Category Archives: Road
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.
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.
Katie did her first race only a few months ago…and now she cannot stop! She also can’t stop winning! What a beast! We can’t wait to see what she’s capable of next year.
As the season is winding to an end I am beginning to realize how much I’m going to miss racing. Rock the River Road Race was cancelled the week before the Best on Hess TT and I was going through bike racing withdrawal. So in a moment of delirium, I decided to time trial twice; first in the Retro Women’s Open category and again 90 minutes later in the SW4 category. No big deal I thought, I’ll treat it like time trial practice. The race is in Castle Pines and the terrain should be relatively flat. Well, in case you were wondering, there are hills in Castle Pines and they are not insignificant. There were four hills over the course of this sub-10 mile TT, one big one reminiscent of the Superior Morgul “Wall”. I hadn’t previewed the course so I had no idea what I was getting myself into until the Retro race was underway.
My first start time was 8:27a for the Retro Women’s Open Category. Marlene Zandell was racing as well. I saw her during our warm up on the frontage road, though we didn’t have much time to talk. Marlene has been a constant supportive presence this season, especially at time trials, and it’s always reassuring to see another Naked rider before a race! USAC ranking was employed for start time order. I was second to last right in front of Julie Jermyn – who is super fast! She was going to be chasing me and there was no way I was going to be able to hold her off. This race in particular was cool because they had a start ramp! In no time, I was up to speed off the start but still a little nervous because of who was behind me. My heart rate was too high so I focused on breathing to calm myself down. The first hill came quickly off the start. I was amped up and took it without any problem. The road turned into a flat and then a monster downhill. I was going 47 mph down this thing, and it was super fun and fast until I realized that I’d have to turn around and climb it on the way back. Coming out of the turn around, I could see Julie closer to me than I wanted and I knew I had to push it home. Soon enough I was climbing. I kept recycling the advice of super climber Melissa Langdon through my brain: fast feet, dial in the right gear, pain cave. The time trial is already a suffer fest, a climb in a time trial is torture and I did the best I could to suck it up. I focused on trying to pick people off every few minutes knowing that if I wasn’t gaining ground I was losing it. The climb turned into a flat and I was on the home stretch. I had no idea where Jermyn was but I fully expected her to pass me at any second. There was another small climb to the finish and at 200m I got out of the saddle and tried to sprint though I didn’t have much left. I continued down the frontage road for a cool down, my lungs were on fire and my legs hurt so I knew it was a good effort. Then I realized that I did not get passed. After the race, Julie found me and told me she thought I won which was a great surprise and very flattering coming from her – of course I didn’t believe her. It took a while for results to post, but I had won by nearly 30 seconds. That’s a fantastic start to the day, but I still had one race left.
I was ranked third for the SW4 race in front of Jo Ellen Walden and Barb Lotze. I knew these ladies would be chasing me and again I was feeling the pressure. I was nervous because I’d intended the Retro TT to be a bit of a warm up, but I went out harder than planned and now I was hurting a little bit. Barb and Jo are amazing time trialist. I had been victorious over them earlier in the season, but Barb has gotten stronger with every race and she’s a very good climber so I knew it was going to be tough. I felt a bit sluggish over the course of this race. The climbing was much more difficult on my TT bike. At the turn around I could see both of them battling it out, again closer to me than I would have liked. I maintained my composure up the big climb but I was feeling slow. I hadn’t been passed yet going into the home stretch. On the last downhill, I could hear someone with a disc wheel coming up on me and it was Barb. WOW. She was hauling. I passed her up the final hill sprinting to the finish, which didn’t mean much because I knew she had already annihilated me. It was also a sign that I didn’t ride the second TT correctly, if I had that much left to sprint, clearly I hadn’t worked hard enough. Oh well. Back at the results area I learned that unfortunately Jo Ellen suffered a mechanical – total bummer. Barb won the race handily, beating me by almost a minute. Had she been racing Pro 1/2 she would have come in 3rd. She had an epic race. I was happy with second, especially with that being my second race of the morning. Two podiums in 2.5 hours, I can’t argue with that!
Thanks to RMHP for putting on such a great event. It was a lovely way to spend a Saturday morning!!
