Category Archives: General Stuff

Kenosha to Georgia Pass – An epic post season ride!


Read why Michelle thinks Kenosha to Georgia Pass is one of the best mountain bike rides Colorado has to offer.

Fall is the season to keep on riding and there are some epic rides to be had.  The great thing about post season riding is you can go big, go long, but don’t have to suffer the training pace of race season.  Kenosha to Georgia pass offers spectacular views, almost 4000 feet of climbing, technical single track, and a view like no other into Breckenridge from the top at 11,600 feet.  This is a MUST DO RIDE and by far one of my top 5 best rides in Colorado.

You start this ride on the top of Kenosha pass with about 300 other people and some tour busses if it’s the weekend.  Colorado is amazing in the fall and everyone is out.  Be patient and polite (especially to those families with small kids…they may become future riders because they thought you were so nice and awesome as you rode by).   Be at ease knowing after about 2 miles the crowds thin out and all you will run into is extreme hikers, runners and mountain bike enthusiasts.  This is where the fun starts!

After leaving the parking lot you will climb for about 1.5 miles and gain a hill top view of the valley.

Amazing and spectacular is all I have to say as you start the first decent into the valley.  We enjoyed the next 5 miles of single track as it winded its way through the aspen forests alive with colors, the trees almost look on fire from above.  The trail had some punchy climbs, 2 small bridge crossings (aka…large boards) that you can dare each other to ride.  I made my husband go first on the first board crossing and then didn’t have the desire to end up in the creek only at mile 3 so I walked that one but the second one is a breeze.  This is the part of the trail that makes you smile, coming or going, with smooth fun descents mixed with some climbs to keep you warm.  Spectacular and having some serious fun.

Approximately at mile 6.5 we cross a fire road and a good size river and head up towards Georgia pass.  This is where the climbing and technical riding begins.  For the next 6 or so miles we climbed, climbed, climbed, and gained the majority of our assent to the top.  The trail starts out in what looks to be an old river bed filled with roots and rocks and then makes some significant elevation gain in the first 2 miles.  Pacing yourself is the key or better yet put whoever the group calls the mountain goat out front and chase them to the top.  I put my husband out front for a while just to watch his lines and I was determined not to let him get away.  You will find the trail littered with riders who are out of breath, whose legs are burning, or those in need a nap half way up.  A great spot to stop is a lookout at or around mile 8.5 or 9.  This is a popular place to stop for a snack or rest and if you walk out on the rocks the view is great.

From this spot it is 2.5 to 3 miles to the top and this is when you start to feel the elevation and the temperature cools down a bit.  Make sure you always pack a light coat or warmers.  Even on the warmest days in the valley you will be chilly on top.  The last 20 minutes before the top will open up into the mountain tundra landscape that is spectacular.  The trail is small and layered in fine gravel and rocks that can make the best climber work for it at this elevation.  You come to a junction….don’t stop here, veer left and head to the top.  If you stop you may never get the energy to go to the top so just keep going.  Get to the top, throw yourself on the ground and soak up the most amazing view while you eat and take a slew of pictures.  Something you NEVER get to do during the training and race season….so enjoy every minute of it!  I was jealous of the gal on top who was packing the most amazing P & J sandwich with banana in it.  I think I was hungry and my little bar wasn’t doing the trick.   

We have always wanted to find the time and change to just keep riding the Colorado trail right into Breckenridge but that will be another story.  It sure is tempting when up on top.

Now the fun begins!  We turned around and instead of heading back the way we came (traditionally this ride is an out and back) we took a left turn back at the intersection and headed down the Jefferson trail.  This trail ends up back at the fire road you crossed on the way up.  Jefferson trail is a hold on tight; see your life flash before your eyes kind of trail.  I had to stop a third of the way down and just send out a hoot of laughter in amazement I had not gone down, hit a tree, or run off the trail.  This trail is tight, steep, and technical but a ridiculous amount of fun.  This year they actually chain sawed all the down trees that were on the trail last year so the fun factor went up significantly when you can avoid multiple hike a bike sections over huge downed trees.

