Monday, February 7, 2011

munday funday -- 7 february, 2011

although this graphic has been viral in the bike world on facebook, twitter, and various forums, I think it's incredibly clever and visually stunning so I wanted to share it with my hub of friends and readers.

the print was created Aaron Kuehn, a Los Angeles artist and cyclist, and appeared as a 2-page insert in a recent publication by the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition.  Aaron has now screened two limited-edition runs of this print -- sadly I missed ordering one for my bike fit studio so I hope he'll print another.

enjoy!  and click the links to learn more about Aaron.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

psst! hey you! over there! yeah, you.

I know you've been thinking about it. you see everybody else doing it and they're smiling and sweating and glowing with success. and you wonder if maybe you could do it, too.

guess what? you COULD do it!


bike racing.

since 2002, Velo Girls has been developing women bike racers. we teach them skills. we help them improve their fitness. we create a team-oriented environment. and we support them like the rock-stars they are.

in 2006, we introduced the Women's Development Racing Program sponsored by Tri-Flow Lubricants aka the Tri-Flow Program. there had never been a program quite like this in the bike racing world. we won some awards for our innovative program. and since that time almost 80 women have learned to race their bikes and have continued to race their bikes as Elite and Masters-level athletes locally, regionally, and nationally.

so quit thinking about it and start doing it. yeah, you!

our first Tri-Flow Women's Development Racing Program of 2011 begins in just a couple of weeks. we'll train together twice a week, culminating in participation in the Bariani Road Race in beautiful Yolo, CA. we'll learn lots of skills. we'll do some high-intensity workouts to transform ourselves into road racing warriors. and we'll learn about race preparation and tactics. and we'll have fun. yeah, you!

and if you like racing, you'll have the opportunity to continue with Team Velo Girls. if you find that bike racing isn't your cup of tea, that's okay, too -- you can check this one off your bucket list and move onto swimming the English Channel, climbing Mt. Everest, or competing in an Ironman triathlon.

the first program of the 2011 season starts on February 16th. we've got a great group of women already registered and space for two more team members. yeah, you!

email for more information. yeah, YOU!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

musings on girls + women in sport

while a plump groundhog in Punsxutawney, PA is making news by seeing or not seeing his shadow today, there's another February 2nd milestone that's just as worthy of media attention. today is National Girls + Women in Sports Day. woo hoo, says me!

of course, just the fact that we need a national day to recognize something like the privilege (and right) of girls and women to participate equally in any activity starts the wheels in my head turning.

many of the athletes I work with are too young to remember Title IX. oh yeah, it's a hip women's activewear company, right? um, no, it's federal law that was enacted in 1972 that prohibited discrimination in education (at least in federally-funded institutions). best known for it's impact on athletics, by providing supposedly equal opportunities for men and women in scholastic sports, it also applied to other educational programs (such as vocational education). and while critics complained that Title IX reduced opportunities for male athletes, women applauded the fact that they were now considered equal in the eyes of the federal government.

yeah, I was only 7, so what do I know? what I do remember about the date (June 23rd, 1972) is that my sister Susan was supposed to graduate high school. graduation was cancelled due to the devastating flood caused by Hurricane Agnes. our house was spared (by about 1/2 mile of Chemung River flooding to the north and 1/2 mile of Seeley Creek flooding to the south). we were ready to evacuate. my father helped sandbag the river. and I vividly remember walking around in the days post-flood, seeing half washed away homes (that looked like doll houses), inches of stinky mud and muck on all the streets and in the stores, and houses (and cows) floating down the river. the five bridges that separated one half of my hometown of Elmira from the other half were washed out. my father couldn't get to work (on the other side of the bridges). and high school graduation was cancelled. Hurricane Agnes proved to be a blessing in disguise, because my poor little town of Elmira, NY underwent a HUGE transformation due to the economic recovery.

so I guess I missed the news about Title IX.

a few years later I signed up for my first softball team. I was younger than all the other girls and we had a winning team, so the coach never let me play. I guess he hadn't heard about Title IX either. ball sports weren't really my thing anyways, so there! I will admit, however, that I was a pretty darn good bowler, but I never really considered bowling a sport.

I was a tall girl -- 5' 10" since 4th grade. yeah, I was tall. tall and skinny and gawky. not graceful at all, even though I'd been studying dance since I was five and twirling baton since I was 2. I was not an athlete. then again, were any girls my age considered athletes? they were tomboys. we didn't click. I climbed trees and built forts and rode bikes, but the girls who played sports with balls were just weird.

in junior high school, the basketball coach tried to recruit me to play for the school team, but I was involved with CCD after school. by high school, I'd missed my opportunity. it was too late. all the girls who had been playing for the past two years were athletes. I was not an athlete. so I stuck to what I knew -- books and music.

I finally gave in and joined the track team my senior year because I thought it would be good for my college applications -- you know, make me look well-rounded or something. it took me a month of daily training before I could run a whole mile without stopping. the coach declared me a sprinter. I ran a half marathon to defy him (he said I couldn't do it). I couldn't walk for days afterward. in the spring, I was recruited for high jump and long jump (because I was tall). I earned a couple of varsity letters, won a few trophies and some award for being outstanding in field events. but I was not an athlete -- I was simply doing it for my college applications (and the boys on the track bus were a nice bonus).

