With the forecast turning sharply south (like -16 later in the week) some take to the trainer. But Ingrid prefers to take to the snow!
Even though I get to race with them, I am not a pro. And because only my ego, not my livelihood, depends on me having tip top spring fitness, I really enjoy getting into different sports when it’s cold outside in winter. Sure, I’ll hop on the trainer a few times a week for some interval training, but getting outside to Nordic ski keeps me happy and excited about the bike come spring and summer.
A lot of cyclists take to skate skiing in the winter, but I happen to also love good, old, classic technique. I have a great pair of waxless skis with “fish scales”, making it easy for me to just get out there and go without the hassle of applying kick wax and getting that wrong. Sure, they’re slower, but sometimes it’s just about getting outside.
Skate skiing is absolutely great, because it gives you a chance to use muscles that you may never use on the bike–but that can be a bit hard on your body until you’re trained for it. Additionally, skate skiing is technique-heavy and can take quite some time to learn how to do it without flailing around (I’m still a bit of a flailer). Have you ever watched the women skate skiers in the Olympics? Their middle sections look like tree trunks (in a good way)–they’re using all kinds of core strength. Until you get the proper technique going, you’re likely to use a lot of upper body and arm strength. A few skate ski days in a row can wreck you.
How can you keep yourself fit in the winter with plenty of variety and not over do it? Enter good old classic skiing. While you can certainly go very fast while classic skiing (I may enjoy keeping up with skaters while classic skiing), it is also a lot easier to keep your heart rate down as needed. Classic skiing is a great way to have an outdoor recovery day or to have a good interval session with the proper recovery periods in between.
I’ve definitely found a new appreciation for it. So, give it a try some time! Hope to see you out there.
There’s no such thing as bad weather, just inappropriate clothing. And these brave riders braved the cold with Lanier to prove it!
Cathy Goodheart, Kimberley Turner Johnson, Amelia Messegee and guest rider Connor Livingston braved the cold for our Naked team ride this afternoon. As the sun peeked out of the clouds, our shadows flew before us and the camaraderie of the paceline kept us warm. We agreed that riding outside is always best, even if conditions are not ideal.
Why ride in cold, rain or wind when there are plenty of inside training options? In increasing priority, these are my answers.
5. Beauty. Colorado’s scenery is flat-out gorgeous, no matter what the season. What better way to experience it than riding outdoors?
4. Pleasure. Yes, pleasure – just delayed. For pure indulgence, there is nothing better than sinking into a warm bath after a cold ride. Well…some things, but it’s a short list.
3. War stories. For years to come, you can talk up that time you rode in 100 mph gusts that knocked semis over on the highway, or the ride so cold you had to stay in that bath for an hour to warm up. Your friends will act horrified, but they secretly admire you.
2. Quality training. Many factors of riding outside contribute: variety of terrain, keeping pace with the group, chasing down other cyclists and/or vehicles or simply time trialing to get home as quickly as possible. You can always get more intensity outside than in.
1. Readiness. Inclement weather is inevitable when racing in Colorado. If you train in poor conditions, you will acquire mental toughness your more delicate competitors may lack.
As long as roads are clear, you will find me outside on the bike all winter long. Join me!
Sadly, one of our teammates’ bike’s was stolen last night, and this isn’t the last time a bike will be stolen either. So we put together some tips to hopefully help you recover your beloved stead and catch that dirty bike thief! If you have any to add, let Rachel know.
- Scour Craigslist and eBay to see who is trying to sell it. You can also set up Google alerts or eBay search alerts with descriptions on your bike just to see if anyone posts something about it online.
- Set up your own Craigslist ad and email it to all the bike shops in the area. Sometimes thieves and pawn shops are dumb enough to call a bike shop to ask about the value of a bike. If the bike shop is aware of your stolen bike, then they can reach out to you when it happens. This happened to a teammate of ours and she was able to recover her bike!
- Pawn shops are another place to look. Call starting with your area and then expanding beyond.
- To recover your bike, you have to show proof of ownership. You can get this from your bike shop if you didn’t keep your receipt assuming they have good records. They may also have your serial number. Take lots of pictures and one of you with your bike, too.
- To the point above, because thieves can scratch off the serial number, etch the last four numbers of your social security number beneath your rear triangle. Most thieves are too dumb to look there and figure that out. It’s also undeniable proof the bike is yours if your bike is recovered by police and your serial number removed.
