Category Archives: General Stuff
Join the ladies of Naked Women’s Racing in our third-annual Heels on Wheels bike pub crawl! Come equipped with two wheels and sport SPD stilettos for this event supporting our team and women’s cycling. Drink specials for those with the group from Ale House and Billy’s! All are welcome including men; men in heels more welcome.
May 10, 2014 from 6PM-10PM:
- 6:00 PM meet/ride to Ale House @2501 16th St
- 7:30 at Berkeley Inn @3834 Tennyson St
- 9:15 at Billy’s Inn @4403 Lowell Blvd
Be there or be pedalin’ squares!
Emily and Brittany escaped to the warmer temperatures of Austin, Texas to compete on the fat tires. They not only came away with new PRs, they also qualified for Leadville! Despite Emily’s illness, she still got 8th female overall! Here’s her recap.
On the morning of March 29th Brittany Jones and I embarked on a 100km mountain bike race in Austin, Texas: The Austin Rattler. Neither Brittany nor I had ever ridden a mountain bike this far before so we were both nervous and wondering if our legs would hold out or if eventually they would just turn into jello. I was especially nervous because in the two weeks before I had had the stomach flu and bronchitis and ridden my bike just once. I had originally planned two weeks of careful tapering but I had opted to just give myself complete rest to see if that would get me better faster. The night before I was still hacking up a lung, but the humid air of Texas seemed to be doing me good and after dosing up on Dayquil, cough drops, and caffeine I felt ready to ride!
The start was slow and crowded as hundreds of eager riders vied for space. I managed to pass a ton of riders and settled into a fast group for the first lap. The riding was very fast; mostly fire road and smooth single track. There was one especially beautiful section where the trail wound through a giant field of blue wild flowers. Most of the riding was non-technical but there was a fun section near the end that was essentially a natural half-pipe. It was really satisfying as a woman to pass lots of men struggling to ride through this technical section!
Each lap was 15.5 miles and after the first lap I realized I had gone out far too fast. I also had been so excited to be flying along I hadn’t spent enough time eating and drinking. I slowed things down a bit for the second lap and tried to drink and eat, although this proved hard because the pace was so fast and the trails were often bumpy and turned frequently, making it hard to eat and drink enough.
During the third lap, around mile 40, I hit the wall. My legs were constantly on the verge of cramping and I felt totally drained. I latched onto a group of faster riders and drafted behind them for the rest of the lap mentally talking myself through every pedal stroke. I stopped at the neutral feed station after the third lap and downed as much food and liquid as I could and took a few salt pills. Feeling a bit reinvigorated I began my final lap. I was totally fried at this point and knew it was a mental game. It was also becoming quite hot and humid as we approached noon, which I wasn’t used to. Plus, after mile 50 every pedal stroke I took was new territory since I’d never ridden more than 50 miles on my mountain bike. This lap was a test of my will power and I had to take all of the technical sections slowly because my legs were feeling so shaky, but I eventually could see the crowded finish line and knew I would complete the race!
My goal before I had been so sick was to finish in under 5 hours, I came in at a time of 5:02. Since I’d been so ill, I had just been hoping to finish and I was really excited that I had come so close to my goal while having bronchitis! I ended up coming in 9th overall for women and 2nd in the 20-29 age group. I actually qualified for the Leadville Race but had to turn it down because I’m starting medical school in Boston just a few days after and the timing didn’t make sense. Plus the idea of riding 40 more miles than I’d just ridden was mildly terrifying. Overall though it was an amazing race. I felt pretty awful after and on the way home I coughed up a bit of blood, which just goes to show I pushed myself to my limits. I’m really glad I did the race and I have all the more respect for endurance mountain bike racers!
We’ve all been there or we will eventually experience it…the dreaded injury. Some worse than others but it does a number to not only your physical state but your mental one too. Unfortunately, Katey is on injured reserve this year, but hopefully her story of healing will help others out there as well!
