Monday, December 24, 2012

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Rainy Days and Saturdays Always get me Up!

Winter rains are here.  It's pretty cold, too.  It actually feels a bit like snow.  Rain gear and fenders are great, but sometimes I don't feel like the post-ride clean-up so I'll just ride my CompuTrainer or the rollers instead.

after two days of torrential rain riding in SLO

So, what else do I do when it rains?  I work on the calendar!  I'm thrilled to say that we've got 2013 calendared out through November.  Yeah, I'm crazy like that.

It should be an exciting year for Velo Girls and we want YOU to come out and ride with us.

On the mountain bike side, we've been brainstorming for a while with Team Velo Girls members to come up with a new, enhanced schedule that will embrace the beginner and challenge the more advanced rider.  I think you'll like what we've done.  We're introducing a monthly First-Timers Mountain Bike Ride at Coyote Hills.  While we like to think that our weekly Dirty Velo Girls ride at Arastradero OSP is a beginner ride, it's really not.  So our hope is that beginners will come out to join us at Coyote Hills, realize we're a really fun group of chicks who are encouraging to beginners, and then join in on our other rides.  At the other end of the spectrum, we've been ignoring our more advanced riders who want a challenge beyond Arastradero, so we're going to rotate our weekly ride between different locations (Arastradero, Fremont Older, Waterdog, and somewhere else special) to reach a variety of fitness and skill levels, as well as geographic locations.

On the road side, we're bringing back some favorites and adding some new rides, too!  Team Velo Girls members will lead three progressive training ride series this year, focusing on the Cinderella Classic (January - April), a Hill Climbing series (May + June), and then a series that will lead up to a fall century in October.  We're moving our always-popular Midweek Madness Co-ed Group Ride at Mike's Bikes in Palo Alto to Thursday evenings.  And we'll continue to offer weekly Melo Velo beginner road rides in Woodside and monthly Melo Velo beginner road rides in Orinda.  We're also working on a plan to offer a Medio Velo option that will feature a mid-distance endurance ride year-round.

We've moved our calendar functions over to Meetup, which has proven to be a great marketing tool and also a really efficient way for us to keep track of RSVPs.  So join up our meetup and then come out and ride with us in the coming year!

So, what did you do on this rainy Saturday?

Friday, December 14, 2012

Announcing our 2013 Savvy Bike Camps + Clinics

No one can help you ride or race your bike better than the coaches of Savvy Bike.  Since 2002, we’ve helped 1,000s of women and men achieve their goals of being smarter, safer, more skilled, and more confident on the bike.  We’ve created a learning atmosphere where you’ll feel comfortable and safe, and yet challenged to try something new.

Everyone can benefit from our skills clinics, whether you’ve been riding six months or two decades!  We take the hit or miss out of the learning process to help you flatten the learning curve.  It doesn’t need to be difficult or painful to learn to ride or race a bike. We’ll help you ride “with” your bike instead of “on” your bike.  And we’ll help you have fun!

By popular demand, we introduced our Bike Skills modules in 2008.  We took our most popular two-day bike skills clinics and broke them down into 4-hour modules so you can focus on those skills that are most important to you. Some of these clinics are for women or men only; some are co-ed. 

We highly recommend you participate in Bike Skills 101 (or an equivalent clinic) prior to registering for our more advanced road clinics.

Bike Skills 101, 201, 301, 302, and the Tri-Flow Development Racing Program are eligible for USA Cycling (USAC) upgrade points for categories 3, 4, and 5 racers.

Registration is open for all our January - June programs at

The Tri-Flow Development Racing Program

Introduced in 2006, this award-winning program is designed to help you bridge the gap from club rider to team racer. In a six-week series of workshops, clinics, and rides, we'll teach you everything you need to know to begin road racing and then support you at your first race. This program is limited to eight riders each session. A solid level of cycling fitness is required. Program fee includes custom team jersey, USA Cycling License, race registration fee, twice-weekly team training, and a group training program. Contact to schedule an assessment.

