Category Archives: Sponsor Shoutout
Maria swept the 3/4 omnium for the Iron Horse Bicycle Classic in her own backyard! We couldn’t be more proud and she’s only a few precious points from that Cat 2 upgrade!
The Iron Horse Bicycle Classic is an Omnium points race that consists of a Road Race, Criterium, and a Time trial over Memorial Day weekend in Durango, Colorado. Initially I was not going to participate this year because it was not USAC sanctioned, but after urging from friends and my LAAF bikes and CThree Wheels sponsor, I decided to try to defend my Women’s B Champion Jersey. After all, it is here in my hometown!
Day 1 The Road race
The Road Race starts in town at the highschool and then travels down the Valley for about ten miles. From here it climbs for the next 30 miles, summiting two mountain passes and reaching around 10,800 feet before descending 7 miles into the small, old, mountain mining town of Silverton.
I raced with the Women B category, since I am a Cat 3. This field had a total of 97 racers in the field. We left the parking lot at the high school and began up the valley on HWY 550. The tour riders are allowed to leave before the racers begin. This caused some safety issues. Many times I had to tell the racers to call out if a rider was coming up so we could all anticipate a flow to the left in the group. It wasn’t working very well and I was just sure that I was going to hear the sounds of clanking metal and girls shrieking as they hit the concrete. Amazingly, we made it through the valley with no crashes. Once we came to the base of Shalona, which is the first real start to the climbing part of the race, a racer attacked. I responded and grabbed her wheel. Then another racer attacked and I grabbed her wheel. Before we came to the semi flat section on top of Shalona we were a group of five. This part of the mountain highway is a four lane road. There were cones on our white dotted line so that cars can use the left lane and racers the right. With the tour riders on the right and the cones on the left, it did not leave much room for racers to ebb and flow. My initial fear finally came to fruition when one of the racers from our lead group ran into a cone as she moved away from a tour rider. Bam, I heard the slide across the pavement. My initial response is to stop and help, but I had to shake that and keep pedaling. You can’t help but feel a little cruel when you just continue on but a race is a race. We kept a good pace for the rest of the climb leading up to where they close the road to traffic and Coal Bank Pass begins. Some more girls had latched on to our group after the crash, and our group was bigger again. I began up Coal Bank with three girls along side of me. I had to tell yet another squirrely tour rider that racers were on their left. After hearing me bark out safety orders for the last 28 miles, I heard one of the girls say “she’s kind of spicy.”
My only tactic was to keep a good steady pace for the first three miles of the six mile climb and if there was anyone left with me, then begin surging. Before mile two approached, I was on my own. I climbed and climbed keeping a good rhythm with my counting and breathing and finally summited the pass. Grabbed a Gatorade, with most of it landing outside my mouth, and started my descent. I had to remind myself of the story of the tortoise and the hare. I wanted to take the descent slower, but was afraid that I would be caught by a faster descender. It went smoothly (AKA no big wind gusts blowing me sideways) and I then began my climb up Molas Pass. I climbed steady for another 4 miles, remembering to stay seated because of the lack of oxygen, and saw the glorious top of Molas Pass, signifying the end of the climbing. Who ho! Because I had the distinct feeling of being chased with meat cleavers, I tried to bomb it down to Silverton as fast as I could. Before I knew it, I was seeing the town from above with all the cute roofs of different colors, the train depot and tracks. It looked like someone had made a model train town and placed it in between a bunch of fake mountains. I rode up the main street and through the finish.
Day 2 The Criterium
The Criterium was laid out in downtown Durango. They changed the course this year and made the corners much more technical. They replaced the recovery straight away with a second power climb and made a longer run to the finish line. The start began and I went out hard. I wanted to break down the group to a smaller field, if I could. I preferred this because the corners were pretty hairy and riders were wiping out from all the different categories. One guy even broke his bike in two along with his collarbone. After the first turn and power climb, no one was with me for the first four laps. The time gap between myself and the follow group was about 15 seconds. It held steady at 15 seconds and I couldn’t see them behind me before I started my turns after the long straight away. Then, the time began to get shorter and at 8 seconds I made the decision to fall into the group and recover. It was successful and we had a much smaller group. The primes started and I decided that I would go after them. I was able to take all of them home. Each time I would grab a prime, I would then fall back into the group and recover. I stayed in the group until the last lap and then used the last power hill to build a gap again. Took the last corner alone, and hammered to the finish line.