- File a police report! Supply them with your serial number, pics of the bike and any other identifying/unique info. If you don’t have any of these items on hand, call your bike shop and maybe they can help with proof of purchase/serial number.
- Get grassroots and make missing bicycle posters to hang around town, in coffee shops and bicycle shops. The more creative the more likely someone will be able to remember your poster and share it with others. Check out some of these posters. Include a unique but easy to remember hashtag!
- Encourage everyone to post/share your bike via social media. Create a hashtag so in case someone sees the bike, they can snap a pic, hashtag it, and post it on Facebook/Twitter/Instagram! The more eyes looking for your bike the more likely you are to find it. Make sure you include the area that you’re in, too, just in case the thief is stupid enough (because thieves are!) to ride it around in your area.
- Get renter’s insurance if you don’t have it. You can file a claim and get a new bike. If you don’t have renter’s insurance, it’s only about $150-250 per year and absolutely worth it! Happy to refer you to my insurance agent who also sponsored our team for two years:)
- If you care about your bike, EVERYONE should register their bicycles with the police. Take pics of your bikes and serial numbers (usually under the bottom bracket). Boulder, Denver, and Golden reg is below. You can Google your “city” and “bike registration” if you don’t live in any of these local areas.
What do you have to add?
Jenny, our 16-year-old phenom, crushed her cross race this weekend taking the top step of the podium. Also, Jean encouraged her to keep pushing and took second too!
On Sunday morning I woke up feeling extra nervous for this race. It was at Xilinx (where a pervious race had been) and it was probably my favorite course. I was excited because I was racing in SW 4‘s that day. But once I got there, I realized they completely changed the course! After I registered and got my number pinned on, I pre-rode the course along with some friends. Even though the course was different, I still felt I had somewhat of a chance to do well since it was fast and hilly.
At the start line, I was called up to the third row. Once they blew the start whistle, everyone sprinted up the pavement hill! I like hills, so I knew this was the place to get away from the field. When we hit the dirt section, it was single-file so it was hard to move up. After racing not even half the course, my dad yelled at me that I was in 9th place. This motivated me and I immediately passed two racers. Since I knew what place I was in, I could keep track of how many people were in front of me. At each of the pavement sections I tried to make up as much time as I could to catch up to the group in front of me. By the second lap I was top 3. I could see Jean and my friend Savannah, who races for Front Rangers, in front of me. I caught up to them and tried to catch my breath before attacking again. Once I caught Savannah, I sprinted as fast as I could by her and leaped over the barriers. My dad once again yelled at me and told me I was in first place!
The next two laps I passed as many Cat 3’s as I could and tried to maintain my mini breakaway. But by the end of the fourth lap I could see Jean and Savannah closing in on me! This gave me even more motivation to go as hard as I could even though my legs were burning and my mouth was completely dry. Going into the fifth and final lap, Jean was hot on my heels yelling very inspirational words at me. To put it into PG words she said: “Open your heart and GO! You know you want this!” I pounded hard on my pedals and tried not to use my breaks. In the last dirt section before the pavement finish my heart was beating out of my chest and I was about to win my first Cat 4 race ever! Finally in the last turn I stood up and sprinted up the hill around the curve to the finish line and threw my hands in the air with a big grin on my face to claim victory in the most exhausting race I’ve ever done!
Also, congratulations to Jean for taking second and Savannah for getting third! Cathy also had a great race and got 9th out of a field of 33!
Who knew zombies could ride so quickly? Here’s Amanda B.‘s race report, zombie style.
Put the best things together and what do you get? Zombie Cross. This is a cyclocross race with winding trees, a spooky covered bridge, the ‘run up from hell’, great cheering, good food, delicious adult beverages and costumes. There was a wide range of costumes from a swarm of bees (MBs creative bent as a Zom Bee) to a roller derby king who wore rollerskates the entire race. There were handups of bacon, marshmallows, twinkies, candy, adult beverages and a banana giving a banana a banana handup (can’t follow that, see the picture). The course was well done complete with hills, trees, off camber turns and sand.
