Category Archives: General Stuff

2015 Ride for Reading Is HERE!

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Join Colorado Women’s Cycling Project (Naked Women’s Racing) for National Ride for Reading Week! Now in our 5th year delivering books by bike, we hope you’ll join us to help make this event even bigger and better for the children of Valdez Elementary School! See below to find out what Ride for Reading week is all about and sign up to volunteer, donate books, or spread the word!

What: Colorado-based women’s competitive cycling team Naked Women’s Racing will deliver thousands of donated children’s books by bicycle to Valdez Elementary School Friday, May 1st 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.

When: Delivery takes place Friday, May 1 from 7:00 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: Valdez Elementary School located at 4250 Shoshone St, 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 4.4 miles!

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!

How to Register to Volunteer: 

How to Make a Donations: Cash donations are tax deductible so please provide your name, mailing address, and donation value with your donation so Ride for Reading can send you a tax exempt letter.

If you’d like to donate used or new age-appropriate books, please drop them off at one of our many DROP OFF LOCATIONS around Denver and Boulder. If you aren’t local and would still like to send us books, please mail them to the Quick Left to Attn: Rachel Scott, 902 Pearl Street, Boulder, Colorado 80301.

How can my business become a drop box location? Simple! Email us at info [at] nakedwomenracing.com to let us know so we can add you to our list of drop off locations and get you a poster notifying the public that you are an official Ride for Reading Book Drop location. You can also download our 2015 Book Drop Poster HERE and print it out to display.

Are you a member of the media and want to publish this story? If you are a member of the media, feel free to publish any of this information here. We welcome you to join us on the delivery too! We are available for personal interviews pre, during, or post event so please email us (info [at] nakedwomenracing.com) and a team representative will get back to you immediately. Video and photography are welcome at the school; however, you must contact the school to arrange parental waivers ahead of time. You can also contact us at least 2 weeks prior to the delivery date, and we can add your language to our photo/video release.

Read about each of our previous deliveries here: Includes recap, images and video from last year’s delivery. We had so many books that we got to do an impromptu delivery to two schools last year!

2014

2013

2012

2011

See what Ride for Reading is all about below:

More details if you’ve registered to deliver:

First, thank you kindly for volunteering your time (if you haven’t signed up to volunteer, do it now!) to give back to such a great organization and being a part of National Ride for Reading Week! We assure you, this will be the most fun you will have on two wheels! We’ll need help delivering nearly 4000 books so join us and your fellow cyclists in our 5th annual Ride for Reading delivery. We’re thankful you’ve chosen to volunteer your time to help us spread the Ride for Reading mission to our city. If you’re still on the fence about joining, check out this video from our delivery last year!

Here’s some additional information that will help the delivery go smoothly if you’re volunteering:

