Tag Archives: Road Racing

Racing: Self Discovery  

Pro Challenge Experience

Natalia not only raced her first full season, she did it on the road and the mountain bikes! Read about how she dove in head first, what she learned, and what she is taking on to next year!

It’s hard to believe that road racing season is over. To get ready for the season I spent countless hours in the saddle and endured every possible weather condition on the planet. I have ridden my bike in temperatures ranging from freezing to triple digits, rain, snow, hail, gusty winds, sand and thunder storms, but I loved every minute of it. Well, maybe not at the time, but the thought of getting stronger always kept me going. I really believe cyclists must be the toughest athletes out there. We love riding our bikes so much that the elements never stop us and many times when we find ourselves in the middle of nowhere discovering new roads with no cell phone coverage, so quitting is not an option and we have no choice but keep on pedaling.

For me this was my first full year of racing so I didn’t know what to expect. Racing and leisurely riding are two completely different things. I tried all disciplines from road racing, time trialing, crits, hill climbs, and even mountain bike racing. I have been cycling most of my life and I love climbing mountain passes so I thought this would be my strength. I did some mountain biking in the past and bought a new bike not thinking much of it. I didn’t even consider racing it when I bought it. The last mountain bike I owned was about two decades ago and the technology has advanced quite a bit since then. My new toy has huge 29-inch wheels and when I ride it I feel like a little kid again. It has full suspension, disk brakes, and it’s just so much fun to ride so I thought I would try racing it because why not. As the season begun, I quickly realized I didn’t enjoy hill climbs, not only because I would get dropped but it was so painful that I wasn’t able to enjoy the beautiful scenery around me like I did in the past. My goal this season was to overcome my fear of crit racing but unfortunately my first crit ended early due to a crash. Luckily my injuries weren’t serious, my bike was ok, and I was able to race the next weekend. I didn’t want to end my racing season early so I didn’t take another chance. I’m hoping to forget about this unpleasant experience so I will try it again next season. Time trailing wasn’t my favorite but I will definitely do more of it again next year. Road races can be intimidating as they typically are longer, but I discovered that this was my type of a race. I am not a sprinter or climber; however I have good endurance and can push myself after riding long distances. I also learned the importance of working with teammates and even your opponents and how to strategize in order to win. I just wish we had more road races here in Colorado.  After taking my new mountain bike for a few short rides I signed up for 18 Hours of Fruita. I never raced a mountain bike, I never rode at night, and my bike was barely broken in. I recruited three other teammates to join me and we ended up winning the race. I was hooked! The race was a lot of fun and not as intimidating as I expected so immediately I started thinking about my next mountain bike race. I ended up doing three more races and I not only loved it but placed well which gave me a huge confidence boost. Now I can’t wait to do more races on dirt.

After reflecting on the entire season and analyzing each race and its outcome I really surprised myself. The races I thought I would enjoy the most and do well at, turned out to be my least favorite ones, but I always try to find a positive in each situation and I treated them as training rides for the races that mattered to me. The races that intimidated me the most turned out to be my best ones and most enjoyable. I also participated in several organized rides throughout Colorado. Even though they weren’t timed, whenever I wear my Naked kit my brain tells me it’s racing time. Therefore I have to remind myself that it is ok to slowdown, breath slowly, take in the scenery, chat, and make new friends.

If you are new to racing or intimidated by it, don’t dismiss it as you won’t really know until you try. It’s better to fail at something than to miss out on something that can potentially be your strength only because you were afraid you would finish last or embarrass yourself. I remember how nervous I was just pinning my first number to my jersey. I stubbed my fingers several times and now I get less and less nervous each time I do it. Soon I will be able to do it with my eyes closed. But don’t get me wrong, I still get anxious at the start line but I just focus on the finish.

Race Report: Deer Trail Road Race – Colorado Senior RR Championships


Natalia and Melissa worked the State Road Race Championships to bring home a jersey! Here’s the story of how they got the top step on the podium at Deer Trail.