The Naked Women came out in full force dressed exemplary for the occasion. Emily Zombie Zinn (thank you for that nickname Larry Grossman) and I arrived 3 hours early for our race in order to ensure that we had enough time to do our “makeup”. We had a good warm up and took lots of pictures with the other ladies who decided to dress up for this race as well. The race started fast into a gravel corner, I had a good start, kept my position for the first two laps and then started feeling as though my tire pressure was going low. By the next lap, I was rolling the tire every turn and falling much more than is ever needed. I could feel every little pebble under my tire as it hit the rim of my wheel. Worried about my wheels and tires and being very frustrated with falling. I decided to get off my bike and run it in. There is no excuse to DNF, well unless you have a bone sticking out. So, I ran from where the announcer was located on a gravel flat, to an off camber s-turn, down a steep hill (much easier on a bike), up a hill and to the finish. Then proceeded to want to vomit as there is no need to run, unless being chased by a bear or some other ferocious animal. The cheering throughout the race was once again amazing. This wasn’t my best race but was one of the most memorable and I did win best costume. The other Naked ladies represented the team very well with strong finishes in SW Open, SW 3s and SW 4s. Thank you to Frites en Mayo and Happy Coffee/Salvagetti for putting on another stellar race. Thank you to the ColoRADo racers for keeping cross funky and not taking ourselves too serious. Special shout out to the people who came to cheer and didn’t even race and to Zombie Zinn for doing my makeup and getting up extra early because I wanted to.
Photos and video by Mary Topping with Pro Velo Passion
We are only a few weeks into the CX season and already had some true cyclocross weather! But that didn’t phase (too badly) the Naked ladies from tearing it up! Cathy reports on her stellar podium finish to boot!
I purposely did not pre-register for this race because I saw the weather forecast. Snow and cold. I even told my husband that we could just go for a drive to see the fall leaves. I can’t tell you what he actually said, but it basically translates to, “suck it up buttercup, this is ‘cross”. It’s great having a supportive spouse!
I’d like to report the actual temperature for Frisco this last Saturday, but my mind doesn’t understand temperatures below 35 degrees Fahrenheit. Let’s just agree that it was brisk. . .
I was happy that I made the decision to purchase a new long sleeve base layer (thanks to Eric at Bike Source for the help). I was even happier to find that my tall socks met up with my knee warmers, which meant to no exposed leg skin. The lovely woman lined up next to me (Kristi Arend) was not so lucky, but it didn’t seem to affect her performance as she shot off the start line and was never seen again. Congrats to her on her first place finish!
There were a few surprises during the women cat 4 race in Frisco. The first being that it wasn’t too cold after the monster of a start. The start was up this nice incline that warmed us all up, split up the field and then proceeded to a long, muddy descent. The second surprise was that I was able to move up throughout the race – a foreign concept to me thus far. I caught up with Michelle Moffat, who unfortunately misjudged a sharp turn and ran into the course tape. I am amazed that this doesn’t happen more often – the running in to tape part- as my depth perception is not great, and while the tape is typically brightly colored it can be hard to tell which way to go. Alas, I was able to make the turn and move up one more spot. There’s nothing like having a strong racer behind you to light a fire under your butt! I was able to hang on and finish in 2nd place. Wha?!? Yes, I was and am still surprised at that one too – surprise number three.
Congrats to Emily Z. for taking third in the SW3 race, and Amanda B. for freezing her booty with us!
If you can make it to Boulder’s Valmont Bike Park, you can also join in a public memorial the Dombroski family is holding tomorrow from 6-8 PM. You can follow the Facebook page for more updates. Ride there if you can because parking will be limited. We’ll miss you, your smile and your fierceness out there on the road and in the dirt.
Britt just keeps getting faster and continues to rip legs off. Congrats on the top step of the podium!
I am so happy there is a SW3 category for CX this year. This is the first year that Cat 3 women don’t have to line up with the elite women’s field. And guess what? There are 3’s coming out to race!
Sunday was the Without Limits’ Flatirons Cyclo-X ‘cross race, and 18 Cat 3 women lined up to race. For a women’s field, for a race category that hasn’t existed before, that’s an exciting number. There were also 32 Cat 4 women, and looking at their finishing times, several won’t be 4’s for long. And now they have a not-scary place to go.
We arrived early Sunday for my boyfriend’s single-speed race at 8 AM. I love watching the single-speeders, but have been particularly impressed with Megan Hottman (the cyclist lawyer) for lining up with some seriously strong men this season.
After Justin’s race, the elite women raced, and I noticed that one of my “rivals” (Kristen is super nice, and super strong, and has beaten me at several races) was again racing SW Open prior to her SW3 race. I was beginning to feel kind of lazy, because I knew Megan Hottman would also be racing again in the 3’s.
