Category Archives: Off Season
With the forecast turning sharply south (like -16 later in the week) some take to the trainer. But Ingrid prefers to take to the snow!
Even though I get to race with them, I am not a pro. And because only my ego, not my livelihood, depends on me having tip top spring fitness, I really enjoy getting into different sports when it’s cold outside in winter. Sure, I’ll hop on the trainer a few times a week for some interval training, but getting outside to Nordic ski keeps me happy and excited about the bike come spring and summer.
A lot of cyclists take to skate skiing in the winter, but I happen to also love good, old, classic technique. I have a great pair of waxless skis with “fish scales”, making it easy for me to just get out there and go without the hassle of applying kick wax and getting that wrong. Sure, they’re slower, but sometimes it’s just about getting outside.
Skate skiing is absolutely great, because it gives you a chance to use muscles that you may never use on the bike–but that can be a bit hard on your body until you’re trained for it. Additionally, skate skiing is technique-heavy and can take quite some time to learn how to do it without flailing around (I’m still a bit of a flailer). Have you ever watched the women skate skiers in the Olympics? Their middle sections look like tree trunks (in a good way)–they’re using all kinds of core strength. Until you get the proper technique going, you’re likely to use a lot of upper body and arm strength. A few skate ski days in a row can wreck you.
How can you keep yourself fit in the winter with plenty of variety and not over do it? Enter good old classic skiing. While you can certainly go very fast while classic skiing (I may enjoy keeping up with skaters while classic skiing), it is also a lot easier to keep your heart rate down as needed. Classic skiing is a great way to have an outdoor recovery day or to have a good interval session with the proper recovery periods in between.
I’ve definitely found a new appreciation for it. So, give it a try some time! Hope to see you out there.
There’s no such thing as bad weather, just inappropriate clothing. And these brave riders braved the cold with Lanier to prove it!
Cathy Goodheart, Kimberley Turner Johnson, Amelia Messegee and guest rider Connor Livingston braved the cold for our Naked team ride this afternoon. As the sun peeked out of the clouds, our shadows flew before us and the camaraderie of the paceline kept us warm. We agreed that riding outside is always best, even if conditions are not ideal.
Why ride in cold, rain or wind when there are plenty of inside training options? In increasing priority, these are my answers.
5. Beauty. Colorado’s scenery is flat-out gorgeous, no matter what the season. What better way to experience it than riding outdoors?
4. Pleasure. Yes, pleasure – just delayed. For pure indulgence, there is nothing better than sinking into a warm bath after a cold ride. Well…some things, but it’s a short list.
3. War stories. For years to come, you can talk up that time you rode in 100 mph gusts that knocked semis over on the highway, or the ride so cold you had to stay in that bath for an hour to warm up. Your friends will act horrified, but they secretly admire you.
2. Quality training. Many factors of riding outside contribute: variety of terrain, keeping pace with the group, chasing down other cyclists and/or vehicles or simply time trialing to get home as quickly as possible. You can always get more intensity outside than in.
1. Readiness. Inclement weather is inevitable when racing in Colorado. If you train in poor conditions, you will acquire mental toughness your more delicate competitors may lack.
As long as roads are clear, you will find me outside on the bike all winter long. Join me!
Sadly, one of our teammates’ bike’s was stolen last night, and this isn’t the last time a bike will be stolen either. So we put together some tips to hopefully help you recover your beloved stead and catch that dirty bike thief! If you have any to add, let Rachel know.
- Scour Craigslist and eBay to see who is trying to sell it. You can also set up Google alerts or eBay search alerts with descriptions on your bike just to see if anyone posts something about it online.
- Set up your own Craigslist ad and email it to all the bike shops in the area. Sometimes thieves and pawn shops are dumb enough to call a bike shop to ask about the value of a bike. If the bike shop is aware of your stolen bike, then they can reach out to you when it happens. This happened to a teammate of ours and she was able to recover her bike!
- Pawn shops are another place to look. Call starting with your area and then expanding beyond.
- To recover your bike, you have to show proof of ownership. You can get this from your bike shop if you didn’t keep your receipt assuming they have good records. They may also have your serial number. Take lots of pictures and one of you with your bike, too.
