Sunday, January 27, 2008

giving birth to an 18 year old baby

I'm sitting in the Colorado Springs airport after a whirlwind weekend at the Olympic Training Center. For two days, a group of almost 40 passionate and intelligent women coaches, racers, and educators immersed themselves in learning how to become better leaders in the cycling community.

I'll share some thoughts once I've processed everything. I picked up a couple of important take-aways and met some incredible women.

My presentation was a great success and very popular with the participants and I was so proud to be part of this incredible weekend.

My favorite quote from the weekend?

Start small and allow yourself and your programs to grow. Afterall, you don't need to give birth to an 18 year old baby.

Think about it. I bet you'll find somewhere in your life to apply that principle. Oh, and the quote was mine -- one of those spontaneous gems that just bubbles out and fits perfectly.

(photo credit to Kathie Reid from Velo News)

Friday, January 25, 2008

all quiet on the western front

my apologies for the lack of entries this week. January is always crazy-busy, but this year seems moreso than previous years. I've barely had a moment to breathe!

I fly to Colorado Springs today for the USA Cycling "Enhancing Leadership in Women's Cycling" conference. I plan to report on the sessions so stay tuned this weekend.

Kathie Reid from Velo News will be reporting on the weekend as well. She wrote a preview piece here:

Velo News: USOC Hosting Women's Leadership Conference

Now, if I could just figure out how the remote on my macbook controls powerpoint I'll be all set!

Friday, January 18, 2008

Developing a Meaningful Women's Cycling Program

I'm speaking at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs next week as part of USA Cycling's Enhancing Leadership in Women's Cycling conference. The topic I was given is Developing a Meaningful Women's Cycling Program. It took a while for me to wrap my head around how to present this, but here's what I've come up with. Thanks to the lovely ladies of the Team Estrogen forum for their input. Tell me what you think!

Why Programs Specifically for Women? Gender Differences in Cycling

  • Why Women Begin Riding
  • Desire for Community
  • Need for Education
  • How Women Approach Competition
Various Business Models
  • Women’s Program within an Existing Co-ed Cycling Club
  • Women’s Cycling Club
  • Programs for Women within an Existing Coaching Organization
  • Coaching Organization focused on Women
  • Regional Organization
  • Women’s Cycling Group within a Multi-Sport Club
  • Women’s Event/Program within a Sponsor Organization (ie bike shop, health club, fitness center, corporation, local race association)
  • Don’t limit yourself to Existing Models

Developing Women Cyclists
  • Why Women Start Riding
  • How to Find Them
  • How to Recruit Them
  • How to Retain Them
Developing Women Racers
  • Just What is Development Anyways?
  • Competitive Athletes from other Disciplines
  • Recreational Riders
  • Demographic of “Typical” New Woman Racer
Retaining Women Racers
  • Life gets in the Way
  • Keeping Women Engaged
  • Overcoming Fears
  • Providing Opportunities
  • Dealing with Failure
  • Managing Success
Does One Size Fit All?
  • Juniors
  • Masters
  • Elites
  • Recreational Riders
  • Multi-Sport Athletes
Ideas for Success
  • Making the Sport Accessible to Women
  • Community
  • Mentorship
  • Skills Education
  • Health & Fitness Education
  • Sustainability
  • Leadership & Structure
  • Group Dynamics
  • A Good Fit with the Community
  • Variety of Opportunities
  • Measuring Success

Challenges of a Gender-Based Organization
  • Geography
  • Working with Women
  • Reaction of the Other Gender
  • Competition
  • Other Cycling Organizations
  • Other Women’s Organizations
  • Overcoming Stereotypes
How to Overcome the Challenges of Being a Woman Leader in a Man’s World
  • Know your Mission
  • Find a Mentor and Build your Network
  • Gain Credibility
  • Develop Trust
  • Become Part of the Old Boys Network
  • Be Patient
  • Grow a Tough Skin
Ready, Set, Lead! Where do we go from Here?

