Thursday, July 22, 2010

Bike Skills -- on the road

New for 2010, Velo Girls Coaching Services has partnered with organizations in other parts of CA to bring our Bike Skills clinics to YOU!

August 1st -- Chico, CA -- we're offering Bike Skills 101 (Fundamental Bike Handling Skills) in the morning and Bike Skills 201 (Climbing + Descending) in the afternoon. Both of these clinics are co-ed and hosted by the guru of Chico Cycling, Rodney Cox.

August 8th -- Sacramento, CA -- we're offering Bike Skills 101 in the morning and Bike Skills 301 (Pacelines and Group Riding) in the afternoon. Both of these clinics are for women only and hosted by the lovely ladies of Bella Fiore.

Space is limited in all these clinics (and registration is filling quickly). You'll find on-line registration for these and all our clinics here:

Monday, July 19, 2010

it's not all about the road bike

Velo Girls Coaching Services has two upcoming clinics for the dirt crowd, too!

Bike Skills 102 -- Mountain Bike Skills -- Sunday, July 25th

It's time for a little dirty fun! We'll teach you the basics (and not-so-basics) of balance, weight distribution, and how to use the terrain to your advantage. Learn to rock, roll, hop, and jump. Master the art of steep climbs. Learn to descend with confidence and skill. After just four hours, we guarantee you'll be a better bike handler and have much more fun on the bike. This clinic is highly recommended for both mountain bikers and cyclocrossers.

Bike Skills 103 -- Cyclocross Skills + Tactics -- Saturday, August 7th

Have you been wondering what's all the buzz about cyclocross? It's a fun but challenging sport that's beginner-friendly and appropriate for the entire family. And best of all, it's happening at a park near you! Join guest coaches Julie + Paul Bates in this four-hour clinic where you'll learn all the skills needed to get started in this incredible sport, including mounts, dismounts, and how to shoulder and carry your bike. We'll also share information about bikes & equipment, the local cyclocross racing scene, and how to train for a successful season. We'll finish off the day with a simulated race and de-brief. You'll need a mountain bike or a cyclocross bike for this clinic.

Details and registration for these and all our clinics can be found at

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Carolyn's CCCX Season Wrap-up

Hello Velo Girls,

The last race of the CCCX XC series was June 27th and the pressure was on - I had to take first place in the final race of the series to place first in the overall points for my category. My opponent had been injured and not feeling well and I have been feeling strong so I though my chances were was not going to be easy but I at least had a shot at winning.

Well - it just wasn't my day! No excuses - I just didn't have it in the legs to put out a hard effort for 4 laps around the thrilling sandy Fort Ord course. I held a close gap for the first and second laps and made up some time on the third lap but for the 4th and final lap my tank was empty and my legs were screaming for relief!

I had amazing friends and Velo Girls teammates there cheering (who put on a strong showing in the beginners race I might add!) but I didn't have any top-end speed or uphill power and just couldn't keep up.

This time around, in my second year of racing CCCX I learned the following:

1) Don't let the lead pack get out of your sights - it is easier to chase someone down when you can see them!

2) Keep pedaling no matter what (Thanks Lorri for this one!)

3) Always push a bigger gear (Thanks Aaron for this one!)

4) Hard training up to Sea Otter and less-than-organized training after Sea Otter does not a CCCX champion make - darn it!

5) Don't underestimate the importance of keeping a clean and well lubed bike

6) It's not a matter of if you will get Poison Oak at Fort Ord - it is only a matter of when!

I am pleased with my progress overall and making the jump from beginner to sport this year was one I made with some big-time fears. I'm pleased with my performance overall in the series and will be back next year chasing the elusive winners jersey. I am also proud to report that my husband Aaron took second overall in the beginning mens division in his first year of mountain bike racing!

I am transitioning my training now for a 100 mile mountain bike race in Lake Tahoe this September - no race reports from me for a while but I look forward to reading more road race reports from you skinny-tire crew soon!

Your itchy teammate (thanks to the poison oak!),


Wednesday, July 7, 2010

how to do the Death Ride without really dying

After coaching last week's Velo Girls Alpine Altitude Adventure camp, I wanted to share my top tips for Death Ride success. I've participated in the Death Ride three times (2010 will be my 4th). There are lots of ways to approach an event like this. Here are my best suggestions:

#1 -- Have a Plan. If you don't have a plan, you're less likely to keep on schedule, make the time cuts, and keep going when the day gets challenging. In your plan, include details like your time goals (print these out and put them on your bar, stem, or top tube), nutrition (what to eat + drink and when), and clothing.

#2 -- Stick to your Plan. Don't get lost in the moment. Revisit your plan during the day as needed.

#3 -- Have a Partner. In my experience with the Death Ride, I've found having a partner encourages accountability. Discuss with your partner in advance if you'll ride together the whole day. If not, when/where will you re-group. Discuss your challenges and how you will support each other during the day.

#4 -- Pace Yourself. Ride at YOUR pace -- a pace that is sustainable for the entire day. Don't get caught up in the excitement of the early morning hours and try to keep up with the hammer-heads. Remember, some riders will be much faster. Some riders aren't planning to complete all five passes. If you start out too hard, too soon, you're likely to suffer later in the day.

#5 -- Go Easy on the Easy Parts. Yes, that's what I said. Resist the temptation to hammer on the lower grades and the flats. Allow yourself to recover on the easy terrain and conserve your energy for the hard terrain (when you really need it).

#6 -- Remember to Breathe! Altitude affects individuals in different ways. In general, you will feel the effects at higher intensities. Try to prepare mentally for the negative effects of altitude (shallow breathing, rapid heart rate, headache, and nausea). Don't linger at the top of the climbs, but rather at the bottom. And don't panic when you suffer the effects of altitude -- remember that when you descend many of these negative effects will disappear or lessen.

#7 -- Freshen up for Five! As you pass through Markleeville, take a quick break to change clothes (a clean chamois will make you very happy), grab an icy cold drink from your cooler and your favorite treat, and an Action Wipe. We leave all of this in our car on the route so we can make a quick stop to refresh before the final climb.

#8 -- Don't Try Anything New. The day of the Death Ride is not the day to experiment with your nutrition, hydration, clothing, or equipment.

#9 -- Expect the Unexpected. For many riders, this is the most epic and challenging day they will have spent in the saddle. Over the course of 10 hours, anything can happen. Try to be flexible and roll with it.

#10 -- Don't Forget your Lotions + Potions. At 5:00am you're probably not thinking about sunscreen and lubrication. Here's your reminder. Apply early and apply often. I'm a big fan of Betwixt + Zealios and will be taking extra little sample-size packets with me on the ride.

#11 -- Celebrate your Victories! Participating in the Death Ride is a great accomplishment. There will be times when you feel overwhelmed and unhappy. Remember to smile. If someone says "good job," even if you feel awful, just smile and say thank you. Ring a bell or holler at the top of your climbs. Appreciate the great feat you've accomplished.

#12 -- Be in the Moment. Stay focused and aware, especially when descending. Although the roads are closed to cars (on Monitor and Ebbetts), there are 3,000 bicycles on the road. Be aware of others and your interactions with them. Ride safely, don't take undue risks, and have fun!

#13 -- Honor Mother Nature. It's true, you'll experience lots of different weather on an event like the Death Ride: cold morning temperatures, blazing sun and heat, and (most years) rain, hail, thunder, lightening, and chilling temps in the afternoon. Even if it's 90 degrees mid-day, it's likely to be cold + wet later in the afternoon. Don't ditch your layers before climbing Carson (you might very well need them).