After the SW Open, I began to warm-up. The course looked tough—lots of climbing, lots of energy-sucking grass. After a couple laps though, I was feeling pretty good about it. The dismounts were not going to be smooth for anyone; the hill up to each barrier was steep and you lost all momentum before you swung your leg off your bike. One remounting area was also awkward; right at the top of the grassy hill where you would want to remount was a curb. If I tried to remount before the curb, I wouldn’t be fully on my bike as I went over it, so
I’d have to run another 10 feet to get off the grass, over the curb, and onto the paved road, 500m from the finish. But the rest of the course was fast and climb-y, which works well for me.
As I warmed-up, I found my teammates, Amanda Bye and Cathy Goodheart. We talked about various parts of the course to watch for and rode around a bit more, eventually heading to the start line for call-ups. Just before call-ups, our roadie teammate, Katie Harrer, appeared with hugs and tons of positive energy to cheer us on and watch her first CX race.
I lined up in the second row, and as usual had a less than stellar start. I spent the first half of the first lap just trying to make up ground. Then things started to look up. I caught Megan towards the end of the second lap, and spent the third lap chasing down Kristen. I caught her, passed her on the climb, and then she came around me. I held on. I knew if I could stay with her until the climb, I’d have a decent chance.
As we made our way up the hill for the fourth time, I came around her again. As I got to the top, I did everything I could to open up a gap, and almost slid out as I braked for the 90 degree corner. The 5th and final lap, she was on my wheel, and I kept reminding myself that every time I touched my brakes, I lost time. As we came to that final awkward remount, Kristen was right behind me. And I was sure she’d get around me—I have terrible remounts: I double and triple hop all over the place, and my pedals are never where my feet want them to be.
I’m 500m from the finish and having my worst remount of the day! I cannot find my pedals and I’m waiting for Kristen to come blasting past me to take the win. I find one pedal, have grass clogging my other cleat, and push as hard as I can to get to the line (it’s so close—it shouldn’t take this long!). I cross the line just barely in the lead and win my first Cat 3 cross race! I’m excited, but it takes a few minutes before I have enough energy to do anything about the drool and snot all over my face, much less express excitement. Luckily, Katie was there to document that utterly exhausted feeling.
Emily Z. is really into beets, but here’s a spoiler alert. She doesn’t even like them.
Beets are so hot right now. Hotter than Yerba Mate drunk from a gourd, hotter than caveman diets, hotter than trendy workout classes you’re the first to hear about, hotter even than having conflicting feelings about a certain podium-girl-butt-grabber whose redeeming qualities include the ability to strap his bikes on a roof rack without dismounting.
The quick and dirty explanation for their popularity is that the high concentration of nitrates found in beets increases blood flow and oxygen intake in the muscles, making endurance athletes faster for longer. Also, I imagine technicolor pees contribute to the appeal.
The lengths I have gone to in order to consume my pre-cyclocross beet juice has left bath tubs stained purple and been so suspicious that in one instance hotel staff peeked in the room without knocking at 3AM, I imagine to check that we weren’t cooking meth or anything equally sinister. Somehow I don’t think, “don’t worry, we were just juicing raw beets at 4AM yesterday” would have been a satisfactory explanation, anyway. Alas, some people will never understand your lifestyle.
Here’s the thing: I loathe beet juice. I’m one of those people who will eat absolutely anything put in front of her without flinching, but make me down a liquified beet and I will gag. They taste like spicy dirt to me, very literally.
I can’t overstate my relief and wonder the first time I tried the Naked Power Garden Berry Veggie juice. It’s loaded with beets, chickpeas, sweet potato and carrots, but tastes unquestionably like cherries. It’s not just delicious “for a veggie juice,” it’s just plain delicious. The morning before a race I down one, and sometimes add a scoop of Pure Clean Powder powdered beets for an extra boost, and now the days that I don’t get my veggie smoothie I feel like my legs are filled with bricks, and my results would suggest the same.
Give it a try before your next race… just as long as you aren’t racing against me.
Rachel has had her fair share of mishaps while riding in the dirt and on the road. Here’s her top 10 road side maintenance tips, and yes, they all have happened. Do you have any to add?
1. Don’t PANIC! What’s done is done and you’ll get back riding much more quickly if you keep a level head. You can’t think clearly when you’re freaking out. I know, speaking from experience here.
2. Know how to change a flat. Not that you’ve watched someone change one, but actually practice doing it.
- Always have at least 1 size appropriate tube, CO2 w/dispenser or hand pump, and two tire levers.
- Patch kit can be your best friend.
- Stand with a tire between your legs to get some leverage to roll it back on. It helps, promise.