Thursday, January 17, 2008

what's your exercise personality?

if you're like many of my clients, you have a unique personality and your motivation for training is your own. we're all different in this respect. some of us are motivated by the group groove of exercise classes or group rides. some are motivated by checking a task off our list. and some are motivated by changing our lives. does guilt motivate you? or a sense of accomplishment?

knowing that answer to that question -- what motivates you -- will go a long way in helping you choose the right exercise.

as a coach, if I can understand your motivation as well, I can help you by developing a training program that excites you -- one with which you'll comply.

but sometimes my clients just don't know what motivates them.

someone just sent me this fun little test. it's pretty simple, but I bet it will help you start thinking about what type of exercise you enjoy and what motivates you to stay active!

take the exercise personality test!

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

THINK PINK Party this Friday @ Mike's Bikes

hey girls! the new year is here, we have a jersey design contest winner, and it's time to have an impromptu get-together to celebrate! so, stop by our fabulous sponsor, Mike's Bikes in Palo Alto this Friday from 6:00 -- 7:00pm, to share a little liquid libation, do some shopping, and join in the announcement of our 2008 club jersey design winner!

and in honor of all things Velo Girls, Mike's Bikes is extending a special discount this Friday only to all Velo Girls members. you'll receive a 25% discount on all PINK clothing and accessories you purchase (bikes are excluded from this discount).

RSVP here --

keeping it short to go long

"a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step."

-- Lao-tzu: The Way of Lao-tzu, Chinese philosopher (604 BC - 531 BC)

no truer words were ever spoken. in my job as coach, I need to help my clients set long-term and short-term goals. of course, those long-term goals, if taken by themselves, can seem a bit daunting and overwhelming. but that seems to be the methodology many of my clients take when planning their season/career. as humans, it's not in our nature to think of the "little picture." instead, we think about the big results.

for example, I have a client who would like to lose 20 pounds in order to become a more competitive climber. 20 pounds is a huge percentage of his body mass and almost impossible to conceive. but if we break that down to a 500 calorie deficit each day, we know that he should be able to lose that weight in just 20 weeks.

I have another client who would like to bring home the stars & bars from masters nationals. that's the only race she's targeting for a win this season. but we need to look at the full season to build in the appropriate peaks and recovery to prepare her for her target event.

and as another example, I have a client who plans to ride AIDS LifeCycle in June. this will be her first multi-day event. actually, it will be her first long ride. okay, reality is she's just getting back on the bike after years of being sedentary. and everytime she thinks about 500+ miles in a week she has a major freak-out. so we've put together a schedule of progressively longer, consecutive rides and she knows that if she is diligent in her training she'll be more than ready in June.

so as you think about your year, go ahead and look at the big picture. pick your important events. think about how you'd like to change your life. but then, break it down a little more and choose some intermediate and short-term goals that will support your long-term objectives.

and then get out there and take that first step!

Monday, January 14, 2008

our body is an amazing homeostatic organism

we're very efficient at being constant. with this in mind, it's no wonder it's so hard for us to make lasting change in our lives.

like many women, I've had periods when I'm at my "perfect" weight and periods when I'm not. and, of course, there are the transitional periods in between -- yes, times of weight loss and weight gain.

I have a very simple theory about body weight and nutrition.

because our bodies are so darn efficient, it's very easy for most of us to maintain a constant weight. we have physical cravings for just the right amount of calories to sustain our current weight.

we don't over-eat based on physical cravings, but rather because of emotional eating. yes, emotional eating: we're happy, we're sad, we're celebrating, we're lonely, we're rewarding ourselves -- all non-physical reasons for eating.

if we listen to our bodies, and our bodies don't crave more calories than we need, then we won't overeat.

caloric deficit (under-eating) is another ball of wax altogether. it's hard to deficit ourselves. it takes discipline and conscious decision-making. we have to fight the physical cravings and the emotional desires. however, in order to lose weight, we need to create a negative caloric balance (aka a caloric deficit).

