Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement. Nothing can be done without hope and confidence. – Helen Keller
After last weeks race I can tell you I didn’t do everything right. I didn’t get back on the horse and I didn’t do recovery rides. My legs and thoughts are paying for it.
Yesterday’s 2 hour endurance mountain bike ride at my local trail was a total mind game. Dabbing on sections I haven’t dabbed on. Legs feeling like lead. Brain occupied on how the bike wasn’t responding right, that my rear end felt loose. I hadn’t ridden this trail with the installed tires for a couple months, but that doesn’t give reason for what was loose in my head.
A Setback of Confidence and Momentary Fitness
All things reasonable I did hit the ground pretty f’n hard last week. Knocking the sense out of me and keeping me off my bike for 5 days. My will was weak and I shoulda, coulda, woulda gotten on the bike sooner.
My soul knows this a momentary setback. In a week or so my coach will have my legs spinning around properly. With the right about of trail riding my confidence will be back as well. For now I’ll go for a 2.5 hour road ride, returning home to take apart my Spearfish, check over everything from the crash (shoulda done this before my ride yesterday) and hope that nothing is broken.
Confidence on a bike can take years to build. Feeling safe crossing bridges, logs, and going down steeps. It takes only one good hit to knock it out of you and make you feel human.
Today I am feeling fortunate to feel human. Allowing myself to put my realities in check and find the next thing to work on. We aren’t perfect and being able to find our flaws is part of having confidence too.
My background in marketing and sales management have been specifically highlighted with my love of analytics, report running and data mining. I love theories, graphs and making decisions by gut and knowledge. (More gut than knowledge.)
Now, I don’t go as extreme with numbers around training as I do with marketing and sales..but it’s close. Normally I’m NOT tracking every movement, gear usage and PSI of tires or suspension pressure on EVERY ride. (I have my moments when I go through that cycle, mostly when I have a new bike to dial in.) For the past few years I’ve used Training Peaks for my HRM or in years past my power device, a Power Tap about 10 years ago. In roughly 2006 the invention of the Garmin GPS training unit for bicycling opened my eyes to what you can learn from data. From the ascents, decents, temperature and such, over laid with your speed, cadence and possibly power. You really turn yourself into a machine!
Welcome Strava, social media for bike rides
Two years ago I first heard of Strava. I didn’t really get it, another site to track your GPS files. They had put a bunch of pro’s on the site, and I feel like there was only a paid version when it first started. In the beginning of the year when I purchased my new Garmin Edge 800 I started uploading some files to Strava when I remembered. It was cool as it tracked my data, and also compared it to my friends.
Strava Segments are Virtual Group Rides
I ride my bike alone most of the time. My job makes my ride hours vary, and I don’t like the extra stress of having set rides too often with groups. Two months ago Strava started the coolest things called segments. Basically it overlays your GPS file with set parts of trails, roads, or whatever to show how you compare to other Strava users on that section. Some examples are from the base of a climb to the top, or a full loop of a specific trail system.
It really excites me to try different places, or when I visit new places to do rides around these segments I can find on Strava.com. Comparing myself to others that have done that ride, climb, descent or loop. You can also make your own segments to see how you are improving. If you have a loop that you use for recovery, or maybe for testing purposes – this is a great function.
Ease of Use and Design
Strava has done a few things very cool and user friendly with their design.
Uploading is super simple. The first time you click Upload Activity it asks to download this sync thing. You don’t ever have to open it again, everytime you go to upload it finds your Garmin and all activity you haven’t uploaded this far.
No software needed. As noted above it downloads (what I think is a cookie) the first time you try to upload. I am able to upload from my laptop and desktop, not needing to open any software other than the internet browser I already use.
Stats and Activities are clean. Rides, performance, averages and such are easy to find on your profile. It also will compare you to someone else when you click on their profile.
Strava on your iPhone or Android
Strava functions mostly off Garmin but they have really great phone apps that will track and upload straight from it! This is an easy way to get into the social group ride without plunking down on a Garmin.