  • We’re delivering books by bike to Valdez Elementary School. We’re departing
  • Here’s a link to our route. We’ll also have printed cue sheets with a map and turn by turn directions in case you want one or have to leave early and don’t know how to get back.
  • All kinds of bicycles are welcome! From cruisers to road bikes to frankenbikes. The Denver Public Library will be their with their mobile book library bicycle, too!
  • Please arrive at Turin before 8 am. I’d encourage between 7-7:30 am to load up with books, chat it up with other volunteers and get specific directions prior to departure. We are rolling at 8 am sharp if not slightly before. Free breakfast and coffee in it for you if you come early!
  • If you have to drive to our departure location at Turin Bicycles located at 700 Lincoln Street, there is free unlimited street parking on 7th, 9th, 10th. Most other spots are limited by time.
  • Please obey traffic laws and on busier streets, ride no more than two abreast. We’ll have women in Naked Women’s Racing kits helping direct traffic and blocking some intersections as well as a lead and follow car to ensure rider safety and groupo compacto. 7th Street will be slow going with the traffic lights, but if our group doesn’t make it all the way through a light, our ride leaders will wait until the group is together.
  • Remember, please bring a bike trailer or backpack to load down with books. Also, please be prompt. It takes a few minutes to load the books and (wo)man the troops!  
  • Wear a helmet! We are trying to set a good example for the children and if they don’t protect their brain when they ride, they won’t be reading any books.
  • We’ll arrive at the school hopefully around 9 and be greeted outside by all the kids. Definitely interact, give high fives and show off your bicycle! I’ll give a very quick speech to the kids and we all take the Ride for Reading pledge.
  • We will bring bikes inside the school to park in the gym so you don’t have to worry about locking it up.
  • We distribute books in the cafeteria. The first lunch for the children starts at 10:50 so we hope to have each class come through to pick up 3 books per student to keep before first lunch starts. Help the kids pick out books! Teachers also get to keep 5 books for their classroom if they ask you.
  • You can take pictures/video with the children and we encourage this; however, please don’t photo any child wearing a bright pink “no picture” label. This is very important.
  • If you have to leave due to work or any other obligations, that is perfectly fine to leave early. We anticipate being out by 11:30 at the latest. All leftover books will be loaded into the cars (or back in your bags) and if you can stay, ride them over to a different elementary school in need that is TBD but will be close. That will take an additional 30-45 minutes and there is no interaction with kids at that school.
  • We’ll have women on our team lead rides back to Turin following the delivery to the 1st school and also over to the additional elementary school so you can arrive to your car/destination safely whichever option you choose.
  • Bring layers. It’s Colorado so it could rain, snow, sleet, hail or have unicorns fall from the sky. We want you to be comfortable during the delivery. Also, bring water and a snack just in case. It’s a 9 mile bike ride so you’ll probably be hungry and thirsty on your way home.
  • Want to learn more about Ride for Reading? Watch this video about the experience.
  • There’s a chance we’ll be featured on the news. Just a heads up because we get press every year we deliver!
  • If you think a friend would enjoy this ride, then please send them the registration link!
I’ll go over all of this again the day of the event. The main thing you should focus on is to just have fun, meet new people, and give back to your community. We couldn’t do this delivery without your help and are so excited to ride with you!
 
Ithuteng (forever learning)
Rachel Scott
@missbikesalot

Prickers, Pickles and Podiums

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Disclaimer: My teammates asked that I (Katey M.) write up this team race report and I acquiesced. While I can’t rightfully speak for the group, I can only provide my amateur insight, my thoughts and in return, hope I don’t piss the hell out of anyone. Enjoy!

I am not your typical racer – I prefer long solo rides, hiking tall peaks and taking Reposado shots over carbon fiber wheels, Strava kudos and Garmin stats. However, when an email was sent out to the team about a 24 hour mountain bike race in Tuscon, I jumped at the chance thinking it was time to kick start my season. 24 Hours in the Old Pueblo is known for being the largest national MTB race and hosts some 4,000 mountain bikers, gathering a mosh pit of amateur and pro racers from around the country. A windswept cacti- clad dessert is transformed into a prickly mecca of motorhomes, tents and porta potties. The course is a fast, furious 16.1 mile loop with small bouts of technical sections and 1,200ft climb. It hosts a few namesakes too. “The Bitches” are a series of small punchy climbs and decent in the first few miles of the course. While they seem mundane during a pre-ride, they are hellish at race pace. Lots of flesh has been lost on The Bitches and helicopters evacuate racers every year.  Also, an aptly named “Whiskey Tree” houses bottles of moonshine, Hot Damn and various other adult libations mid-course and many a sauced fellow can be seen hooting happily by the tree as you pass. The course also hosts a rock drop. While it’s not terribly daunting, pack a handful of bikers close together and if one slightly balks, it could spell broken bones. The course offers a choice – to rock drop or not. A life size Justin Bieber cutout points to the “Belieber” route which avoids the drop, while the “Biker” route includes it. Belieber or not, you can tell, mountain bike racing is not for the fanatically clean of mouth or body. While gorgeous, expensive mountain bikes are appreciated; how you ride your beast is even more important. Tattoos, beards and beer guts are commonplace yet despite the looks, these folks can seriously rip but they also play hard too.