- If you need to bum a tube from someone and it’s not the right size (too small or too big), some sizes can work in a pinch but not recommended.
- If you rip your side wall of the tire, you can use a dollar bill, tire boot or a food item wrapper to plug the hole.
- Always bring cash in case you need to buy something along the way. Also, many remote gas stations or markets only take cash.
3. Check your spare tube occasionally. Don’t just stuff it in your saddle bag and fugetaboutit! Many times I’ve had flats, my spare tube was already punctured from having been in my saddle bag. Bummer:( This is why you need a patch kit.
- To see if your tube is flat BEFORE you put in your bike, you can blow air in it. You should do this before changing your flat anyway so you don’t get a pinch flat when putting the tire back on.
4. Multi-tool. Know it, use it. I’ve had cleats come off mid-ride, head sets come loose, bolts come loose, handlebars come off, derailleurs rip off, and so on. You don’t want this to happen.
5. Weather. It’s Colorado and you always need to be prepared and dressed appropriately when it begins to snow/rain/sleet/hail etc.
- Pearl Izumi makes a great protective barrier that wads up in a tennis ball size.
- Rubber surgical gloves year round! Great for changing flats so you don’t get dirty or for warmth in a pinch. And pack really easy.
- If you must, newspaper for an extra layer in your jersey and plastic bags on your feet make for great emergency layers.
6. Broken spoke. This one is a bit tough depending on the spoke count of your wheels.
- You can use your knee to try to bend the wheel back in a less-wobbly position.
- Open your brakes up to allow the wheel to spin through.
- If you have a lighter rider with you, switch wheels so you can get back. The lighter rider will put less pressure on the weak spot in the rim and potentially prevent more spokes from breaking.
- If you’re a serious randonneur, they do make spokes on the fly called Fiber Flight.
- Check to see if your multi tool has a spoke wrench, and also, learn how to use it. (Youtube it or Google and practice on a spare set of junk wheels)
- Low spoke count wheels are great if you have a team car and your paycheck depends on you getting to the finish ahead of the other guy/girl. Get a higher spoke count wheel, especially if you’re heavier.
7. Broken Chain.
- More applicable to mountain bikes but make sure to have a chain breaker, know how to use it, and a spare pin to reattach your chain.
- You could also reuse the pin but make sure to not back it all the way out because you may lose it.
- Remove broken link by removing 2 segments of the chain at the damaged end. You need to remove 2 segments instead of 1 because the two types of segment alternate. If you just remove 1 segment you can’t re-attach it. Fixing a broken chain is no more difficult than fixing a flat tire if you’re prepared.
- You won’t be able to shift normally so make sure to not shift under a lot of load. However having a derailleur allows you to remove links more easily. If you have a single speed, it’s a little different.
- Get out those rubber gloves! This is a dirty job and you don’t want to mess up your sharp kit.
8. Broken Cable (Coincidentally encountered this tonight).
- If you have a geared bike, you can manually move your chain where it needs to go in the big and small rings (get out those rubber gloves).
- If Rear Der. goes out, you can still shift in the big and small rings up front. No biggie.
- Get cable replaced asap when you get back.
- Could be an array of reasons why this happened, but take it to a shop if you don’t know how to diagnose or change your cables.
9. Crash:( It happens.
- Straighten whatever is crooked with your multi tool (seat post, stem, wheel, etc) and scope out your helmet to make sure you it’s not broken. If you crashed in your helmet and hit your head, replace your helmet. No ifs, ands or buts. Most have a crash replacement policy and they should be replaced every 2 years anyway.
- If you have carbon bars, as much as this is a pain in the ass, you should unwrap and check to make sure your bar isn’t cracked. Never a better time to replace your bar tape, especially if it’s white.
- If you’re missing clothing, use spare clothing to cover up revealing rips in your kit.
- Make sure to scrub your road rash (you must) and buy some tegaderm! If it’s a BOGO, buy extra. (YES, that happened).
10. Prevention is a great way to avoid road-side emergencies! It’s always a good idea to simply keep your bike clean, lubed in pivot points, make sure bolts are tight (with a torque wrench) and inspect each time you clean or crash for cracks.
- “ABC Wheel Quick!” Make sure to check the following:
- Air in tires
- Brakes and Bars
- Chains and Cables (nothing fraying or obviously out of place)
- Wheel –check for trueness and spoke tension
- Quick Release – Make sure it’s tight. Nothing worse than lining up for a race and you notice your front skewer just dangling.