Team #1 – Bariani Road Race (Feb 3rd  – Mar 17th, 2012)

Team #2 – San Ardo Road Race (Jul 6th – Aug 17th, 2012)

Cinderella Kick-Start Clinic – Jan 19th

Are you planning to ride the Cinderella Classic on April 6th, 2013?  If so, this is the PERFECT clinic for you.  We combine the best skills from our Bike Skills modules, along with important information about nutrition and bike maintenance, to start you off in the right direction for a successful event.  Then, join us for our progressive training ride series that begins the following week and you'll be crossing the finish line in style!  Meet other women who will be riding Cinderella and have a GREAT day of bike-love learning.

Carmel Valley Women’s Cycling Escape Weekend – Mar 22nd – 24th, Oct 11th – 13th

Join us for an action-packed weekend in beautiful Carmel Valley.  We'll be based at the historic Los Laureles Lodge, featuring adorable rooms and mouth-watering meals.   We've got plenty of options for both road cycling and mountain biking.  In addition to supported rides + educational seminars, we'll fill your girls' weekend with yoga, spa time, and wine tasting.  Escape with your bike to amazing Carmel Valley!

Alpine Altitude Adventure (aka Death Ride Training Camp) – Jun 22nd – 24th, 2012

Join us for a fun, co-ed training weekend in Markleeville, CA, home of the Death Ride.    This 4th annual 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), a Friday skills clinic, SAG on rides, cycling nutrition, Saturday breakfast, lunch, and dinner, Sunday breakfast, and lots of fun with cool folks. 

Bike Skills 101 – Fundamental Bike Handling Skills – sponsored by – Feb 3rd, Mar 16th, Apr 28th, Jun 8th, Jul 21st, Aug 31st, Sep 29th, Nov 2nd

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.   This clinic is a pre-requisite for all other Bike Skills road cycling clinics.

Bike Skills 102 – Fundamental Mountain Bike Skills – Apr 7th, Jul 14th, Oct 13th

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 – Aug 24th

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 Jan Medina Real Estate – Feb 3rd, Mar 16th, Apr 28th, Jun 8th, Jul 21st, Aug 31st, Sep 29th, Nov 2nd

Bike Skills 201 is a continuation of what you’ve learned in Bike Skills 101.  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 – Mar 3rd, May 5th, Aug 4th, Nov 3rd

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 11th

This six-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.

Bike Skills 303 – Advanced Racing Skills + Tactics – TBA

Take your racing to the next level! In this 4-hour clinic, you'll learn to "make the race" by incorporating individual and team tactics -- and we'll teach you the skills to do that! Bring your teammates for maximum learning.  Pre-requisite: Bike Skills 302 or equivalent racing experience.  Pre-requisite:  Bike Skills 302 or equivalent experience.

Bike Touring 101 – May 25th – 26th, Oct 26th – 27th

Have you thought about touring on your bike but don’t know where to begin?  We’ll unravel the mysteries of supported, fully-loaded, and semi-loaded touring for you.  This clinic includes a two-hour seminar on the topics of equipment, bicycle choice, what to bring, how to pack, camping, cooking, safety, and choosing your route.  Then, we head out for a weekend of semi-loaded touring with a 50-mile hilly option or a 25-mile rolling option, both ending at Pigeon Point Lighthouse Hostel in Pescadero, where we’ll have dinner, spend the evening, soak in the hot tub, and sleep.  The next day, we pack up and return to the start.  This is a fully-supported event and includes ride nutrition, dinner (Saturday) and breakfast (Sunday), SAG, and your accommodations at the hostel.

Registration is open for all our January - June programs at

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

My Super Power is Slow Cooking

Okay, just to get this elephant out of the room, my blog is staler than year-old sourdough.  I blame Facebook.  And those who blog know that the longer you wait, the harder it gets to write quality posts.  But I should and I WILL get back on track.  I've got event reports, product reviews, and training tips to share.  But first, here's a really easy, yummy fall recipe for you to enjoy.  

Little known fact, I love to garden.  My winter garden is pretty simple this year with two types of kale, red lettuce, and sugar snap peas.  

