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