- To the point above, because thieves can scratch off the serial number, etch the last four numbers of your social security number beneath your rear triangle. Most thieves are too dumb to look there and figure that out. It’s also undeniable proof the bike is yours if your bike is recovered by police and your serial number removed.
- File a police report! Supply them with your serial number, pics of the bike and any other identifying/unique info. If you don’t have any of these items on hand, call your bike shop and maybe they can help with proof of purchase/serial number.
- Get grassroots and make missing bicycle posters to hang around town, in coffee shops and bicycle shops. The more creative the more likely someone will be able to remember your poster and share it with others. Check out some of these posters. Include a unique but easy to remember hashtag!
- Encourage everyone to post/share your bike via social media. Create a hashtag so in case someone sees the bike, they can snap a pic, hashtag it, and post it on Facebook/Twitter/Instagram! The more eyes looking for your bike the more likely you are to find it. Make sure you include the area that you’re in, too, just in case the thief is stupid enough (because thieves are!) to ride it around in your area.
- Get renter’s insurance if you don’t have it. You can file a claim and get a new bike. If you don’t have renter’s insurance, it’s only about $150-250 per year and absolutely worth it! Happy to refer you to my insurance agent who also sponsored our team for two years:)
- If you care about your bike, EVERYONE should register their bicycles with the police. Take pics of your bikes and serial numbers (usually under the bottom bracket). Boulder, Denver, and Golden reg is below. You can Google your “city” and “bike registration” if you don’t live in any of these local areas.
What do you have to add?
If you can make it to Boulder’s Valmont Bike Park, you can also join in a public memorial the Dombroski family is holding tomorrow from 6-8 PM. You can follow the Facebook page for more updates. Ride there if you can because parking will be limited. We’ll miss you, your smile and your fierceness out there on the road and in the dirt.
Emily Z. is really into beets, but here’s a spoiler alert. She doesn’t even like them.
Beets are so hot right now. Hotter than Yerba Mate drunk from a gourd, hotter than caveman diets, hotter than trendy workout classes you’re the first to hear about, hotter even than having conflicting feelings about a certain podium-girl-butt-grabber whose redeeming qualities include the ability to strap his bikes on a roof rack without dismounting.
The quick and dirty explanation for their popularity is that the high concentration of nitrates found in beets increases blood flow and oxygen intake in the muscles, making endurance athletes faster for longer. Also, I imagine technicolor pees contribute to the appeal.
The lengths I have gone to in order to consume my pre-cyclocross beet juice has left bath tubs stained purple and been so suspicious that in one instance hotel staff peeked in the room without knocking at 3AM, I imagine to check that we weren’t cooking meth or anything equally sinister. Somehow I don’t think, “don’t worry, we were just juicing raw beets at 4AM yesterday” would have been a satisfactory explanation, anyway. Alas, some people will never understand your lifestyle.
Here’s the thing: I loathe beet juice. I’m one of those people who will eat absolutely anything put in front of her without flinching, but make me down a liquified beet and I will gag. They taste like spicy dirt to me, very literally.
I can’t overstate my relief and wonder the first time I tried the Naked Power Garden Berry Veggie juice. It’s loaded with beets, chickpeas, sweet potato and carrots, but tastes unquestionably like cherries. It’s not just delicious “for a veggie juice,” it’s just plain delicious. The morning before a race I down one, and sometimes add a scoop of Pure Clean Powder powdered beets for an extra boost, and now the days that I don’t get my veggie smoothie I feel like my legs are filled with bricks, and my results would suggest the same.
Give it a try before your next race… just as long as you aren’t racing against me.
Rachel has had her fair share of mishaps while riding in the dirt and on the road. Here’s her top 10 road side maintenance tips, and yes, they all have happened. Do you have any to add?
1. Don’t PANIC! What’s done is done and you’ll get back riding much more quickly if you keep a level head. You can’t think clearly when you’re freaking out. I know, speaking from experience here.
2. Know how to change a flat. Not that you’ve watched someone change one, but actually practice doing it.
- Always have at least 1 size appropriate tube, CO2 w/dispenser or hand pump, and two tire levers.
- Patch kit can be your best friend.
- Stand with a tire between your legs to get some leverage to roll it back on. It helps, promise.
- If you need to bum a tube from someone and it’s not the right size (too small or too big), some sizes can work in a pinch but not recommended.