Another little known fact, my super power is slow cooking.  I discovered the slow cooker a few years ago and I have dozens of favorite recipes.  I'm actually a really good cook (amazing since my mother could burn boiling water).  I like to cook local, in-season, organic stuff.  Since it's fall and squash and cranberries are in abundance, here's today's yummy treat.  This low-calorie dish could be a breakfast (try it over some oats or quinoa), a side dish, or a yummy snack.  I've eaten it both warm and cold and it's equally as delicious.


1 -- butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cubed
4 -- apples, cored and sliced (I leave the skin on)
1 -- big bag of cranberries (adjust quantity to taste).  I've used both fresh and dried and both work great, although if using fresh I suggest throwing them in for only the last hour or two.  
1/2 -- white onion, peeled and chopped
1 -- tbsp ground cinnamon (you could substitute cinnamon sticks)
1 1/2 -- tsp ground nutmeg

Dump it all in the slow cooler, stir it up, and set it to high for 3-4 hours (until the squash is cooked through).  I like the squash a little firm as it stores (and re-heats) better that way.  The only difficult thing about this recipe is waiting to eat it while your house fills with the aroma of fall deliciousness!

Okay, first post back out of the way.  Next post will be cycling-related, I promise!

Friday, July 6, 2012

dirt don't hurt

Hey everybody!  We've got a couple of upcoming co-ed clinics that might interest you cyclocross folks:

Saturday, August 11th -- Bike Skills 102 (fundamental mountain bike skills) -- coached by Ron Castia of Wenzel Coaching.  If you're like me (a roadie who decided to race cx but had never, ever ridden on the dirt), then you NEED this clinic.  Just because a cross bike looks kinda like a road bike doesn't mean that you'll be magically transformed into an all-terrain rider.  Bike Skills 102 covers the fundamentals of balance, weight distribution, traction and will really help you understand how to ride on mixed terrain.  It's truly good stuff and will help you take your cx riding in a new direction (like not flat on your face as soon as you hit a sandy section).

Sunday, August 12th -- Bike Skills 103 (cyclocross skills + tactics) -- coached by Barb "Barbarella" Howe (former US National Champion and US world team member) and Matt McNamara (of Sterling Sports fame).  This is the ultimate CX clinic and covers all your fundamental CX skills (mount, dismount, carry, flying through the air, beer hand-ups) as well as race prep, training, and tactics.  We finish the clinic with a simulated race so you can put all your new-found (or newly refined) skills to practice.  

Registration for both clinics (as well as all our roadie-scum clinics) can be found here:

There is limited space in both clinics.  Yeah, these aren't the kind of clinics where we pack 100 riders in and then don't give you any individualized attention.  These are SPECIAL (really, because you're all special, too).  So register early or wait until next year.  Oh, and if you register more than 14 days in advance (that's 2 weeks for those of you who can't count higher than your fingers) you save $20 on the registration fee.  


Sunday, April 15, 2012

30 Days of Biking Day #15

I'm getting excited about Sea Otter Classic this week.  Today was a staff meeting on-site, where we got our clothes, radios, wristbands, and final instructions for the week.  It was fun to catch up with friends on staff.  Everyone is excited (and surprisingly calm).  The infrastructure is built-out, staff is on-site, and the vendors and exhibitors begin arriving soon.

I arranged my schedule to sneak in a quick road ride before the meeting.  I wanted to recon the route for our Friday morning Women's Road Ride so I headed out South Boundary Road (closed to cars at this time) and down to Monterey.  There were too many happy tourists to make good time and I didn't want to fight the crowds on the Monterey Bay Coastal Trail so I turned back a few miles short of the route's end point.

It was a bit odd riding South Boundary Road today.  Because it's closed to cars, I had to go around a number of road gates, which made me feel kinda sneaky.  I saw a few other cyclists on my way out, but on the way back it was completely deserted.  South Boundary is the road that runs along the edge of the Ft. Ord lands and the view of military remnants, deserted structures, and the posted signs signaling "danger --  unexploded munitions" is a little creepy.  Ft. Ord was a munitions staging and testing ground from 1917 to 1994.  Clean-up efforts are in place and I've raced both road and mountain bikes on the property.  But it still gives me an eerie feeling when riding there, and that feeling was heightened today as I rode alone.