Day 3 Time Trial
The time trial had me starting at 0800. I did a warm up ride on my neighbor’s stationary bike, and then they drove me down to the finish. I put on my helmet and the strap came out of the buckle. I tried to stay calm and fix it, because I knew that if I panicked I would never get the frayed pieces through the small buckle slits. I was internally freaking out as my start time was only three minutes away and I had about that much of a ride to the start line. Finally I got the straps together and jumped on my bike doing the mental checklist…glasses, helmet…bike….clipped in…..ok, I got it all. I arrived at the start line right when they were saying last call for Maria Santiago. I yelled, “I’M HERE, I’M HERE” and poof I was off. The course is 13.7 miles of mostly rolling hills with a brutal climb to the finish line that lasts about 2 miles. I felt good, staying within my zone where I am working hard, but not getting that feeling like someone punched me in the stomach. I knew that I needed to save a bit for that last push to the finish. The juniors started before me and as I passed them I wanted to say ‘good job’ , ‘looking strong’, but instead it just came out as a grunt of air and drool with a sideways glance. I began the climb up to the finish and really had to do some positive affirmations to not shift into my easiest gears. Not yet, not yet….almost there, you got this (you all know the words). The finish was finally in sight and across I went. I had no idea if I won or lost, but I was just so happy to have it done!!!
Quick Left - 902 Pearl Street
FirstBank, Breckenridge Branch - (N. Park/9 & Ski Hill Rd)
200 Ski Hill Road
9-news - 500 E Speer Blvd
Transamerica Building – 303 E 17th Ave
Downtown Denver YMCA – 25 E 16th Ave
Community College of Denver Department of Dental Hygiene - 111 Havana Street
Campus Cycles - 2102 S. Washington St.
FirstBank, Frisco Branch - (N. Ten Mile Dr. & Hwy. 9)
960 N. Ten Mile Dr
4 U Mini Mart - 15750 S Golden Rd Ste B
Campus Cycles – 7310 West Colfax Avenue
FirstBank, Silverthorn Branch - (I-70 & US Hwy 6)
160 U.S. Highway 6
Things get better with age-like our third annual Ride for Reading delivery! Join 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.
NEW for this year: We challenge YOU to lead a Ride for Reading delivery in YOUR CITY! If we can get 5 new cities on board, then we will donate $250 to Ride for Reading on behalf of the Naked Women’s Cycling team.
What: Colorado-based women’s competitive cycling team Naked Women’s Racing will deliver thousands of donated children’s books by bicycle to Smith Elementary School Friday, May 10 for National Ride for Reading Week. Naked Women’s Racing partnered with the charity Ride for Reading, a non-profit with a mission to promote literacy and healthy living through the distribution of books via bicycle to children from low-income neighborhoods.
When: Delivery takes place Friday, May 10 from 8:15 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: Smith Elementary School located at 3590 Jasmine Street Denver, CO 80207
Meeting Location: Parking lot of 9NEWS located at 500 E. Speer Blvd
Bike Route: Our bike route will be doable by any person of any fitness level on any bike! We assure you, so please join us.
How to Register to Volunteer:
How to Make a Donations: Cash donations are tax deductible so please provide your name, mailing address, and donation value with your donation so Ride for Reading can send you a tax exempt letter.
If you’d like to donate used or new age-appropriate books, please drop them off at one of our many DROP OFF LOCATIONS around Denver and Boulder. If you aren’t local and would still like to send us books, please mail them to the Quick Left to Attn: Rachel Scott, 902 Pearl Street, Boulder, Colorado 80301.
How can my business become a drop box location? Simple! Email us at info [at] nakedwomenracing.com to let us know so we can add you to our list of drop off locations and get you a poster notifying the public that you are an official Ride for Reading Book Drop location. You can also download our 8.5 x 11 RfR_Poster_2013.
Are you a member of the media and want to publish this story? If you are a member of the media, feel free to publish any of this information here. We welcome you to join us on the delivery too! We are available for personal interviews pre, during, or post event so please email us (info [at] nakedwomenracing.com) and a team representative will get back to you immediately. Video and photography are welcome at the school; however, you must contact the school to arrange parental waivers ahead of time. You can also contact us at least 2 weeks prior to the delivery date, and we can add your language to our photo/video release.
Read how last year’s delivery went HERE: Includes recap, images and video from last year’s delivery. We had so many books that we got to do an impromptu delivery to two schools last year!
See what Ride for Reading is all about below:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
DENVER, Colo (February 19, 2013) – After last years triumphant debut of the Naked twins, we are pleased and concerned to announce the return of the Amandas.