We ended up at the campsite on the fire road and headed towards the trail that would take us back to Kenosha pass.  Back into the beautiful aspen forests for a fast ride through the single track and this is where you can pick up some speed and a smile.  The last climb out is a bit of leg breaker since you hit mile 20 at this point and it is up, up, up and you have about 4-5 miles to go!  Knowing this was one of our last epic rides of the season we soaked in the views which reminds us why we ride!  Get out there and enjoy the post riding season.

‘Women is a label of gender, not ability’

Coryn Rivera (UHC) takes the win on the final stage of the inagural women's edition of the USAPCC.

About a month ago while watching the women’s US Pro Challenge come through Golden we all had the opportunity to watch the prowess of Coryn Rivera.  Dana Platin took the initiative to interview her for her blog on the Warmi Project

Coryn Rivera is an American racing cyclist who competes for the UnitedHealthcare Women’s team.  As of August 2015 Rivera has won 70 national titles, taking her first elite level national championship with the 2014 USA National Criterium championships.

Coryn Rivera is one of the fastest sprinters in the United States. Still in the early stages of her career, the 23-year-old has quickly become one of the most decorated athletes in her sport. Rivera has 70 national titles in three disciplines: road, track and cyclocross.

Rivera earned 10 victories throughout the debut season of UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team women’s program, one of which was the US Nation Criterium Championship.  She was the 6th fastest rider to the line sprinting on the legendary Champs-Élysées in the first-ever La Course by Tour de France, an effort that earned Rivera the Best Young Rider title in the race.

Please join us for this blog interview with Coryn Rivera who shares about her experience racing the most recent US Pro Challenge and her views on the future of women’s racing.

Coryn, you were recognized as the tour’s most courageous rider.  Where does that inner strength and confidence come from and do you feel this is something that has been innate for you or something you had to work at to lose the fear and gain the courage?

I think I ride and race with courage for every training ride and race that I am in. Personally, I feel like you should put 100% into everything you do.   If not, why do it? It must be something that is natural for me because I’ve had that same attitude for most everything that I put my mind to.

What is going through your mind those last 500 meters before the finish line, could you share any mental skills training that you use to get you to that finish line?

It really depends on the kind of finish, but mostly positioning is important. You have to know where you have to be and when is the best time to be there. Everyone is different, so you have to work with your strengths. But staying calm and being confident in what you have to do are some good mental skills for the final 500m.

This was a big step to have the U.S. Pro Challenge inaugurate 3 stages for women, how did you feel it went? 

I thought it was a great weekend! To have a 3-day stage race with a TT, road race, and circuit is a well rounded stage race. It was cool to race most of the same roads as the men and have the same crowds, but I do have to brag that the crowds in Golden were amazing and so enthusiastic. The way they gathered on the hill to see the finish was unreal, I tried to high-five as many people as I could after the finish line! I hope the race will be able to grow the race by days and level of competition in the future.

Any advice for how we can do more to promote gender equality in racing and get us a full tour?

I think to get a full tour is really up to the race promoters. I hope this year they were able to see a return on investment and what it does for the sport in general to include a women’s race. I hope they and the fans were able to see that just because we are female doesn’t mean we aren’t capable of racing our bikes, we sacrifice just as much or more than the men to ‘live the dream’ and I don’t know a good enough reason for why we shouldn’t able to have the same opportunities and rewards as the men.

What does it mean to be a strong woman to you?

Confidence. I think to have confidence in your abilities is what makes you strong. To add woman is a label of gender, not ability.

Outside of cycling, what are some of your favorite hobbies?

I’m in my last semester at Marian University, so a lot of my free time for hobbies is taken up by school at the moment. But I typically like to enjoy being outside. I’m a huge lover of good coffee and good food as well.




Biking with Brits in Belgium


Read about Katie’s adventures biking through some famous parts of Belgium.  

The past 4 weeks my boyfriend, Andrew and I have been fortunate enough to travel throughout Italy, France, Belgium and the Netherlands.  We left without a structured plan allowing us to choose our next destination each morning, or decide if we wanted to stay and continue to explore a city we enjoyed.  It was an experience of a lifetime where I was able to enjoy the best croissants in Paris, the local cheeses of Belgium and the wines of Tuscany.  With a trip of this length both in time and distance, it would have been extremely difficult to travel with our bikes, not to mention the hassle of airlines, fees, and reassembly. Luckily, we were making our way to a hotbed of cycling and we knew that getting in some miles was a guarantee.