Doctors coined it “overuse”. I called it enjoying life. Years of intense pushing, pulling, lifting, hauling carrying and simply being me had caused irreparable damage to my right shoulder. I had torn this, dislocated that, had arthritis here, bone spurs there. It would crackle happily in its socket daily. My right shoulder had become a can of Alpo encased in skin. I had been in pain for years but sadly no amount of PT, Cortisone shots and pats on the head from doctors could alleviate the pain. It was chronic and it needed to get be fixed. The MRI didn’t lie and my orthopedist agreed it was time. Dear friends and family members rallied around my impromptu decision. I figured I had gone big this season skiing over 40 days. But I paid the price, licking my wounds each evening. I waited until my sister and her son visited to ski with our family and went in for surgery the following week.
I am active. Perhaps a little too active? I have a husband, two kids and own a small business. I thrive on keeping busy and being physically active. It’s my sanity and riding is a huge part of it. It was going to be my first season racing with Naked’s mountain bike team. I was devastated. I hadn’t really raced in 10+ years and was ready to represent. My husband had bought me a new 29er for Christmas and I was ready…I was so ready…dangit.
The first few days after surgery I was in a purple haze of oxycodone. My shoulder size would have made a linebacker jealous. It was encased in gauze, goo and swelling. Medication would make me nod off mid visit with friends. I’d wake up in a pool of drool and pain, but I was still in good spirits. Dear friends took care of my boys, made us dinners, brought me flowers and kind words. One even changed my blood soaked dressings for me. My 88 yr old mother in law whom I call “Nonna”, kept me company, quietly working on her Italian crosswords, making me tea and polenta (the only thing I could keep down), and giving me an insufferable stink eye when I even thought about taking more pain medication early. We watched multiple Judy Dench period pieces – they were wonderful distractions and hugely soporific. (Yawn).
Sleep (or lack thereof) was elusive. Anything less than an upright position was excruciating. I had nested on our large leather couch in the family room. Truth be known, I slid off that couch in the middle of the night when I dozed off. (Ow!) I migrated back to our bed much to my husband’s chagrin because sleeping next to me with all my tossing and turning, “ouching” and expletives was just as painful for him. Without sleep, my kids were too loud and my husband looked sheepish. He skulked around my ever changing mood. My road bike was set up on the trainer in our living room winking at me.
My arm was in a sling….but not just any sling but a bright white 6 in wide harness/girdle of medical madness. It velcroed around my waist and arm to let my shoulder hang naturally. Such a good look. It drove me batty. I am left-handed thankfully so I had my dominant arm available but trying to put on underwear, let alone dress was ridiculous. Forget about a bra – too much effort. Skinny jeans- impossible to put on anyway, let alone button with one hand. That mixer on the top shelf- let it collect dust. Want a salad – buy it pre-chopped cause honey, you and a knife one-handed is just plain stupid. I was underslept, overfed and underexercised. Baggy jeans and button down shirts became my uniform. I couldn’t put my hair in a ponytail because I couldn’t reach behind my back far enough. (My husband still has to clip my hair back every morning.) My husband in the early stages had to fish me out of our tub because I managed to strand myself in it. I had so many little WTF moments; I had to chuckle, and chuckle, laugh, and roar out loud I did. For a woman who is painfully independent, resourceful and stubborn as hell, this has been quite a humbling and amusing experience.
But I haven’t let this stop me. I started riding that trainer in the corner tentatively the first week in my girdle. Yes, it was a little precarious and a little silly, but I did it. During following workouts, I’d shed the girdle mid-spin and rest my arm on the top tube for as long as I could without falling over because I couldn’t reach my drop outs. House of Cards and Scandal characters became my friends. I would spend time spinning prudently with Kerri Washington and Kevin Spacey. I wanted to cut my hair like Robin Wright but then a friend said I’d look like a Q-tip (with a big butt). She’s right and I haven’t cut my hair. I went back to my regular indoor spin class two weeks in. I felt like I was in an episode of Cheers…fellow cyclists cheered my dogged, one-armed nature. It gave me hope, it gave me incentive, it made me proud. I also had to remind myself ‘slow and steady girlfriend’. Slow and steady – which technically is not in my nature.