“Last year was like waking up from a comma to discover you had a twin you never knew about and the weirdest part is she looks just like me” said Amanda Cyr.
“Yeah, all my life I knew I was missing something but never did I imagine it was a twin I never knew I had!” weeped Amanda Bye. “She is the padding to my chamois” smirked Cyr and “she is the cream to my itch” winked Bye.
They both have had to work through their new found identical identities though. Cyr talks about having to overcome learning that her twin had in fact tried to eat her in the womb. ”There was a reason I felt like I had been in a zombie movie in my past life.”
“I have always loved me some BBQ and there is no hiding that” Bye said jokingly…we hope.
Quick Left CEO and Colorado Womens Cycling Project sponsor Ingrid Alongi was overheard stating “I would rank them in a top 500 female cycling twins of all times VH1 special if someone paid me.” Rolling Stones magazine is calling this “The most anticipated return to the stage since Milli Vanilli.” Just recently Will.I.AM begged the girls to be featured in his new chart topper “Scream and Shout”.
2013 looks to be a big year for the hottest Naked twins since the Olsen sisters. ”Parents better watch your children cross the street and crazy jumping deer beware” touts Bye. ”No road rash too deep, no curb too high” proclaimed Cyr. ”We are back to bring the Naked Amandas action to a city near you!”
Please start by watching this video from Amanda 1.0, then proceed to the race report. Congrats to all the Naked ladies who represented in Louisville 2013 for Cyclocross Masters World Championships!
There were many unforgettable quotes this weekend. The one that stands out most was by Susan’s coach, Jon Tarkington, “The race is not the most memorable part of the experience. It is everything else.” I have to agree. The race was a 63 minute grueling experience. The training, rides, nerves and spending time with others before and after was much more memorable.
We arrived Monday and got up bright-and-early on Tuesday to pre-ride the course. Not so bad, warm weather, cloudy, did not need leg or arm-warmers. The course itself had some off-camber turns, some easy barriers as they were on a flat area of the course, sand that would easily pack down from the humidity. The most challenging area was a run up, then an off-camber s-turn, another run up and a steep descent before heading back to the finish. Did it take some practice? Yes. Was it very technically challenging? No, but that is all about to change.
Middle of the night, we were awoken by tornado warnings, we looked out the window to see high winds and pouring rain (what else would you do during a tornado?). The course was flooded by the morning and the race sign had been blown over. Races were all delayed that morning. We decided to do leg-openers in the heated tent that was provided by the amazing crew at Pro Bike Express but would forego riding the course for fear of injuring ourselves or our bikes. There was a heat that Joan had to race in and they pronounced her last name wrong but said they would get it right when she won the championship. We picked up our race numbers and Susan found out that her new lucky number was actually 18.
Thursday–race day. Joan raced first. It was a muddy mess and cold so the ground was a bit more firm than later in the day. She did very well with few mistakes and took 5th place in the World (women, non-elite, age group).
I then raced and had the fortunate pleasure of a very muddy, grueling course. I had to pit my bike every half lap. At one point my wheels locked up from the mud and I ran my bike into the pit, it was estimated that my bike weighed 45 pounds. My pit crew was absolutely amazing. An announcer said that “Pit crews don’t win a race but they can lose one.” This is absolutely true but luckily my pit crew was flawless. Each time I came through my bike was a mangled mess but when I left it was clean, in the correct gear, pedals in the proper spot, chain back on and ready (although let me also add that they probably had 10 minutes to get it right as I was going that slow). I ran approximately half of each lap with an increase of weight from mud on the cleats, shoes and calves. I kept thinking that I am a cyclist, not a runner, and would try to get back on my bike but could not move. This is also the moment that Michael Hanna’s running intervals came through for me. The downhills were slick and the flats were slow. Two laps done and my legs were burning like never before, I pointed to the time as I could not speak from over-exertion trying to indicate that my race was over as I was pass the time limit. The official looks and me and calmly states that the “Race isn’t over until I say it is over. One more lap…” It takes everything in me to not DNF. According to the officials, I passed two more people that lap and rode exhausted but with few errors. I remember thinking at the end that I would take the final decent as fast as possible as my racing season was over and if I broke an ankle, I could hobble in and then have time to recover. Cyclocross is all about pre-riding and figuring out how to ride the course, but each lap was so different that it was like a new course each time. I finished in 8th place.
Susan then raced and had a wonderful race, she was so strong and watching her race reminds me that I have a long way to go. She had the largest women’s field that day and raced against very strong women. We finished the races proud of our accomplishments and ready to get some well-deserved rest.