The weather at Laguna Seca (home of Sea Otter Classic) was sunny, windy, and a bit cool.  As I rode down to the coast, I found myself in the fog.  But climbing 5 miles back up to the raceway I was back in the sun.

All in all, a good day.  My legs are feeling great and the short section of 10-14% grades wasn't miserable (the tailwind helped).

lovely coastal blooms

Saturday, April 14, 2012

30 Days of Biking Days #10 - 14

Yeah, it rained this week.  A lot.  Torrential rain.  Record-breaking thunder and lightening.  And I opted to ride the rollers every day it rained.  For someone who's not actually "training" that sounds a lot like training, doesn't it?

I actually really like the rollers.  They're entertaining.  They're great for core and balance and bike handling.  I like doing intervals on the rollers.  I like riding no-handed and standing and doing all the things that are challenging.  I like watching "Weeds" while I ride the rollers.

But the rollers aren't all that interesting to blog about so I let this blog slide this week.

Thankfully, I awoke to a gorgeous, sunny, but cool day.  Today I coached two Savvy Bike clinics:  Bike Skills 101 (fundamental handling skills) in the morning and Bike Skills 201 (climbing + descending) in the afternoon.  It's a long day but always fills me with an incredible energy.  There's really nothing I enjoy more in life than coaching clinics.  There's an awesome synergy in the group setting that really allows each participant to excel.  I love shifting paradigms and unravelling the mystery of the bike.  Yes, the bike really is a mystery to a lot of riders, even those who have been riding for many years.  It's always fun to watch participants progress throughout the day and finish with a really solid understanding of the physics behind our sport -- learning how their bikes "really" work, how to interact with the bike, and building confidence and skills.  I'm a lucky girl that I get to do something that I love for my job.

As I've continued to lose weight, it's been really exciting for me to see how much my climbing has improved from month to month during these clinics.  I'm still not at skinny climber-girl weight, but my speed has increased significantly and I'm starting to feel like my old self again. This makes me very happy.

I want to thank everyone who's been reading my blog and sending emails and comments.  I appreciate your support and interest in my 30 Days of Biking Challenge.  Many of you have asked about my weight loss.  It's been a long process (215 pounds in July 2009 to 164 pounds today).  I've still got about 20 pounds to go but I've been very disciplined with my nutrition and should hit that goal by my birthday in July -- hopefully a bit sooner.  It's been challenging to find the right balance of caloric deficit (for weight loss) and fuel (for energy) but I'm still making steady progress and feel really positive about it.

Anyways, no photos today (I was too busy coaching).  But you can find my rides here:

Thanks for reading and I hope your weekend is filled with sunny bike rides, too!

Monday, April 9, 2012

30 Days of Biking Day #9

Today was an adventure.  Two of my beautiful teammates and I headed down to Laguna Seca to ride the Sea Otter Classic cross country course.  We've all raced it in the past.  It was actually my goal race in 2007.  I'm not racing it this year but wanted to ride it to re-familiarize myself with the route before next week's SOC Women's Rides.

I haven't spent much time on the dirt in the past couple of seasons.  My technical skills are rusty.  My brain wouldn't shut up.  I was unhappy but my teammates made everything better.  I had a stupid mechanical which we were proudly able to MacGyver.  We giggled and took photos and rode and ate and had a great day.  We inadvertently cut a couple of miles off the route but didn't care.  The views were (as always) spectacular.  I saw a bobcat (the first time I've seen one up close + personal) and we all saw a horny toad (aka horned lizard).  And as my brain was swirling with negative self-talk, I resolved to ride more dirt and get my skills and confidence back up to par.  I've got a plan and will make it happen.  Thank goodness for awesome teammates who only laugh at me when I tell jokes, not when I do stupid stuff on the bike.