Heidi2 (Heidi Gurov) and I made our way to Tucson Thursday morning. The race was scheduled to start Saturday at noon. Heidi1 (Heidi Wahl) and Rachel decided to make the 18 hour trek by car. Heidi2 peppered me with stats about the race and her coach’s training schedule. She was prepared and truthfully, I felt sick. I hadn’t been on my mountain bike in three months. The last time I was actually on my MTB was a drunken pub crawl where I flipped a guard rail and broke my hanger. She was anxious to get there early, build her beloved Fate, and get out on the course. Sadly, even with our 85 mile an hour tailwind, we had a minor hiccup which forced a five and a half hour delay [read: RV trouble] We were to be picked up in our rented RV at the airport by Rachel’s friend, John. John had been working quietly behind the scenes along with Heidi1 to organize this trip and help with RV procurement, delivery, and tying up loose ends for us. Truly this man became our kit clad angel. Our RV, the Flying Dutchman, had other ideas because this behemoth decided to lie down and play dead in the airport’s cell phone waiting area with a dangerously bald, stripped to the steel belts, remains of a tire. After an abundance of calls, a tow truck, and stop at Discount Tire, we were back on course. John had befriended a race bound fellow who held anot RV spot for us. Camp space fills up wicked fast so this was music to our ears. I hugged the guy and his girlfriend even though I didn’t know them from Adam.

We made our way to the site careening down dusty roads, we looked like an episode from Breaking Bad. “Let’s cook!” Heidi2 posted keeping the world appraised of our status. My cell service left me in Tucson and wouldn’t return until after I got back to civilization a few days later. Damn you, T-Mobile.

Camp was set, bikes were built, beer was welcomed along with an odd assortment of foodstuffs including one jar of dill pickles; a request from Heidi1 which made me question an impending pregnancy but no, I found that they were simply salty, crunchy goodness after an especially mind bending lap. God bless you, jar o’ pickles.

 

The next day was a bluebird day and our pre-ride. I had heard about the cactus and it prickly fangs but my tires had seen nor heard nothing about these Arizona natives. ” YOU DONT HAVE STANS? DUDE,YOU NEED STANS. Behind my back whispers: “She’s running tubes! She’s gonna diiiiie.” Bewildered looks and shaking heads. “My first thought was “uh…who is Stan and why does he care so very much about my bike”. Between the group of very patient and kind souls in my group, they explained tubeless tires and that it was virtually impossible to ride the course without them. I converted that morning to Stans while Heidi2, Rachel, and Kalan (a twitterpated soul who kept us laughing the entire time) rode the course. Heidi2 shopped in 24 Hour town and I spun in circles on a Green Machine while they converted my bike. I have to say that was the best impromptu decision I’ve made in years and it ticked off another niggling inadequacy I had about racing my bike.

Race day came quickly, Bikes were staged at the bottom of a hill where the Lemans start ended. Hilarity ensued. Fit and fearsome men in pro team kits fought their way down the hill in slippery bike shoes, some were trampled and still fought their way to their bikes. Heidi2 waved our makeshift Naked flag for Rachel to see while she came down the hill. Rachel was far ahead of the masses and one of the first out on her bike and on the course. We hooted and hollered and cheered her on. A few minutes later a Pooh Bear skipped merrily along looking for his bike. Not everyone was taking this race seriously.

