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Week-end Round Up for March 22

6 Spring Cycling

Grab a delicious cup of coffee as it is time for the week-end round up. Have something to add? Put a link in the comments below.

The first week of spring has hit us and the anticipation across the cycling community can be felt near and far. This winter was tougher than normal for most of the country and I can admit first hand that I have been caught this past week  daydreaming of tan lines and long miles.

[highlight bg="#ed228d" text="#ffffff"]Get Ready for Spring Miles[/highlight]

Spring Tips

Tips to Get You Rolling After a Long Winter

 30 Days of Biking in April – Sign the Pledge

Changing Group Ride Behavior – People for Bikes 

This article is well worth the read. As a group we need to step up, mind laws and not give cars a reason to hate us.

[highlight bg="#ed228d" text="#ffffff"]Colorado Cycling Happenings[/highlight]

2014 Yeti Beti FundraiserWS

Yeti Beti / COMBA Fundraiser – March 29th

Black Tire Spring Soiree – April 3rd

Tips to Get You Rolling After a Long Winter

12 Get Ready for Spring Cycling

It is currently mid-March in Colorado and the weatherman is giving us more good days than not. I don’t know about you, but  I’m itching to get back into a rhythm of riding. What that really means is I’m trying to build back up the confidence of being on a roll and feeling the comfort of routine.

Sorting out the kinks after a long winter can be a challenge, but don’t let it trip you up or keep you from being excited about blue skies and two wheels! Here are the tips I’m taking over the next week to be ready for spring and many of miles with my bike before the weather is picture perfect.

1.) Get your bike ready

This could be a full service tune up or simply pumping up the tires, lubing the chain and giving it a once over. Either way, get your bike ready for that next warm day!

2.) Get yourself ready

This weekend an action item on my to-do list is to sort out my bike clothing. This includes being ready for some not so perfect days, but knowing where my gloves, shoe covers and possibly rain jacket is. That way I’m not searching for my left glove 15 minutes before my group ride is supposed to leave!

3.) Short trips are better than no trips

If you need motivation, ride to the coffee shop or friends house. Your first rides back on the bike don’t need to be epic, they need to be easy and familiar.

4.) Motivate yourself

Maybe you need a new gadget for your bike, or maybe you need to outline your cycling goals. Either way, put a carrot in front of yourself and bring on the motivation!

5.) Do it

Seriously, just get on your bike. You’ll thank me later.

Go Fartlek

2 Fartlek Cyclocross

Fartlek, which means “speed play” in Swedish, is a training method that blends continuous training with interval training. The variable intensity and continuous nature of the exercise places stress on both the aerobic and anaerobic systems. It differs from traditional interval training in that it is unstructured; intensity and/or speed varies, as the athlete wishes. (Source: Wikipedia)

The art of exploring is why I fell in love with biking some 18 years ago. The ability to just go find new places and adventures on my bike without the demands of school, sports practice or home life. It was a great escape and something I think we all forget as we grow up.

This past Monday when Emily and I got back from our weekend in the mountains I hopped on my bike and went for a fartlek, or Fartlick as my iPhone calls it. The goal was to blend in different speeds, try new routes and see how my knee felt on the single speed. The result was great, I enjoyed myself and found new trails near my house. An elevated my heart rate also showed me that my knee isn’t ready for the single speed just yet.

Do you implement fartleks in your training or weekly rides? What do you find?

I find new places to take photos, time to beat up on the pedals and needed bike time without a Garmin or HRM. During big training blocks I often find my best power over time results as I’m just getting in a groove with out focusing on the Garmin.

Now, go fartlek. Take a friend if you can!

Photo Disclaimer: I lost my bar ends on the ride, they will be replaced ASAP!

Creating Healthy Habits

4 healthy habits

The Whole Life Challenge is at it’s half way point. For 28 days I have been eating 99.9% Paleo, stretching, working out and picking up other healthy habits along the way.

As I enter the second half of this challenge, including a week long vacation, it is now time to figure out how to implement those healthy habits into everyday life when I am not being held accountable by a challenge.

This topic was brought up last night by my better half, how do you apply a challenge to the every day?

I’ve learned over the past few weeks a few things about myself and striving for my “healthy.” The first piece of that is creating healthy habits. Below are the steps that have worked for me during this challenge, but also in the past when trying to wake up earlier, pick up a skill for cycling or a new routine at work. They work for me and maybe they’ll work for you too.

Steps to Creating Healthy Habits

1. Submersion

I find that the first major step for me is completely submerging myself in the healthy choice I am looking to make. Whatever healthy choice you are tackling first embrace it, hug it tight and become very educated with it. Maybe you are starting to go to the gym, wake up early, or eat healthier – back your decision up with a lot of sound research on why you are making this HEALTHY choice. This will come in handy when you’re doubting yourself in a few days or when going gets tough.