I missed my opportunity with sports. I went away to college, did college things, thought about rowing crew, changed my mind about rowing crew when I found out the team had to run to the boathouse (in Ithaca winters) down the big hill at 5:00am. yeah, I was definitely not an athlete.

post-college I dabbled with step aerobics and bought a bike but I was too focused on advancing my career to really spend any time being healthy. it wasn't until my late 20s that I quit smoking, started inline skating, skiing, and playing volleyball. but I still wasn't an athlete -- I was simply doing these sports for the social aspect (meeting boys in the ski club).

before I knew it, I was 30 years old and moved to sunny California, where everyone was an athlete. what was I doing here? I sure didn't fit in. I wasn't an athlete. but then something happened. I started riding a bicycle again, after more than a decade of not riding a bike. I liked it. it stuck. I was an athlete!

in many ways I regret the fact that if I had any athletic potential at all, I missed my opportunities as a child and young adult. I wish that I'd been one of those sporty girls from the sporty families that did sporty things. that was not my family. and our schools, at the time, didn't encourage female athletes.

I look at the difference between my youth and that of my nieces -- now all in their 20s. they grew up playing soccer and softball and basketball. they swam and dove. they could basically play any sport they wanted to play. the opportunities were there for them in their schools and in their communities. they were athletes, thanks to Title IX. they had the opportunity to participate in sports that weren't part of school sport programs when I was a girl. they could compete. and excel. and grow as individuals because of their experience in team and individual sports. they learned life lessons. they learned how to be competitors. they learned how to be team players. they learned how to win and how to lose. and they are healthier, well-rounded individuals because of these opportunities.

so, if you've followed along with my ramblings all the way down here, I'll ask you to celebrate the opportunities provided by Title IX. encourage a girl (or woman) to be fit and active and participate in sport. volunteer with a program for youth. mentor that young cyclist. give a shout out to the youth sailing in the lagoon. nudge your wife or girlfriend to join in that group ride or run or dance class. be thankful that the youth of today have the opportunity to develop as athletes, and more importantly, as individuals because of Title IX.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

waiting with bated breath

wait no more! without further adieu, I'm thrilled to announce the Velo Girls Coaching Services 2011 clinic and camps schedule. registration has already opened for all events through June and many are close to selling out, so if you're interested in participating, I would encourage you to do so soon. a $20 early bird discount is applied to all registrations processed more than 2 weeks prior to a clinic. All clinics are co-ed with the exception of our two-day Girls Got Skills clinic which is for women + girls only.

Just click on the date and you'll be whisked away to our fancy-dancy registration page for that specific clinic session:

Bike Skills 101 – Fundamental Bike Handling Skills – sponsored by
Feb 12th, March 20th, May 1st, June 18th, July 24th, Sept 10th

This 4-hour co-ed clinic is the foundation of everything else you’ll learn on the bike. This is the clinic where we teach the old dogs new tricks and the newbies the fundamentals. You’ll learn about balance and weight distribution and how that affects your ability to ride your bike safely and confidently. We’ll learn skills like riding with no hands, emergency stops, and how to look behind you while holding your line, how to steer, and counter-steer. After just four hours, we guarantee you’ll be a better bike handler and have much more fun on the bike.

Bike Skills 102 – Fundamental Mountain Bike Skills – March 26th

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.

Bike Skills 103 – Fundamental Cyclocross Skills + Tactics – TBA summer 2011
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! In this four-hour clinic, 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.

Bike Skills 201 – Climbing + Descending Skills sponsored by Teresa Callen of Image Arts Salon
March 20th, May 1st, June 18th, July 24th, Sept 10th
What goes up must come down, right? In this 4-hour co-ed clinic, we’ll teach you how to climb like a pro – seated climbs, standing climbs, short climbs, steep climbs, extended climbs. And then, we’ll teach you how to come back down again, focusing on a fast straight descent, and then a technical switchbacky descent. Pre-requisite: Bike Skills 101 or equivalent experience.

Bike Skills 301 – Pacelines + Group Riding Skills – April 10th, June 4th
Wheelsucking is an art! Whether you’re a racer or a recreational rider, group riding skills will help you ride longer, faster, and farther. We’ll learn draft theory and basic pacelines, beginning with partner work and progressing to more complex group riding skills and introductory racing techniques. Pre-requisite: Bike Skills 101 or equivalent experience.

Bike Skills 302 – Racing Skills + Tactics – May 7th
This four-hour clinic will teach you all the individual bike-handling and group riding skills you'll need to race your first (or your 10th) criterium or road race. In addition to skills & drills, you'll receive expert coaching on race preparation and logistics, and an introduction to tactics. We'll finish the day with a training race followed by a de-brief. Pre-requisite: Bike Skills 101 or equivalent experience.

Alpine Altitude Adventure (aka Death Ride Training Camp) – June 24th – 26th
Join us for a fun, co-ed training weekend in Markleeville, CA, home of the Death Ride. This co-ed weekend camp is designed to help prepare participants for the rigors of endurance riding at high altitude. Based in Markleeville, CA, this camp is appropriate for Death Ride participants and others who wish to gain high altitude experience. Daily mileage options range from 25 - 75 miles. Registration fee includes camping (Friday + Saturday), SAG on rides, cycling nutrition, Saturday breakfast, lunch, and dinner, Sunday breakfast, and lots of fun with cool folks. Thursday and Sunday night camping options available for a small fee. You are responsible for transportation to/from Markleeville, however participants will be encouraged to carpool.

Girls Got Skills sponsored by Jan Medina Real EstateJune 11th + 12th

This is our corner-stone clinic, and includes 16 hours of “you” time in the company of other cycling women. This clinic is a must-do for recreational cyclists and racers alike! We cover individual bike handling skills, group riding skills, climbing and descending, and training principles (including a time trial to determine heart rate training zones). Since 2003, women from all over the US and Canada have participated in this clinic. You’ll walk away from this weekend with a renewed love for the bike and the cycling community!