so, how do we do that? there are three components to weight loss (or gain or maintenance):

first, you need to know how many calories your body needs everyday (your caloric expenditure). short of lab testing, you can estimate this using a number of on-line calculators. I use a tool called it's a free online food and activity journal. by entering information about myself, fitday helps me estimate my basal caloric needs and my lifestyle caloric needs. then, I can enter my fitness activities each day for an estimate of my exercise caloric expenditure. voila! I now have a pretty accurate estimate of how many calories my body needs each day.

next, you need to know how many calories you're putting into your body (your caloric intake). to do this, you need to keep a record of your nutrition. I also use fitday for this. in order to accurately enter your food each day, you need to become a label whore (yes, read those labels), weigh, and measure your food. the biggest nutrition mistake I see in my practice is that folks underestimate what they're eating. we've been taught that a "portion" is much larger than it really is so we need to reset that measure. the second most common mistake is that folks insist that they eat "right" meaning they're eating healthy food, but they have no idea how many calories they're eating. so, you need to know what you're putting into your body in order to make positive change.

lastly, you need to make a conscious decision each day to deficit yourself. a safe, healthy rate of weight loss is 1-2 pounds a week, so a deficit of 500 - 1,000 calories would be ideal. this is the hard part, because you're going to feel hungry unless you fill your plate with foods that aren't calorie dense (ie lots of fruits and vegetables to fill your belly).

so, if one of your goals for the coming season is to lose weight, you have the tools that you need to achieve that goal right at your fingertips:

  1. caloric expenditure
  2. caloric intake
  3. caloric deficit
good luck to you in achieving your goals!

(editor's note: while this entry focuses on weight loss, I'm aware that there are also women who struggle with weight gain. the same principals apply.)

Friday, January 11, 2008

I am not a domestic goddess

no, really, I'm not. I know, I've probably been fooling you all along. I do cook most of my own food, but I make a few very simple things over and over and over again -- probably a lot like most of you, right?

so, this year (like every year in the past 7 or 8 or 9 years), I decided to start cooking more. I want to control what I put into my body. I have some pretty inspiring friends, like Flandria! and I'm not as courageous as she is, but I do want to start cooking soup. yup! soup -- the food of gods.

years ago I'd bought a couple of soup cookbooks. and a couple of weeks ago, I actually opened them up and thought about making soup. so, with a sick friend and a sick client in mind, I embarked on my first foray into the world of soup making. you got it -- good old fashioned chicken soup.

rather than trust a good old fashioned cookbook, I got a recipe (and I use that term loosely) from my buddy, Dana. here's what she sent me via email:

  • I usually get a chicken breast or two with the bones in
  • 1 leek
  • 1 white or yellow onion
  • 2 or 3 cloves of garlic
  • carrots
  • celery
  • fresh herbs of your choice (my favorite is tarragon, but rosemary and thyme work well too)
  • chop the leek, onion and garlic and saute in a little olive oil until the onions are getting clear, then pull the skin off the chicken breasts, throw them in the pot, and cover the whole shebang with H20
  • add the herbs--I pull the tarragon leaves off the stems. If I'm using rosemary and thyme usually just throw in a couple of rosemary stalks whole and pull them out at the end. I usually pull the thyme buds off the stems first and let them stay.
  • Throw in the carrots and celery and bring to a boil, then turn down the flame and let it simmer and simmer and simmer until the chicken is falling off the bone. You may need to add water.
  • Taste it along the way and add salt and pepper as needed. voila! easy homemade chicken soup.

so, I went to the grocery store to buy the ingredients. I realized I didn't really know what a leek is, but I figured it was some type of onion. I found a leek but I wasn't sure which part you used to cook.

home again, I started chopping. once I'd begun, I realized there really wasn't much detail about quantities in Dana's recipe. I'm a very literal person, so quantities are important in my life.

of course, I had a million questions! how does the chicken get cut into little pieces? how much water so I use? how much celery? how many carrots? my friend was working and couldn't access a phone, so I nervously tried to figure it out on my own.

in addition to the above, I added scallions with the onion mixture. I also added baby dutch potatoes with the veggies. and the nice butcher convinced me to use chicken thighs instead of breasts. I also added some whole wheat noodles.

it took a little longer than 15 minutes to prep, but not much, really. I set the soup to simmer, headed to the gym to run and lift, and when I returned the aroma in my condo was incredible! yum!

all in all it was pretty darn good. a bit strong in the celery taste, but I added some fresh pepper and a tiny touch of salt and it balanced out a bit.

so, I'm already thinking about my next creation. since this method of finding a recipe was so successful, why don't you share your favorite soup recipe with me? post your recipes in the comments section of the blog if you'd like to contribute to my culinary goddess training, okay?

bon appetite!