Deer Trail is a small farm town on eastern planes one hour from Denver. The area is famous for its rolling terrain and crosswinds. I like to think that long, endurance races are my strength but you never know what can happen while racing, and as I was driving to the race all I could think about was getting dropped and time-trailing the entire 42-mile race. I arrived at the race with no expectations.

We lined up at the start line and were led through the town by the official on his motorcycle. Once we turned onto the county road the race was on. The SW4 field was relatively small, only 18 of us, and just one other girl from Naked. The pace was moderate and the field stayed in a close pack so the wind didn’t seen as strong. Melissa and I talked about strategy and even got few girls from other teams on board. About 25 miles into the race one girl from Primal team attacked. Melissa and two others followed but I got stuck behind a girl who had to get off her bike when turning around the cone. I knew this was my only chance so I pushed really hard and after fighting the wind I caught up with them.  The five of us sprinted until we were far enough from the pack and felt safe. We formed a pace line and worked really well together. After few miles one of the girls dropped off and I started to feel fatigued and wanted to drop off as well. What kept me going was my teammate’s encouraging words and the scary thought of being left behind in the wind all alone. Melissa and I kept pushing each other and if it wasn’t for her I would be left behind.

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It was only nine miles to the finish line when it was only the three of us. I looked behind and I saw nobody and I couldn’t believe how the race turned out. We knew we were safe so we slowed down a bit and gave our legs a little rest. At that point we knew we got this, but we still didn’t know who would win the final sprint. When we approached the 1km sign Melissa took off and I knew I couldn’t catch her. Margot from Boulder Running Company team and I raced to the finish but she was just a little bit stronger and I finished 6 seconds behind her. When I crossed the finish line I still couldn’t believe what just happened. For me this was my first podium road racing this season and I couldn’t have asked for better company on the podium. I was so proud of my teammate winning the State Championships. This by far was my favorite race so far this season, not only because I got my first medal, but because we strategized, executed, and won. This truly was a team effort.

Roadie Series: Early Season Road Racing Tips (Attacking and Counterattacking)


Already three races deep in the Spring Classics season, and just like that, the road season is upon us! Channeling her inner Boonen in Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne today, Rachel is going to share with you some early season road racing tips in her Roadie Series. Any you have to add?


Objectives are:

a) recognize which breaks to go with;

b) how to share the workload in covering attacks;

c) how to try and conserve energy while in breaks.


OK, first thing to remember is that EVERYONE is fresh and fast in the first 5 minutes of a race. If a break goes right from the gun and they stick it to the end … well, they deserve it. But, that’s very, very rare – so, my suggestion is to play the odds and try and be as relaxed and cool in the first couple laps as you can. Get to know your competitors, get to know the course.

Now then, you MUST recognize which teams have larger presences and that if they attack – they are likely interested in forming moves. If a single rider attacks – it’s often ok to let them go off the front; however, you then prepare yourself to follow the NEXT person(s) who try to bridge to them. In the end, racing is a lot of math (with knives). If your pack can average 23mph – you know that a breakaway will have to average higher than that. It is rare that a single rider can do so – but, 3 or 4 riders can do so with much more regularity. And so, if you see a move of 3 or 4 riders going off the front, that’s when you need to make sure your team is represented.

The key to being represented in moves throughout a race is to share the workload. If you have seen a teammate just attack or follow an attack, you MUST ready yourself to follow the next one. You MUST extend the energy needed to position yourself near the front of the race … but not AT the front of the race. Riding in the first 10-20 riders almost always allows you enough space and time to attack out of the pack. Don’t be nervous about positioning, you can do it.

Remember, even in races with “lower category” riders – there will be attacking riders. But, there will be some CHASING riders, too. There will be big, strong girls who won’t really know how to race bikes – but will know how to go hard. If you see these women going to the front and setting a hard pace – let them. You don’t need to attack them, be patient and see what happens. The time to attack is when the speed drops – it’s speed differential that makes the gap, makes the race. But getting the gap is only the first part – keeping the gap is the second.