Fast forward five weeks post op, where I am now. My girdle is long gone…burned with the unbecoming jeans. I can sleep now comfortably, know how to get in and out of a bathtub safely, and continue to chuckle about my limitations and cheer at my small successes. My arm has atrophied significantly but my doc gave me the thumbs up to start PT (along with more rigorous exercise). I started to trail run again but I can’t bike outside just yet. If I crash, it could mean another surgery (although I’ve already hit my deductible for the year so hmmm. Strike that.) I spent the kids spring break in the Caribbean (a surprise trip my husband had booked before he even knew I was having surgery) bobbing in the waves with New Jersey retirees. While my husband and I dreamt of bare boating with the kids this trip, we knew my limits. We will next year. I have to remind myself this is just a blip in time.
While my teammates ride their hearts and lungs out, I wish them luck and podium finishes. And I…well, I will be riding on a bike path… ecstatically! Next season, I will be back. Oh, yes, I will be back.
Continuing her Roadie Series, Rachel shares some tips with you to help hold your position in the pack. You worked hard for that spot, so here’s how to keep it!
BEST TACTICS FOR HOLDING YOUR POSITION IN THE PACK
First, read this blog post from the Norcal Cycling News on how to hold your position in the pack. Oldie but a goodie. Some very good pointers here and will set the groundwork for the rest of my blog post. Seriously, required reading before diving into specific tactics.
As we all know, our competitors have certain strengths. If you don’t know these riders and their strengths and weaknesses, be sure to watch them and find out. It’s usually pretty clear. But, as we’ve also seen in our own riders, we each have strengths we didn’t know about. So, we don’t want to get trapped into ANY expectation for ANY rider. Including ourselves. So while some of these tips are just scenarios, each could end a million different ways. This is just what I perceive (and my coaches perceive) are best practices so to speak. Intrigued? Read on!
BEST TACTICS TO HOLDING YOUR POSITION IN A BREAK
So, you find yourself in a break … what are the “best” tactics? In a break, you must be honest with yourself … and the question is this:
“What can I do in this break that will give my team the best chance at winning the race?”
So what are those some answers?
- drive the break
- sit on the break
- attack the break
- be conservative in the break
- kill the break
- sacrifice for a teammate in the break
- attack for the win from the break
- repeat 7.
- never, ever get dropped from the break. Ever.
and, so on.
- – - – -
“So I’m in a break with a sprinter, she’ll beat me…what do I do?”
Good question. First answer: don’t work with him/her. Unless you make the decision that you are happy with second if you can’t beat this gal/guy, then take whatever you can out of the situation. Because, sometimes second is as best our team is going to get. Them’s just the honest facts
However, for the vast majority of races, the proper tactic is to put your team in the best situation to win the race. And so, that may mean killing a break that has a sprinter who will beat you in it. But what if you have a teammate with you against that feared sprinter? Well then, I think you know you can beat her then.
- – - – -
“I’m strong in the break, but no one will work with me?”
Well, I have to be honest with you, 99% of the time if a girl isn’t working in a break, it’s because she can’t. Everybody, I mean EVERYBODY wants to be seen as strong, it’s as simple as that. If there’s ever a rider who’s sitting on you for a reason other than she’s tired or that her team tactics dictate it … well, those are what we deem as wheelsuckers and they will get branded as such.
But, the honorable riders don’t sit on unless there’s a valid reason to do so. If you have a teammate up the road, it’s almost always suitable to sit on chasing riders. If you can’t win the race out of a 2-up move and you don’t want your team to settle for second, it’s ok to sit on that rider. etc.
And so, back to the original question – you’re strong, but the riders won’t work in the break. Well, maybe the best tactic is to kill the break immediately so you can re-absorbed in the pack and try and attack out again with a more favorable set of conditions for you.
- – - – -
“I’m in a 4-person break and I might be the weakest rider. Should I work or wait for teammates?”
The answer to this question will answer a lot of your questions about whether to work for a teammate, or what you should do as a teammate when one of your other ladies is up the road.
Anyone who does the work to get into a break or ANY of your teammates who does the work to get into a break deserves to get a result out of that break. We love winning, but we love the chase of the win more. Meaning, if one of our teammates gets in a break, let’s support their chance at a result. The reasoning behind this is obvious. If we all share the work, we’ll all share the chances at being that rider either in the break, or positioned well for a field sprint.