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Life's Lessons Learned Bicycling

I know some very wise women. I think the sport of cycling naturally attracts intelligent women, and many of them are filled with wisdom as well as "smarts."

Several years ago, as I was struggling with my health and the death of my mother, one of these wise women gave me the following poem, printed on a yellowed and tattered piece of paper. This poem had obviously been shared and contemplated for many years. I eventually scanned and printed, framed, and hung these words on my wall of shame, along with my certificates and awards. If you've been to my office for a bike fit, you've probably noticed this poem without realizing the significance of it's history.

These little tidbits of wisdom have helped me through many a tough day and helped me to put life back into perspective when I thought it was spinning out of control. So I'm sharing them with you, with the hopes that they'll someday help you put life back into perspective, too.

So thank you to that wise woman and all the other wise women who've crossed my path.


Relax and breathe deeply.

People may pass you on their journeys -- smile at them and wish them well; we all travel at our own pace.

Shift gears often. When the pedaling gets hard, make it easier. Don't fight or force it. Adjust to the road and the journey. You're in it for the long haul.

Sometimes you have to pull off the road to refasten your helmet.

You can stand on the pedals and give it your all, but sometimes you have to stop pedaling and coast.

Sometimes the wind is with you; other times it is against you. When it is against you, keep your head down and stay low!

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

you are what you think

I was sorting through a pile of papers yesterday and I came upon a little piece of paper (a page from my car's mileage log) with scribbled notes. I had scribbled those notes after the last mountain bike race of the season last year, as I rushed to the airport to fly to Denver. at the time, I had intended to blog about an experience I'd had during that race, but life got in the way, the paper shuffled around, and I eventually forgot about it. but finding that piece of paper yesterday brought back a rush of memories.

you see, I had intended to blog my thoughts about another racer. it really doesn't matter who she is. she could be anyone, really, and I'm sure at one time or another just about everyone has behaved the way she did.

she was new to racing last season. she was one of those women who always had an excuse to explain her performance. in her mind, she was faster than all of us and should have won every race, but bad luck prevented that with a variety of mechanical and medical issues. her excuses weren't what I planned to blog about, but rather just to give you an idea about her temperament.

I had intended to blog about her potty mouth! yea, I said potty mouth. everytime something happened in a race, she would drop a string of f-bombs. you could see the look on her face -- negative.

she'd miss a section: $&#)@%!

couldn't complete a pass: *$)_%($!

didn't like the weather: $&@#(#!

didn't win the sprint: *$%#@*!

you get it. potty mouth. it started before the race began and continued long into the parking lot as we were cracking a beer.

potty, potty, potty!

at first glance, you might assume she didn't enjoy racing. maybe she raised in bar or a brothel. but on further examination, I realized that she was just a negative person. her potty mouth wasn't isolated just to mountain biking -- it carried over into everything she talked about.

I know other racers, on the other hand, who are always smiling and never swearing. they love the sport and appreciate the experience of racing. and they win lots of races. and even when they don't win, they come out on top because they truly love the experience.

so, what's all this have to do with the price of tea?

negative self-talk can change the outcome of your life.

dramatic? yes. true? probably.