Three weeks into the trip when my cycling legs felt atrophied, I was determined to get on a bike. Bound and determined to ride, we researched different options in Belgium. We happened upon the perfect mix of charm, bikes, and a place to stay. The Chainstay is located in the small town of Oudenaarde just south of Gent, Belgium.  They focus on hosting cyclocross fanatics, spandex super heroes, and junior riding teams across the world. Oudenaarde is perfect proximity to some of the best riding in Belgium. Luckily for us the tour of Flanders finishes just up the road so we were perfectly positioned to enjoy a mixture of rolling country roads and cobblestones. It’s sure to excite anyone looking for some great riding.

After having secured an excellent dinner we sat down in the common area and met some fun loving Brits who we quickly befriended.  I loved nothing more than hearing about their cycling adventures all told with the thickest of British accents.  We closed the evening noting our plan for the following morning was to acquire bikes and we said that we’d finalize plans over breakfast. Making our way downstairs we found our group had grown from four to six and they had taken care of planning a perfect route showing us all that Belgium could offer in one ride. Now all we had to do was get our bikes from the shop in the city center and get on our way.  The ride leader decided that we would make one of Belgiums famous Burgs the midpoint of our ride. We were going to ride a portion of the old Tour of Flanders course and enjoy the Muur van Geraardsbergen aka ‘De Muur” before breaking for a quick brunch and riding back.

My boyfriend and I are originally from the Midwest and are therefore accustomed to riding through the farms and hills that are so plentiful to that region. Riding in Belgium gave us a small taste of home. The views were spectacular with rolling hills and dark green grass. It was a pleasure to find that a good portion of our ride was on dedicated bike lanes which made us feel safer since we were riding without helmets in true European fashion. Having enjoyed a great meal mid ride we turned home and caught some of Flanders famous rain before heading home for hot showers and more food. One thing that was a bit of a shock to us as major advocates for helmets was seeing very few people wearing helmets. I don’t think I passed a single commuter in Amsterdam, Brussels, or Paris, with a helmet on.  Our new friends even laughed at us as we said we felt naked without a helmet.  

For those interested here is one of the more historical photos from the heyday of the ‘De Muur’
De Muur

This experience was one of my favorite from the trip.  If you find yourself abroad with the opportunity to ride, you can be assured that it will be an experience you won’t soon forget.

Embracing the Challenge of the US Pro Cycling Challenge


Kimberley, our domestic elite spokeswoman and team organizer, recaps her challenges and victories at the USA Pro Cycling Challenge.

A little over one week ago I finished racing in the inaugural 3-day women’s race at the US Pro Cycling Challenge, an experience I am proud to have been a part of, regardless of my own results. Almost as soon as the race finished, I had to shift my focus to the cross-country move that is now in progress (which deserves it’s own follow-up post), and so I am now finally catching my breath and reflecting on the weekend I worked so hard to prepare for. For the first time in several months, as a passenger in a rather uncomfortable truck loaded up with everything we own, I have nothing but time.

The US Pro Cycling Challenge is a high profile race that began in Colorado five years ago, but that until this year, highlighted only men. Like the thousands of cycling fans that flooded our state to see pro tour teams race, I too trekked up Lookout to add my cheers to the sufferfest, and last year I loved having the opportunity to watch the Denver finish from the NovoNordisk tent. But unlike those other fans, for me it was bittersweet. I was thrilled to see Colorado host such a high profile race, and the community support was absolutely mind-blowing to me. The fact that I had to climb a lightpole to see over the buzzing crowd at Civic Center Park highlights this. I had no idea there were so many fans of this rather obscure sport I fell in love with. But while I was simultaneously energized by the community enthusiasm, I yearned for professional women to have their own race… our own race. As the race continued to grow each year, I was cautiously optimistic that the organizers would lend their ears to the growing voices that begged the question… “But why isn’t there a women’s race?” This wasn’t just about us bike racers wanting equality, but the community wanting to see strong women who inspire and encourage their daughters, sisters, mothers. So when almost one year ago the announcement was made that the 2015 US Pro Cycling Challenge would include a 3-day professional women’s stage race, I was thrilled.

