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Motivational Monday: Ride with the Boys

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Lately as I have been traveling I have been doing my best to ride with others. Normally I ride by myself as it is my away time but getting closer to cyclocross season I need to push myself and riding with others does that to you.

Riding with women is one thing, but I can tell you that hanging on to the wheels of some fast boys is very motivating. Especially when they are sweet boys that will wait for you when they drop you.

Thank you Reality Bikes for the rides last week, and I look forward to whatever wheel I can suck this week!

Race Report: Winter Short Track #1

4 Arleigh Jenkins Charlotte Winter Short Track

Going into the first race of the Charlotte Winter Short Track series I was nervous and unsure. How shell’ed off the back would I get? Would I clog up the berms for the fast single speed boys that needed to blow past me?

The morning routine was off. I’m not used to racing in the afternoons, so I was up and “Ready” about 3 hours earlier than I needed to be. The plan was to ride to the course around 12:15, race time at 1:50. Next week I plan on making it a lot closer as there was a lot of sitting around and getting nervous.

BRAAAPPPP, Race Time

Lining up among 9 other pretty fast women I knew I could hold a strong line in the trail, but half of a lap is on a gravel road or asphalt parking lot. At the moment of go I settled in quickly. My starts from cyclocross paid off , though I could have easily been 2-3 in to the woods and I was comfortably seated behind fast girl, Sarah Matchett, in maybe 5-6th position.  I was faster in the woods, she was faster on the straights. 9 laps, Sarah left me in her dust after the first lap. I settled into my heart rate,  trying not to spew Perpetuam all over as it was 70 or so degrees. My body wasn’t used to zone 4/5 in these temperatures!!

Slowly I was picking girls off. My lap times were pretty consistent, but not as consistent as I would like. A goal for the series is to find my “pace” so that my lap times get faster, not slower, as we tick them off. I found myself in 4th with two girls within eye sight behind me. Going through the finish line with “Two laps to go!” I was trying to hit a hard effort through the parking lot and look across to the finish line to see the two girls being lapped by the finisher of single speed. I still had a lap to go, but does that mean they are done? Do I just need to stay up right?? With a fear of them working together and chasing after me I kept going. Not full effort, but pretty hard.

Short Track 1 - Strava

Improvement is Motivation

Pulling through the finish in 4th out of 10 pretty fast women I feel ecstatic with my results, along with knowing internally I’ve only been training “consistently” since Thanksgiving time. I’m sure these girls aren’t on their top game, but it feels pretty good to be in front of girls that have normally lapped me in the past! I realize it isn’t a true Expert field or length, but my goals of being able to CAT up this year to Expert seem a bit more obtainable!

Amazing motivation to continue to hit training hard, listen to my coach and make healthy decisions. I can say this is my best start of a racing season ever and the most overwhelmed feeling of encouragement and motivation from my friends.

Rich Dillen Loves Me!

Photo Credit: CLTPhotography.com

Visiting the Pain Cave

2 Arleigh Pain Cave

Back in May I started conversation with a guy by the name of Steve Weller of Bell Lap Coaching. With my crazy schedule of juggling so many things I needed to find someone that could negotiate my available timing to give me the best quality workouts which would in return give me the best quality results. This is a long term investment, in myself, my riding and my lifestyle. I wouldn’t wake up being 50% faster but over time with dedication (and understanding from the family) I would become better than I was. Being able to hang onto a A/B group ride at one of my hot road shops…that is my ultimate goal.

In late May I started riding with a powertap strapped to the rear of two bikes, my Salsa Spearfish and my Foundry Auger. For the first month I was to just ride in the zones spelled out on my weekly training, these zones were mostly by feel and heart rate. Around mid June I went through my first threshold test in many years. The threshold test is in basic terms when you pin it and hold a level that you think you can hold for 20 minutes. In all of my years of going through these test I always am left feeling like a failure and that I could have pushed 5% more. That’s one of my goals this year, learning and finding that 5% more.

Fast forward to mid August. I had taken most of July off for travel, work and selling. Early August Steve and I got back on the gas. It was time to put quality work outs in to be successful this cyclocross season. Success for me this year is to cat up to CAT3 and not to be lapped by the 3′s.

This past Saturday I was scheduled to take another Threshold test. I did everything I should, ate well, went to sleep early and stayed relax in the morning. Of course I over looked that what date it was and of course mother nature decided to pay me a visit. 1/3 through my workout/warm up for the test I bailed. Could I have pushed through? Yes, but the results would have been worth it. Save the fight for another day.

That day was yesterday. I busted through my test and felt like failure at the end. I pushed hard, had a good 5 minute average, a okay 20 minute average and happy with the progress I’ve achieved from May through August, including taking most of a month off.

Progress is motivation. Finding myself on the road is motivation. Being excited to get into the drops and dig, is motivation.

Have you visited the pain cave lately? What did it feel like and what did you learn from it?