Any examples you can share? Let us know!
Already three races deep in the Spring Classics season, and just like that, the road season is upon us! Channeling her inner Boonen in Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne today, Rachel is going to share with you some early season road racing tips in her Roadie Series. Any you have to add?
EARLY SEASON RR (ATTACKING AND COUNTERATTACKING)
a) recognize which breaks to go with;
b) how to share the workload in covering attacks;
c) how to try and conserve energy while in breaks.
WHICH ATTACKS TO GO WITH? WHEN SHOULD YOU ATTACK?
OK, first thing to remember is that EVERYONE is fresh and fast in the first 5 minutes of a race. If a break goes right from the gun and they stick it to the end … well, they deserve it. But, that’s very, very rare – so, my suggestion is to play the odds and try and be as relaxed and cool in the first couple laps as you can. Get to know your competitors, get to know the course.
Now then, you MUST recognize which teams have larger presences and that if they attack – they are likely interested in forming moves. If a single rider attacks – it’s often ok to let them go off the front; however, you then prepare yourself to follow the NEXT person(s) who try to bridge to them. In the end, racing is a lot of math (with knives). If your pack can average 23mph – you know that a breakaway will have to average higher than that. It is rare that a single rider can do so – but, 3 or 4 riders can do so with much more regularity. And so, if you see a move of 3 or 4 riders going off the front, that’s when you need to make sure your team is represented.
The key to being represented in moves throughout a race is to share the workload. If you have seen a teammate just attack or follow an attack, you MUST ready yourself to follow the next one. You MUST extend the energy needed to position yourself near the front of the race … but not AT the front of the race. Riding in the first 10-20 riders almost always allows you enough space and time to attack out of the pack. Don’t be nervous about positioning, you can do it.
Remember, even in races with “lower category” riders – there will be attacking riders. But, there will be some CHASING riders, too. There will be big, strong girls who won’t really know how to race bikes – but will know how to go hard. If you see these women going to the front and setting a hard pace – let them. You don’t need to attack them, be patient and see what happens. The time to attack is when the speed drops – it’s speed differential that makes the gap, makes the race. But getting the gap is only the first part – keeping the gap is the second.
Don’t be afraid to experiment. It’s fun. Have FUN!
Remember which direction everyone is pulling off, and flick with the INSIDE elbow to signal that you’re coming off. Then, move slowly in the direction the group has been pulling off. Now, if no one pulls through – just keep slowing down. Remember – you have teammates behind who will follow the next attack if your group gets caught. That is SO IMPORTANT to remember – you MUST be willing to let your group to get caught. If your breakaway mates aren’t going to pull, the move is doomed and there is no sense in your killing yourself in it.
Don’t surge! Keep the same speed as your break’mates. If you surge in speed, it will decrease the likelihood of them continuing to work with you. And remember, MANY riders will surge with their pulls – so you’ll need to be fresh to be able to accelerate with them. Many riders do not have experience in breaks and will do a lot wrong in them. You must be able to anticipate and adapt.
Many times the finish of the race is on the top of the hill (short or long like our Bannock Criterium team race); it helps the officials to sort out the group also.
If you are in a breakaway, you need to remember that hill will be taxing and you can get dropped faster than freshman chemistry. If you attack, or you follow an attack – be sure to regulate your effort as much as possible so that you have some juice in the tank for that long effort up the finishing hill. Now, how does one do that? You still need to pull in a breakaway group, right? YES! and no.
A very good skill is to learn how to take quick, short pulls in a breakaway. In a criterium – it’s all about recovery. So, taking short, 4-8 second pulls where you keep the speed the SAME as the group is going to be very beneficial. Be sure to signal that your pull is ending a second before you want to drop your speed.
We’re excited to announce our new sponsorship with The Feed! The Feed specializes in providing athletes with the best sports nutrition available to fuel their sport and life. Athletes work with a personalized nutrition coach to get one-on-one advice, form a nutrition plan, and build a fully customized box of nutrition from the best brands, delivered monthly with free shipping. Read more about The Feed, visit www.thefeed.com. Connect with The Feed on Facebook and Instagram too!