Even then, just thinking about what this race would mean, my heart skipped a beat, and I knew without a doubt I wanted to be there. Not just watching and cheering, but racing. However, given the significance of the race, and the fact that it would be a team invite-only race, I knew that obtaining a spot would be a challenge. Pro teams would be building their strongest roster, and there would be many more riders hoping to race than teams to take them on. My heart sunk with the realization that even if I focused all my training efforts on this race, much was still outside of my control. Much like the rest of bike racing, much like the rest of life. It was right about then that I realized that rather than being discouraged or abandon this dream, I could do something about it. So early this spring I decided I wanted to develop an all-Colorado composite team to race at the inaugural women’s US Pro Cycling Challenge. If I was feeling this frustration at wanting so desperately to race but not being able to, I knew other women were too. A composite team like I was envisioning wouldn’t change the world, at least not in one race, but it would provide an incredible experience for five other hard working women.

I wrote what I hoped would be a convincing proposal, sent it off to Sean Petty, and then did my best to find the right balance of demonstrating my investment, but not being annoyingly pushy. A few months later I got the invitation I’d been anxiously waiting for, and soon everything was abuzz with excitement and planning. I was introduced to Robert Carroll, a local man who was also passionate about women’s racing, and we began collaborating to make this team the best we possibly could in a relatively short amount of time. Together we selected five other riders from three other teams, and had our first team meeting the end of June, less than two months from our first race. Between then and last Sunday, we brought on several great sponsors, including Pactimo, who crafted the amazing kits for the team, Empire Nissan, who provided professionally wrapped team cars, RAD (Real Athlete Diet) food for the weekend, rock tape, and DU’s Daniels School of Business. Alison Powers, a retired racer and former national champion in all three road disciplines, volunteered her time to serve as our team’s DS. To chronicle the extent of the time and energy poured into this project, and the people who made it happen, would make for a post longer than anyone would care to read. But suffice it to say, I am humbled at the support we received and the way people rallied together to pull this thing off so successfully.

My own race results weren’t quite what I had hoped, at least partially thanks to the over 1000 ill-timed wildfires blowing smoke into our state. The smoke-laden air proved a formidable opponent to my asthma-cursed lungs, but I did the absolute best I could given the conditions. During the Loveland to Fort Collins stage, I remember being blown away by the fact that we could barely see the mountain we were about to climb. In the four years that I’ve lived in Colorado, never once have I breathed air that bad. I didn’t achieve a top ten finish, or even a top 20… but to be quite honest, to me, the race was still a success. The team wasn’t primarily about my own results, but the culmination of months of effort for a purpose beyond myself.

This race’s success was in the costumed fans lining moonstone pass, pumping their fists in their air and cheering themselves hoarse as I suffered my way to the top. It was in the two sisters who shyly came up to me as I was warming up on the trainer before my time trial, hoping I would sign the back of their t-shirts… and in the mother who asked if I’d be willing to take a picture with her small son, who’d recently been told by a friend at school that “girls don’t do sports.” I was there, along with Olympians and world champions, to prove him wrong.



In three days of racing, I experienced the perfect platform to enhance the dialogue about how great women’s cycling is and can be when we’re given an opportunity to shine. I had the opportunity to talk with the Denver Post, was unexpectedly featured on 9news as we pinned our number before the road race, and happily talked with Boulder-based Mary Topping of ProVeloPassion about our endeavor. The fact that news sources picked up this story is because I believe it’s one worth telling, regardless of our individual results. This collaborative effort to make a place for more women in professional bike races was a success, and I think it could be a great model to be repeated at other major races such as Tour of California, Tour of Utah, etc. I was talking with a friend and mechanic who was working with Mavic for the week, who confided that he was so glad that the women’s race was filled with true racing… not a “group ride with a sprint finish,” an unfortunate stereotype that many people believe characterizes women’s racing. Although originally I was disappointed that four years had to go by before adding a women’s race, I am glad the US Pro Challenge waited until they could do it right, which they absolutely did. The women’s race was a huge success on all accounts, as the photo below illustrates. As I carefully unpinned my numbers and reflected on the previous three days, I was filled with gratitude at the whole experience, and the familiar hunger for more. I folded those paper squares, and placed them in my “numbers from favorite races” box… a favorite race indeed. And with that, my 2015 bike racing season is a wrap!