I'm sure there's some psychologist-type out there in blogland who can substantiate this claim with facts, figures, and statistics, but here's what I know.

attitude is a self-fulfilling prophecy.

if you believe you can win a race, you might actually do it.

but if you don't believe you can win a race, you probably won't.

the mind is a powerful force.

in the coming weeks, as you set goals for your season, think about how you approach your events. are you an optimist? are you looking forward to your events? can you set positive goals? do you smile?

try some positive visualization. imagine yourself being successful. imagine yourself smiling and laughing. imagine the possibilities if you can let go of your negative self and let your positive self out to play.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

are all your ducks in a row?

it's a new year. time to take care of business -- check the batteries in your smoke detector, change the furnace filter, and update your emergency contact information.

what's that you ask? yes, update your emergency contact information.

this hits home for me this year because ever since my mother died, my emergency contact had been my sister, Susan. well, Susan recently moved to Fiji, so I had to think long and hard about who I could depend on if I were in an emergency situation.

here's a little advice I've learned over the years.

family is usually a good choice for an emergency contact. even if they don't like you, they'll usually take care of you if you're injured or ill.

boyfriends or girlfriends are never good choices -- they come and go.

so in my case, with no family, I chose my best friend.

make sure to ask the person you'd like to be your contact if they would do it. I recall sitting in the ER with a young lady who had crashed on a ride I was leading. she didn't have her health insurance card or a credit card so I ended up paying for her visit and her prescriptions. then, her contact was a random on-line dating guy she'd met once in person six months prior -- probably not the best choice!

then, be very clear with them what you expect. you could even give them medical records, prescription information, and your health care proxy. if you have a pet at home, make sure they know how to take care of it.

in addition to carrying your health insurance info, meds info, credit card, etc with you when you ride (on your body, not your bike), I recommend the no-brainer solution -- Road ID. get one. today. throw it on your shoe or keep it with your helmet. and never leave home alone!

Monday, January 7, 2008

make meaningful resolutions

many folks hire me to change their lives. seriously! sometimes folks are realistic about their goals, expectations, and timeline. and sometimes they're not. whether you're an elite racer, an age-grouper, or a recreational rider, it's important to remember that positive change takes time. change also requires lifestyle modification for most of us. afterall, you didn't become an overweight, beer-drinking, cheetos-eating couch potato overnight and you can't reverse years of bad living in a month or two.

so here are some simple ideas you can implement today that will make long-lasting change in your life. pick one, commit to it for the next month, check it off your list everyday, and just wait to see the positive result on your life!

eat a salad everyday! salads are great because they fill you up but contain very few calories. of course, don't pile on a cup of fatty dressing!

replace one cup of coffee with a glass of water each day.

for any trip under two miles, try to walk or ride your bike instead of driving -- good for you and good for the environment, too!

commit to at least 30 minutes of aerobic exercise at least five days a week.

replace a sugary snack with a piece of fruit or a vegetable.

eat breakfast every morning.

replace your sugar-laden breakfast cereal with a whole grain alternative. add some fruit for a bonus!

take a 10-minute mid-day walk or stretch. clear your mind and re-focus your body.

limit yourself to 4 ounces of lean protein a day. chicken, turkey, pork, and fish are great choices!

spend 10 minutes each morning in meditation: clearing your mind, planning your day, and centering your energy.

Happy New Year!

Sunday, January 6, 2008


another indoor training workout today, this time just with Kim. I put together a really hard workout and even Kim was sweating. unfortunately, between my caloric deficit and her cleanse we both ran out of glycogen after the first hour. oh well, it was good while it lasted.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

when life gives you lemons.....

.....make pink lemonade!

despite the weather (or more aptly, because of the weather), we had an incredible team training today. as much as folks hate the trainer, you can get a super-effective workout in a short period of time.

and no flats, no crashes, no falling trees, no debris on the road.

jeff took a silly video

Friday, January 4, 2008

22 days

I received an email today from the organizer of the "Enhancing Leadership in Women's Cycling" conference at the Olympic Training Center, mentioning that there's only 22 days until the conference and that I should send my topic, powerpoint, etc asap. Dang! I guess I better write my presentation soon. USA Cycling booked my flights today so there's no turning back!

Thursday, January 3, 2008

2007 -- the year in review

every year I like to look back and reflect on my accomplishments for the year. did I meet my goals? have fun? learn something new? did I grow as a person? am I still moving forward? I'm sure you do the same thing.