Rachel raced hard pressing for fastest female lap and came through with a mind altering 1:09 lap time. I was next in line. I stood in the staging area with music vibrating in my ears to calm my nerves. For a 24 hour race, each relay team is given a small wooden baton. You are required to pass this baton from teammate to teammate. Lose your baton and well, you DNF. Point is: don’t lose the baton. We tried shoving it down sport bras (didn’t work) and settled for the front of leg or back jersey pocket. In the staging area where you wait for your teammate to pass the baton, a large projector screen displays arriving team numbers on the ceiling along with an emcee who also doles out bad jokes (ie What do you call a cow with three legs? Ground Beef) Rachel came flying in and our transition was smooth. I had staged my bike outside the tent further than the multitudes because I knew I could run through the first section faster and have more room to hop on my bike. The course was fast and hellishly narrow through a variety of cactus – some have cruel fishing hooks covering their bodies, some look like soft little teddy bears but with razor sharp paws and some cactus just want to kiss you for no apparent reason. Know this, if you are not dead center on the trail, the cactus gods become enraged. They will gather, display their meaty, needle sharp armored bodies and eat you alive. No, seriously dude, they will.

Even giving cactus wide berth, I knew this race was going to be tough. I hadn’t properly trained and I got passed by a multitude of men flying by me at staggering speeds. It seemed like they were floating through the air while I mashed my pedals. The headwind was brutal and sadly I became the one to pull everyone through the cactus corridors. Letting all these men pass me was humbling. I told one racer to pass on the left, he passed on the right and knocked me into a cactus. It stung but I kept going with this large thorny mass attached to my glove. It took pliers and a steady hand from Heidi1 to pull them out after my lap. I came into the staging area with a 1:22 lap time. Heidi2 took off like a rabbit on her lap and came in with an impressive 1:14 time. Heidi1 was next in line and crushed it with a 1:23. We were already in the lead with sub 1:30 laps and it gave us incentive to keep it that way. Rachel went out for her second lap with night lights just in case but she came in so quickly with a 1:13 that dusk had barely begun. I took our first official night lap. I can’t speak for the others, but I prefer riding at night. By this second lap, racers has spread out significantly making it easier to maneuver however, my head lamp burned out part way through so I eeked my way to the finish and came in with a 1:24. Heidi2 came in for her first night lap with 1:18 and Heidi1 with a 1:33. We were still almost an entire lap ahead of the second place team.

Nutrition and recovery is critical for these longer races – that is, if you want to win. You rest, you eat, you digest best you can, repair any bike issues and before you know it you’re dressed again and on your way to the staging area. For me, sleep was elusive as was digestion. Somehow it behooved me to eat about 2lbs of pork with green chilis after the second lap. In those wee hours in the morning, my stomach decided to revolt. I found out this is called “gut rot”. When really you should just throw up, I rolled around like a flatulent otter in the RV. One of the guys gave me a shot of Pepto. I didn’t have the wherewithal to ask if this pink goo was gluten free cause the porta potty was my BFF already.   We still pulled off some amazing night times and kept our lead but it started to get a little closer with a bad crash on The Bitches that kept Rachel at a standstill for a spell.

Since three of my four laps were at night, I feel I got the best deal watching the sun come over the horizon to start the new day. The sky was this amazing blood red. While I rode, this guy and I talked about how vivid, saturated, and beautiful the sky was. I was tired yet I realized I was blessed to be a part of this community of fast fit women cyclists and this temporary 24 hour community of mountain bikers.

Final laps were made and the line up changed toward the end leaving Heidi2 and Rachel to secure our win (despite getting a flat in the final lap two miles in on The Bitches). Heidi1 gave us 3 impressive laps, me with 4 laps, Heidi2 with 5 and Rachel with 6. 288 miles and 18 laps brought us the first place win. We were ecstatic and very proud Naked girls on the podium. We celebrated briefly, packed up quickly and 24 hour town deconstructed in moments. What once was brimming with activity a few hours earlier became a quiet, sleepy venue with an epic trail– restored to what it is year round. This race has become a memory of comradery, patience, a few scratches, and one remaining half jar of pickles.