This is super handy also as every once in a blue moon I’ll forget my Garmin or forget to charge it. I don’t miss tracking a ride when this happens!
A popular question after cycling shorts and saddle recommendations is normally about chamois cream. If you haven’t heard about it before, don’t feel too left out it basically is under carriage lube.
Wait what? Yes, a cream you put between you and the shorts.
Why do I need Chamois Cream?
I go through spurts of not using chamois cream because I forget it or forget to buy new. Depending on my shorts, saddle and bike fit sometimes it is fine. Below you’ll find a list of reasons I recommend it!
Prevents chaffing, keeping your skin from rubbing together or rubbing against your shorts/saddle
Many creams have anti-bacterial in side of it
Helps with shaving bumps and in grown hair
Many creams have a cooling sensation that is helpful if you get hot spots or are simply warm down there on a hot day
What kind of Chamois Cream do I recommend?
This is tough, at the end I recommend to try different types and to figure out what ingredients you like. I’ve never had any rash or allergic reaction to any of the ones I recommend.
This is the original to me. I remember being 16 and the only other cycling girl I knew recommending it. It because ritual and the smell still reminds me of long rides. It has a cooling sensation which is also nice.
One of the first to make a “female specific” cream. I’ve used it, and can say I can’t tell a difference..it doesn’t seem to have such a cooling sensation and smells less medicated. I have also used the standard “guys” version which works just as well for me.
This is probably the most popular kind you’ll find in any bike shop. The standard version doesn’t cool as much, and I have been using the Eurostyle for the past few months. One nice thing about this type is they sell tubes of “sample” sizes to bike shops. I like these for folks trying out chamois butt’r for the first time, or for long rides to keep in your pocket!
How to Install Chamois Cream
I’ve heard so many ways to do this, either put it on your short before you put it on, or slather it all over yourself. I’ve tried putting it on the chamois and hated it. It made it feel like I was putting on a damp diaper.
Try starting with a quarter size of cream, I’m a fan of the squirt bottles over the scoop style jars
I personally put it in my butt crease, the groin crease and lightly on soft tissues that come in contact with my shorts
Don’t over do it! Start small and see how much you need!
What do you do??
What do you like? What have you used? Chime in below!
One concern that so many women (and guys) have with owning a bike is the basics of fixing it, or how to do basic road side repairs. I do recommend that as an avid cyclist even with some mechanical skills that you should become best buds with your local mechanic (beer or ice cream works well.) I also want women to feel empowered and to have a better idea of what they are talking about. Tech Tuesday is the remedy for common tech questions!
Question of the week from Facebook: Why would my rear hydraulic brake be locked up after sitting for a month?
In my many years of riding I’ve never had a hydraulic brake lock up on a personal bike, but have seen it happen on a few customers bikes that they drag in with the wheel stuck and not rolling!
The above can happen for many reasons, all of them are prevented with proper cleaning and servicing your brakes just like you would your car!
A blown seal can cause your fluid to not stay in the chamber it belongs in, and pushing the pistons to the “on position”
Dirt or surface rust can make your pistons also get stuck. This happens the least, but cleaning your bike every once in a while can prevent this
Dramatic change in temperature. If you have any air in your hose lines it can expand in heat, this can cause your pistons to also get stuck to the “on position.” This can be prevented with proper bleeding of the brakes.
I was told this morning by Surly Greg that someone in Washington State or Oregon said they saw him on my blog. Thank you whom ever said that to him. For you I stole an image illegally off of Greg’s Facebook page in order to embellish this video. Ladies, I believe he is taken.
Here at Bike Shop Girl I want women (and guys) to feel empowered and to have a good grasp of what they are talking about when it comes to tech, mechanics and goofy bicycling slang. Tech Tuesday is the remedy for common tech questions!
Do you know the difference in ISO and JIS bottom brackets?