2007 was a great year for me and for Velo Girls.

for 2007, I decided to take the team in an entirely new direction. This decision was successful on about 100 different levels and we continue to refine that direction in 2008.

on a personal level, I raced less than in previous years, but filled my weekends with more coaching and more clinics (and a bit more personal time with a fabulous new riding partner).

I trained differently than in past seasons, and was able to meet my weight loss goal. for the first time in many years, I felt healthy and fit again.

I had three A-level goals for 2007: win at least one CCCX mountain bike race, win Sea Otter, and win the CCCX series. I accomplished one of those goals and I'm not terribly disappointed in my progress toward the other two.

I competed in my very first triathlon (Scott Tinley's Adventures) and finished in 3rd place!

I also competed in my very first duathlon (Salmon Duathlon) and finished in 4th place!

and I competed in two triathlon relays, and finished 1st (Wildflower Olympic) and 3rd (Vineman Half Ironman).

I competed on a 2-woman team at the 24 Hours of Adrenaline and conquered my fear or night riding by finishing two night laps.

and I coached three successful Tri-Flow Women's Development Racing Programs -- including 2 wins. not bad for women racing in their very first races.

and (for you numbers geeks), I rode 430 hours (almost 6,000 miles) and climbed about 350,000 feet!

are there disappointments? none of consequence. each year that I'm able to ride my bike, support women in riding their bikes, and have some fun, is a successful year for me.

now onto 2008! yikes! I've been so busy planning the year for the club and the team that I haven't squeezed my own goals in there anywhere. I guess I have a bit more reflection to do.

to everyone who's shared in this fabulous year, thank you!

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

up in flames

my long Wednesday ride was derailled by an electrical fire at my house. long story short, I'm sitting here waiting for an electrician on what might be the only sunny day this week.

in the big scheme of things, missing one ride really isn't a big deal, right? I always try to express that to my clients who get a bit intense about completing every workout on every day. let's see how well I can take my own advice.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

60 million fatties

on the biggest loser tonight, host, Ali Sweeney, reported that over 32% of Americans are overweight. a third of us! I also recall hearing at one point that 30% of us will suffer from cancer at some point in our lives. there has to be some correlation between what we put in our mouths, our lack of physical activities, and our bodies' inability to purge cancerous cells.

as bike racers, we're hyper-sensitive about our weight. what is fit and healthy to the general population is considered FAT to a bike racer. our success is related on so many levels to our thinness and our ability to climb hills.

I relate to the folks on The Biggest Loser. when the show first come out, I was struggling with a significant weight gain due to my thyroid issues. knowing my own struggle, I've always been moved by the folks who can't walk a mile, can't fit into a normal-sized chair, can't be fit, because they are dying of obesity. to look at them, you know their bodies aren't normal. and they work hard and struggle and then lose the weight.

I somehow gained some of my weight back late summer/fall. I'm not sure what happened, but I've had a heck of a time dropping pounds again. my body (and my mind) are unhappy. I've resolved to be more disciplined, cut out the excess calories, move my body everyday, and regain my healthy weight.

crawling into the new year

it would've been great to do an epic ride to start off the new year, but that wasn't going to happen today. I woke up with a bit of a cold this morning. I get a cold about once a year, so I decided to use Zicam and try to fight it.

My teammate Kim and I, along with my pup, Julie, headed up to Brisbane to support the girls at the San Bruno Mtn. Hill Climb. I brought cookies I'd baked yesterday -- had to get them out of the house or I'd eat them all!!!

Sarah, Jenny, and Lala were racing, along with Sarah's hubby, Rick. we arrived in time to cheer them on during their warm-up, offer some last-minute advice, and socialize with other racers we haven't seen in months. all three Velo Girls did great and I was very proud.

click here for more San Bruno Photos.

post-race, Kim and I headed over to Burlingame for a late breakfast and then a trip to the park with Julie. my head was feeling stuffed so we decided not to ride today. hopefully I'll feel better tomorrow.