You’re 50 miles from home, you’re in the middle of nowhere and you reach in your pocket and suddenly realize you really should have stocked up on bars and gels or anything, because now you have nothing. Does grass have carbs?
This year we’re really excited to be working with The Feed. They’re a sport nutrition delivery company out of Boulder, Colorado that stocks all of our favorite brands in sport nutrition, ships them out every month (to keep you stocked) and works one-on-one with us to develop nutrition plans to support our training, racing and lives.
During training blocks full of long rides we may rely on more PowerBars, and recovery products to keep us going, but as the race season kicks in we’ll find more need for gels, and Brooks works with us to make sure we’re stocked up, and know exactly how, when and why to use certain products.
It’s one thing to have food in your pockets and electrolytes in your bottles, but to actually look forward to the the nutrition, can be a foreign concept to people. That’s where The Feed has been great. Nutrition Coach Brooks recommends products to fuel our training and match our varied tastes, so we’re never bored, never go hungry, and never fear dehydration (thanks Skratch Labs).
Check out the food that fuels the Naked Ladies in our team Feed Box: http://thefeed.com/nakedracing
Kimberley had a great start to the 2014 racing season due to her hard work over the winter. We think the rest of the year will be very similar for her! Read about her first race of the season, Valley of the Sun.
While I fully intended to post throughout the fall and winter, chronicling the ups and downs of winter training, that just did not happen. Between taking on a new position in one of the three jobs I juggle, putting in ungodly hours on the trainer each week due to the bipolar weather tendencies of Colorado, and trying to stick to my new years resolution of keeping …READ MORE ON HER BLOG
Things get better with age-like our forth annual Ride for Reading delivery! Join Colorado Women’s Cycling Project (Naked Women’s Racing) for National Ride for Reading Week! See below for a quick synopsis of what Ride for Reading week is all about.
What: Colorado-based women’s competitive cycling team Naked Women’s Racing will deliver thousands of donated children’s books by bicycle to Travista Elementary and Middle School Friday, May 9th for National Ride for Reading Week. Naked Women’s Racing partnered with the charity Ride for Reading, a non-profit with a mission to promote literacy and healthy living through the distribution of books via bicycle to children from low-income neighborhoods.
Who: Cyclists of all shapes, types and sizes! Commuters, mountain bikers, roadies, newbies, masters riders, trackies, unicyclists, tricyclists, bi-cyclists, juniors and more! We are looking for volunteers to join us in our delivery. It will be the most fun you’ve ever had on two wheels.
When: Delivery takes place Friday, May 9 from 8:00 am to 12 pm. We are collecting donations of books and/or cash donations for Ride for Reading from now until delivery date!
Why: In low-income neighborhoods, the ratio of books per child is one age-appropriate book for every 300 children. Reading is an integral part of education, and without books it is hard to build a strong academic base. Our children need materials to read at home and it is our goal to provide the means. And in the process, we can fight childhood obesity and nature deficit disorder through the power of cycling, too! Exercise the mind and body and lead through example.
Where: Trevista Elementary School located at 4130 Navajo Street Denver, CO 80211
Meeting Location: Turin Bicycles at 700 Lincoln Street. Join us at 7 am if you want free breakfast and coffee! Be ready to ride by 8 am!
Bike Route: It will be doable by any person of any fitness level on any bike! We assure you, so please join us. It’s only 4.5 miles! We’ll share the bike route the week of the event.
What to Bring: Bike (duh), helmet, backpack or panniers or some form of bag to carry books by bike. We could use chariots to load extra books so please bring if you have one!
Also, if on Facebook we’ll be updating our event page with new information so join our event there too!
Can’t make the ride but want to help? Donate book at some of our many drop off points around Boulder and Denver! From the Denver Public Library to bike shops all around town. If you can’t find a drop off point on our list, you can also mail book or cash donations (checks made out to Ride for Reading) to:
902 Pearl Street
Boulder, CO 80302
When it’s -5 degrees outside, too cold to ski and spitting snow, sometimes you’re forced to remain indoors to get your ride on. But there’s reasons to love indoor training rides, too. Ingrid shares her favorite reasons to ride indoors. Have any to add?