Lanier was a pretty big supporter of the Littleton Criterium, rallying our team and half the women’s peloton to come to the race…so she could hurt them!
I put the inaugural Littleton Criterium on my race calendar as a target race at the beginning of the season. Littleton has been my adopted hometown for 15 years, and I have always thought it would be a perfect crit course, with all the cute shops, curbside patio restaurants and bars along Main Street. Located in historic downtown Littleton and billed as part of Western Welcome Week, I knew it would be one of the best crits of the season, and it did not disappoint! Pedal (our LBS) and the Cannondale Development Team were organizing, with a strong focus on safety and partnership with the community. Spectators showed up in force, their numbers growing as the day went on. I volunteered as a course marshal in the morning, and the local residents and people on their way to brunch kept stopping and asking questions about racing. What a great opportunity to showcase our sport!
The only slight damper to my enthusiasm was that my race would be a women’s open race. That meant I would be racing not only fellow Cat 3’s, but also the elite Cat 1’s and 2’s. Naked had numbers, with my Cat 3 teammates Susan Hersey, Sharon Madison and Brittany Jones preregistered. After finishing my volunteer shift, I rode home to change and eat lunch (what a luxury to prep at home!). I returned to see that several elite racers had signed up, including our own Ingrid Alongi which was a welcome surprise! And after asking the patient registration volunteers to check for the umpteenth time, I found that we had a field of 23 racers. I was relieved that we would have a big enough field to make the race exciting, but with a pro and some formidable elites in the field, I mentally prepared myself to be dropped.
I had the most relaxing warm-up of the season, riding with the ever-cool Brittany on the part of the Platte River bike path I know best. I even bird-watched! Was that a white heron fishing in the Platte? OK, this was getting weird. I am never that laid-back and blissed out before a race, and this wasn’t just any race! So I went to the coffee truck, grabbed a double-shot of espresso and drained it. By the time we lined up, I was feeling appropriately shaky and nervous. Then Susan reminded me it was race official Tim Madden’s birthday. We decided to sing Happy Birthday, which lightened things up and embarrassed Tim sufficiently!
Then the race started. Our goal was to hang on to the big girls (except Ingrid, our uber-experienced elite who knows her way around a crit or any other race). The course was fast: an 0.8 mile loop on smooth pavement, with 8 corners and flat as a pancake. The section to watch was on the backside of the course, after a turn led to a narrower single-lane section. There had been a crash in this section during most prior races. Despite several forays into the gutter, we managed to avoid any crashes. I did my best to stay in good position, follow attacks and most of all stay upright. I watched Ingrid carefully, and followed her wheel as much as I could. There was a little rainshower halfway through our 50-minute race, so my attention was occupied for a bit with watching back wheels slide around on the corners. This was a useful distraction, because it didn’t ever seem to slow down, with many attacks between prime laps. A 2-rider breakaway stayed out for a few laps before it was reeled in. The pace was relentless. I thought I was a goner, but Sharon encouraged me to hang on.
Finally, the lap counter showed 5 laps! I moved up, waiting for attacks. A couple of racers moved up in the next few laps, but I kept my position towards the front. 3 laps, 2 laps, the final lap! Into the last two corners, Meg Hendricks and Laurel Rathbun picked up the pace, and I managed to stay with them. By the time we hit the final corner, we had good speed. I clipped the pavement pedaling through the final turn, but stayed up and went as hard as I could to the finish line, with family & friends cheering! I could not believe I had raced to 3rd place! It was incredibly exciting. I am still thrilled, and not a little surprised!
Congratulations to Ingrid, Sharon, Susan and Brittany for their strong finishes in our race, and to Katie Harrer for her 3rd place in the Cat 4 race. We had a great showing in the 4’s race as well, with Melissa Langdon, Caroleanne Williams, Tami Burke and Jenny Lucke also racing in the 4’s. My family, neighbors, teammates, fellow racers, coworkers – thank you for cheering! I heard you this time!!! And finally, special thanks to Pedal and the Cannondale Development Team for partnering with the city of Littleton to put on a fantastic race. Here’s to many years of Littleton Crits to come!