8 posts from January 2010

January 27, 2010

Relationships

I got out for a mountain bike ride the other day.  It was a relatively mellow ride, as it was Jen's first mountain bike ride, but I came home buzzing...and tried to puzzle out why mountain biking always makes me feel like that.  It's just plain fun to ride dirt.  But I really love riding road, too, so why do I feel so differently after each kind of riding?  I came up with this metaphor:  Mountain biking and road riding are like different kinds of relationships.  Without reading too much into this (!), I offer an explanation.

Road riding is like a long-term relationship.  It makes you feel all warm and fuzzy, and is beneficial to your health.  You progress steadily, get stronger, and reach goals; there are many fun spots and hard work, but mostly you do it because you know that this commitment makes you very happy.   

Mountain biking is like a fling.  It makes you feel giddy and just a little reckless.  You try things that would not win approval from your mother.  Since there's no commitment involved; you can do something new every weekend and it can last as long as you're willing to let it.  You do it for the thrill.

So there you have it.  I know every metaphor breaks down at some point.  And in this case, I'm thankful, as one can mountain bike AND ride road without pissing anyone off.  Happy riding!

January 24, 2010

Time to Plan!

Plan your spring and summer rides now!  And when you're planning don't skip the Bicycling Capitol of America!  I suggest you hop on the Sparta-Elroy Trail in Wisconsin and enjoy the first rails-to-trails conversion in the U.S!  It connects with hundreds of miles of additional trails from the Mississippi River to Wisconsin Dells and beyond.  Off trail you will find the best in quiet, rolling farmland riding - or check out the Century Challenge Bike Race in early August.  The trail and road rides are "stop and smell the roses" (or barnyard) kind of rides!  You'll ride through old train tunnels, forests, croplands, historic towns.  You can ride, eat, shop and explore.  Camp or  stay in luxury B & B's, like the Franklin Victorian in Sparta.

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While you're there visit one of America's most interesting bike museums - home to the Wright Brothers first bike inventions and the Deke Slayton Memorial Space Museum.  Then you'll be SO close - ride on down to Waterloo and tour the Trek Factory and displays of famous Trek bikes and rider memorabilia.  One last word on "planning" - if you want someone else to plan your adventures see Trek Travel!

January 18, 2010

IMBA VISITS THE HEARTLAND

Yes, there's trail riding in Nebraska. So much that IMBA paid us a visit, with another to follow this week and more in the spring.

So what's the big deal? 

Omaha has some potential, that's what. We've been ear-marked for some grant-funded assistance by IMBA to help design and put into place a gateway park. Yes, gateway, as in a park for bike riding that will hopefully lead to an addiction to more bike riding amongst its users.

Ride Center? Not yet, but maybe some day.

And my little trail club is at the center of it all. Well, I should say "our". I sit on a board for a trail care club, Trails Have Our Respect (THOR) and our fearless leader has put us on the map. He's worked his ass off getting industry leaders here to assess if Omaha has what it takes to be a bike friendly community. And so far, it's looking like might! 

This last weekend regional director, Ryan Schutz, spent an entire Saturday, helping our group come to grips with the reality of what it will take to grow our organization so that it can support these awesome opportunities that could come our way.

Then, I'm told, a world renowned trail designer will be here this week to map the gateway park. In the spring, the Trail Care Crew will be visiting to show us how to build and maintain sustainable trails in our area.  

It's all so exciting! I'm so proud of our club and our community. This could be a great year for Omaha!

Finding fashion for saddle and ski

As I peer out the window this morning, it's raining on top of last night's sleet and I see my neighbors struggle to move piles of wet snow off the sidewalk.  I know I'll be out there soon to join them, sad that this isn't real snow.  It's the worst weather for biking, but could be perfect for x-c skiing...And what's the connection between the two?  Fashion.  I've discovered that my cold-weather cycling clothes are ideal for skiing...lycra tights that don't get in the way of spokes or ski poles, shirts with back pockets for allen keys or an extra pair of ski gloves, snacks, and chapstick.  The thin Bontrager skull cap that fits right under my helmet is also ideal for keeping my ears warm during ski season and my wind shell keeps me just warm enough without over-heating.  

Why such delight over my cycle/ski attire?  For years, what I wore on bike and ski could hardly be called "fashion."  I complained endlessly about women's bike shorts that cinch in at the waist, making even the super-fit among us look ridiculous and making the rest of us feel like we've grown a new belly that can't hide under equally snug bike jerseys.  Finally, Bontrager designed yoga-style waistlines without any silly drawstrings.  Who needs to tie their spandex any tighter?  Yet most of my athletic gear comes with ties and zippers and thin lines of elastic that bunch up in only unflattering ways.  

If I'm going to venture out in this slush, I can at least look good as I trudge through the snow or push my bike up the icy hills.  I love the winter but I'm a total wimp in the cold.  Thanks to my new stash of Bontrager styles, I have no excuse to stay indoors.  Roxy and Amy wrote some inspiring lists of 2010 resolutions.  I join them here with my resolve to venture out EVERY day, even when motivation is low and the weather discouraging.  Computer off, boots on, out we go.

January 11, 2010

Resolutions and Inspirations

I've been back to my normal routine these last couple of weeks, and I can tell that many people out there made the very typical "get in shape" resolution for the New Year!  The Y has been packed and I've seen lots of folks out there on the roads and paths, biking, running, and hiking.  And while a (small) part of me is looking forward to having things go back to their not-so-crowded ways (I'm pessimistically guessing February), I am also very happy to see so many people out there trying to be healthy!  

