Category Archives: Training
Continuing her Roadie Series, Rachel shares some tips with you to help hold your position in the pack. You worked hard for that spot, so here’s how to keep it!
BEST TACTICS FOR HOLDING YOUR POSITION IN THE PACK
First, read this blog post from the Norcal Cycling News on how to hold your position in the pack. Oldie but a goodie. Some very good pointers here and will set the groundwork for the rest of my blog post. Seriously, required reading before diving into specific tactics.
As we all know, our competitors have certain strengths. If you don’t know these riders and their strengths and weaknesses, be sure to watch them and find out. It’s usually pretty clear. But, as we’ve also seen in our own riders, we each have strengths we didn’t know about. So, we don’t want to get trapped into ANY expectation for ANY rider. Including ourselves. So while some of these tips are just scenarios, each could end a million different ways. This is just what I perceive (and my coaches perceive) are best practices so to speak. Intrigued? Read on!
BEST TACTICS TO HOLDING YOUR POSITION IN A BREAK
So, you find yourself in a break … what are the “best” tactics? In a break, you must be honest with yourself … and the question is this:
“What can I do in this break that will give my team the best chance at winning the race?”
So what are those some answers?
- drive the break
- sit on the break
- attack the break
- be conservative in the break
- kill the break
- sacrifice for a teammate in the break
- attack for the win from the break
- repeat 7.
- never, ever get dropped from the break. Ever.
and, so on.
- – - – -
“So I’m in a break with a sprinter, she’ll beat me…what do I do?”
Good question. First answer: don’t work with him/her. Unless you make the decision that you are happy with second if you can’t beat this gal/guy, then take whatever you can out of the situation. Because, sometimes second is as best our team is going to get. Them’s just the honest facts
However, for the vast majority of races, the proper tactic is to put your team in the best situation to win the race. And so, that may mean killing a break that has a sprinter who will beat you in it. But what if you have a teammate with you against that feared sprinter? Well then, I think you know you can beat her then.
- – - – -
“I’m strong in the break, but no one will work with me?”
Well, I have to be honest with you, 99% of the time if a girl isn’t working in a break, it’s because she can’t. Everybody, I mean EVERYBODY wants to be seen as strong, it’s as simple as that. If there’s ever a rider who’s sitting on you for a reason other than she’s tired or that her team tactics dictate it … well, those are what we deem as wheelsuckers and they will get branded as such.
But, the honorable riders don’t sit on unless there’s a valid reason to do so. If you have a teammate up the road, it’s almost always suitable to sit on chasing riders. If you can’t win the race out of a 2-up move and you don’t want your team to settle for second, it’s ok to sit on that rider. etc.
And so, back to the original question – you’re strong, but the riders won’t work in the break. Well, maybe the best tactic is to kill the break immediately so you can re-absorbed in the pack and try and attack out again with a more favorable set of conditions for you.
- – - – -
“I’m in a 4-person break and I might be the weakest rider. Should I work or wait for teammates?”
The answer to this question will answer a lot of your questions about whether to work for a teammate, or what you should do as a teammate when one of your other ladies is up the road.
Anyone who does the work to get into a break or ANY of your teammates who does the work to get into a break deserves to get a result out of that break. We love winning, but we love the chase of the win more. Meaning, if one of our teammates gets in a break, let’s support their chance at a result. The reasoning behind this is obvious. If we all share the work, we’ll all share the chances at being that rider either in the break, or positioned well for a field sprint.
Any examples you can share? Let us know!
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: Trevista Elementary School located at 4130 Navajo Street Denver, CO 80211
Meeting Location: Turin Bicycles at 700 Lincoln Street. Join us at 7 am if you want free breakfast and coffee! Be ready to ride 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 4.5 miles! We’ll share the bike route the week of the event.
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!
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.
As a benefit of membership, Colorado Women’s Cycling Project hosts clinics each month in the off season and are led by leaders in the cycling industry on topics ranging from bike handling skills to nutrition to sports psychology. Clinics are organized by committee members Brittany Jones and Roberta Smith. If you would like to teach a clinic or have questions regarding a clinic, please email us to their attention.