Don’t be afraid to experiment. It’s fun. Have FUN!


Remember which direction everyone is pulling off, and flick with the INSIDE elbow to signal that you’re coming off. Then, move slowly in the direction the group has been pulling off. Now, if no one pulls through – just keep slowing down. Remember – you have teammates behind who will follow the next attack if your group gets caught. That is SO IMPORTANT to remember – you MUST be willing to let your group to get caught. If your breakaway mates aren’t going to pull, the move is doomed and there is no sense in your killing yourself in it.

Don’t surge! Keep the same speed as your break’mates. If you surge in speed, it will decrease the likelihood of them continuing to work with you. And remember, MANY riders will surge with their pulls – so you’ll need to be fresh to be able to accelerate with them. Many riders do not have experience in breaks and will do a lot wrong in them. You must be able to anticipate and adapt.

Many times the finish of the race is on the top of the hill (short or long like our Bannock Criterium team race); it helps the officials to sort out the group also.

If you are in a breakaway, you need to remember that hill will be taxing and you can get dropped faster than freshman chemistry. If you attack, or you follow an attack – be sure to regulate your effort as much as possible so that you have some juice in the tank for that long effort up the finishing hill. Now, how does one do that? You still need to pull in a breakaway group, right? YES! and no.

A very good skill is to learn how to take quick, short pulls in a breakaway. In a criterium – it’s all about recovery. So, taking short, 4-8 second pulls where you keep the speed the SAME as the group is going to be very beneficial. Be sure to signal that your pull is ending a second before you want to drop your speed.



Valley of the Sun… and the 2014 Racing Season Begins!


Kimberley had a great start to the 2014 racing season due to her hard work over the winter. We think the rest of the year will be very similar for her! Read about her first race of the season, Valley of the Sun.

While I fully intended to post throughout the fall and winter, chronicling the ups and downs of winter training, that just did not happen. Between taking on a new position in one of the three jobs I juggle, putting in ungodly hours on the trainer each week due to the bipolar weather tendencies of Colorado, and trying to stick to my new years resolution of keeping …READ MORE ON HER BLOG

Sharon brings home gold in the Macabbi Games Road Race!


Last report from Israel from Sharon at the Macabbi Games Road Race…and spoiler alert! She brought home the gold!!

It’s time to drink, celebrate and tour the country.

Today was the road race. 6 laps over a 6 mile course. The course was very hilly (perfect for me) with fast downhill’s and sharp turns.

Only 9 girls raced. 8 Israeli’s and me. I have no clue what happened to Australia, Argentina and Canada. I think the course scared them. So many of these people, both men and women, do not race or train on hills and it was a very tough course.

We started a couple of minutes after the master’s men. It was balls out from the start. I told myself to hang on. I knew they were all going to blow up because there was no way we could hold this pace for 6 laps. We were even passing several of the men.

Once we got into the second lap, just as I thought, everyone blew up. A pro athlete and a junior took off but I couldn’t hang on. A 30’s master tried to hang on but she couldn’t so I said to her let’s work together. You’re ahead of your competitor and I’m ahead of mine. She was lovely. We worked together for the whole race. I would not have wanted to be on this hot course alone.

She knew people all over the course so we were constantly getting handed water to drink and thrown on us. We knew the time gaps because they kept us informed. There were people cheering for USA all over the course. It was such a great feeling. USA men and several of the other men from the other countries were dropping like flies. The heat was hard on so many of the riders. I trained in the heat before I came here so I was prepared.

I passed my other master lady around 3 laps so I knew I had the gold if I stayed upright. They were suppose to pull her from the course but didn’t. The other 2 juniors got lapped and were pulled.

I pushed myself up the last hill and sprinted to the finish to win the gold. The girl with me who was in the 30’s came in 1 sec. behind me. I was 1st in masters and 3rd among all the women.

It was amazing to see all the people at the finish and all the USA men who were thrilled to see me pull off another great race.