- If you rip your side wall of the tire, you can use a dollar bill, tire boot or a food item wrapper to plug the hole.
- Always bring cash in case you need to buy something along the way. Also, many remote gas stations or markets only take cash.
3. Check your spare tube occasionally. Don’t just stuff it in your saddle bag and fugetaboutit! Many times I’ve had flats, my spare tube was already punctured from having been in my saddle bag. Bummer:( This is why you need a patch kit.
- To see if your tube is flat BEFORE you put in your bike, you can blow air in it. You should do this before changing your flat anyway so you don’t get a pinch flat when putting the tire back on.
4. Multi-tool. Know it, use it. I’ve had cleats come off mid-ride, head sets come loose, bolts come loose, handlebars come off, derailleurs rip off, and so on. You don’t want this to happen.
5. Weather. It’s Colorado and you always need to be prepared and dressed appropriately when it begins to snow/rain/sleet/hail etc.
- Pearl Izumi makes a great protective barrier that wads up in a tennis ball size.
- Rubber surgical gloves year round! Great for changing flats so you don’t get dirty or for warmth in a pinch. And pack really easy.
- If you must, newspaper for an extra layer in your jersey and plastic bags on your feet make for great emergency layers.
6. Broken spoke. This one is a bit tough depending on the spoke count of your wheels.
- You can use your knee to try to bend the wheel back in a less-wobbly position.
- Open your brakes up to allow the wheel to spin through.
- If you have a lighter rider with you, switch wheels so you can get back. The lighter rider will put less pressure on the weak spot in the rim and potentially prevent more spokes from breaking.
- If you’re a serious randonneur, they do make spokes on the fly called Fiber Flight.
- Check to see if your multi tool has a spoke wrench, and also, learn how to use it. (Youtube it or Google and practice on a spare set of junk wheels)
- Low spoke count wheels are great if you have a team car and your paycheck depends on you getting to the finish ahead of the other guy/girl. Get a higher spoke count wheel, especially if you’re heavier.
7. Broken Chain.
- More applicable to mountain bikes but make sure to have a chain breaker, know how to use it, and a spare pin to reattach your chain.
- You could also reuse the pin but make sure to not back it all the way out because you may lose it.
- Remove broken link by removing 2 segments of the chain at the damaged end. You need to remove 2 segments instead of 1 because the two types of segment alternate. If you just remove 1 segment you can’t re-attach it. Fixing a broken chain is no more difficult than fixing a flat tire if you’re prepared.
- You won’t be able to shift normally so make sure to not shift under a lot of load. However having a derailleur allows you to remove links more easily. If you have a single speed, it’s a little different.
- Get out those rubber gloves! This is a dirty job and you don’t want to mess up your sharp kit.
8. Broken Cable (Coincidentally encountered this tonight).
- If you have a geared bike, you can manually move your chain where it needs to go in the big and small rings (get out those rubber gloves).
- If Rear Der. goes out, you can still shift in the big and small rings up front. No biggie.
- Get cable replaced asap when you get back.
- Could be an array of reasons why this happened, but take it to a shop if you don’t know how to diagnose or change your cables.
9. Crash:( It happens.
- Straighten whatever is crooked with your multi tool (seat post, stem, wheel, etc) and scope out your helmet to make sure you it’s not broken. If you crashed in your helmet and hit your head, replace your helmet. No ifs, ands or buts. Most have a crash replacement policy and they should be replaced every 2 years anyway.
- If you have carbon bars, as much as this is a pain in the ass, you should unwrap and check to make sure your bar isn’t cracked. Never a better time to replace your bar tape, especially if it’s white.
- If you’re missing clothing, use spare clothing to cover up revealing rips in your kit.
- Make sure to scrub your road rash (you must) and buy some tegaderm! If it’s a BOGO, buy extra. (YES, that happened).
10. Prevention is a great way to avoid road-side emergencies! It’s always a good idea to simply keep your bike clean, lubed in pivot points, make sure bolts are tight (with a torque wrench) and inspect each time you clean or crash for cracks.
- “ABC Wheel Quick!” Make sure to check the following:
- Air in tires
- Brakes and Bars
- Chains and Cables (nothing fraying or obviously out of place)
- Wheel –check for trueness and spoke tension
- Quick Release – Make sure it’s tight. Nothing worse than lining up for a race and you notice your front skewer just dangling.