Check out our calendar for more upcoming clinics and group rides!
Thurs, Jan 23: Advanced bike mechanics/maintenance – Turin, 6-7:30pm
Weds, Feb 5: Sports Psychology w/Julie Emmerman – QuickLeft, 6:30-8pm
Tues, Feb 25: Physiology Clinic w/Rob – Boulder Center for Sports Medicine, 6-8pm
Tues, March 4: Nutrition Clinic w/Ryan – Boulder Center for Sports Medicine, 6-8pm
Tues, March 11: Bike Fit Clinic – Boulder Center for Sports Medicine, 6-8pm
If you know Susan H., you know she doesn’t like being cold. That doesn’t stop her from riding during winter though! Here’s some tips from Susan. If you want a winter clothing checklist, here’s Rachel and Vera’s previous post to summarize it all for you!
This is one of those difficult questions to answer because what works for one doesn’t necessarily work for another. I’m the one who shows up for a morning winter ride wearing wool socks, toe warmers, shoe covers, tights, 2 base layer tops, a therminal top, winter jacket, hat under my helmet and something almost equivalent to my snowboarding mittens on my hands. Imagine, if you will, the younger brother on the Christmas Story movie. That’s how I dress for a 20/30 degree morning. The guy I’m usually riding next to on that morning ride has on knee warmers and arm warmers. That’s it! One can only assume he has covered his body in Mad Alchemy Embrocation to keep warm in those type of temps. If this guy dressed the way I needed to, he would probably be a solid block of sweat-ice midway though the ride because he would be over dressed for his needs.
Having a few essential layering pieces can help anyone have a more comfortable cold ride. Also, depending on your cold tolerance and trial and error will depend on how you decide to layer them. A good rule of thumb when preparing for a cold weather ride is to start off just a little cold, because after about 10 minutes of pedaling, you’ll warm up quite nicely. For most folks, if your overdressed, overheating can be uncomfortable, so you may have to experiment a little before you get it right. For me, even though I’ve only ever lived in Colorado, I’m more afraid of being too cold.
Leg and knee warmers. These are awesome because they keep your legs warm when it is in the up 30’s to the 50’s. A cycling rule of thumb is to keep the knees covered when it is 50 or below. For some, such as myself that temp tends to be closer to 60. Another nice thing about leg/knee warmers is that if your starting your ride in colder temps and you are riding long enough that it warms up enough you can take these off and they easily fit in one of your back pockets. If it is really cold tights may be the way to go. Tights can provide that extra wind protection in the front of the body.
Toe and shoe covers. There are a few parts of the body that are more susceptible to the cold air making it important to properly cover them… the hands and feet. For the feet there are a few items that you can consider. Toe warmers slip over the outer shoe and cover the toe box keeping the cold air from getting in. Typically this is all that is needed when it is 40-50 degrees out but when it is colder, say 20, a whole shoe cover is nice. Again…. to be like me you can just wear BOTH!
The core. Even in the cold when you are working, saying climbing up a hill or pedaling along to keep up with the group your riding with, you are sweating. Because of this, a base layer that wicks away the moisture is essential to keep your skin and clothing dry and to avoid heat loss. The next layer I’ll wear is a thermal top. This assists in trapping air between the layers, providing a insulation to help hold heat in. Now…if it is super cold outside, I need to keep the cold air from even reaching me so I’ll layer with yet another layer, a winter coat or something with a wind resistant front layer. This outer layer keeps that cold air off of you and holds the warm air in. This outer layer is often forgotten when someone goes out on a climbing ride. When you climb you are going slower and working harder which makes you think it is warm enough to not need a outer wind resistant layer, but when it comes time to turn around and descend…. It doesn’t take long before regret sets in.
Your head. About 30 percent of the body’s heat is lost through the head. So if you keep your head warm, your body will stay warm/warmer. And no, your helmet is not enough nor does it count as a scull cap. Remember all of the holes in your helmet allow air circulation on hot days. On cold days the cold air circulates. Depending on how cold it is, there are differing levels of gear that can be used. Head bands are a good beginning. A scull cap is also good lightweight remedy but on those crazy cold days you might consider a heavier winter cycling cap or even a balaclava which also protects your face. In 20 and low 30 degree weather you probably want your chin, lips, nose and cheeks covered.