Race Rendezvous Report


Michelle learns an important lesson – always check the race results because you might actually be on the podium!

Every race and ride can teach you something like a new way to corner effectively or how to maneuver a tight switchback.  My lesson during the latest Rendezvous race in Winter Park was more like a simple “mom told you so” lesson “ALWAYS CHECK YOUR RACE RESULTS BEFORE YOU LEAVE…YOU MAY HAVE FINALLY REACHED THE ELUSIVE PODIUM!”

I have always enjoyed the Winter Park race series races and the Rendezvous race had been enhanced to provide an exciting race, it didn’t disappoint!  This race was super fun providing almost 17 miles of single track racing experience.  I just moved up to Expert in the mountain biking circuit and have been getting royally schooled by incredible women racers, especially in the amazingly fast 40-49 year old Expert racing group.  I have told myself “ I just want to podium once in expert and I will be completely satisfied”!  I have laughed the entire year at my perpetual 4th placement at almost every race I enter so I guess I have to keep racing.

I learned from the last Yeti Beti race that going out in front is great if you can withstand the pace (which I didn’t do so great at) so I approached this race by figuring I would stay with the pack but sit back and let others pull out in front.  It worked! I was able to keep with the pack and slowly pull my way up to the front and by the end of the first long climb up to Corona Pass road on the Serenity trail. After crossing Corona Pass road we landed on the most beautiful single track I have ridden in Winter Park.  I know you are not supposed to smile or giggle when racing but I honestly couldn’t help myself, I was truly enjoying the trail.

After I realized I had company behind me I quit the nostalgic feeling and picked up the pace until we hit broken ankle trail.  Super fun, tight single track with closely placed trees and a quick decent to the bottom.  At this point in the race you start looking for the ever elusive Moose that are always spotted in the wetland section of the race but none where found or reported at this point, only deep mud bogs with slippery roots awaited.   Prepare to get muddy!

I was in second place in my age group  but… long story short my smile faded ( just a little) at the 10 mile mark.   My legs started burning, my feet started aching,  and slowly the group started engulfing me and I quickly fell to 4th place (perpetual 4th…..).

Well there went any chance at a podium spot. I love the single track trails in Winter Park and I rode the race with a smile on my face truly enjoying my bike and keeping my pace.  Never thinking racers can always have mechanicals or “things happen”, which I should know after suffering multiple mechanicals during the half Growler in the spring.

I descended the last single track to the finish line and went immediately to the river to wash my bike and soak my feet.   Not even considering I was anything but 4th I didn’t want to waste any more time waiting around for results, wanting to join my kidos back at camp for an afternoon ride. There was not a thought in my head I had made the podium.

So picture this…..sitting at the campsite with your family and friends that afternoon, one decides to check the race results and looks up and smiles and says “wow Michelle, did you know you made the podium today and placed third”.  Seriously…how did I miss that?  I guess I have to keep on racing since I can only prove I made third on paper but with no picture or beer mug.  Lesson learned, never leave a race without checking your results.  You never know where you may end up….and it may be the podium.

Ava’s Cycling Summer Part 1


Ava is one of our stellar Juniors (because she’s fast AND has a great head on her shoulders) from Durango, and she’s had an eventful summer! Here’s part 1 of a 2 part series exploring her racing endeavors. 

My summer began early this year. I left school a week before the last day and began a very hard summer season. This being my first full season of racing I became very ambitious and used every bit of time available to me. So, beginning June 1st I participated in a week long USA Cycling Talent ID Camp for junior riders. I was the only girl who signed up, which was kind of a bummer, but keeping up with boys my age impressed the coaches a lot. Camp headquarters were at the CCU campus in Lakewood and we rode all over the area. I had never been to Red Rocks before and the view was well worth the fast climb.

During the camp they put us through power tests and then analyzed our numbers at the end of the week. My numbers were high enough and my riding skills were good enough that they invited me to race for USAC in August at the Colorado Junior Challenge. But that was months away.