 

 

 

 

Bike Maintenance Advanced Clinic: Un-smashing your rims, de-grinding your gears and how to properly tape your bike together

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In case you don’t already know, Turin Bicycles rocks. Their support for Naked Women’s Racing already places them in the rocker category, but Thursday night, a couple of their mechanics stayed late to show a room of women how to get greasy and keep their cranks turning. Steve made every topic approachable and easy to follow, without dumbing anything down or the air of condescension that often keeps women away from pulling out the tool box.

The advanced clinic was a follow-up on the beginner clinic. The night’s topics:

  • Keeping the Rear Derailleur on the Rails (derailleur adjustment)
  • Keeping Your Wheels Round (truing)
  • Taping Your Bike Up (handlebar taping)

The highlights:

  • If you really smash your rim up and need to get yourself home, carefully place your hands halfway along the arc between the two bent points, raise the wheel above your head and bring it smashing down onto a rock or hard ground. Repeat as needed until desired shape is acquired.
  • Don’t touch the Limit Screws. You’ll probably only screw them up. It’s nothing against you, they just don’t like the attention. And if you do screw them up you’ll regret it.
  • If you break a spoke, twist the broken spoke around a good one to avoid whacking the frame.
  • It doesn’t matter which way you wrap your bar tape, as long as you wrap it the right way.
  • Cork bar tape looks and feels amazing, but will make you grumpy if you wrap your own, and your mechanic grumpy if you bring it in.

If you wanted to know all the secrets, you would have had to come to the clinic. Until you get to a clinic of your own, just make sure to invite a tech-savvy girl on your rides to get you out of a tight spot.

Capturing the Season Through Still Images

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Melissa shares her 2014 road season recap in photos. And mighty fine ones at that!

Earlier in this year my husband purchased a new camera and has been photographing our team throughout the season. He is quite talented in capturing what cycling truly is through still images. This is a recap of the 2014 road season through photographs.

 

New places, New Faces

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Gayle tried out racing on the east coast’s muddy cyclocross courses. New places, new faces!

Knowing I would have a work trip around the corner (time to update the dreaded polygraph!) I looked into the cyclocross scene in the DC-Northern Virginia area. Luckily my trip dates were flexible enough I was able to negotiation work around the last race in the Super 8 CX series. In the few days leading up to the race I was watching the weather from Colorado…rain.  Cold rain!  When I landed the day before the race it was in fact cold and raining, and not CO kinda cold, it was that damp, chills you to the bone east coast kind of cold. Now that I’ve lived in Colorado for a few years I don’t think I even own an umbrella any more.

Luckily race day was clear skies, but the ground was definitely showing signs of all the rain. I geared up to pre-ride the course and see how the terrain varied from what I was used to in Colorado. It was a sweeping, hilly course with lots of natural challenges, but the mud was definitely going to be the biggest obstacle for me.

I hit the start line for the SW3 race and tried for a good start from the back of the line ups. I managed to get up in the top five and stay there for the first two laps, but every time I hit the thick, sludgy, grassy mud sections I was loosing time. My bike was getting heavier as the others were switching to pit bikes (there were actually two separate bike pits!).    I learned that I am not good at that mud, but was actually able to pass people in the fast, slick, just maintain your line and keep pedaling kind of mud!  

It was a fun course, a great experience and I met a some nice riders and as always got lots of great (and somewhat inappropriate) comments about the name “Naked Women’s Racing”!  

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Winter Group Rides – No More Excuses!

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Don’t unpack that suitcase full of excuses! Lanier will help you get out on that winter group ride!

Group rides are a great part of any off season program. You get to know your teammates, work off holiday calories and retain the group riding skills essential for races and centuries. However, it can be hard to fit group rides in.

I am queen of excuses. I also talk to myself from time to time (don’t judge). Here are some of my favorite excuses, and effective arguments I use with myself to get out of the house.

E: I don’t have time.