Hands. Visit your local bike shop because they will have a myriad of different gloves. Keeping your hands warm and keeping the cold air off of your hands is very important. If they get too cold and ‘numb’ from being cold…. It makes it very hard to shift and more importantly it makes it very hard to brake. Believe it or not, this is another area you can effectively layer. There are lighter layering gloves that can easily go under a outer wind resistant pair.
In a nut shell….. layering is your friend.
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.
- 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.
This past Tuesday night there were 12 women who raced the Tuesday Track race with 3 of them being Naked ladies. The Boss, The Junior, and myself have never all raced together so I was pretty stoked and also super intimidated. Both of my track teammies are fierce experienced track racers and I really am just faking it. I made some goals for the night and here are a couple. 1) Don’t be a complete mess 2) Don’t embarrass my teammies and 3) Don’t lose my job.
Sounds pretty easy for most but I was in zone 5 just driving to the track and was told on the way down “you have a job tomorrow unless you beat me tonight”. So yeah, there is that.
Now for most of you I am going to assume you don’t know what the different races are for track so I will explain a wee bit. Note: I always have to wikipedia the race flyer the morning before I race because I still don’t know what all of them mean. Oh and also note that there were 4 categories for this night of racing. “A” (very very fast), “B” (very fast), “C” (fast), and Women. Because The Boss signed up to race with the “B” group AND Women’s group of course The Junior and I also did.. can’t look like a slouch when she is around. The Boss, The Junior, and I raced all 5 races but to spare you the time I am only going to give the play by play for 3 of them. You are welcome.
Race 1: “A/B” 10 Lap Point-a-Lap
Neutral start where everyone stays together for the first lap around the track and when the gun is fired and after my heart explodes out of fear from that sound the group takes off. Both A’s and B’s were combined to make for a bigger field and really scare the ba-jesus out of me. This was by far the biggest track field I have ever been in and it was definitely intimidating. When the gun went off so did the big boys… oh and The Boss. As she is pulling around me she says “let’s go Amanda”. Blerg. Who invited her? It is not the easiest thing to get to your position, work your way up, move around the group, pick the right lines, and also find the best wheels when you are flying in circles with no brakes. With the command to “go” I had no choice though. Time to try to just stay on her wheel was my thought. Again, who invited her?
How the winner is determined you ask? Points are awarded each lap with 1 point for the first person across the line per lap. Who ever has the most points at the end is the winner winner. Not only do you have to sprint every single lap but you also have to be good at math. Yes, this should be a good fit for me but these races are so fast and your brain is so oxygen deprived that I never have a clue if and how many points I have. The three Naked trackies finished with the lead group thanks to following The Boss but I couldn’t tell you who had what points even if you paid me.
Race 2: Women 1km Scratch
This time the 12 women lined up together to play a little cat and mouse game. After the neutral start you have 3 laps to be the first person across the line. The game comes in because if you make the attack early and someone is able to stick on your wheel they can sling around you at the last minute since they got a free ride and you’ve just used up a lot of your energy. Lots of looks, measuring up, and positioning happened during the first lap. “Who was going to make the move, where were certain people, how am I feeling compared to her, how long could I hold this pace if I jumped here, etc…” I am not sure exactly who made the big jump but it was quickly down to one lap to go with Kirsten Williams, The Boss, and I coming into turn 3 hot. I decided to try to spread my wings a little and attempt to come around The Boss and hopefully catch Kirsten. I wasn’t sure if this was going to work at all but in a last second effort I came up the banking a bit to then use that momentum to swoop down into the sprinters lane. Cool moment: The Boss said when I passed her it made a “wooossshhhh” noise… yeah, that made my day. Best moment: I realized I couldn’t catch Kirstin at the line so I looked around and didn’t see anyone so I decided to save a little energy and not fully sprint. Right as I am approaching the line I see an oh so familiar face out of the corner of my eye. The Boss had been on my wheel and saw my “sit up” moment and pounded LIKE A BOSS… so sneaky and so smart!