Then the unthinkable happened, we started talking about planning to race the Cyclocross World Championships in 2015 in Tabor, Czech Republic. Watch out World, Naked Women’s Racing is coming back for a podium…
Special shout out to City of Louisville for being so friendly, welcoming and hosting a great week of racing. To Pro Bike Express for ensuring that our bikes were working perfectly, for keeping everything running smooth and for remembering all the things that we forgot. To Naked Juice for giving me the strength to train, to Michael Hanna for always being a wonderfully supportive coach, to Bike Source for keeping my bike in working condition (it is coming in soon), Rudy Project for the flashy helmet and Colorado Women’s Cycling Project for being a super supportive women’s cycling team. To Emily Zinn for my good luck socks and magazines, Katie Macarelli for my mix CD, Nicole Mack for the personalized cowbell and for all the well wishes from everyone. You all rock.
We couldn’t be more stoked for two additions to the team: Marlene and The Sufferfest. But when those worlds collide, we’re not sure if they get along so much. We’ll see if this no-drama policy holds for these two.
I woke up at 5:45 AM this morning. Scrunching open an eye, I noticed it was still dark outside and rolled over to go back to sleep. But suddenly it hit me and I quickly sat up, this was training day. I can’t loiter in bed this morning.
I jumped up, launching a cat off the bed and headed to the kitchen to grab a snack before the video started. No, not popcorn. It’s not that kind of video. I gulped a few mouthfuls of my favorite Naked Juice, Green Machine. I knew I would need the carbs to make it through this Sufferfest. Wishing I was wearing my Naked Women’s team kit from Curve, I entered the torture chamber. After installing my bike onto my Cascade FluidPro trainer, I started the fan, booted up the computer, and nervously awaited the start of my ride.
Apparently I’ve been fluffing my training, The Wretched explained to me. I wasn’t living up to my potential. This was my chance to redeem myself. I would be racing against the best, and I had to win enough bus fare to pay for my trip home to Sufferlandria or I would be walking. I had 48 minutes to prove my worth. My cats walked by and snickered at me. They had no faith.
The video kicked in with encouraging music. My warm up period. This was nice. A steady pace to get the body moving. What was I nervous about? After seven minutes, I was headed to the start line. A Tour de France stage compacted into 35 minutes, just for me. What’s 35 minutes? Anyone can handle that, right? I started to relax.
As I hit the first ascent, I felt good. I had this under control. That is, until The Wretched commanded, “ATTACK! Stand UP! Don’t let them get away!” Not one to argue, I jumped in with an RPE of 8. A minute later, I was told to ease off and sit down. That wasn’t so bad, I thought. But once again, “ATTACK!” I was back up out of my seat and climbing. I was breathing hard, trying to hold on, going for QOM. But The Wretched sadly informed me that I didn’t make it. To enjoy the downhill and to remember that I needed to earn my bus fare home. And then a brief warning, get ready for the next ascent.
This video had me standing, climbing, sprinting, down in my drops and leaning into the curves. I wanted the QOM on this next climb. There was no way I was walking back to Sufferlandria. So I sucked the tires of Cadel and Tejay. They tried to break away, but I stuck with them. I felt like I was going to lose my precious gulps of Green Machine. I glanced down next to my bike and noticed a bucket sitting there while my cats curled up nearby, smugly watching me suffer. “CLIMB!” The Wretched demanded. And so I did. And I took KOM. I was informed that I had just earned enough money to cover bus fare home.
But forget the bus fare, now it was time to go for the glory and win the stage!
The final climb was pure agony. I begged Alberto to pull me to the top, but he was too slow so I had to drop him. I was suffering. I was standing and climbing, climbing and standing. There seemed to be no end to the torture. The floor was glistening with my sweat and tears. I dug deep. “Find your courage,” The Wretched ordered. And when I thought I had no more to give, there he was. Jens. Right in front of me. He looked over his shoulder and saw me, and the sprint to the finish was ON. “You’re going down, Jens!” I screamed. My cats were pumping their little kitty paws in the air. My neighbor in the apartment below was banging on her ceiling, but I didn’t care. This stage was mine! My RPE was a 10. I was laying it all out there. I was going to be the hero of Sufferlandria. And just when I thought I had no more to give, I crossed the finish line. In. First. Place.