Sign up for a group, buy a sleep app, save a ton of recipes to try and keep submerging. Task yourself to become an expert on this healthy habit. It will become so much of your every day that it really changes from a healthy choice to a healthy habit.

This is when you know you are fully submerged and ready to move on to the next healthy choice.

2. Limit the Options

In our house the only option for meals are Paleo. For the first 3 weeks in the challenge we hid the foods that we thought we would return to after the challenge, but ended up giving them away when we realized we didn’t want or need them in our diet. For myself, I bring lunch every day to work and the only option if I run out of food is a smoothie 4 blocks away from work. That is my only optional food at work.

If your only choice was between a chicken or a bison burger, you are doing great. If your only choice is to run at lunch or go to the gym, you’re an athlete. If you limit your choices, cut out the fat and give yourself less things to ponder, you will always succeed. Do not allow yourself the option to bail, skip a workout (unless sick or injured) or eat the crap. Those aren’t options, really they aren’t. When you don’t give yourself the option or choice, you don’t have to have will power to overcome it.

Think of one healthy habit that you practice in your life. This could be basic like doing laundry every Saturday morning so that you have clean clothes for the week, or taking your dog for a walk everyday after work. This is a healthy habit that you don’t even think of as an option, I bet.

3. Community

The Whole Life Challenge was a purchased community. With the challenge came forums, comments and a community to push us to be better. Thankfully, cycling and CrossFit both have tight knit communities to push us. As the challenge winds down I plan on submerging myself even more in these communities to feed off others positive and healthy choices.

What community, meetup or group can you join to help this new habit?

4. Prepare for Success

This is honestly my favorite mental switch that I have found during this challenge.

Through out my life I have been prepared for failure. It’s ingrained in my makeup and not something I am proud of. By submerging myself into healthy cooking and a new sport, limiting the options of failure, and leaning on a great community when I’ve needed an upper I have set myself up success. Success in healthy habits that has led to a healthier, happier, and stronger me!

What are you preparing for, success or failure?

[Luke:] I can’t believe it. [Yoda:] That is why you fail.

5. Commit

This will be the hardest step of creating healthy habits. If you have built the foundation of healthy choices on all the above steps you will be left with only one thing, committing to these choices so that they can soon become habits.

More than anything, remember you are committing to yourself and your family. A healthier you is the best commitment you could ever make.

Conclusion

Try not. Do or do not. There is no try. – Yoda

Photo Credit: scribbletaylor

 

 

What is One Healthy Choice You are Making Today?

24 Healthy Choices

We make choices every moment of everyday.

What time are you waking up? Do you hit the snooze? Do you allow yourself to be distracted? Who do you call? Who do you answer? Once you start thinking about what choices you are making in the moment, every moment, you can start seeing how many you are making. Hopefully, you can also see those pile up and can be the sail to your success in life or the weight to your failure.

As I entered this Whole Life Challenge I wanted less choices and making the ones I did make, better. When my alarm goes off, I get up without a choice of hitting the snooze button. The choices of foods to eat for the day are in my kitchen, I do not give myself the choice to eat out and the food we made for the week is tastier and better looking!

As you get your day started today think about what choices you can make to be healthier. What choices can you take out of the picture so that you have no option but to make the better choice?

If you had to make one healthy choice for today, what would it be?

My healthy choice for today:

Going to sleep early, to wake up early

Crossfit: Try #3

2 Crossfit Sanitas

Back in October I mentioned very discreetly that I might be giving Crossfit ago and a week later I did just that, I gave it a “go.” My better half fell in love with the sport and I couldn’t walk right for 4 days. This is when friends would chime in saying that it was my first true activity since cracking my patella and that it was probably setting myself up for failure. I didn’t feel like I failed but I did feel deflated and frustrated.

Fast forward 2 months, my gf is hooked and I haven’t really moved forward with any particular hobby. I’ve been giving running a stab but with the Polar Vortex and crazy cold weather we have had since early December it hasn’t been ideal. So, I did what any athletic, overly competitive, endorphin chaser, would do – I pulled on my big girl pants and went back to Crossfit Parkhill to get my butt kicked again. First by front squats, and then by the WOD of my Whole Life Challenge baseline test. When I was done recovering, including trying not to throw up on the car ride home, I knew what needed to be done.

Do It

I’ve always had a strong belief that if you are scared of something, you need to try and conquer it.

Well, I am scared of crossfit.

I’m intimidated of the girls that could toss me over their heads like a pizza, I’m scared of box jumps and double under jump rope contests. How can I fix that? Well, last night I signed up for a Basecamp class at the Crossfit gym near my work in Boulder, Crossfit Sanitas. 3 classes a week for 2 weeks and unlimited access to the other classes. This morning was my first fundamental basic class and I loved it. Starting at the very basics is what I needed (and to work on my push-ups) and I’m already excited to show up to tomorrow’s 6:30am WOD to try it again.