This has been a great experience. I have met so many wonderful people but I am excited it is over. It is very hard racing in a foreign country and it makes me appreciate what we have back in the states.

Thank you all for your support, encouragement, and love you have given me over the past year.



My first win in my first hill climb!


Melissa won her first race! We knew she could. Here’s her report on the steep and beautiful pass of Guanella!

It will be difficult for me to top the amazing year of cycling I have had in 2013. So far this year, I have pushed myself outside of my comfort zone by joining a bike racing team, I was blessed with the amazing opportunity to do a week long climbing camp in the beautiful Santa Monica mountains in California, I participated in the longest Ride The Rockies in history (545 miles in 7 days) and I got first place in my first hill climb race at Guanella Pass this past weekend.  I am having so much fun!  In years prior, I never would have imagined myself doing any of those things.  I have always loved cycling, but I had never been part of a team before (not even as child) and competition didn’t really fit my personality.  Being part of the Naked Women’s Racing Team has certainly opened my eyes to a whole new world.

I joined this amazing team because of my wonderful friend Sharon Madison.  She saw something in me that I didn’t realize was there and she has pushed me further than I have ever dreamed.  I met Sharon on Ride The Rockies in 2011.  I was sitting by myself at the St. Anthony’s medical trailer waiting for my Uncle Rodger to finish his shift for the day.  (He owns and operates the ambulance company, Stadium Medical, that follows and cares for the cyclists during Ride The Rockies each year.)  When Sharon realized I was riding alone all week, she immediately invited me to join her group and ride with them for the remainder of the tour.  I had no idea what I was getting myself into. I had never ridden in a group before and if I’m being completely honest, my cycling clothes were hideously goofy and I looked like a nerd.  I can’t believe Sharon even wanted to be seen with me.  I knew very little about cycling at that time, but she took a chance on me. She said “You should ride with us tomorrow.”  So I did, and it was the best decision I ever made. Sharon has been my idol and my mentor ever since that day.  We rode together during Ride The Rockies again 2012 and 2013, and our friendship has blossomed each year.

I will never forget the first bike race that I went to in 2012, to watch Sharon.  It was the Sonic Boom Crit and she was AMAZING!! It was one of the most exciting sporting events I had ever been to!  I was hooked instantly.  After the race, Sharon invited me to ride with she and a few of her teammates.  I remember being terrified.  I surprised myself that day, however, when I was able to keep up with everyone and I even pulled a few times.   At the end of the ride Amanda Cyr said to me, “The way I see it, you have two choices.  You either join this racing team or I will punch you in the face.”  How could I say no? lol

Racing has been quite the experience for me so far.  I don’t think I was as nervous on my wedding day, as I am before each race.  The feeling I get at the start line is like no other feeling I have ever experienced. It’s a mixture of adrenaline, nerves, excitement, and fear. So far, I have participated in a road race, a team time trial, three crits and a hill climb.   I have learned something new in every race and I am always so happy once I have finished.  My goal this year has been to push myself outside of my comfort zone, and I have done that each time that I have signed up for a race. I absolutely LOVE being on The Naked Women’s Racing Team!!  I feel so lucky to be part of such a neat group of women.  It amazes me how helpful and caring my teammates are.  I love the “No Drama” motto and it is so inspiring to watch my teammates succeed and know each and every one of them will help me do the same.  I love the unity of this team.  I love that I am learning how to race, but most of all, I love that I am learning what it means to be a teammate.

Speaking of teammates, there were Naked Ladies everywhere at the Guanella Pass Hill Climb!  It was actually the first time my nerves didn’t eat me alive at the start line and I know it’s because I had so many friends right there with me. Now that was a fun race! Here is my little recap:

I started my morning riding to Georgetown in the team car with Rachel and one of our newest teammates Maria.  I can’t lie, at this point I was a ball of nerves.  It was nice to talk to Rachel about racing, however, and she answered a lot of questions for me.  When we arrived in Georgetown it was a bit hectic.  We didn’t have a lot of time to check in, pin numbers and warm up. Before I knew it, it was time to start lining up for the race.  Typically, at this point I’m ready to hurl, but I vividly remember looking around me and feeling a sense of peace, knowing so many of my teammates were right there with me. It was awesome.