After road camp I embarked on a mission to complete my track certification in three days, before I had to go back to Durango. Raced the Wheat Ridge Crit on pretty tired legs the day between the two and had a fun race with a decent result. Then, I worked one-on-one with the coaches at the Boulder Valley Velodrome to get my certification classes done. I had never ridden on the track before and was nervous about the fact that I didn’t have any brakes. It didn’t take long to get over it however, and soon I was flying around the track with these amazing riders they called in to teach me. By the end of the three days I had done all six courses and graduated from track school.

The next day I drove all the way back to Durango and had five days to prepare for amateur nationals in Truckee, California. I went on one group ride, just to fill everyone in on what I had been doing, and a couple easy road and mountain bike rides. With our Pathfinder packed full, and our trailer of camping supplies hitched, we drove the 13 hours to north Lake Tahoe. I had one day before the road race to spin and check out the course. I wasn’t feeling great, but I rode down the long descent and climbed up to where the finish line would be the next day. The finish was at the village of Northstar Resort and I found all the other Colorado juniors hanging out up there. After talking with them it was clear everyone was nervous about the climbing and especially the very last push up to the line. I didn’t feel any better.

Nevertheless, the next day I woke up early and my dad drove me out to the start line. Warm-up and race prep went fine and everyone seemed cheery and nice for the moment. We rode as a group across the flats and I led the pack towards the first steep climb. All was well until some of the climber girls attacked hard and I wasn’t prepared to go that hard. The main pack rode away and the other people who were dropped, including myself, worked together to try and not lose too much time. The leaders had a huge gap and we never caught them. I finished in a fine place and wasn’t too upset. I showered and changed and went back to watch the junior boys finish, the other Durangoan had a top 20 result and that made the day better.

Next was the time trial. The TT was completely flat 20k out in the desert, warm up went well again, and I was feeling good. My race started and I held the average speed I needed to make a top 10 time, but after the turn-around I consistently lost more and more speed and thus time. The event that is normally my natural specialty did not go well at all. I still had one more chance to redeem myself in the criterium, and I came very close to doing just that.

The crit was a 1 kilometer course in downtown Truckee, it was also very technical and dangerous. People had been crashing all day long on every part of the course. My whole field knew what was going to happen when the referee blew the whistle, and it happened very quickly. The two fastests girls took off and blew the whole field apart. I had kept a decent place and was working to catch the others in front of me. Girls were crashing left and right, due to sprinkling rain that began soon after we had started. The motos had been pulling riders behind my group very quickly and we were next. But before I could cross the finish line for the last time, I crashed in the most technical corner of the course. Very little damage was done but I had never gone down before and didn’t know what to do. My bike was fine and my injuries were not severe, just a lot of road rash. I made the mistake of getting off the course to find the medic tent before I officially crossed the finish line and therefore was counted as DNF. It was an upsetting blow since I would have placed top 15 had I not crashed on my last lap. So, we packed up our campsite and drove into Reno so I could take a shower and clean my wounds. The next day we drove back home. And then it was finally July….



Part 2 of Ava’s Summer Cycling Adventures


Part deux of Ava’s summer adventures!

After an unexciting week at nationals I was back in Durango and in bad condition. My bruises made it very uncomfortable to ride hard so I just spun around town a couple times. During a trip to the lake a couple days later I tried my best to recuperate and re-energize myself for the Salida Stage Race. After a few weeks I wasn’t feeling much better, but I wasn’t about to miss the race that had began my cycling career 1 year earlier. So, we packed up and drove out to Salida. My arm had healed enough for me to debut my new and improved time trial position and I only missed my goal time, and the podium, by 2 seconds. I knew I had to get top 3 the next day in the criterium, as I am desperately trying to upgrade to SW’s. I did all my pre-race stuff and didn’t feel very “speedy”. During the race my cornering was way off and I couldn’t push the pace at all, I just didn’t have it in me. Last lap I made one final push to no avail, but by some miracle I was in the front for the sprint to the line. Now I am never in the right gear to sprint and Salida was no different. My gear was too big so I tucked and time trialled as hard as I could to the line, narrowly beating the girl next to me to the line. I ended the race in third place, my best result yet. I collected my medal and drove home skipping the road race.

