Trek Women
November 24, 2008

Best foot forward...

Pedal power Did you know that in an hour-long fitness ride, you’ll turn over your pedals an average of 5,400 times? I’m not a bike componentry whiz so I won’t even try to go there about upgrading your crankset. Although, I will say that I highly recommend buying a pair of clipless pedals and cycling shoes if you’re riding longer distances or take spin classes regularly.

BUT, you don’t need gear to put your best foot forward. Simply think about your pedaling technique. Here’s what I tell my spinners…


Pedal as if you’re drawing smooth circles with your feet – at the bottom of the circle, imagine that you are scraping mud or whatever off the bottom of your shoe.


Don’t point your toes down – also a sign that your seat might be too high if you’re over-extending to get around. Focus on keeping your feet flat with the balls of your feet over the center of the pedals.


Start your circle by putting the force on pushing forward with your leg (like kicking out) instead of straight down and then pull the pedal upwards. Just mashing down can lead to knee injuries and leg cramps. Also by using the push and the pull, you engage more leg muscle like your hamstrings.


It may take some practice; but I guarantee you’ll feel pedal perfection!


P.S. If you’re using cycling shoes, check that your cleats are properly aligned on your shoe. Cleats should be positioned under or just behind the ball of the foot. They should also be aligned so that your knees don’t turn in or out. Some pedal systems (like the Speedplays I use on my Trek 5000 road bike) allow more float or rotation to get the right knee position; while others like SPDs lock you in.


A few months back, I was feeling a little stress on my right knee during spin class and I couldn’t figure out why. Then it finally dawned on me that I had recently replaced that cleat. I tweaked the alignment and no more knee stress. So, I learned that my cleat set-up varies slightly for each foot.


November 17, 2008

Tim says make it work…

Timgunn5Sometimes life is wunderbar! I got to see Tim Gunn, THE Tim Gunn on Saturday!!! If you’re not a fan of Project Runwayon Bravo TV – then you’re not going to get this blog. If you love the Runway as much as I love the Runway – ooooh, Tim spilled some dirt!!!

Okay, the backstory, Henderson Hall, which is the Marine Corps Exchange (like a Macy’s, but for military) near the Pentagon, hosted a Liz Clairborne fashion show and Tim, being the Creative Director for the brand was the special guest. My friend Bill, also a ginormous Runway fan, came with me since I scored two tickets. First, Tim showed off the Liz line and then opened it up for Q&A.


Right off the bat, Tim says most people have been asking about Kenley (mean girl, made the same stupid pin-up girl dress over and over again).


According to Bill…

“[Tim] trashed ole Kenley - the 1st question: was her portrayal on TV the result of an editing job, or was she really like that?  The answer - she was WORSE!  We didn't see more than a fraction of how annoying and rude she was.  Tim said he would like to see Wendy Pepper, Zulema, Vincent, Victorya and Kenley left on some desert island.  And if Kenley was included, Tim would row the boat (though of course she would tell him he was rowing in the wrong direction).”  


Tim had this to say about Runway:

> His favorite challenge win was the collaboration in season 4 between Chris March and Christian Siriano. 

> He stays in touch with some of the designers; but, waits for them to contact him.

> He said “make it work” one time and everyone went crazy in the audience.

> He also said that they shoot the entire season leading up to when the contestants go home to work on their collections in 30 days. By day 20, all of the designers are hagged out (my word, not Tim’s).

As one of probably 5 guys in the audience, Bill got to ask Tim a question.

Bill: What is the future for Project Runway?

Tim: [talks about the lawsuit between Bravo TV and the Weinstein Brothers and the show’s move to Lifetime, should be decided by January] We finished filming Season 6 in Los Angeles and it is very good. No matter what happens, we will have a fashion show in Bryant Park in February and select a winner. What we don’t know is whether this season will ever be shown on television, depending on how the lawsuit comes out.


Whaaat! Despite my wariness about the move to the Lifetime, there are only so many more Runway marathons I can watch before I need some new material. Thank goodness Top Chef is back. Anyway, Tim went on to talk about his new show Tim Gunn's Guide to Style and offer fashion advice, like this nugget...


Q: I’m a little thick in the middle, should I wear an empire-waist dress?

Tim: Never! No one should ever wear an empire-waist dress -- who knows what you’re hiding under there. Wrap dresses are flattering on most figures. [Tim is also a big fan of belts.]


Q: Tim, you look so put together whenever I see you on TV and in magazines. Do you dress like this every day?