Believe it or not, this FIXED my problem.  

ps -- if you'd like to see more photos from the day, head on over to the Team Velo Girls Facebook page --

Sunday, April 8, 2012

30 Days of Biking Day #8

Today I led the Melo Velo.  It's a weekly beginner-friendly club ride just for women.  This ride has been one of our most popular rides since we started it in 2004.  It began as an extension of our regular Sunday club ride back in 2002 but we eventually moved to a new location (twice) and launched it as a stand-alone ride.  Thousands of women have participated in this ride over the years and for many, it's their first introduction to road cycling and group riding.  The ride is led by members of Team Velo Girls and other experienced club riders.

Today's group was awesome!  9 women joined me for our 15-mile ride on Canada Road, including Dorothy R., celebrating her birthday (which I commemorated with a tiara on her helmet).  For a number of women, this was the longest ride they'd ever done.  Everyone did GREAT and had fun.  We stopped at the Pulgas Water Temple for a little local history lesson and a photo opportunity.

I felt great today and was tempted to go longer, but reminded myself that I've still got 22 days of consecutive riding to do and tomorrow's ride of the Sea Otter Classic cross-country course will be challenging.  So instead of adding on miles, I joined some of the girls for coffee and girl-talk at the Woodside Bakery.

It's been a good week (+1).  8 days, 8 rides:  5 road, 2 dirt, 1 rollers.  3 of those were Velo Girls club rides.  Add in my daily walks with the dog and 2 YIN yoga sessions and I feel great.  15.5  hours in the saddle, 162 miles.

today's Melo Velo

Saturday, April 7, 2012

30 Days of Biking Day #7

Have you ever had one of those days where you're so amazingly efficient that you even surprise yourself?  Yeah, you know.  Well, I had one of those days today and my adrenaline is just pumping.  Funny, it didn't start out that way.  But as the morning progressed I checked one thing after another off my to-do list:  inbox cleaning, house cleaning, laundry, cooking, clinic updates, bike fits scheduled, paperwork processed, a longer than usual walk with the dog, and work on the upcoming Sea Otter Classic Women's Outreach Activities.

For those of you who don't know, I've worked with Sea Otter Classic for the past two years on their women's outreach activities.  Sea Otter Classic is a HUGE annual event in Monterey and (like many things in the bike industry) seems to attract a mostly-male audience.  So my job is simple:  develop activities (rides, clinics, seminars, social events) to draw more women to Sea Otter.  You see, Sea Otter has all the necessary ingredients to be a favorite women's event:  shopping, bikes, food, wine, entertainment, FUN!  So we're trying to reach out to the fairer gender to let them know that Sea Otter is for them, too!

If you're interested in joining the fun, you'll find the full schedule of women's events here:

I had originally thought I'd get out and ride mid-day (my favorite time) in the warm sunshine and before the winds picked up.  But all of a sudden the afternoon was almost over so I headed out for a late-afternoon spin.  Apparently I wasn't the only one because I had lots of rabbits to test out my legs (although I didn't see a single rider I knew in almost 3 hours).  My legs felt good.  Really good.

To the guy with the amazing legs on the Pinarello on Foothill Expressway who yelled out "will you marry me?" as I passed you, my response is "I'm single.  Next time pedal harder."

What's the most interesting thing someone has said to you while you're riding your bike?

I didn't take a photo on my ride today so here's the amazingly fragrant jasmine on my roof-top deck.
Too bad this blog doesn't have smell-o-vision!

Friday, April 6, 2012

30 Days of Biking Day #6

Even with a good sleep last night, I awoke this morning still tired.  My ankle/foot hurt.  I could feel five consecutive days on the bike.  And my plans for the day were suddenly up in the air.   It's days like this that I find it hard to motivate.  I bet you do, too.  My body was saying it's time for a day off, so I was planning a very easy spin with our team photographer to scope out photo locations but he decided to go to the snow instead.

My body needed recovery today.  I considered my options.  I could ride errands but I didn't have any.  I could ride to get froyo but I didn't want any.  I DIDN'T want to ride for training today.  So, what did I end up doing?  I rode the rollers for 90 minutes.  But I rode easy/spinny for recovery.  The sun was shining and it wasn't too windy but I still chose the rollers?  Sheesh!

