Category Archives: Off Season
Melissa W. has had a tough time finding her passion for the bike with school taking up so much of her free time. But she’s thankful for teammates that motivate her. Great lesson in friendship and finding your love for the bike again.
It happened. I allowed school to take such precedence in my life that my bike sat alone in the corner of my room, collecting dust. I knew that sacrifices would have to be made once I started school full-time, but I had no idea that it would be this drastic. My bike has always been a symbol of achievement for me, but it had come to a point where it was only a resemblance of the disappointment I had in myself. The disappointment that came from losing my passion for the bike and allowing myself to become bitter towards an object that once brought me so much joy. When I recognized how far I had let this go, I knew that I needed to do something. I needed to make sacrifices to rekindle my passion.
Unfortunately in my mind, the only sacrifices I could make would be to skip out on some of the studying that I knew I needed to do to be successful in my upcoming exams. I did it though. I made the sacrifice of giving up studying just long enough so that I could get out for a 30 minute ride. The first time I went out for a ride, it did nothing for me but cause more anxiety and guilt because I knew that I should have been home preparing for my exams. I kept making the sacrifices and trying to get out for small rides hoping that one day soon I would find the satisfaction again. And still nothing. It was never enough. The spark to rekindle my passion never came.
During this time of not being on my bike, my disappointment would grow anytime a friend or teammate would ask if I could join them on a ride. My response was typically “I wish”, “Maybe over winter break”, or “Maybe I’ll catch up with you next summer” always in a joking tone, but in my heart I felt like it would be true. I had allowed preparing for school to take control over my life, not allowing me to enjoy those things I once had.
During the last week in October, Katie Harrer texted me and asked if I could go out for a ride the next Sunday up Deer Creek Canyon. My initial response was going to be no, but I stopped myself and thought about what a ride with a good friend could do for me. I missed my friends. I responded with a YES! I wasn’t sure who would show up for the ride, but was just excited to know that at least one of my good friends would be out there. Earlier that morning before the ride I learned that a few more of my good friends would be out there with us.
We started the ride with catching up on each other’s lives and then the sufferfest of climbing High Grade kicked in. The group broke up a little on the climb, but we had all agreed that we would meet up together at the top. Typically I enjoy riding up High Grade, but I’m not going to lie, it was miserable. The only thing that kept me going was knowing that my friends were with me and that we were having to overcome this hill together. That was it! That was the spark I needed!
We reached the top and I was so overjoyed that tears came to my eyes. I know this may sound a little sappy, but this was the happiest I had been in a while. Working hard with my teammates is exactly what I needed to rekindle my passion for the bike. Thank you to all of you ladies who got me back out there!
Setting those clocks back doesn’t set Brittany back. Grab the lights and a fat bike and get out there!
Photo courtesy of Wayne Herrick
It always takes me a couple weeks to adapt when autumn sets in and the time changes. Even though there are still 24 hours in a day, I seem to always have less time to get things done. The truth is that I have the same amount of time, just less time with the sun.
This means I have three options with regards to riding: take over the living room with my trainer, find more cookies to eat while I read on the couch, or charge up my lights. I don’t hate my trainer, per se, but I know that he and I will have plenty of time together before March arrives and I’d like to do what I can to keep that to a minimum. Cookies are great. I have almost nothing bad to say about cookies, except that I already eat too many of them.
That leaves lights. I’ll be honest, I kinda have to talk myself into it or let my boyfriend talk me into it. I mean, it’s dark out, the temperature ranges from not-warm to stupid-cold, and getting on the trail is a bit of a process. Not only do I need to layer appropriately, I need to charge lights, attach lights to my bars and helmet, position the battery cord into my pack so that it isn’t whacking me on the side of the head while I ride—and I always try to do all of this without actually opening the car door and letting the cold in. It doesn’t ever work. The cold comes in and I get out of the car.
The thing is though, I love mountain biking at night. The trails that I avoid all summer because they’re busy, easily accessible, close to home, or just not that exciting become really fun and new at night. Green Mountain is probably my favorite; the view you get of the Denver metro is awesome. It isn’t the au natural vistas that we all love and instagram, but it’s a lovely, sparkle-y, almost festive sight.