Tim [in a meticulous black pinstriped suit, white shirt and lilac-colored, diagonal striped tie]: This is my uniform. But, when I pick up the New York Times tomorrow, I’ll be dressed casually. When I visit my mother, she always says, ‘Why do you wear so much black?’ ‘Why can’t you dress more like Mitt Romney?’ [Tim gasps dramatically] My own mother, a traitor.


Tim is exactly like how he appears on TV – gracious and a bit babbly with a lovely, dry sense of humor.


Tim’s final piece of sage advice for any prospective Runway designer… “It’s true, whatever you do, don’t bore Nina.”

November 13, 2008

Pocketful of rotten eggs…

Eggs You know, I’m a law-abiding citizen. I pay my taxes. I don’t steal other people’s stuff (especially scooters). I park in legal spots (not in front of fire hydrants like those lazy idiots at our local Starbucks). And, I follow traffic rules - something that drivers and metrobuses in DC apparently feel don’t apply to them.

I’m gonna have to get Botox cause of commuting with a dirty look on my face. Because at least once a day some [insert bad word] attempts to run me over by failing to abide by the law. And it doesn’t seem to matter whether I ride my bike or walk.

This morning I hoofed it because I have an event to go to tonight. I am in the pedestrian crosswalk like a good girl and this woman in a station wagon zooms through the intersection, and she saw me there too, even though by DC law she is required to stop. Of course, I screamed at her (not that she heard me) and gestured like a wildwoman.

So then, I’m walking down the street, pissed off, and I wished I had a pocketful of rotten eggs that I could just chuck at her and all those other people who won’t wait the 10 seconds it takes for me to walk across the street.

Can you imagine it? It wouldn’t damage her car, but it sure would scare the crap out of her. But then, I remembered my penchant for tripping and falling down and then I’d have a pocketful of smashed rotten eggs and that would really stink. Plus, it wouldn’t be safe, blah blah blah. Still it was a nice fantasy.

November 12, 2008

Lost connections...

 Last week, I was invited to a meeting hosted by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) to brainstorm how to connect people with nature. It always takes me a minute to adjust my perspective because I can’t even imagine my life that doesn’t include the great outdoors. And I don’t even mean huge-ordeal, equipment-required outside. Case in point, yesterday, I just felt like going for a walk. So I put on my sneakers and went down to the Washington Memorial and back. No big deal.


Anyway, the Service had invited to the meeting some unusual suspects – about 12 total. I was there on behalf of state fish and wildlife agencies, there was a woman from the National Wildlife Federation, a guy from the American Recreation Coalition, a woman from the President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports as well as several USFWS communications and education experts.


We had our job cut out for us to think of how to get people to care about nature and I’m afraid, the problem is deep and widespread – and I must admit, kind of depressing. But we tried our best to come up with some solutions. (Go outside people!!!)


Two interesting things came up during the meeting. #1 – when we went around the room and introduced ourselves, everyone had to name their favorite outdoor activities and all 12 of us included bike riding on that list, ranging from the hardcore enthusiast (me) to the take-a-spin-with-the kids-round-the-block.


#2 – as I was chatting with the woman from the President’s Council, I mentioned writing this blog for Trek and she said, “I know all about Trek WSD because John Burke (Trek’s Pres) is the Chairman of the President’s Council.” How about that! I’m sort of embarrassed to admit that I thought that Ah-nold Schwarzenegger was still the head dude on it. But, thanks John Burke for your leadership in helping people get more active every day.


I’ll give the President’s Council a plug because it does more than that President’s Challenge you had to do in school – I remember something to do with an eraser shuffle, sit-ups and that stupid arm-hang, which I never lasted more than a second. Today, the President’s Challenge includes programs for all ages including adults and seniors. Trek is also the sponsor of the Presidential Bicycling Challenge.  


So, let me open up the floor to you all – got any ideas on how we, as a nation, can help connect more people with nature? What connects you?

November 4, 2008

Roll the polls...

Vote button Election day is here at last!! There's an energy on Capitol Hill this morning, an electric buzz that change is coming no matter which candidate wins. (Also, if you're thinking about moving here, there'll be some nice homes up for sale shortly. Hahahaha)

Anyway, in my 10+ years of voting in DC, I've never seen so many people lined up to exercise their civic right. It took my sis, Jen, 2.5 hours to vote this morning. I'm going this afternoon before the post-work crowd.

DC may not have full representation in Congress (taxation without representation, grrrrr); but we do have 3 electoral votes - just like the states of Alaska, Montana, Delaware, North and South Dakota and Vermont. What we do as District residents, counts. And what you choose to do today, counts. No matter the lines, the hassle, the weather, please roll the polls and vote. Be part of history!