Shop owner handles Cool Mountain Bike Race

Community Portrait
By: Michael Kirby
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Editor’s note: This is one in a series of community portraits published in this space Fridays. Auburn’s Lisa Kodl is somewhat of a rarity. Kodl is sole owner of Auburn Bike Works, an occupation she enjoys, selling and repairing all types of bicycles. What makes her a rarity is Kodl operates a business in a trade dominated by male ownerships. “It has its pro and cons. A lot of times I have people come in looking for the guy in charge. One time someone came in looking for a job and assumed that the guy in charge was who he needed to talk to,” said Kodl. “Not a very good start.” Auburn Bike Works employs four full-time staffers and four to six part-timers, selling and repairing all types of bikes and accessories: children’s, BMX, mountain and road bikes. Kodl purchased Auburn Bike Works from Mickey Olmstead, who co-owned the store with husband, Dan. The Olmsteads bought the store in 1979 and Dan passed away in 1993. Kodl purchased it 1996. Dan Olmstead was involved as an advocate for off-road bikers as mountain bikes became popular. He worked tirelessly with other trail users to gain access to trails in the American River Canyon for bicycles. In 1993 Olmstead’s idea of a mountain bike race on the Knickerbocker Trail in Cool materialized and the Cool Mountain Bike Race was born. In honor of Olmstead’s work for the trail systems, the approximately 10-mile multi-use trail in Cool behind the fire station is now called the Olmstead Loop. Kodl now manages the annual race slated for 10 a.m. this Sunday and carries on the tradition started by Olmstead and the Auburn Bike Club. All the funds raised by participants will go to the Auburn State Recreation Area for multi-use trail construction and maintenance. “We max out at 425 riders and it looks like we will fill up again. The weather looks great for Sunday’s race,” Kodl said. The race is in its 17th year and is run in the rain, sleet and snow, which makes for some interesting action on the 10-mile trail. “Three years ago we had 8 inches of snow in places, and the last two years we had 70 degrees and needed sunscreen,” said Kodl. Originally the race took place in February but was changed four years ago to take advantage of warmer days. Funds vary from year to year but Kodl estimates thousands of dollars have been raised for the trail system. Being in the biking business, Kodl is very involved with Auburn’s Endurance Capital of the World committee, assisting with events planning. She is a fixture at most of the endurance events. “We have a lot of support in the community and the state parks to have more events because of the area we live in,” said Kodl. “But a lot of people that live in the area have no idea just how many activities are available in the canyon: hiking, cycling, kayaking and rafting.” Kodl was raised in Auburn and graduated from Placer High in 1982, and her ancestry has deep roots in the Auburn area. Kodl’s grandfather, Jack Reilly, came to California in 1906 after the San Francisco earthquake to help rebuild that city. He settled in Auburn. Her grandmother Bell Greenfield Reilly was the first principal of Alta Vista School. Kodl lives in Auburn and has one daughter, Kristina Perry, a 2006 Placer grad.