Kim shares her season wrap up, finishing strong and prepping for a fun off-season.
After over a month of blogging silence, I’ve decided to share a bit about my season wrap-up. I finished Cascade (my last posted race report) definitely bummed; I had wanted so badly for it to provide me with some solid results for my race resume, and instead it did the exact opposite. Read the rest on Kim’s blog.
Endurance racing is a test of the mind as much as the body. Roberta shares what many of us go through this time of year. Why do you keep coming back to endurance racing?
Ever since I helped to pace my friend Janey Bell in the Leadville 100 trail marathon I had been thinking I should blog about endurance. What drives us to endure? Then just the other day Diana Nyad had her successful 110 mile swim and the thought of endurance came to my mind again (along with the urge to get back in the pool). Then this past weekend I was thinking about how I have mentally gotten myself through 2 Ironman races and 2 LOTOJA rides and how did I possibly do that?
When Janey and I were running over Hope Pass, just past the 50 mile mark in her run, I was amazed. Here I was huffing and puffing, I started to get a blister on my toe, the circulation in my arms was being cut off from carrying two camelbacks (hers and mine) but I didn’t have it in me to complain. I knew I had to endure. She was going strong and I kept pushing her to run just a few more steps. We were close to the time cutoff and I did not want to be the reason she would have to stop running. I was at a loss as to what to say. She looked great, the other runners kind of looked homeless. She wasn’t seeing leprechauns or in a state of deep mental thought. Only she could motivate herself to keep going. I have had many times when I have played the role of the encourager and helped many of my athlete friends achieve their athletic goals. But it was truly their spirit and their mental strength that got them through.
Wikipedia defines endurance as the “ ability of an organism to exert itself and remain active for a long period of time, as well as its ability to resist, withstand, recover from, and have immunity to trauma, wounds or fatigue.” The fact that as athletes we have thoughts that can occupy us for a 54 hour swim, a 30 hour run, a 13 hour bike ride is amazing. But, as I experienced a few times this year, once your mind gets an inkling of a negative thought, it can spread like the Ebola virus and kill your spirit. You are suddenly not immune to defeat and it stings.
On my last race, I was thinking about the poem by A.E. Houseman ( ok how I remember this is all because of Miss Miles my 8th grade English teacher) “ To an Athlete Dying Young”. It is kind of morbid and it talks about an athlete who dies at the top of their game.
“ Eyes the shady night has shut./ Cannot see the record cut”. “ Now you will not swell the rout/ Of lads that work their honours out,/ Runners whom renown outran/ And the name died before the man.”
Is it better to go out at the top of your game? When you see your records being cut how can you endure anymore? These are thoughts of the burned out cyclist and one that cannot endure. How do you turn yourself around from this downward spiral? I think we have all been there before, saying we are going to quit.
Strangely, I find myself coming back for more. Why is this? Well I have given that some thought too. Distance helps (not doing more miles) but taking a break. Time off the bike to reconnect with things you haven’t gotten to. This is what I intend to do for the next few months and turn my sites from cycling to biathlon. What I found though is having your cheering crowd does make a difference. My husband, Paul, is great at that but so are my Naked peeps. They know me. They know it is not the end, rather a beginning. They send you an application to reapply for the team. It makes you think of the goals you achieved in the past year and the goals you want to set for the next. They are the ones that encourage me to endure. They are who make enduring fun and it is because of them that I will be back in the cycling saddle again!
- USACycling’s Club of the Year
- 1st place in BRACs Rocky Mountain Road Cup Team Competition for Cat 1/2s, Cat 3s, and Cat 4s
- Many individual series wins in road, mountain and track. I’m sure cyclocross will be the same.
- Several state champions among us.
- Mountain bike, track, road and junior nationals competitors among us (and cyclocross if you count last season).
- We collected 3000 books and delivered to two different elementary schools in need for Ride for Reading this year.
- Bannock Criterium was hugely successful and saw some of the largest women’s fields to date.
- Our first year of having a club was a success and only will continue to improve and introduce more women to the sport of bicycle racing.
- We started in 2010 with 6 women and are now close to 100 with club and team combined. Wow. Just wow.
- Too many stories to recap, but it’s great to go back through our blog and see what was accomplished. We’re so impressed by all our teammates.