If you try, you can find inspiration in the people around you!  Here are some examples:

My friend, Anne, and her husband decided to go out and get new bikes!  She emailed me for suggestions, mostly trying to figure out what kind of bikes made sense for their family - a family who wants to get out and enjoy the area.   The guys at San Jose Trek helped them out, and now they're the happy owners of bikes to cruise down the bike path or through the neighborhood with kids in tow.  I can't wait to hear about their first ride! 

I have lots of friends that had fitness goals met last year:  Several friends did a local half-marathon (my friend, Lisa, did it 6 months after having her second baby!), some trying to beat their previous times.  I heard a rumor that a couple friends are trying for TWO half marathons this year.  My friend, Liz, did the Breast Cancer 3 Day walk.  All around me are strong, fit women ready to take on challenges.

Just yesterday, my friend, Jen, went on her first mountain bike ride (with me).  We talked about being "game" - meaning, getting out and trying new things, even when you may be anxious about it.  I know she was nervous (mostly about falling off a cliff), and she focused on setting realistic expectations for the ride (aka: sandbagging; she did great), but I just thought it was cool that she got out there and tried something new (and something that made her nervous).  

In the Weight Loss Challenge, there are several participants who have lost tens of pounds - we're talking 20, 30, 50 or 60!!  Wow!  Some of these people have been working on life changes for a year, and they've had to work hard.  We saw a picture of the transformation of one participant yesterday, who dropped 60 pounds: proof positive that you can do it.  And I know (because I'm in it) that they find inspiration and motivation from the 3 incredible women who lead us (Rachel, Andrea, and Judy).  They've all "been there, done that" and want us to succeed, too.  

So here's your challenge:  Get out there and find someone or something who inspires you to fulfill your resolutions (fitness or otherwise)!  And by all means, please share your inspirations - I never tire of being inspired!!

January 6, 2010

Goals for 2010

New Year, new decade. New plan? After a year of planning a wedding, I'll pass. No plans this year. Well, no new plans, I should say. Oh, I'll still be racing. You better believe it. Here are some of the races and travel plans on my schedule (I've done them all before, so if you have questions, leave me a comment).

Cross Country

Local races psycowpath.com which are run by myself and my hubs. The Greater Omaha area is blessed with multiple trail systems. I can ride to five of them from my house! Our series has eight races, both XC and marathon. Come on out! 

Missouri & Kansas heartlandrace.com/index.php The trails down there are awesome, technical, rocky and tight. My favorite! And the races are well supported with great swag and an awesome vibe. Missouri is really a hotbed of cycling with the Tour of MO the last couple years and CX nationals. Now it's our turn! 

Marathon / Endurance

Dakota 5-0, Sept. 5 
 dakotafiveo.com a 50 miler out of Spearfish, SD. It's well supported and has a huge party after wards. Top female gets a Garmin 705 + cash. Camp at race start (which is at 7:30 in the AM!)

Firecracker 50, July 4
  mavsports.com a 50 miler out of Breck, and always on the 4th. It features a neutral start for each cat. down the parade route with thousands of screaming fans and vacationers. A true rock star moment. Whole race is above 9000 ft., topping out at 11,000. It's a twenty-five mile loop you do twice. Very well supported. They promise a bigger, badder party this year. Awesome fireworks later at night.

Laramie Enduro, July 31
  laramieenduro.org a 70 miler near Laramie, Wyoming. It's well supported and has a variety of terrain from open prairie to mountain singletrack. This is the race I finished despite tearing my knee open after crashing (Don't worry, it was at a dumb crash. The race isn't very technical) and I want to go back and do it sans injury.

Festivals

Black Hills Fat Tire Festival, 5/28-5/3 bhfattirefestival.com a multi-day mtb weekend full of all kinds of two-wheeled goodtimes. Racing, guided rides, social gatherings to eat and drink. It really features the trails around Rapid City, SD.

Vacation

Fruita / Moab - we go every spring. We should become guides. We kinda are, always recruiting new peeps to come out and experience high desert riding. I can't get enough.

New Mexico - we're throwing around the idea of going here instead of heading west this year. We're told there's a lot of riding around Albuquerque.

So, yeah, it's jammed packed. That's how I like it!

Come on Summer!!!

January 5, 2010

One of my Highlights in 2009!

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Cartoon Credit goes to German Cartoonist - Aurel-Cartoon Studio; www.aurel-cartoons.de; aurel@aurel-cartoons.de. Presented to me in NYC, a gift from my 2 daughters! 

Below, you can catch me celebrating my new decade in TImes Square, (with exuberance, since I aged-up - woo-hoo!!!).  Triathlete's get it, right?  Among shows, wining and dining:  we took time to visit a Trek dealer; bike Central Park; look at the bike-friendly lanes in high traffic Manhattan!  Not bad for the busiest intersections in the U.S.  The T-shirt said that I was a "National Treasure" in the face of Miss Liberty (only your children would parade you around all day in this very special birthday get-up).  The t-shirt back was supposed to say "kiss me, it's my birthday", they settled on "make me smile..."  Boy, did I luck out; I also got lots of chuckles, so I smiled a lot!

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January 1, 2010

Hurry, only 20 minutes to Start Time!

Happy New Year!!  Only in Lake Michigan, Milwaukee WI do you have just 20 minutes to get down to Milwaukee's lake front to take your first "bike ride and swim" for 2010!  Take a look at last years event and build up your courage!  (sorry, you have to sit through a 30 second lottery commercial).   AND, NO, you won't find me in the crowd.  I'll spend some of this 8 degree day warming up on some XC ski trails.  It is even too cold, snowy and icy for this Trek babe to ride!  Stay warm and have a Happy New Year's day no matter how you spend it!
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