The rollers are great because they really help you focus on form and balance and smoothness and pedal stroke.  You have to stay focused.  You can't screw around.  I also have a CompuTrainer but I rarely ever ride it.  All of my bike fit clients LOVE it because it's like a video game starring YOU on YOUR BIKE.  But it takes time to set up and honestly, I'd just rather throw my bike on the rollers.  So I did.

I'll admit that this 30 Days of Biking Challenge suddenly changed character for me today.  I felt compelled to ride my bike even though I felt I shouldn't because I didn't want to miss a day in the challenge.  It's not like there are prizes or recognition or anything.  You sign up and do your own thing.  But I felt I'd be letting myself down if I didn't get on the bike so I did.  I've also got that little Plus 3 Network wager with my friends Katie and Lisa.

So, day #6 in the books.  No photos on the rollers so I'll share a shot I took recently of my friend (and Velo Girls sponsor) Teresa Callen.  Teresa recently got a new city bike and a stylin' helmet to go with it.  She's also participating in the 30 Days of Biking Challenge and is posting a "helmet hair" tip daily on her facebook page: 

Go like her page and check out her awesome tips!

Teresa Callen of Image Arts Salon

Thursday, April 5, 2012

30 Days of Biking Day #5

I'm tired.  I was so wired after last night's Midweek Madness ride that I couldn't sleep.  I had to set the alarm this morning (something I almost never do) so I could go to an early-morning appointment.  I don't think I realized just how tired I was until I got on the bike today.  I just didn't have any get-up-and-go.  I also didn't have any dirt mojo.  I felt clumsy and tentative.  And then I did something stupid and fell over, twisting my ankle really good.  So, I'm sitting here with an ice bag on my elevated ankle typing today's entry for the 30 Days of Biking Challenge.

In retrospect, it really was a good day, though.  My morning YIN practice was outstanding.  My body feels very balanced and healthy right now.  Then I did some bike maintenance (bleeding my mountain bike brakes for the very first time -- success!).  I headed out early and met a new friend for a loop at Arastradero Open Space Preserve.  She's a very interesting woman (retired pro motorcycle racer) and we've known of each other, chatted a bit online,  and met at a race but never had the opportunity to really talk before today.  That's one of the things I like about a mountain bike rides -- you really do get to know the folks you ride with.  After our loop, I headed out with our club ride -- the Dirty Velo Girls.  It was freezing and I'd worked up a good sweat on the first half of my ride so I felt stiff and cranky and just wanted to finish.  Everybody else was really chatty tonight.  That's one difference I've noticed between co-ed (mostly male rides) and rides with women.  Women TALK!  A lot.  It was really fun catching up with friends I haven't ridden with in a while.  I was especially impressed with one rider who was dealing with health issues last season.  She's back on track health-wise and just killing it on the bike!

Is anyone else tired of this freezing, windy weather?  Riding during the daytime isn't too bad, but I've had night rides the past two days and I'm really ready for sunny + 70.  However, the one really cool thing about tonight's ride was the full moon rising (you don't get to see that in the afternoon).  It was HUGE and clear over the preserve.  I snapped a few photos I'll post over on Facebook.

I plan to get a good sleep tonight and will take an easy day on the bike tomorrow.  I'm still debating whether or not I'll race single speed mountain bike at Toro Park on Saturday.  I haven't raced that course in five years and I HATED it.  I've been dreading the race and that tells me it might be best just to opt out of this one.

tonight's crazy crew on the Dirty Velo Girls ride

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

30 Days of Biking Day #4

I really do LOVE this sport.  I love just about everything about it.  I love the diversity.  It's really more like a bunch of different sports all rolled into one.  Road, dirt, track, mixed terrain.  Fast, slow, moderate, intervals.  Short, long, commute, multi-day, tricks.  And that's just the riding!