Race 3: Women Unknown Distance
This one should be pretty easy to understand. The women once again started with a neutral start but we had no idea when the gun would be fired to signal race on and we also had no idea how long we were racing. I assumed we would make it a lap before the gun went off so when it fired almost immediately I didn’t know what the heck was going on but saw The Junior and The Boss go so I just followed, typical. About 2 laps into the race The Junior went on an attack like a fearless wild flying monkey. Kirsten jumped right with her and was hot on her wheel. Since she had been the one to beat all night I decided to just race side by side with her almost bumping elbows. I knew that Kirsten couldn’t get around Anna if I rode that close and that if I needed to just go I would have no one blocking me. The only risky part of this rubbin’ is racin’ style is that it really becomes a battle between two people and both of you are burning yourself up with no end in sight. How long can I hurt like this? Thankfully after about 5 laps the one lap to go bell was rung. I was still right next to Kirsten with The Boss right on her tail. Naked finished the unknown distance 2, 3, and 4!
What a night! I had the best time getting to go fast with my Naked teammies. It is nights like this that fuel the fire for me and remind me why I LOVE THE TRACK. Stay tuned for more tales from the track. This weekend The Junior and I will be racing State Championship and each of us are going to our respective Nationals within the next two months. Go fast, take chances!
Sharon, Melissa, and Lanier finish up Ride the Rockies strong and leave it all out in the mountains. Read the recap on days 6 and 7 here. Go to www.ridetherockies.com to view videos and pictures of all 7 days.
Day 6: Salida to Canon City. 93.5 miles, 4,455 elevation gain, Hardscrabble Pass
Today we started at Big Dog Coffee shop, in Salida. Today was our reroute day. We ended up doing 105 miles because we ride to the hotel. It was the most beautiful of all the days. We went through Westcliffe and up Hardscrabble Pass. In my 9 years of doing RTR I have never done this pass.
Lanier didn’t ride with us today. She had to rest her engine for state TT and was heading back to Denver. We started with our group of 6 including Kris (303 cycling). He took the day off from the Naked girls the day before but really missed us so jumped back on the Naked train today.
Today we all split up after the first aid station because Dr. Sean was having mechanical issues. We made Melissa stay with him so Sam and I didn’t have to kill ourselves going up the pass with that Mtn. goat. Smartest thing we did all week. We all regrouped at the next aid station and finished together. We were so excited to get out of our chamois. We had a lot of chamois time today.
Day 7 : Canon City to the finish in Colorado Springs. 47 miles and 2243 elevation gain.
Today we rode to Florence so everyone could have their coffee. Since today was a short day to the finish we decided we had to leave it all out there. Sam was talking smack to me last night telling me I wasn’t pushing myself this week as hard as I could. Don’t tell Mama that. I was out to kick butt today. I knew we had some climbing so that was where I was going to have to put the pressure on.
I was talking with Ron Kiefel this morning, so he knew Melissa and I had a plan of attack on the climbs. First big climb kept pace up, but couldn’t shake anyone. I picked up more steam and everyone attacked. I thought I had it, then Sam flies by me going over the crest of the hill. Urgh!!! All of a sudden Ron appears and said, ” get on my wheel you have another hill and another chance.” I grab his wheel and we pass my group. He pulled me for a long time then when the next climb came he went over and said,” go get it.” Away I went and the only one who could stay with me was Dr. Sean and we hoofed it to the next aid station. He let me suck his wheel and gave me the win. I had to win one of the stages of RTR.
We finished the day with a few more attacks but pretty much stayed together. It was another great year with Melissa and Sean. Sam was a great addition to our group and we loved hanging with Kris ( 303 Cycling) for the week. Sean’s teammate Todd from Alchemist rode with us all week, and Erik from Aspen joined our group letting the Naked girls drag him around all week. I highly recommend this event to everyone. You meet great people, eat, drink and ride your bike everyday. Can’t get more pro then that.
Thanks for following us all week and reading our blogs.