With a towel thrown over my shoulder, I pedaled easily. I wondered if it was too early for champagne, while I listened to the cheers of the adoring crowd. A warm feeling of satisfaction quickly overcame the memory of suffering. I looked out my apartment window to see a few snowflakes floating lazily down.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a bus to catch.
While us Colorado folk were playing in the dirt, snow and cold last weekend, Emily Zinn was tearing up the CX scene in Louisville, KY at the USGP. Here’s her account of racing in the ‘dirty’ south.
Wearing Naked kit in Kentucky is like being in a celebrity entourage. Can’t pedal three strokes without someone stopping you to ask if you know Rachel Scott. The entire state seems to have voraciously followed her movements on Facebook, and everyone in Kentucky knows that she sold her cyclocross bike for a Specialized mountain bike, yet still asked if she would be racing that day.
Pro. Not only was it a USGP, it is the site of the first EVER world championships outside of Europe. “The first city outside of Europe to host a cyclocross world championship is Louisville, KY!?” you ask. Yes. And deservingly so.
Unless you are Adam Craig, there are a minimum of four dismounts, and not wimpy little grab-my-bike-and-run-over-a-couple-barriers dismounts, but crazy-steep stairs, limestone steps, and, if you missed your line, the Clif Bar Sand Land. Sounds fun, like going to the beach with a shovel and castle-shaped bucket, right? Yeah, it’s nothing like that.
On form. A sampling for your enjoyment:
“Can you believe they let that girl race naked? Shameless.”
“That’s it, nice and easy. It’s not like it’s a race or anything.”
“Just remember, you paid to do this.”
“Touch my monkey.”
“Chase the unicorn.” Side commentary: I think this is Peloton Don!
“Katie Compton is right on your tail.”
“Isn’t it uncomfortable to race naked?”
Race report from day 2, as it ran through my head at the time:
Me on the line, to the girl next to me: “You’re Emma, right?”
Girl next to me: “Nope.”
Me: “Right. Are you Emma? Who’s Emma?”
Very young and cute winner of both days, quietly: “I am.”
Me: “Sweet! Awesome job yesterday! You’re coming to Boulder to train with Ingrid Alongi on the track, right! Excellent! Look me up when you get there! I can’t wait for you to come out riding with us!”
Emma: “I’m excited to come.”
Girl next to me shifts, unclips, swings leg over and turns her crank. Really? Panic. Is she going to get stampeded? Look over and see marshall is rolling his eyes and waiting. She swings her leg over. Gun goes off immediately.
Launch. Clip. Push. Sweet, second to the grass. Now I’ve just got to hold this for, like, a few minutes so I can be top-3 into the sand and not have to run.
Did they add more stairs to this permanent staircase during the night last night? Sneaky buggers.
My Norwegian friend was talking yesterday about how hard he was “breading” in his race. Yes, the heavy breading has already begun.
Already to the alligator swamp. Means the second pit is coming up.
Cool, neutral support is cheering for me. Or perhaps for that other girl named Emily that has been right with me the whole time and I tell myself that the cheers from people I don’t know are all for me. Either way, doesn’t seem very neutral.
Gnats don’t really fly into your eye, you ride into the gnat. Do young gnats have nightmares about giant eyes coming at them at a speed they can’t out-fly? How long does a gnat stay alive squirming in my eyeball after I ride into it?
I hope that’s really a unicorn in kit and I’m not delirious. They haven’t even started counting off laps yet. I could have eight laps to go, for all I know, and I’m already seeing unicorns. The bubbles are definitely real, though. Must look for photos after the race. Hope there’s a sweet one of me bursting through bubbles as I fly over the barriers.
I better not close my mouth, because it’s so dry my tongue might stick to the roof of my mouth like it does when I lick ice and I won’t be able to open it again for the rest of the race.
That Strava segment is only like 20 feet of flat with no turns. Why didn’t they put the Strava segment on any of the many actually cool features? I should go for it, anyway. If you can’t win the race, you might as well win the Strava segment. Wait, Katie Compton is riding this Strava segment.
This is so off-camber it wouldn’t even recognize camber any more. This would be hilariously stupid in the mud. Some people would probably crawl it. I wish it were muddy and I were crawling this section for others’ enjoyment.
It was so thoughtful of all these hecklers to come out with rubber chickens and stuffed monkeys and gramophones to tell me I’m sucking in clever ways. It’s early in the morning and nobody ever comes out to heckle. I should buy them a beer or something. There are too many of them. I’ll just touch the monkey each lap in stead. Next lap I’m gonna grab the monkey and stuff it down my skinsuit for a lap. That will never work. My skin suit is way to tight to accommodate me and a monkey.