I also love the diversity of the people who ride bikes.  Tonight was our first Midweek Madness of the 2012 season.  This is the longest-running Velo Girls ride on the calendar.  We started this ride in the summer of 2002, and from that group of women developed our first racing team.  We've used this ride as race training, group ride training, hill climbing, and skills training.  Last year, we mixed it up.  We moved the ride to Mike's Bikes of Palo Alto and made it a co-ed ride.  It was a great way for us to provide a service to our fabulous sponsor (Mike's Bikes).  And the central location (mid-peninsula and less than a mile from CalTrain) seemed to be really popular.  The pace last year was pretty fast and we focused on group riding with lots of coaching for the participants on how to handle their own bike and how to interact as a group.  The route is just long enough to give everyone a good workout (20 miles).  This year, we've got two ride leaders and will be able to accommodate two pace groups, which is a great way to get more newbies oriented to group riding while still keeping the pace fast for our faster riders.

I wasn't sure how I'd feel tonight.  After three days on the bike (after a three-week break) and continued caloric deficit, I was a bit concerned that my legs would feel fatigued.  But yesterday's mountain bike ride was good recovery and I had good legs tonight.  The group was very diverse (racers, ALC riders, ADA riders, and Velo Girls members).  And the ride was FUN!  We kept a solid pace and were able to pretty much accommodate everyone's needs.  I alternated between leading and sweeping back with the slower riders and got a few good hard efforts in between the two groups.  It was chilly and windy but we kept the group moving so it wasn't unpleasant.

After a number of years fundraising for Trips for Kids, I switched my beneficiary on Plus 3 Network to the National Interscholastic Cycling Association (NICA).  It's kind of a bummer because I lose the first 3 days' kudos on the NICA leaders' board, but all good.  I'll just have to work harder to get back to the top.

My plan is to go long on the mountain bike tomorrow.  I'm going to ride with the Dirty Velo Girls and plan to do a full loop before the group ride.  I need to build the endurance on the dirt.

tonight's Midweek Madness crew

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

30 Days of Biking Day #3

Plans change.  It's a fact of life and more so, I think, when one involves others.  I was supposed to do a mellow road ride with one of my Velo Girls friends today.  She's an awesome woman who is just getting back on the bike after giving birth to two children.  Mommyhood intervened and she couldn't find a sitter so we rescheduled to next week.

So instead, I headed over to Arastradero Open Space Preserve after my YIN yoga class for an easy spin on the dirt.  My body was actually feeling very fatigued today after the past two days back on the road bike, so I brought my geared Sycip mountain bike instead of my single speed.  This was a good decision, as I got some fun dirt time and some recovery time on the bike.  I also got to test out some recent modifications I made to the bike and continue to dial everything in just right.

I rode pretty much every inch of the park.  The wildflowers are just starting to bloom -- my favorites Lupine and California Poppies.  They weren't photo-worthy today but should be in the next week or so.  I saw the coyote (on the east trails) and one awesome snake (California King, who I initially mistook for a rattle snake).  The trails were pretty empty except this one group of 10 older gentlemen (who didn't understand trail etiquette but I was charming to them just the same).  The trails were in so-so condition.  After all the rain, it appears some riders didn't pay attention to the seasonal trail closures, and there are lots of ruts.  Hopefully these wear down quickly as folks ride the dry trails.

I thought about riding a second loop but realized that would be silly.  I'm just getting back on the bike.  I've got 27 more consecutive days to ride.  And I'm feeling just a touch under the weather.  I'll save my double loop for Thursday.

California King Snake @ Arastradero

Monday, April 2, 2012

30 Days of Biking Day #2

Back on the bike again for the same loop -- just building back some fitness after my break.  The wind was a bit milder and the temps a bit warmer.  I rode without arm warmers, knee warmers, shoe covers or wool socks.  I made a small modification to my bike fit in an attempt to alleviate a biomechanics issue I've been having.  I'm not certain it helped but it didn't hurt either.  My late start meant that all the distracted moms were out on the road picking up their kids from school (a time I try to avoid riding when possible).

Spring is definitely in the air and I can smell the jasmine wafting through the breeze.  This makes me smile.

