baking skills. She’s a fearless rider, and she’s not afraid to go down shredding. Liz recently started mountain bike racing – on a carbon cyclocross bike. And she had lil’ booboo. Whoopsie.
Don’t worry. We got her bike back up and running, ready to become the first bike to hop barriers in a women’s UCI race.

We “sat down” (at our respective computers in Portland and Chicago) with Liz to find out how she rolls so hard.

A/S/L?

24/F/Chicago (In Hyde Park where President Obama’s home is)

P.S.I?

15/17

T.P.H? (tweets per hour)

0.5/hr

We hear tell that you want to be the first woman to hop barriers? Tell us about the Bunny Hop Challenge.

So I know that I’m not fast enough this year to be scoring big UCI points, so why not do something else awesome? Hopping barriers is pretty common in the dude’s race— and it doesn’t necessarily make them faster—but they get huge style points. I’m trying to bring that level of steez to the women’s competition, even if I’m not doing it from the front of the race.

How are you so fast? Do u even lift, bro?

Kimchi is my secret. And I gave up Cheetos this season.

That’s some serious committment! Tell us more about your efforts to get equal payouts for women.

It’s all about equal respect.

In previous years, the guidelines of the 12-race Chicago Cyclocross Cup (CCC) guaranteed equal prize money for men and women. Under a new policy enacted for the 2012 season, the elite men’s purse increased to nearly three times that of the women’s elite payout. When the news was announced, it was too late to change the series guidelines, but I decided to take action.

I spearheaded the Chicago Women’s Cyclocross Fund which accepted donations to raise money to equalize women’s payouts. Each race promoter was offered sufficient funds to match the men’s payout, but also encouraged to cover the equal purse from race profits. A lot of CCC promoters recognized the exciting boom in popularity in the Women’s 1/2/3 race (the field has sold out multiple times) by equalizing payouts on their own without external funds, which is so encouraging and awesome. That being said, we are on track to achieve our mission of 100% payout parity at all CCC races.

Ruckus was among the first bike industry businesses to step up and contribute to the fund, leading by example. In addition, the fund also received backing from pro racers including Georgia Gould and Jeremy Powers. Even though this grassroots movement for equality in the CCC was quite small, members of the community were able to show their support for gender equality in a tangible way.

It’s just one thing, but it’s taken off here, so that’s pretty rad.

We sort of felt like we could see our emotions after we your cookies. Any secret ingredients?

Chocolate! Not a banned substance during my racing season.

What do you do when you’re not racing/riding/tweeting about/obsessing over bikes?

I don’t have too much free time because work and bike-related stuff keeps me plenty busy. However, I really like to write on my blog and in hand-written letters to friends. I also help take care of some abandoned cats with a local group of volunteers.

Apparently you crash your bike a lot. What’s a girl like you got to do to break an Ibis Hakkalugi? How’s your Ibis runnin’after our repair?

It’s something I have had to come to terms with: I am not afraid of a challenge and I take risks. When I cracked my Hakkalugi (now endearingly referred to as my ‘Ruckalugi’), I was racing in my first mountain bike race.

I’m still young so the crashes haven’t wreaked havoc on my body, but my bikes are a bit more sensitive to collision. That’s why I’m glad Ruckus exists. A lot of people break carbon parts and think that it’s game over, but with Ruckus’s carbon repair, it’s like when you die in a video game, use up one of your lives, flicker a bit, and then return to the game good-as-new.

My Ruckalugi is riding fantastic. The repair and paintjob on the top tube is such that I completely forgot that it didn’t originally have a stripey panel there. The work is impeccable and the integrity of the frame is even stronger than before.

What do you do, job/school-wise?

Right now I work at a hospital doing clinical research and am applying to medical school. Since I applied to schools in nine different states, I have no idea where I might be living next year. I’m hoping to live in a bike-friendly place, fingers crossed.

Tell us one awesome thing about yourself that we in the bike industry probably do not know.

I’ve been known to make some pretty awesome cakes. I wonder which material is more fun to work with: carbon or cake.

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