Louisville, KY is the greatest place on earth to race cyclocross. And then after, you can go to Sergio’s World Beers and Belgian TFU with legit Belgian beers that actual Belgian cyclists have wrung out their skinsuit into, it’s that legit. Sergio knows just about everything about beer… but doesn’t know what the sign on his own, unmarked establishment says.
Most importantly, the biggest event ever in American cyclocross is happening in Louisville, KY, on February 3 and you definitely want a ticket to that action.
With threats of the first snow on the Front Range tonight, Rachel and Vera thought this winter riding checklist would be a good one to promote. Not only do you need to give yourself at least an additional 15-20 minutes to get ready for winter time riding, you also need to give yourself an evening searching for your winter riding gear! Don’t get left out in the cold!
Winter Riding Check List
- Three top layers: wicking baselayer (no cotton, Curve Inc makes great ones!), long sleeved jersey or short with armwarmers, jacket or vest (sometimes both!).
- Bottom layers: below 40-liner plus winter tight; above 40-winter tight; above 55-shorts and knee warmers (embrocation is your friend)
- Head protection: ear warmers, hat. Make sure it fits under your helmet comfortably or you will develop a headache 15 minutes into your ride.
- More Upper-body protection: neck gator or balaclava if below 40.
- Gloves: everyone is different but wool liners under gloves can help, or always carry rubber surgical gloves for emergencies! My favorite trick and easy to pack. You can see what happens to Roberta, Rachel and Vera when one forgets their gloves and decides to race in the snow and freezing, wet temps.
- Handwarming Packs: Not just for hands-great for all body parts!
- Booties: Preferably wind stopper or water proof because snow melt will get your feet wet. If 50 or above, go for toe warmers.
- Socks: Defeet Wool socks and silk liners help keep the feet warm. If you have Shimano shoes, make sure to tape up your air hole!
- Food: Bring food that won’t freeze. Lara Bars, liquid Powerbar shots, bananas, sandwiches, waffles! Bring food that you’ll eat and that you like.
- Money: always bring cash money honey and a debit card! Keep $5-10 in your saddle bag at all times. You never know when you’ll need it.
- Flat kit: handpumps are good in the winter. I tend to get more flats in winter. Also have at least 1 tube and a patch kit or 2 tubes. A heavier set of tires might also help prevent flats.
- Hydration: Water and electrolyte-type drink. Insulated bottles (polar bottles) can keep your water from freezing.
- Time: Give yourself at least an hour to get all of this ready for the first couple of winter rides. It takes a long time to get out the door with all this stuff. Don’t be late for the group ride-it’s RUDE and in violation of Rule #87.
- Water/Snow protection: Rain jacket if you have room. Pearl Izumi or Craft make a good lighter wind/water resistant jacket that wads up to the size of a tennis ball.
- Sunglasses: your year-round riding gear! If you need goggles, you should turn around and ride inside or go skiing instead:)
- Maintenance: Make sure you’re cleaning your bike after each ride and drying it off (chain, moving parts, relubing chain). If you leave a mess on your bike, you’ll find you’ll need to replace parts much sooner than later.
- Optionals: Fenders if it’s super slushy could be a good addition to your riding gear. Also, I’ve always wanted to get my hands into a pair of bar mitts just to try.
I want to introduce all our Naked fans to the cyclists’ badge of honor. Carbon bikes and matching professional-looking kits are all important to your cool factor as a cyclist, but that’s not what I’m talking about. No, I want to introduce you the most important mark of a true cyclist, the tan lines. It’s a known fact that how distinct your tan lines are is a direct indicator of your fitness level. We start off the season in March with layers of clothes covering our skin and as the season progresses and the layers come off, our training hours increase and our skin becomes noticeably darker. And your tan lines begin to form and take shape. It doesn’t matter how much sun screen you apply and what SPF you use, come August, if you’ve trained properly and are fit, you will have very distinct tan lines on your arms, thighs and ankles that contrast with the other normal-toned portions of your body.
I first start racing my bike in 2005 while in law school and officially became a cyclist one summer day in 2005 while in line at an Einstein Bros. bagel shop. I realize that is a strange place to declare that I became a cyclist. I was wearing a tank-top, shorts and sandals. The man in line behind me said “you must be a cyclist.” Confused by how he knew that, I gave him a funny look and replied “yes”. He replied with “I could tell from your tan lines” and thus I was initiated into the Real Cyclists’ Club.