 

 

Tackling the Whole Life Challenge

2 Whole Life CHALLENGE

It hasn’t been a secret that I’ve been struggling to find my personal identity when I removed the “bike racer” from 25 hours of my week. Combine that with a new state of residence and a month old job, I have felt pretty disconnected from who I believe I am.

Over the past week I started researching (again) about Paleo eating to address some stomach problems I’ve been having. Naturally when I was training a lot my eating habits were 90% of what is outlined in a strict paleo diet. The 10% was left in greek yogurt for smoothies and thin whole wheat bread with almond butter & jelly.

Without knowing that I was looking at the Paleo diet my girlfriend emailed me Friday morning to see if I would sign up for the “Whole Life Challenge” with her. Initially I was very resistant. You want me to pay $49 to track my eating and body weight? After some reading and taking a “pride check” that my biggest goal for this challenge would be for Emily to meet her goals. I wasn’t too good for this, and by submersion into better eating as a family we will have the best results.

Continue reading →

Staying Motivated During the Polar Vortex and Colorado Winters

6 Colorado Winter Cycling

I need to confess, I haven’t been riding my bike as you can probably tell from the lack of updates and Strava achievements. In the cold and dark I’ve been turning to running and exploring the trails near my home. While this isn’t ideal for a content on a cycling specific site it is ideal for my happiness. My 2014 goals include no bike races for the first time in many years but instead to explore more and become a more rounded athlete.

How are you staying motivated and moving during these cold spells that keep hitting? Are you hitting the gym or maybe braver than I and suiting up for a bike ride? Perhaps you are smart and on the trainer in your basement pushing those watts around as your sweat hits the ground.

Tell us, what are you doing?

 

4 Tips for a Successful Family Bike Ride

7 Family Bike Ride

What do you think of when you envision riding with your entire family? The dream is that you will all be in a state of family bliss, riding along together at the same pace, wind at your back, kids smiling, and lots of family bonding.

The reality is that while that can happen, you need to plan and work at it. And don’t be discouraged when the first (or two or three) rides seem overly rough. As you all fall into a routine it will get easier and it will be fun.

Assuming you are already an avid rider I’ll spare you the most basic of bike riding tips. But here are four things to consider before you set out with the entire family.

Do the Prep Work

If you are an avid cyclist you are probably good about maintaining your bike. But don’t forget the kid’s bikes or trailer. Basics include proper tire pressure, functioning brakes, and a lubed chain.

You also need to prepare snacks, possibly toys or books for a trailer ride, baby wipes, drinks, and more snacks. Don’t underestimate the power of snacks on a bike ride. And a bike ride might just be the perfect time to allow a treat if the going gets tough. I swear by energy chews like Honey Stinger or Clif Bloks for both fuel and mental incentive when my son needs extra motivation.

And check their helmet for fit and safety. Don’t be one of those parents with a $200 perfectly fit and adjusted helmet while your child has a cut up foam mess – half hanging off his head.

Alyssa, a mom, and cyclist from Salt Lake City swears by helmets with visors. “I cannot tell how many skinned chins, skinned faces, and skinned noses we have bypassed by that silly visor taking the fall.”

Take the Proper Gear

Trailer and kids bikes can (and will) break down during rides. Be prepared to fix not only your bike and theirs. If you are not 100% comfortable with emergency bike repairs, bring the gear so someone can help you. In addition, bring along some step-by-step instructions so you can walk yourself through a repair if nobody is around. Check out Hero Kits for an affordable all in one tool and instruction kit.

Tip: If you don’t have a small tube for your kid’s bike you can use your full size tube in a pinch. On a recent ride my son forgot his 24 inch tube and got a flat. I used my 29 inch tube. It got us through our ride and back to the car.

Adjust your Attitude

Family Bike RideNancy Sathre-Vogel biked from Alaska to Argentina with her two boys so she knows a lot about family bike rides. Her #1 tip is to never doubt your child. And it’s true that they are often capable of so much more than we think or give them credit for. I have often thought a ride was too long or too hard for my son only to have him breeze through it and want to go farther. Of course the other side is not doubting her when she says she is too tired or not in the mood. Try to leave your goals and plans on the back burner and listen to your kids. (Insert bridge.jpeg in this section)

Think about the Destination

For adults a ride may be about the journey and exercise but for kids it’s often about the destination. Tanya who writes a family blog called Family Adventures in the Canadian Rockies says, “riding for the sake of riding may work for some kids but for others, riding to a playground, a duck pond, a big bridge, or even ice-cream shop just might be the incentive they need.”

Personally, our most enjoyable and memorable rides have been to a destination. Pick somewhere they love and the ride will become part of that enjoyment.

Family Bike Ride

Image Credit: Tanya Koob

So what are you waiting for? Okay, maybe for the snow to melt depending on where you live. But why not start to plan your next cycling adventure as a family.

Jen Charrette is a blogger at Velo Mom where she discusses family cycling, wellness, training and racing.