Sanity – A Bike Ride Away

2 September Mountain Bike Rides

I’ve been pretty open lately about the events happening in my life. A break up, stressful sell season, and now moving. It’s easy to get wrapped in the moments that feel more like missing man hole covers on a skinny road but I am forever reminded that sanity, a breath of fresh air and a moment of happiness is simply a bike ride away.

While I haven’t been riding my bike as much as I should be during these moments of stress, sadness and pure happiness… I’m working on it.

This past week I found myself on a couple mountain bike rides. The first on my own, the second with a group of friends. My head wasn’t on completely, I dabbed and walked sections of my favorite trail that I normally can ride on a cyclocross bike. I had comments and shitty moments of self doubt but at the end of it I was much happier.

No matter how large the rut you are hitting is I would bet you that a bike ride will be able to find you sanity.

The Spokesmen Cycling Roundtable Podcast Episode 90 & 91

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Been hanging out every other Saturday bantering about bikes with a buncha guys (and one lady) with the Spokesmen Cycling Roundtable Podcast.

Listen to the last two that I was present on here:

Episode #91

Topics Included:

How to Listen:

Episode #90

Topics Included:

How to Listen:

Motivational Monday with Halley in Portland

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What is your name and location?

Halley in Portland, OR

What type of cycling do you enjoy?

Racing & Touring

What is your first cycling memory?

Besides playing as a kid chugging up a hill in Ogden, UT during a warm summer evening – trying to get to final destination even though I was out of shape and on a heavy mtn bike.

Who inspires you to ride? Better yet, why?

I’ve struggled every day just so that I can continue to ride. As an epileptic I have to maintain a brutal medication, nutrition and exercise regimen all in an effort just to continue to ride. For me, it’s freedom to have the ability to just get on my bike and go without having to be dependent on anyone else.

What has been your best moment on the bike so far this year?

We had my birthday at the local bike shop/bar. Tons of people showed up. There was a jam session and we played music. Afterward, my friend led a midnight mystery ride from my party to secret new party destination. A twofer!

Tell us what you ride

I have a bike for every occasion! For summer time I have a couple fun freak bikes from my “virtual 20″ with the 27″ front wheel/ 12″ rear. My beautiful tall bike chopper that turns heads and gets waves and smiles. My race bike, a Santa Cruz Roadster. I tour and haul cargo on a heavily modified 1985 Panasonic DX 2000 with a discontinued 11-34t Shimano Megarange (that I got an an estate sale new and will never give up!), my single speed cyclocross bike which is nothing special, a Trek carbon fiber/aluminium road bike.

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Motivational Monday, a Monday tradition at Bike Shop Girl, my goal to keep you motivated and to be striving on the bike even during a hard week or long hours at work. Are you a woman that bicycles? Fill out this easy form and be part of our motivational movement! 

Cycling with Epilepsy

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Halley was featured earlier this year in the Motivational Monday series. I personally pulled a lot of inspiration from her and asked her to write an article for BSG on cycling with epilepsy. Give the article a read and then visit her blog to follow along her journey.

When you are triaged at the emergency room or picked up by the ambulance after a bicycle crash involving no other vehicle, the intake paramedic or nurse will write “FDGB” on your form. What super official medical term does this acronym mean? “Fall Down Go Boom.” It does get the point across, at the very least.

In 2009, I was going to the emergency room approximately every six to eight weeks for similar reasons. Part of it I was cycling more so naturally I was on my bike versus say in my apartment or walking. It made me a prime candidate for tipping over randomly. A few crashes I just stood up and dusted myself off, but several of them were pretty epic with full facial road rash, splayed out in the middle of road and no memory of how I actually ended up there. That last part was the most unsettling of the entire affair.

That’s when they sent me to a neurologist. It seemed that I had been what are called “absence seizures.” Chances are that I have been experiences them for a long time in my life and have never noticed them. I kind of freak out when I think of this, because I have driven a car a lot in my life and worry that I could have been driving when this had happened. Earlier in life, I would go into random crying fits that had been misdiagnosed as “hypoglycemia.” I very distinctly remember not being able to look at restaurant menus and see the words or formulate thoughts. The neurologist informed me that I was most likely experiencing what was called a “simple partial seizure” and having had them recently, I can attest all the orange juice and glucose tablets in the world won’t help, so while yes they do look like a low blood sugar crash, they are indeed not.

I had my first “grand mal seizure” during a bike ride in downtown Portland and hit a park bench. This was an extremely difficult and stressful time for me. I felt like my brain was trying to kill me. All I wanted to was live a car-free lifestyle, work at the women’s homeless shelter and continue my own business as a professional harpist (with a custom-made bike trailer for my full size folk harp). You know, the typical Portland Oregon lifestyle, right? I couldn’t really live that when I was riddled with migraines, my weight massively fluctuating from trying out new medications – and I already suffered from an overweight awkward childhood so this new struggle was just one more thing to add to my plate.