And the riding is fun! No, I don’t go the same speeds that I do in the summer during the day. But I’m riding outside. My lights are very bright, so I never feel like I’m riding blind. It’s more like a tunnel that just keeps moving with you. It’s exciting and it keeps things from getting boring.
So to make the best of November, the time change, and the many short days ahead, I will continue to pull myself off the couch to charge my lights and ride. I hope you do the same.
Katie describes the internal battle that most competitors will face at some point in their race career.
Have you ever found yourself searching for motivation or just not feeling like you’ve got the mojo to race? Sometimes it’s a doubt in your ability to perform. Other times it’s because we’ve asked our bodies to perform too often and asking our bodies to race one more weekend feels like a mountain to climb. As we get to the end of cyclocross season I find myself struggling with the desire to race. This weekend I found that I was fighting this internal battle.
Cathy has some great reminders about the off-season told through two stories of learning how to ride a bike. Worth a read!
Last winter we had an eye opening clinic with Julie Emmerman. She asked a simple question, “Why do you race?”. Everyone had a different reason and story, with various emotions that were stirred up. My reason was as simple as the question: I race because it’s fun! It’s probably safe to say that we all ride because bikes are fun or at least that’s why we start. If you have gotten caught up with training, racing, and everything that comes with this sport, take a step back. It is the off-season for the roadies, and a good time to reflect.
Remember when you first learned to ride? Do you remember the exhilaration of taking off and being free to go where your bike took you? I hope you can remember, or at least remind yourself of that time, and use it to refuel yourself for whatever goals and challenges you are facing. I had the distinct pleasure of helping two people learn to have more fun by learning to ride bikes this summer, and was reminded of the raw pleasure of riding.
My daughter had ridden a balance bike since she was two, but froze when we put pedals beneath her. They got in the way, and the coaster brake freaked her out. After a few frustrating practice rides my husband and I decided it wasn’t worth pushing her. We both love riding and didn’t want to turn her off by forcing her to ride. So this summer (nearly two years later) she mentioned taking her bike to a field to practice, and we go her to that field pronto! She banged up her shins, fell, cried, but kept getting up. Her tenacity was inspiring. She owned the whole experience and wasn’t giving up. After a few days she took off and squealed with joy while she yelled, “I’m doing it! I’m riding!”. And now, she’s tearing it up and loving every minute of it.
The second person I helped was considerably older than my six year old daughter, but no less inspirational. This professional woman sought out a cycling coach, me, to help her to learn to ride. This special client of mine had never ridden a bike – as in never ever. I jumped at the opportunity! How amazing is it to have an adult admit that she doesn’t know how to ride, face her fears, buy a bicycle, and actually learn to ride?!? Well, she did it, and in a very short amount of time. Our first session was about one and a half hours long. That was just to get the sensation of balance. No pedals, no steering, just balance. She struggled, but she slowly gained ground in between the fumbles. You could see her determination. Talk about being in the zone! She was focused and persisted even with strangers looking on. The next time we met she was pedaling! She learned to ride her bike! I could barely contain myself, and was so proud this woman I had met less than one week before.
I am honored that I could help these two ladies, and thankful that I could witness them both learn to overcome some pretty darn big challenges. I hope you can harness the fun as you tackle your own challenges next season!
*My client happily agreed to share her story publicly in the hopes that it will inspire other adults to learn to ride a bike. If you don’t know how to ride leave a comment and this supportive community of cyclists will answer!
It’s hard to believe our road season is done and cross has really just begun! You know what also is beginning? Planning for your team in 2015! Naked Women’s Racing, in it’s 5th year, is open to race team applicants through October 1st!
Think you want to join? Read more about why you should on our Race Team page. Now are you ready?
Think you *might* want to race but not sure you want to dive in head first? Then you should totes join our Club Team!
Got questions? Email us at info [at] nakedwomenracing.com and we’ll be glad to help you out.
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.
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
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: Fulton Academy of Excellence located at 755 Fulton St. Aurora, CO
Meeting Location: Turin Bicycles at 700 Lincoln Street. Join us at 7 am if you want free breakfast and coffee! Be ready to ride with books in tow 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 7.3 miles! We’ll share the bike route the week of the event. We will also have a police escort:)
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!
Want to donate books? Here’s all our dropbox locations around your area!
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