I knew the wheel I wanted during this race and I never let it out of my sight.  In the very beginning I was nervous about my position at the start, but as we began to climb, I quickly realized I could move up to where I wanted to be.  My goal in this race was to be in the top 10. It was surprisingly steep in the beginning and I remember thinking to myself,  “Uh oh. This race might be harder than I thought”.

As we kept climbing, however, I noticed the group started to break apart. This was my first hill climb race, so I wasn’t sure what to expect.  I know from my years on Ride The Rockies, that everyone has their own climbing speed and I wasn’t sure how that would play out at race pace.  I was able to move my way up to the front where I wanted to be and I noticed that the group was much smaller.  I didn’t pay a lot of attention to the racers behind me because I had my sights set on that certain wheel, but I could tell there were not as many of us anymore.  I was getting excited because I felt like a top 10 finish was actually attainable.

Before I knew it, after a few more hills, the group was down to about 5 and then I was REALLY excited because I had not had a top 5 finish before and it was something that I really wanted.  I noticed one of the racers next to me was breathing very hard and it prompted me to check my heart rate. I was surprised at how I was feeling.  I was recovering when I needed to and I felt like I had the strength for the next hill to come.  I was soo happy about that but I was afraid to get too excited.

Then it happened.  There were only three of us.

I can’t even begin to explain how I felt at that moment, when I realized that I could possibly get on the podium.  For some reason, that just seemed so far out of reach to me.  Especially being so new to the sport and this being my first hill climb race.  I tried to keep my composure but the butterflies in my stomach were doing cartwheels.  Then suddenly, it was just me and the wheel I had chosen from the beginning.  I thought to myself, “How could this be? Is this really happening?”  Then I told myself to stay calm and focus. I followed her wheel for awhile and then she dropped back and got behind me.  I knew it was my turn to work.  I asked if she wanted to work together, and we did for quite awhile and suddenly I didn’t hear her breathing anymore.  I never looked back.  I just kept climbing.

I didn’t know what kind of turns were ahead of me and I was terrified of blowing up.  I kept a steady pace and was fully expecting other racers to fly past me.  But that never happened. Switchback after switchback came and finally I asked a man on the side of the road “Where is the finish?”  I will never forget, he said, “Honey, look up.  That blue tent is the finish.”  I think I felt my heart drop into my stomach at that moment.  I couldn’t wrap my brain around the fact that I was first. No way!  Not me.

So, I crossed the finish line in this very strange state of euphoria.  I pulled over and kind of sat there for a minute.  I thought to myself, someone must have passed me that I didn’t see.  This was nothing like the crit finishes I had experienced before.  I just could not believe it. Michael Hanna came over to me and asked me how I felt. I think I told him “I feel pretty good”.  Then he said, “Well you should, you just won.”

I couldn’t hold back the tears. I was a big nerd and I cried.  He smiled and told me it was ok to cry. It was a moment in my life that I will never forget.  Then, the icing on the cake……I waited at the top for Sharon to complete her race.  She pulled up with a big smile on her face because she knew she was on the podium.  We spoke for a moment and then she said, “How did you do, Princess?” I just looked at her and whispered, “I got first.”  She screamed, hugged me and tears filled both of our eyes.  How can I ever top that? I would NEVER have been there if it wasn’t for that amazing woman. She believed in me and she gave me a gift that I will cherish for the rest of my life.  Not just a first place win, but the gift of believing in myself.

Cornering Tips for Criterium Racing

The Group Learning.

Kat and Ingrid (arguably two of our best corner takers on the team) led a cornering practice at the Louisville Criterium course this week. Here’s the quick and dirty on each tip. Now get to practicing!