My neurologist and I struggled to deal with my daily migraines so that I could ride my bike again without the threat of seizure and we couldn’t figure it out until I came across something she didn’t think of. Allergies. I knew I was allergic to a few medications and chemical products, but in addition to them, I added gluten, lactose and egg to my list. Having a very severe latex allergy, I had never realized that banana or avocado were part of the same family, which while I loved and are very beneficial to most diets, unfortunately for me, they cause more harm than good. Cutting them out as well, cleared so many skin issues. It was actually about that time, 2010, I “went vegan.” I had already been eating mostly vegetarian due to the lack of dairy and egg products. My body has never processed red meat well and I don’t eat pork, so it was a pretty natural transition. The most difficult thing for me to break up with was gluten. Total carbitarian.

I want to smack myself in the forehead because it sounds so stupid writing this. You cut out the stuff that you’re allergic to and you stop being sick. I’m not a nutritionist, not giving you nutritional advice and I can only write what worked for me. And, let’s be honest. I still have seizures. It’s not all about food. But I did lose 70 lbs in less than a year, which I am sure was mostly because I was putting crap in my body that couldn’t be processed and broken down.

There are the good days and the bad. I have worked really hard to get to where I am. Charting when I have seizures. I have been on a bunch of different types medications that haven’t worked for me or that I have “grown out of,” meaning that dosage is at such a high mg that any more would be toxic so the doctor either has to supplement a different medication or change medications. There are literally dozens of different kinds of epilepsy that affect the brain. Mine is called progressive myoclonic epilepsy. In short, it means it’s going to get worse in time, but right now it’s really well controlled.

I love cycling and it’s my life. I ride with a primarily road racing team here in Portland, though my passion is cyclocross. I haven’t been able to race the last two years due to health reasons. My knee went out two years ago and I had foot surgery last year. This was related to a back fracture I had six years ago. Ironically related to the dysfunction in my right cerebral hemisphere, which causes discrepancies in motor skills, visuo-spatial, perception and coordination. Basically I FDGB. I am definitely looking forward to this fall and getting muddy.

Sunday Linkage: Rainbow Colored Tires, BikePacking and Getting More Women on Bikes

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My short Recap of Interbike 2013, to be elaborated over many post this week

Safety Concerns for Pro Women Cyclists

CO Cyclocross Calendar, if you have something to add let me know!

303 Cycling Flood Relief List - helping those in need after last weeks devastating floods here in Colorado

Pedaling Nowhere list 4 BikePacking Videos to get you out the door

Velo Mom’s Musings on How to Get More Women on Bikes

Wadjda – The first feature-length movie made by a female Saudi director

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Lots of colors from Continental in their popular Grand Prix 4000 S II found over at Bike Rumor. Photo courtesy of BikeRumor

Buca Boot hits Kickstarter - This rear cargo box adds security and ease to your bike commuting

Denver’s 15th Street Bikeway Explained

Sunday linkage is a weekly roundup of popular articles here on BSG, or that I found of interest. If you find something worth sharing, let me know on twitteror email.

 

Motivational Monday with Ashley in Malaysia

3 Motivational Monday Ashley

What is your name?

Ashley in Penang, Malaysia or at AeroChick.com

What type of cycling do you enjoy?

Road and Cyclocross

What is your first cycling memory?

I’m sure if I go way back I can remember things earlier, but one of the things I do remember is my brother, who’s three years younger than I, picking up my bike and riding it around sans-training wheels. I remember being pissed that he could ride it better than I could.

Who inspires you to ride? Better yet, why?

A good friend of mine is owner of Beverly Cycles in MA, and just exudes a passion for cycling. He was one of the ones that unknowingly got my head back into cycling after giving up for a time.

What has been your best moment on the bike so far this year?

I’ve done a fair amount of races this year, more than the last couple of years, but I think the best moment was the other day. We’ve recently moved to Malaysia from the Boston area, and the other day was my first bike ride here. While it was a whopping 3 miles and was only for getting around to run errands and meet up with folks, it broke the ice of cycling here. I’m much less worried about going out for rides, and I can’t wait to go out again.

Tell us what you ride

I have many bikes. My theory is the usual N + 1 where N is the number of current bikes, and I have enough parts and frames in the basement of our hours in the States to build several bikes.

That said, my road bike is a 2009 Fuji RC frame with Ultegra 6700 parts and Mavic Krysrium wheels.

My CX bike (the only one I have with me until October) is a mix of various parts I’ve bought in shops, online or salvaged from other bikes. It’s a 1×9 with BB7 disc brakes, carbon fork and Mud2 tires. I’m planning on putting road tires on soon until my road bike is shipped over.

I have two bikes that I left in the States for when I visit, one is a 1976 Raleigh Grand Prix with Sora crank, fenders and 700c wheels. The other is the first new bike I’ve ever owned, a 2002 Trek 1000 road bike, which will be my primary bike when I’m back home, in case I want to jump into a race.

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Motivational Monday, a Monday tradition at Bike Shop Girl, my goal to keep you motivated and to be striving on the bike even during a hard week or long hours at work. Are you a woman that bicycles? Fill out this easy form and be part of our motivational movement!