A: When you put it on your calendar you had plenty of time, Lanier. Besides, you’re leading it. Shut up and get on the bike.

 

E: It’s too cold.

A: As your husband likes to remind you, you spend a small fortune on super-special cold weather cycling gear. Now put it all on, and get on the bike.

 

E: I am tired / grumpy / hungover.

A: You will feel much better after riding with teammates. They always cheer you up. Down a double-shot of espresso and a Naked coconut water, and get on the bike.

 

E: These climbers are going to leave me in the dust.

A: Since when did you ever climb on a solo ride? Besides, you swore off hill climbs and haven’t seen these particular teammates all season. You can chat with them on the flats before the climbing starts. They are good company, even if they are disgustingly tiny with legs like pistons powering away on the hill. But hey, maybe they’ll be hungover!

Or not…

See you on a group ride soon!

 

Road Cup Awards Party

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Melissa exceeded her goals by a long shot with this season’s road racing. Read more!

Going into the 2014 road season, I had several goals that I wanted to achieve. One of the largest goals I had was to be in the top 3 of the Rocky Mountain Road Cup for SW4. To achieve this I knew that I needed to enter as many races as possible and place as high as possible in those races to have enough points to be at or near the top. I didn’t have as good of a start to the season as I had hoped for, but because I was consistent in racing every weekend the points started accumulating. This year I was fortunate to make it on the podium a few times and the points from those races helped my overall score.

Towards the end of the season, Jenny Lucke and I were in the top 3 for the road cup. Once the points had been added for the last race of the season, the results showed that I placed 1st in the road cup for SW4. I was thrilled! My happiness grew when I realized that Jenny was on the podium with me. Team Naked had also placed 1st in SW4 for the road cup! This was a tough season of trial and error, but through it I learned that staying focused on your goal and being dedicated will get you the results you want.

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Reflections of Motion

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Shortly after moving to Colorado, Katie joined the Colorado Women’s Cycling project and found that it was more than she could have expected. The experience of finding her home, and her place on the team was easier than she expected. Read more to see how it all plays out.

Ever find your mind wandering? Ever feel like there is a place calling you and you shake it off or put those thoughts off for another day? Some of us find ourselves in the position to take that risk and pursue something we’re not 100% sure will play out as planned. Here’s the truth, things will never go as planned but, it’s the journey that’s worth it all.

My First Time at the Rodeo

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Katie has always had an affinity for bikes and dirt. She purchased her first Mountain Bike last winter and managed to get sucked into the Pro category at her first race, read on to see how she faired.

I’m a lover of the bike, the wind in my ears, the calming hum of the chain, and the sizzle of tires on pavement. Do you know what’s not a pretty sound?  The sound of the chain slapping your bike as you fly down what appears to be an ever-steeping descent towards your impending doom. She’s over reacting you’d think but in reality I’m on my second lap of the Rocky Mountain Endurance Bear Creek Race and I’m death gripping the bike the whole descent.

That Voice Inside Your Head

Amanda
The last time Amanda had pre-race nerves she ended up crashing out of a TT.  At Turkey Cross the nerves were back but she was able to perform and obtain her best result of the season.   

Those who know me well know that it is extremely rare for me to get nervous about racing. The last time I was nervous, the race did not end well (crash in a TT). So why did I race when my intuition was directing me to avoid it at all costs? Because sometimes intuition is wrong and thankfully today was one of those days.

I was, in fact, so nervous that I refused to ride down one steep descent during preride. Normally these things would not cause a moment of hesitation but today was different. When I started pre-riding I came upon the aftermath of a crashed rider, his broken leg and him being med evacuated.  During the pre-ride, the first steep downhill I was talked into riding and it was not bad at all (thank you Shawn Curry and Paul McCarthy). The second downhill was another story, no one could convince me to preride it. So against my better judgement I lined up with 15 other ladies to race, without pre-riding much of this technical course.