I took the next four days off and went on a float trip in Utah. When I got back I still wasn’t feeling fast. I had one week until the Bannock Crit and I needed the win. I trained easy and tried to recover enough to race hard. The day before the crit we went to watch the Pro women race in Littleton, which was an awesome way to start the weekend! Warming up for Bannock I was pretty nervous about the race because all my tough competition had shown up and I was still tired. I pushed the pace hard from the whistle and go the race going from there. After that I just hung on the back and tried to conserve my energy. My positioning on the final hill and around the last corner cost me the race. The riders around me just had more left in their legs’ than I did. I finished 8th and didn’t get my points. I had to race again in my age category a couple hours later and didn’t have any better results. Finally I was finished and ate my volunteer lunch, which was delicious. I then did all my volunteer hours and had fun watching all the other races.

Six days later I packed my bike onto a plane and headed to North Carolina to visit colleges. The riding in N.C is incredible, and uphill, all the time. Hills aren’t really my thing but I had fun nonetheless and it was helpful in narrowing down my college choices. On the 13th we flew back to Denver and I had one day to prepare for the big junior only race. I was picked up by the USAC coaches and all the other athletes and I were driven out to Silt. After a good team ride/ time trial recon we cleaned the restaurant of chocolate milk and pasta. I told the coaches I wasn’t prepared to get good results at the race, but I would work hard for my teammates.

The TT was uphill and less than pleasant, it felt like I was crawling for 5 miles. We had a crit later in the day, so I had another chance, sounds familiar. At the crit the pace eventually quickened enough that I bonked and was dropped off the back. The course was fun but challenging and my teammate had an incredible race, very nearly lapping the field by herself. The coaches took us out to eat filet mignon that night, we drank all their chocolate milk once again.

The road race ended in me getting my first race flat ever. But the team worked together and kept the GC spot. Even though my last road races of the season did not go very well I had a lot of fun with the USAC team, and impressed the coaches with my cheeriness. And now I am not allowed to ride my bike until September as I have raced more than my body could handle. But then I will be back on my mountain bike competing in the Colorado High School League. As a first full summer of riding and racing I think it went pretty good, I definitely wore myself out racing so much in the spring, but the amount of progress made was enormous. Next years gonna be even better!

Take the Stairs


Certified USA cycling coach Katie Whidden provides us with stair workout ideas to prep our bodies for the upcoming cyclocross season.  

Want to improve your cyclocross skills this fall?  Take the stairs!  Living in Denver we are lucky to be close to one of the most beautiful and challenging set of stairs around.  Training stairs will allow you to complete a highly anaerobic workout that will train you back into Cyclocross shape.  The past four Tuesdays the Naked ladies have been out there working hard to train their bodies for the demands that only the dirt, mud, and snow of a cyclocross race can dish out.

While the options for workouts are limitless, here are some of the movements we do while at Red Rocks:
Side Staircases
Bunny Hopping
Running up skipping a step
Running up touching every step
Hop scotch up the stairs (Right foot, two feet, left foot, two feet)
Side cross over (face sideways and cross one foot over the front)
On the main stadium stairs 
Running up as quickly as possible
Lunging up stairs leading with left leg and then switching the lead leg
Jumping up
Incorporate some strength movements:
Push ups
Ice skaters
Often times we finish with sprints up the ramp or suicides at the top of the amphitheater.
Feel free to play with different distances that you cover.  We don’t go from the bottom to the top each time.  You can train different systems in your body if you vary your workout from some short hard efforts to some longer endurance efforts at a lower effort.  Enjoy!

All In: Finishing Strong at the Bannock Street Criterium

Kimberley Johnson is an experienced racer who provides us with great insight into racing hard despite dealing with far from ideal pre-race conditions.  Read about this competitors views on winning and racing with some of the best women in the US. 
A few weekends ago I won the Bannock Street Criterium, a race my team has helped put on for the past few years. I know that is quite an abrupt way to begin a race report, and as it lacks the typical build-up of an eye-catching read. But this isn’t a typical race report, and is more about outlook, mental toughness and confidence-building than specific race strategy.
After several hours volunteering as a course-marshal for the morning races, I was overheated, tired and hungry; not exactly an ideal physiological state to start a race. But as I’ve learned in my years racing, sometimes the way you feel before a race and the way you perform in the race are strangely disconnected. Trite as it sounds, all you can do is the best you can, and when circumstances have prevented you from having the kind of “pre-race” routine we cyclists so obsessively adhere to, stressing over it is not only unproductive, but harmful. Preparation is key, and I strongly recommend developing a pre-race routine that’s been proven to work for you. That being said, when at some point you’re inevitably forced to deviate from that script, the ability to shake it off and move forward is incredibly valuable.