Cornering Tips
1.  Keep your upper body relaxed.  No locked-out elbows.
2.  Your outside foot should be down, always.  No exceptions to this rule, ever.
3.  Weight should be on the inside arm and outside foot.
4.  Brake before entering the corner.  Never break while turning in the corner, unless you want your front wheel to buck you off your bike.
5.  Look through the corner.  Do not fixate on the wheel right in front of you.
6.  Approach the corner wide, cut into the apex, and exit wide.
7.  The accordion effect – why you want to be near the front.
8.  Don’t cut under the riders in front of you.  You will make no friends if you do.
9.  Turn with your hips, not your hands.

And the video:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BwcLwK6Rj90

Cobb Lake Road Race: Why a Mid-Pack Finish Can Be a Good Thing!


Megan and Kimberley raced this weekend in Fort Collins and both not only kept rubber to the road, they kicked butt and got a podium finish. Great job to represent the Naked ladies this early in the season. 

After an exciting weekend in Moab with the Naked team, I was primed and ready for my first race of the season, which happened to be Cobb Lake Circuit Race in Fort Collins CO. I was nervous because it was my first race in the SW Open field, which meant any female of any category in the region could show up. I was nervous about getting last place and letting down the team. I was nervous because I just had my hardest week of training in 6 months and was fatigued.

However, the race ended up being a lot of fun. And there is nothing like racing to make you stronger, or to teach you how to be a better racer! Here is my recap as well as lessons learned:


  • Entrants: 18 women, 6 Cat 1-2, 6 Cat 3, 6 Cat 4 registered.
  • Course: 48 miles (6 x 8 mile loops with a 1/2 mile finishing climb on each one, plus ~1 mile section of dirt to boot).
  • Finish: 8th. 3rd Cat 3. (Top half finisher)

Within the first lap, one girl had attacked the field, and launched a tremendous pace on the rest of us. We ended up all grouping up in the 2nd lap into smaller groups of 1-5 riders. Luckily I found a group of 5 to work with, though we were sitting 8th-12th in the field at the time. Each lap was harder but I had to concentrate on the race within the race. Rotate, eat, drink, hammer, etc. On the first race of the year, it is hard to pace, so there is always a learning opportunity! Eventually the race ahead was won by my teammate Kimberley in a sprint to the line. My group of 6 broke up in the final 2 miles (on the dirt!), so there were 4 of us going up the final climb. I tried to sit on the 3rd and 4th girls’ wheels and went around them both on the final steep section to finish. I was lucky to finish 2nd in our group the line. For once I made a “move” at the right time. It was fun! The rest of the field trickled in over the next 10-15 minutes.


Lessons Learned

  • Cat 1-2 women are really strong! They all but one dropped me within 30 minutes :) So proud of teammate Kimberley who won the race!
  • Whatever you do, find other people to work with. Even if you are racing for 7th place! The race was over two hours long and it was extremely beneficial to have a “pack” of 4-6 riders to work with, in the wind, up the hill, etc. It helped with focus, and definitely helped with speed.
  • You might like what you least expect. My favorite part of the course was the dirt! I have always hated dirt, but I powered through it quite well and used it to my advantage here. I found myself less tired than those around me when I got to the hill each lap. Which was helpful for the finish!
  • Never underestimate a sprint! Going into the race I had no particular goals for finishing, except don’t come in last place :) By the last lap I was thinking it would be Awesome to finish in the top 3 of my “Group” of 5-6 girls. I out-sprinted a few on the steep uphill to the line and finished 2nd in the group, which was a small victory for me. This really helped my confidence for standing uphill and for sprinting, which in turn made me more excited and confident for future races.
  • Every race is a great workout, and is great recon for future races. You learn who is fit, who is climbing well, who doesn’t like to corner, who Really likes to pull into the wind, who is the best sprinter etc. It helps so next time you know who to best draft where and how they can make you a better rider. We all have strengths and weaknesses and can learn from each other.
  • Hydration and nutrition is always tricky in a 2 hour + race, especially when it is during lunchtime! I was VERY hungry and thirsty by the end, and wished I hadn’t skipped lunch. Cramping hamstrings reminded me of such throughout the race.
  • The best bike racers can respond to attacks. This is something I’m not great at and need to work on if I want to keep up in Cat 3. I especially have trouble going hard in the first 10-15 minutes of races, so I was hurting BAD early on, and wished I had warmed up more, or done some openers the day before!
  • You never know What will happen to others (or you) in the race. In this particular race day I saw the following occur in various categories: DQ’ed riders for crossing center-line (on the dirt!), DNF riders that dropped out, DNS rider that missed race start (almost 2 miles from registration!), riders with flat tires who got behind, rider who crashed out and broke his fork. The list goes on! So even if you think you are doing poorly it can always come back to you so never give up.