You can tell what kind of a cyclist someone is by their tan lines. Road cyclists who wear form-fitting lycra have very dramatic tan lines on their arms, thighs, and ankles. If you are a road cyclist who races for a team and wears your team kit on every ride (as we Naked ladies do), your tan lines will be very distinct. Professional cyclists have remarkable tan lines from riding 20-30 hours per week in the sun. It’s not uncommon to see these cyclists meticulously lining up their shorts prior to every ride so as to maximize tan line potential. Recreational road cyclists tend to have a myriad of different brands of cycling clothing in their closet and their jerseys and shorts of varying lengths lead to a less dramatic effect of the tan lines. Triathletes are a special breed of cyclists and so are their tan lines. Their cycling shorts tend to be shorter, their tops are often sleeveless, and sometimes they even do crazy things line wear arm-warmers with a tank top. Go figure! That mix will leave some crazy tan lines. Mountain bikes are a whole different story with their baggy shorts.
And then there are people like one young man who shall remain nameless who ended up with the weirdest tan lines I have ever seen. It was a crisp spring day and the sun was shining brightly as it does in Colorado. This young man decided to ride the trainer outdoors so as to take full advantage of the sunshine. He got a little warm while riding so took off his jersey and spun on the trainer in his bib shorts, while wearing his heart rate monitor for over an hour. Keep in mind that this young man is pasty white on every place that is typically covered by lycra. Over an hour later, the young man had finished his workout and was left with a burn on his back and shoulders that outlined both his heartrate monitor strap and his bib shorts. You can only imagine how funny it looked. (This is a good lesson to all you young readers to wear sunscreen. It took a full two years for the tan lines from that sunburn to fade.)
Cyclists on vacation at the beach are a pretty funny sight to see. Imagine an incredibly skinny man or woman, walking along in a bathing suit, their upper body quite scrawny and out of proportion with their chiseled calves and huge thighs, with an incredible contrast in skin color between their chest, upper thighs, top-most part of their biceps, and their lower arms and lower legs.
I typically wear my tan lines with pride. I don’t hesitate to wear sleeveless tops at the office, despite the comments from my co-workers regarding my arm tan lines. And I have no problem wearing sandals during the summer even though my tan stops roughly at my ankle bone where my sock height ends. The only time my tan lines have become an issue was at my wedding this summer. Arms that are tan ¾ of the way up and pale white for the upper ¼ do not a pretty bride make. Two weeks of applying self-tanner prior to the wedding did a pretty good job of helping mask my tan lines. Thank goodness.
So the next time you are out and about on your Sunday ride or at Starbucks getting your morning caffeine before heading to work, check out the tan lines of the people around you and see if you can tell what kind of cyclist they are and how much they have been training.
Warning: The author of this blog post does not endorse engaging in outdoor activities sans sunscreen in order to increase your tan lines. All tan lines should be duly earned through hours upon hours of hard training rides and proper alignment of your shorts before every ride. All outdoor activities are undertaken at your own risk and should be done only with sufficient sunscreen protection. The author highly recommends Kinesys for all your sun-blocking skin care needs.
Let me set the scene for you. I have not officially gotten on the podium this season. Sure I got a couple top 3’s at the Cherry Creek time trials but no one has a podium (unless you make one yourself) and no one really counts those. I never even thought about getting on the podium this year because I was so new and honestly I was having such an awesome time trying to help teammates rock out and just didn’t think I had what it took. Well last week at Bannock I had a great race and started to have visions of sugar plums and podium facebook photos in my future but unfortunately time was running out very quickly. The last 2 crits of the year were this weekend and perfect timing my Mom was going to be in town. Choke Choke.
At Racing for Hope I got lots of “Oh my gosh Amanda thanks so much for the pull, you are so strong sorry I had to suck your wheel the entire race, wow way to work the entire race, oh what happened at the end, that was a long time trial for the final lap, ouch you popped hard, dude where did you go”. Yeah not a smart race for me and for some reason they don’t let you stand on the podium if you pull the entire race but can’t hang on in the last lap. Weird eh?!
With only 1 shot left I was really determined to do something special at North Boulder Park crit. I had heard from every single person I told that I was doing that race how “sketchy” and “technical” that race is. For some reason (because Rachel taught me) I know how to take a corner. In fact the more technical a crit the better for me. I don’t worry about myself and have learned who to stay away from and who plays nice. It seemed like North Boulder Park was going to be my field of dreams.