So despite this sub-par set-up, I decided I was all in. I was going to be aggressive, stay near the front, sprint for primes, and set myself up for the strongest finish I possibly could. I had a few teammates in the race with me, who worked hard to keep the pace up and chase down attacks, which helped keep me in good position for the primes and finish. This was going to be my local season finisher, the last race before the US Pro Cycling Challenge, and I knew if I could finish strong it would pay dividends. Going into a race with confidence, poise, and a sense of trust in the training you’ve done can be the difference between a top ten success and a less than satisfying pack finish, all other things being equal.
Cycling is a sport that both brutally demanding and invigorating — there’s a reason we keep coming back even after we feel trampled, even when staying in hot pursuit of the dreams we’ve crafted makes no logical sense. Racing my bike makes me feel alive, strangely lifted from stress and chaos. Although I’ve offered up much blood, sweat, and tears, at the end of the day, being on the bike is more restorative than destructive. We all have different paths that brought us to the sport, but I believe that this commonality is what unites us, from very beginner to seasoned pro.
In this sport we lose far more often than we win (with a few exceptions I can count on one hand), and so when you do, take time to soak it in. Enjoy that accomplishment for a moment before rushing off to conquer the next. Even as I say this, I know that I am far from having mastered this mindful way of approaching both wins and losses. It’s hard to win, and surprisingly hard to savor it once you finally do. So I guess this post is my way of savoring the win. Learning from it, being grateful for it, allowing myself to draw strength and courage for whatever is to come. I am now a day from the first stage of the women’s race at the US Pro Cycling Challenge, and doing my best to keep my mind focused yet relaxed. Tomorrow, I will race a time trial in Breckenridge against some of the strongest women in the sport. A few days after that, I will be moving across the country to start a new job in a city I’ve never even visited. For now, it’s time to wash my bike, pump my tires, lube my chain, and get ready to race.

For the Love of Hill Climbs


Melissa Westergard continues to be drawn to hill climbs.  Read about how she took on the Pikes Peak hill climb even after spending most of her summer as a flat lander.  

There is something special about hill climbs that keeps calling me back. For the past two years I have trained for and raced to the summit of two of Colorado’s 14ers, Mount Evans and Pikes Peak.

This year I made the decision to opt out of Mount Evans because I spent the month prior to the event at sea level. I was not acclimated to the elevation and I knew that it would be a complete sufferfest. My family and I decided to go camping in the mountains that weekend instead of racing up Mount Evans. As we were on our way to go camping, we stopped in Idaho Springs to fill up with gas and saw the after party going on for the Mount Evans race. My heart sank. Even though I knew that I had made the right choice in not racing that day, I felt guilty for not participating in the epic climb.

Having previously planned to not take part in racing Pikes Peak as well, I felt the hope for the rest of my season was over. I spent a few days to think it over and decided that I would make the effort to race up Pikes Peak. I had about 2 weeks to get ready for it. I had a decent base set up from previous races I had completed this summer, but it didn’t consist of much climbing. So I created the most realistic training plan for the short amount of time that I had. I felt successful in my training rides and was ready to embark on another year of racing Pikes Peak.

Race day came quite early with a start time of 6:15am. As I lined up with other racers at the start I had an overwhelming sense of peace come over me, which is completely opposite of what I typically experience. My goal for this race was to obviously ride as fast as I could up the mountain, but to also ENJOY it! The first half of the race I can honestly say that I enjoyed. The second half, not so much. That’s when the pain set in. Despite the pain that I was experiencing, it was the perfect day, the perfect climb. We had temps in the 60s during the race with the sun shining and very little wind. I made it to the summit faster this year than my race time last year, which made it an even bigger success! Even though my season varied significantly this year compared to last, I am thankful that I continued to race and I look forward to training hard this winter and seeing what next season brings.