I love road races and the challenges and the teamwork that is required (across teams too!), and this was a fun way to kick off the season. I encourage you all to do some road races in 2013!

Thanks to Dejan Smaic for some awesome photos: http://www.sportifimages.com/RoadRacing2013/CSU-Cobb-Lake-CR/Pro-12

PRO or NO: Becoming Roadie


Rachel divulges all the ‘roadie’ style secrets.

We know it’s ‘cross season, but no fashion rules exist in cross (but Fred or Pro rules do). The crazier the better. Instead, we chose to focus this first clinic on the dos and don’ts in the style department specifically for the road. Anyone who has seen a cyclist, especially one who would label themselves as a “racer,” knows that they all look goofy. But do they? They have worked really hard for years to perfect the roadie style, and I’m giving you all the tips in a manner of minutes. You can thank me later.

From personal experience, I’ve violated every single one of these rules. I’ve also been lucky enough to have worked in bike shops, have teammates pass down the knowledge on group rides, occasionally read things like “The Rules” and investigate some other teams who also have too much time on their hands to devote to becoming a roadie.

I’m going to reiterate one more time, THIS IS TONGUE AND CHEEK and to be taken with a grain of salt. Large grains of salt. Coarse sea salt. Honestly, I don’t care what you wear our how you look as long as you’re riding a bike (unless you’re passing me, then it’s serious).

The Basics

0. Cat 5 tats don’t even deserve a number. Avoid at all costs. If you’re sporting one, watch how others around you know how to steer clear because you could potentially be a threat on a bike (and not because tattoos are all tough-looking). Also, I forgot to put this in after I finished the post, and instead of renumbering everything, it gets a 0.

1. No underwear under the chamois. I wish someone would have told me this the first season I was riding. Unfortunately, I’m sure the 15-year-old boy behind the counter at the bike shop hadn’t quite developed the words in his vocabulary. The chamois is meant for bare skin. That’s why it’s so important to have good ones (Curve Inc).

2. You must try to match at all times. Your stem and seat post must match (same color and brand). Jersey must match the shorts. Sunglasses must correspond to the helmet. Handlebar tape must match saddle. If you can match your kit to the bike, that’s even more PRO.

Beyond PRO. Most PRO references include Cipo.

3. Remove the spoke protector from your bike. If your chain is hopping from the cassette into the spokes, you have bigger problems. Nothing screams beginner like a spoke protector and reflectors (unless it’s on your commuter, then the more reflectors the better).

4. Saddle bags are not for packing a picnic lunch. A good rule of thumb-the stomach test. Put your fists together like you used to do as a kid and it supposedly made the size of your stomach (I played this game as a kid, yes I was a nerd, or a great roadie in training). Your saddle bag should not hold more than your fists together. Krieg bags are the perfect size and can fit all necessities and then some–and they have character.

Next Steps

5. Never, never, NEVER wear a sleeveless jersey and armwarmers. EVER! Until they develop shoulder warmers or air vents to keep your shoulders cool in your jersey, don’t ever make this mistake unless you are a triathlete and want people to know that. Remember, this is becoming roadie, and it’s a very distinct style all its own.

6. Never show up for a group ride with aero bars. It’s not safe and it still happens. All. The.Time. It’s technically not allowed at bike races unless it is a time trial. And it’s simply bad form. If you have clip-ons and it’s not a time trial, this can happen… (this is also another reason to NEVER half-wheel unless you’re echeloning).