I went for my warm up and was feeling really good until I started to do some leg openers. Every time I tried to pull up with my right pedal my right shoe came flying out. “Ugh that is not normal” but I just thought maybe I had a rock in my cleat or something. Ingrid had come to the race early because she sponsored the SW4 race (so flippin’ cool by the way that I know QuickLeft Ingrid) and to help me learn how to do this don’t pull the entire race thing. She gave me great pointers and built my confidence that I could achieve my goals if I just believed I could. After soaking in all her wisdom I asked her as I got on the course what was up with my cleat and we discovered that it was in fact broken and would not clip in. Immediately I thought my chances for winning were done. NOBO was not technical enough, now I had only 1 working clip.
The race was going beautifully. I was always in 4th or 5th position and was feeling really great. I didn’t even realize but the front 6 of us had put a wee gap on the rest of the field and it seemed like we were going to keep it. Several times my right cleat came completely out of my pedal, usually in a turn, and not only scared the bleep bleep out of me but also slowed me down while I tried to regain contact with my pedal. With 3 laps to go things were definitely picking up and corners were getting more sketchy. As we came through with 1 lap to go for the first time I thought “oh my gosh I think I can hang on to this and get that top 5 that Sharon Madison told me I had to get today or else!” I was sitting in 5th but that is exactly where I wanted to be. I like a lead out train and a long sprint and it was looking like that is exactly what I was going to get. As we started to come in to the last corner I started the “clack clack clack” down shift to get myself into a mashing gear. I remember thinking “holy crap I think my sprint and this lead out is going to put me on the podium”. And then it happened. Hello curb my name is Amanda Cyr, let’s get physical.
The rider in second clipped a pedal in the corner causing her to slide across the road taking herself out and the 3 of us behind her. Instead of running over the girl whose wheel I had been sucking the life out of, I opted in a split second to take flight. Sharon says I have wings, time to test these babies out. Unfortunately she was wrong and I don’t know how to fly yet. I ended up flipping over in the air over the curb and coming down on to the sidewalk on my shoulder. Several people were standing there and started to help the pile of us. I jumped up more startled than anything when a man asked me “are you alright”. Since I play a doctor on t.v I knew I had broken my collar bone so I said frankly “yeah but I broke my collar bone”. He asked me to sit down and I said “no, but can you help me put my chain back on my bike I can not move my arm but want to finish.” He did and fixed my back break right about the time Breeze Brown from Primal came up. She rode me in across the finish line to people cheering and clapping. As soon as I crossed, she grabbed my bike from me and I made a bee line to the medical tent.
Back story: The only motocross race my Mom ever went to of my brothers he had a gnarly crash and ended up breaking his collarbone. She vowed to never go to another one of his races. We joked this weekend that hopefully the same thing wouldn’t happen to me as this would be the first racing she had ever seen me do. After the medic confirmed that I needed to go to the ER, I turned to my mom and said “no more races for you”. She agreed.
Xrays were taken and pain pills were swallowed. The excellent medical staff at Boulder hospital took great care of the “Naked Chick” and confirmed that I did indeed have a broken collar bone and that surgery would need to happen this week. Other than me making friends with all of them (every male was married btw) the best part of this story is next.
Not 1, not 2, but 3 female racers came to visit me in the ER. They brought laughs, smiles, Breeze Bars, money, and beer! Come to find out I had still managed to finish 5th after the crash! I guess the fear of the wrath of Sharon Madison is greater than any silly broken bone! Shelley Hartman offered me everything from rides to and from the doctor to a place to sleep. Virginia Betty and Wendy De Rosa took great photos, helped my mom find my car, and made sure she was able to get me home. And before I even got back to Denver there were TONS of facebook messages and emails with sympathy and offering genuine help.
The women’s cycling community here is amazing. I am beyond overwhelmed by their kindness and support. I now have every tip from how to drip dry to what surgeon to use from other racers from other teams who I didn’t know even knew me. My teammates have taken care of every detail from getting my bike fixed to who can help drive me to where I need to go. People are offering to help me in every aspect of my life and I don’t know what to say other than THANK YOU! I knew I had the best teammates but I had no idea just how deep those friendships we make on the race course were until today. From the bottom of my heart I can not say THANK YOU enough to each and every woman racer for the love they have shown me. We may race against each other for 40 minutes on a Sunday morning, but when the wheels hit the curb those same girls are the first to help in every single way.
What did we learn today? 1) I can hang with the pack 2) If you believe you can achieve 3) I can not fly 4) the women I race against and with are the greatest friends anyone could ask for and 5) pain meds ROCK!