Most of us think of cycling as an outdoor sport. The romantic notion of wind in your face, the freedom to roam the neighborhood as a kid, fun nostalgic stuff like that. But, with a busy life, I really look forward to the season of indoor group suffering on trainers. To be clear, I am mostly focused on the types of classes that allow you to put your own bike on a trainer, but spin classes are also really great. Here’s my list of reasons why riding indoors with friends is not so bad:
1. It’s scheduled
Most of us are just trying to barely fit our training schedules into our lives filled with work and family. And yes, it does feel like other people seem to have more time to train than you do. But, one thing that helps me is having a regularly schedule time to ride, where people will be expecting me. It’s on my calendar and as such, it’s set in stone. It’s a little too easy to skip a ride if you’re just going solo, but when you’ve paid a fee and people are expecting you to show up, it helps.
2. You can do it at night
This one could be considered reason 1.5, but being able to take a class in the evening can also help with hectic schedule and daylight issues in the winter and spring. Challenging myself to get out of work early enough to ride before the sun sets in the spring is one I never win. Inevitably, my ride is cut short as a result, if I make it at all.
3. You get to see your team mates in the off season or make new friends
One thing I love about cycling is the social side of it. I have so much fun during the season racing with women, getting to know them, seeing people improve, etc. The off-season can put a damper on these connections as schedules take over. Organizing a class at a local studio formally or informally with your team mates or good friends can keep those connections up over the winter. We are currently training together on Tuesday evenings at Inspired Training Center.
4. You can focus on your intervals, not worry about traffic and cars
I don’t know about you, but after a long day (or even in the middle of it!), getting on my bike and turning off my brain is really appealing. Don’t get me wrong, I love riding outside, but putting my head down and focusing on only my legs is a good break from my daily chaos.
5. You can listen to loud music without annoying and unsafe earbuds
I try not to ride with earbuds most of the time so that I can be aware of cars and traffic behind me. But, a good jam can really increase your positive attitude and even performance Most cycling studios have great sound systems and some will even let you make requests. And, I have even ridden in a place that had a disco ball!
Overall, riding long hours indoors can get you down as the winter turns to spring. While you’ll see me skate or classic skiing rather than doing a 3 hour indoor rides ever, I do appreciate the mid week, social group cycling class.
Our dirt diva Brittany J. recapped the cyclocross awards party. Naked cleaned up again. It was one dirty job but these ladies went above and beyond and came out on top!
This last Saturday was the Colorado Cross Cup awards party, and Naked represented well.
For those who are unfamiliar with BRAC’s Cross Cup (or the very similar Road Cup), it is a points system that spans the entire CX season. You earn points both as an individual and as a team based on your results, and some races are weighted more heavily than others.
Our own sponsor in 2013, Prestige Imports, hosted the awards party. Basil Docs supplied a veritable wall of delicious pizza, while Great Divide and Izzie provided libations. There was also a raffle for some pretty nice swag from Rudy Project, Polar, and several others.
As the awards got underway, Jenny Lucke took to the podium. Our rockstar junior not only won the individual racer competition for Jr Women 17-18, she also single-handedly earned a second place spot in the team competition for Naked in the same division.
Jenny wasn’t the only Naked woman to earn a spot on the podium, though. Every Naked woman that raced as a Cat 4 during the season helped earn a Team 3rd Place for Naked. Cathy Goodheart and Emily Unger (and I’m not sure why Jenny wasn’t up there, because she raced Cat 4 as well as Jr.) represented Naked on the podium. I’m looking forward to seeing all of these women race Cat 3 next year.
And finally, after many slices of pizza and many grapes and strawberries, Naked was called back up to the podium as the 1st place team in the Senior Women Cat 3 division.
Lanier Allen and I received the 1st place plaque on behalf of Naked and our other Cat 3 teammates.
As far as I can tell, it was a stellar end to an amazing season. Several people have a new mud addiction, while others continued to hone skills and aim for the hole shot.
Congratulations to all the women who raced this season—you played an important part in earning these awards. And thank you to everyone who cheered and encouraged us.
Photos 1 & 2, Jenny Lucke
Photo 3, Ryan Muncy Photography