The link above takes you to the Plus 3 Network.  If you're not logging your rides on Plus 3, you should be.  It's really a no-brainer.  You pick a sponsor and a beneficiary.  All of your logged activities count toward donations to the beneficiary.  It's just that easy.  I've gotten lots of friends involved over the years and we have a Velo Girls group on Plus 3.  Click and join, okay?

I love a good challenge.  I'm a bit competitive.  If the 30 Days of Biking Challenge isn't enough, I threw down a challenge to a couple of my friends.  The three of us are competing to see who gets the most "kudos" for the month on Plus 3.  A kudo is the metric that Plus 3 uses to calculate your activities.  If either of my friends tops my kudos for the month, I'll make a $100 donation to their charity of choice.  Game on, suckers!

a beautiful spring day in Los Altos

Sunday, April 1, 2012

30 Days of Biking Day #1

After a three-week self-imposed break from the bike, today begins my 30 Days of Biking Challenge.  I hopped on the road bike for a sunny but brisk and windy spin.   After three weeks off the bike, both my cardio-vascular and muscular fitness are definitely way down, but the good news is that my body weight is down, too and I can feel the improvement in climbing even without much fitness right now.

stylin' in the new Velo Girls 10th Anniversary club kit

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Happy 10th Birthday Velo Girls!

Today marks the 10th anniversary of the very-first Velo Girls ride.  Technically, it was the second ride on our schedule (the first getting rained out on March 10th).  When I launched Velo Girls in 2002, there was no Facebook, no Meetup, and no other sites designed to bring groups of like-minded individuals (in this case women cyclists in northern California) together.  Instead, I built a website, planned a very conservative calendar (2 rides a month) and flooded Craig's List and various newsgroups with the news of this brand new cycling club for women.  Our tagline in 2002 was "Fitness, Friendship, and Fun!"  To my amazement, 46 women showed up for that very-first ride.  The rest is history.

In honor of our birthday, I'm sharing some images of the original "girls in pink."  Which of these do you own?  Do you still wear it?  Which is your favorite?

Happy 10th Birthday to Velo Girls!  May we continue to ride + celebrate 20 years of women's cycling in 2022.

2002 Velo Girls club jersey designed by Lorri Lee Lown

2003 Velo Girls club jersey designed by Lorri Lee Lown

2004 Velo Girls club jersey designed by Voler Team Apparel

2005 Velo Girls club jersey designed by Laura-Anne Sammarco

2006 Velo Girls club jersey designed by Jessica Su

2007 Velo Girls club jersey designed by Sarah Clatterbuck

2008 Velo Girls club jersey designed by Lorri Lee Lown

2009 Velo Girls club jersey designed by Tanya MacNeill

2010 Velo Girls club jersey designed by Bonnie Osborn

2011 Velo Girls club jersey designed by Ingrid McCarty

2012 10th Anniversary Velo Girls club jersey designed by Denise Soultanian

Friday, March 23, 2012

links I Like -- 23 March, 2012

If you're looking for a good read (or 646) this rainy weekend, check out this very comprehensive directory of women's bike blogs from around the globe.

Got a blog to share?  Send her your link!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

thirty days of biking

I like challenges like this.  I've done them on my own in the past but this is a fun way to incorporate social media (and to influence others to create a positive habit).  So, starting April 1st, I'll ride my bike daily:  long rides, short rides, road rides, dirt rides, commuting + errands.  I'll post each ride to Facebook and Twitter so you can follow along.  Why don't you join me?

Monday, March 19, 2012

munday funday -- 19 January, 2012

everything's better on a bike....even for the Muppets!

Friday, February 10, 2012

Links I Like -- 10 February, 2012

Ah, Valentine's Day is on the horizon.  Do you secretly dream of finding love on wheels?  Here are some special Valentine's Day cycling links:

Instructable's How to Make a Valentine Out of a Bicycle Chain --

Pactimo's Designer Valentine jerseys for women + men --

SF Gate:  Romantic Bike Rides --

San Francisco Bicycle Coalition "Send a Valentine" Campaign --

Pactimo's Sweet Heart Jersey for Women!