7.  Bikes with aero bars are TT bikes. Not Tri bikes. End of story.

8. If you aren’t riding your bike, get out of your chamois. Any time that you aren’t riding your bike and in your kit, that does not count as “chamois time.” It’s unsanitary and can lead to saddle sores and other things that aren’t appropriate to put in this blog. If you’re riding long enough, you cannot wait to get out of your chamois.

The Nuances

9. Glasses on the outside of your helmet straps at all times. Two thought processes to this that I’m aware of: comfort and aerodynamics. Or how to distinguish between a non-roadie and roadie.

10. Tights, leg warmers or knee warmers go on the inside of your team shorts. You must fly the team colors at all times.

11. Chin straps are to be tied back or cut and burned. There is absolutely no need to have 4 inches of strap hanging from your chin. Pin that back or cut it off.

12. Visors on helmets are a no-no unless you’re a mountain biker. On the road, it’s not necessary. Wear a sweet cycling cap instead.

13. Know and study the following names: Cipo, Merckx, Coppi, and Anquetil. Don’t ask questions. Just do it. You should alsolook up Jeannie Longo, Alison Dunlap, Maureen Manley, Katie Compton, Kristin Armstrong, Evelyn Stevens, Georgia Gould, Marianne Vos, Connie Carpenter and the list goes on.


14. Sock height is tricky and can often be misunderstood. Here’s the general rule of thumb:

* Cyclocross-knee highs

* Track-no socks or very short socks

* Road-3 to 4 inches high

* Mountain-any of the above

*BMX-no idea

*Triathlon-compression socks

15. When you are about to cross the finish line, especially if you’re first, zip up your jersey.

Extra Credit

16. No bento boxes. This is non-negotiable unless you are in a triathlon greater than an Olympic distance.

17. Don’t be late for the group ride. It’s rude. Along these same lines, don’t pee 10 minutes into the group ride. Hold it or apologize profusely. You can also coax a teammate to stop with you and you can split the work to chase back to the pack.

18.  Know these jerseys:

*Green Jersey=Sprinter’s Jersey

*Polka Dots=King of the Mountains Jersey

*White Jersey=Young Leader’s Jersey

*Yellow Jersey= (Maillot Jaune) Tour de France Leader

*Pink Jersey=(Maglia Rosa) Giro Leader and Giro Donne Leader

*Red Jersey (since 2010)= Vuelta Leader

19. If the finish line is in sight and you’re not participating in a bunch sprint, you need to ride as hard as you can until you cross the line.  No sitting up, no thinking you have it, or thinking they won’t be able to catch you. Also, don’t give a premature salute.

20. Own at least one skinsuit (but NEVER wear it in a road race unless you have a team car, domestique teammate, and a pro contract). Skinsuits really do shave off time, and what adult doesn’t like wearing a onesie? Fun, fast, and most definitely pro. Get them tight enough and they also can act like a pair of spanxs. Very slimming.

21. If in doubt. Choose white.

Instead of taking several embarrassing, painstaking years to learn all this stuff, just look at #WhatBikeRacersShouldCallMe and learn everything you need to know in an hour. Though it may not make any sense until you experience the manual transformation of becoming a roadie over time.

Cat 3 and Cat 4 riders: Naked Women’s Racing p/b TriBella wants you!


The Naked Women’s Racing p/b TriBella team is an all-women’s cycling racing team based in Denver.  Because we’ve had some upgrades and other changes to our team in the last few months, we are looking for Cat 3 and Cat 4 women who are interested in learning more about bicycle racing.  We pride our team in being a great environment for beginner and seasoned racers who want to feel a part of something more than just the bike!  We are involved in community literacy and believe that giving back is just as important as being a part of the race community.

If you are interested in joining us or have questions regarding our team, please send us an email at info@tribellaracing.com.  New member deadline is February 25.

Click HERE to download our racer requirements.